Thank you to Wood_Owl@Flickr for submitting today's photograph (original image via Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool). Much appreciated, especially since I am on day 9 of 14 leading a botanizing tour and Katherine is busy with exams.
Botany Photo of the Day
In science, beauty. In beauty, science. Daily.
Recently in Flowering Plants Category
Apr 17, 2012: Mertensia virginica
Apr 12, 2012: Cardamine concatenata
Thanks once again to Marie Viljoen@Flickr for sharing one of her photographs (you can read about her botanizing trip that day on her weblog entry: Pelham Bay Park in Early April). The image is posted via Flickr here: Cardamine concatenata. Additional images of this species can be seen on Flickr from another frequent BPotD contributor, Eric in SF: Cardamine concatenata. Marie's photograph was taken in New York on April 1, while Eric's image of the species from Little Rock, Arkansas was made on March 4.
A springtime ephemeral of nutrient-rich woods and wooded slopes, Cardamine concatenata blooms early in the (seasonal to the area) spring, before the leaves of the nearby deciduous trees fully emerge. Within a couple months or so, it returns to dormancy. Cut-leaved toothwort or pepper-root is native to a broad area of eastern North America. The Missouri Botanical Garden, in a factsheet page for Cardamine concatenata explains the origin of the common name: "Although the leaves are toothed, the common name probably is in reference to the tooth-like projections on the fleshy rootstock. The toothworts are sometimes called pepperroots in reference to the spicy, radish-like flavor of the rhizomes which can be cut up and added to salads."
Apr 10, 2012: Ptilotus spathulatus
A big thank you to boobook48@Flickr aka Lorraine Phelan for sharing today's photograph from near Bannockburn, Australia, taken last November (original image via Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool). Much appreciated!
Apr 9, 2012: Rhododendron flammeum 'Red Inferno'
Frequent BPotD commenter and occasional contributor Earl Blackstock of the eastern USA sent along today's photograph (taken April 12, 2011) via email.
Earl writes: Mr. Ernest Koone, owner of Lazy K Nursery in Pine Mountain, Georgia developed and registered this selection [originally found in south Georgia]. This plant and all my native azaleas I purchase from Ernest. This flower opens as a bright orange and after a few days turns an intense deep red as seen in this picture. I e-mailed Mr. Koone this photo and Ernest e-mailed me back the following: 'I think that is a GREAT flower and your picture is magnificent, showing the full range of color development'".
Rhododendron flammeum is native to Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. It is commonly known as Oconee azalea. Flower colour is notably variable in this species, ranging from yellow to red (and includes oranges and pinks). The Callaway Gardens weblog entry on Oconee azalea makes note of this, advising: "Because there are several kinds [species and / or colour variants] blooming at the same time there is often cross pollination and the resulting seeds and plants display a wide color range. That is why is it important to purchase native azaleas in bloom if you want a specific color."
Apr 4, 2012: Hibiscus waimeae subsp. hannerae
Katherine again writes today's entry:
Today, we have a beautiful image of Hibiscus waimeae subsp. hannerae thanks to Anna Kadlec via the Botany Photo of the Day Submissions Forum.
Hibiscus waimeae has two subspecies (sometimes designated varieties): Hibiscus waimeae subsp. hannerae and Hibiscus waimeae subsp. waimeae. Today's featured subspecies is generally smaller overall (including smaller flowers) when compared to the subspecies waimeae, though it has larger leaves. Hibiscus waimeae subsp. hannerae is endemic to Hawaii, and known by the Hawaiian names: Aloalo, Koki'o kea, and Koki'o ke'oke'o, In English, the taxon is commonly known as Kauai white hibiscus, minature Hawaiian white hibiscus, small Kauai white hibiscus, and white Kauai rosemallow. Native Plants Hawaii (see previous link) notes that the genus name stems from "hibiscos, Greek for 'mallow', and the epithet waimeae refers to the Waimea Canyon, Kaua'i where this species is found." That reference also states that Hibiscus waimeae subsp. hannerae blooms year round, although sporadically (often ceasing during winter or early spring), and is unusual among hibiscus in that it is one of only two species (both native to Hawaii) to have fragrant flowers.
According to the U.S. National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) page for Hibiscus waimeae subsp. hannerae, these single flowers last only one day and are "white when open in [the] morning and fade to pink in the afternoon" with a staminal column that is pink to crimson. Easily grown in cultivation (it was previously used as decoration near huts), the taxon is considered endangered. It occurs only in Kaua'i's northwestern valleys of Hanakapi'ai, Limahuli, and Kalihi Wai at elevations of 240 - 1,200m (800 - 3,900ft) (see previous link). Its rarity is in part due to the ease with which Hibiscus waimeae subsp. hannerae hybridizes, and, according to the IUCN Red List, partly due to habitat being "frequently damaged by feral pigs and invaded by introduced plants". The IUCN Red List also notes that the population on Kalihi Wai is seemingly extirpated.
Apr 3, 2012: Darlingtonia californica
Cobra lilies are a favourite subject of mine (previous posts: January 23, 2007 and April 21, 2010). The 2007 entry has a decent write-up about the species, so please visit there for additional reading.
Today's photograph is dedicated to Norm Jensen, who recently passed away. Among his many qualities, Norm was an avid plant enthusiast and photographer, particularly for the flora of the Siskiyous (where one can find Darlingtonia). Norm sent me an email about something I had written on BPotD several years ago (he commented on BPotD once in a while), and that led to fairly frequent email correspondence between us about plants in the Siskiyous. In 2010, he shared his enthusiasm for an afternoon with a botanical tour group I led to the area, and everyone was delighted with his knowledge and friendliness. Here's to you, Norm.
Mar 30, 2012: Triteleia lilacina
Triteleia lilacina, commonly known as lilac prettyface, lilac-flowered wild hyacinth, or foothill triteleia, is endemic to "dry rocky outcrops, volcanic hills and mesas" of northern California. These photographs, taken two years ago minus a couple of days, were two of many taken that morning while I enjoyed an excellent wildflower display. The first image is full-frame, while the second is cropped significantly in order to show the tiny glass-like beads (hyaline vesicles) that line the inside of the flower. I don't think I noticed these when taking the photographs, so if I ever return to the area when these are in bloom, I'll be photographing them again. As long as it is a windless day, I would attempt both a supermacro shot of the vesicles, as well as a series of images taken at different focal points to be merged later in software.
Additional photographs are available via Calphotos (Triteleia lilacina, though images of the intriguing corms are lacking. Fortunately, these are available via the Theodore Payne Foundation wiki: the corms of Triteleia lilacina.
Mar 28, 2012: Antidesma bunius
Katherine is the author of today's entry. She writes:
Antidesma bunius has a multitude of common names in English and many other languages. In English, these include bignay, Chinese-laurel, currant tree, wild cherry, and salamander-tree. According to USDA GRIN (linked above re: English common names), Antidesma bunius has two synonyms: Antidesma dallachyanum and Stilago bunius. A third synonym, Antidesma dallachyi, is recorded by the Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants site.
This dioecious woody species grows to about 5 meters tall. With male and female flowers on different individual plants, it should be apparent that the plant in today's photograph is a female. In the wild, the species is present up to elevations of 900m. Antidesma bunius is a widely distributed species (see GRIN link above) of temperate and tropical Asia, Queensland, and on islands of the central Pacific, but it is also cultivated widely outside of its native range in other tropical and subtropical areas.
According to the Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants site, "the fruit of [Antidesma bunius] is used in North Queensland to make jams or syrups and was once very popular and sought after". However, it is oft considered bitter as well. Wikipedia's page for Antidesma bunius elaborates, noting that "while the majority of the indigenous population tastes bignay as sweet, people of European ancestry often find it bitter to the point of inedibility. This phenomenon is inversely linked to the taste perception of phenylthiocarbamide [...]" (see: Henkin, R and Gillis, W. 1977. Divergent taste responsiveness to fruit of the tree Antidesma bunius. Nature. 265: 536-537). In addition to the species being used for food, Antidesma bunius has some economic value for its wood, though the National Herbarium Nederland page on Antidesma mentions that the scent of the bark is "not so great".
Mar 26, 2012: Ranunculus triternatus
If it isn't too much to have two similar-looking buttercup family representatives in a row, here are some images from just over a week ago.
Ranunculus triternatus (syn. Ranunculus reconditus) is an almost-endemic to the Columbia Gorge area of Washington and Oregon. A single location near Elko, Nevada and another in southeastern Idaho have also been reported. However, there is little information about the latter two reports online that I can find--most seem to be derived from the Flora of North America account for Ranunculus triternatus. Two common names are in use for the species, obscure buttercup and Dalles Mountain buttercup (the latter referring to the area where it is found near in Washington and Oregon).
Most research and conservation monitoring work has been done with the Washington and Oregon populations. According to the Center for Plant Conservation, ten occurrences of Ranunculus triternatus are known in these states: "In WA, 8 occurrences known since 1987. Populations range from "100+" to "several hundred." One other occurrence was reported in 1938, but the location data is not complete. Either it cannot be re-located, or it has been extirpated (WNHP 2000). 2 occurrences are currently known in Oregon with population numbers ranging from 50 to 800 (ONHP 2000).". I suppose that puts the number of individual plants worldwide at around 3500 +/- a thousand or so. I observed about seventy in flower during my brief visit to the area on a cloudy late afternoon.
As noted by Paul Slichter on his page for Ranunculus triternatus (includes additional photos!), the species "is found primarily in fairly undisturbed grasslands or areas of mixed grasslands and sagebrush. Plants are generally found in deeper soils among bunch grasses rather than in the thinner rocky poorer soils which are frequently found on the hillsides".
Additional photographs are available via the Oregon Flora Image Project (Ranunculus triternatus) and a scan of a specimen collected by Thomas Howell is available via Oregon State University Herbarium: Ranunculus triternatus.
I also had a request from a BPotD reader to include a bit of a photographic information from time to time. For these photographs, and for most photographs of buttercup flowers, I often find it necessary to underexpose the image. A camera-metered exposure will often blow out the yellows or introduce white spots on the petals due to the petals' high reflectivity (you can see the white spotting beginning to occur on the last photo). A polarizer can also be useful, but it is perhaps more important to make the photographic attempt on a cloudy day. I had also photographed some Ranunculus occidentalis this day, but I've thrown away most of those images because they were taken in the sun and no detail was left in the flower petals (I kept a couple for reference to remind me that it was out in bloom in the region on that date).
Mar 23, 2012: Ficaria verna
Ficaria verna is known commonly in English as fig buttercup or lesser celandine. It is native to much of Europe, western Asia and northern Africa. In North America, where it was introduced as an ornamental plant, it has become an invasive of floodplain forests and some upland sites on the east and west sides of the continent. It is one of the earliest plants to sprout, bloom and seed in the spring (verna means "spring"). The species also vegetatively propagates through bulblets and tubers, permitting it to form dense mats. When mass carpets are formed, it suppresses other (typically native) plants, presumably through shading and / or nutrient uptake.
Mar 20, 2012: Ribes sanguineum 'White Icicle'
The hotel I'm staying at apparently prevents me from uploading images for BPotD because of some sort of file size restriction, so I'll have to find another venue for the rest of the week. In the meantime, I did have this entry I started to write last year until a question came up that has so far proven unanswerable, so I'll share it instead.
The cultivar name 'White Icicle' for this flowering currant was published in 1986 in HortScience 21(3):362, by Dr. Gerald Straley of UBC Botanical Garden (deceased 1997). Commercially introduced in 1988 as part of UBC Botanical Garden's plant introduction program of the time, it was a variant that had originally been selected in 1973 from Vancouver Island. Compared to other white-flowered cultivars, it is generally considered more desirable as it has pure-white flowers and it is a more vigorous plant overall. While visiting some public gardens in Washington and Oregon this past week, I've spotted it planted prominently near the entrances. It is, at least regionally, indeed deserving of being one of the Great Plant Picks.
The question I've yet to answer is why the Royal Horticultural Society's Plantfinder (which we use as our initial reference for cultivar names in UBC Botanical Garden) lists the cultivar as Ribes sanguineum 'Ubric', and instead notes that White Icicle is a trademark (or a commercial designation with financial rights and responsibilities). I've searched the US, UK and Canadian trademark databases, and came up with zero results for the combination "white AND icicle". I also don't believe the Botanical Garden ever registered trademarks for any of its introductions, though more digging in the archives may prove me wrong.
Mar 15, 2012: Adesmia boronioides
Thank you to Krystyna Szulecka (her website: clikc photography) for once again sharing one of her South American photographs (submitted via this thread on the Botany Photo of the Day Submissions Forum). Do visit her website!
As noted in a previous BPotD written by Douglas Justice on Adesmia (the much shorter in stature Adesmia longipes), this genus consists of "about 230 herbaceous and shrubby species native to the montane and alpine regions of South America". Commonly known as paramela (a name given to at least several members of the genus), Adesmia boronioides is one of the shrubby species, typically reaching 0.4m to 2m in height (1.3ft to 6ft). Adesmia boronioides inhabits a number of plant community types in Argentina and Chile, including high forests, steppes, and montane grasslands, as well as some of the windswept rocky areas often associated with Patagonia (it is reported from elevations at sea level to 1500m (4900ft).
For a detailed botanical description of the species, visit the herbario digital INTA Santa Cruz page for Adesmia boronioides. The University of Cambridge's site on "Darwin's Plants from the Beagle Voyage" contains scans of specimens of Adesmia boronioides collected by Darwin. Or, for some additional photographs, see both a close-up image of the plants and flowers via stitchingbushwalker@Flickr and an image of flowers with a pollinator, thanks to el buitre@Flickr. Lastly, a report from a botanical expedition to Central Patagonia is interesting reading.
Mar 14, 2012: Nymphaea 'Odorata Luciana'
Originally submitted under the name Nymphaea 'Fabiola', I was fortunate (or unfortunate, since it's taken over a couple hours late at night to sort this out) to find an article by San Marcos Growers regarding uncertainty about what is sometimes sold under the name Nymphaea 'Fabiola' while researching this entry. It seems that some plants sold in North America as Nymphaea 'Fabiola' are actually Nymphaea 'Odorata Luciana', so I've been bold (perhaps wrongly so) and placed that name on the plant in this photograph. This was based on photographs from the nursery that first published some of these names more than a century ago, and still grows these cultivars today: Latour-Marliac. Using their site search (the text box above rechercher), compare Nymphaea 'Fabiola' vs. Nymphaea 'Odorata Luciana' (can simply search for "fabiola" and "luciana" to get the results, and yes, there is an English language version of the site but it doesn't contain some of the descriptive information). At a glance, it seems to me: the tepals of Nymphaea 'Odorata Luciana' have a higher length-to-width ratio than 'Fabiola'; the tepals of 'Fabiola' are generally held upright, whereas the outer (sepaloid) tepals of 'Odorata Luciana' flare out and are horizontal; and a central near-column of innermost tepals surround and somewhat enclose the inner flower parts in 'Odorata Luciana', while in Nymphaea 'Fabiola' the inner flower parts are exposed and open. Also, the original catalogue description of Nymphaea 'Fabiola' makes mention of the tepals being "washed of white at the top".
To make things more complicated, the cultivar name 'Odorata Luciana' also seems to be sometimes abbreviated to simply 'Luciana', though this is recognized as a synonym and not valid as such by the rules governing the nomenclature of cultivated plants.
The RHS Plantfinder lists approximately 400 taxa and cultivars of Nymphaea, and I suspect the number is quite a bit higher. Bearing that it is difficult to keep cultivars straight without the use of a documented reference collection, I'll point out a few other web sites featuring these plants (and where errors may have perhaps crept in). The North Carolina State University's Plant Factsheets has a profile on Nymphaea 'Odorata Luciana', with cultivation information (they use the abbreviated 'Luciana', but I think that's the only nit). Longwood Gardens Plant Explorer has a profile on Nymphaea 'Odorata Luciana', but the photograph looks similar (though not exactly like) the true Nymphaea 'Fabiola'. More photographs would be useful. Lastly, Brooklyn Botanic Garden has a feature on the Water-Lilies at BBG. It seems to me that some of the plants tagged as Nymphaea 'Luciana' are possibly Nymphaea 'Fabiola' (one in particular seems to display being "washed of white at the top" of some of the tepals), and perhaps the same could be said in reverse for the plant tagged Nymphaea 'Fabiola'. That said, while the two cultivars on the Latour-Marliac site seem distinctly different, the photographs of the plants at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Longwood Gardens seem to be intermediate to those images in some respects. Having no expertise with Nymphaea cultivars (I'm not sure we even grow any species or cultivars at UBC Botanical Garden), I could be entirely wrong and perhaps should have gone to bed hours ago.
Mar 13, 2012: Calytrix tetragona
Thank you to Bill Higham@Flickr, of Hobart, Tasmania, for sharing today's image with us (original). Not only is Bill a skilled photographer, but he's also a poet and writer; you can read some of his work at his website: The Cut Monkey. Much appreciated!
Over seventy species of Calytrix are recognized. All are endemic to Australia. Calytrix tetragona, or common fringe-myrtle, is widely distributed through southern and eastern Australia. It is a shrubby species reaching about 2m (6 ft.) in height at maturity. Flowering is typically in Australia's spring, though it can flower throughout the year, which seems to be the instance in this case as it appears Bill photographed this individual in March.
Variation in flower colour (ranging to pink) and calyx colour (maturing to a deep-red) can occur, as documented on the site of the Australian Native Plant Society: Calytrix tetragona.
Mar 8, 2012: Cyclobalanopsis glaucoides
Organized once again by Katherine, here's today's entry with an introduction from her:
Continuing the series for UBC's Celebrate Research Week">UBC Celebrate Research Week is another entry thanks to Dr. Roy Turkington, this time from his research undertaken in collaboration with Professor Zhou Zhe-khun. Dr. Turkington informed me that the first image is a general view of the canopy at the Ailaoshan Reserve. The second image shows one of three treatment plots of research being conducted by M.Sc student, Jessica Lu, where they are testing the effects of litter on soil nutrients, soil invertebrates, and germination & establishment of seedlings. The final image is from Jin Jin Hu (PhD student), showing his enclosures for testing the effects of rodents (and other seed predators) on germination and establishment of seedlings. Dr. Turkington writes:
Yunnan Province in southwestern China is a biodiversity hotspot containing more than 20000 species of higher plants (6% of the world's total). The biodiversity of this region is under threat from loss of habitat due to logging and the planting of economic plants. Fifteen to twenty percent of higher plant varieties are endangered, threatening the existence of 40,000 species of organisms related with them. One-third of all species of oak (approximately 150 species, Quercus plus Cyclobalanopsis) in these Asian evergreen broad-leaved forests belong to the genus Cyclobalanopsis and one of the dominant species in this genus is Cyclobalanopsis glaucoides. As a dominant species, it provides a major structural component of these diverse forests, yet seedlings of Cyclobalanopsis glaucoides are rarely observed, and even in years of higher acorn production, the number of oak seedlings is not significantly increased. Thus, an understanding of the factors that influence the long-term survival of Cyclobalanopsis glaucoides is critical to the maintenance of these forests.
These studies began in 2006 and are on-going. Specifically, we are testing if there is a relationship between large weather cells, such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Southern Oscillation Index, with acorn production, and if acorn germination & seedling establishment is affected by weevils, small mammals, birds, or the quality and quantity of litter in the understorey of these forests.