Another member of the broomrape family today, Triphysaria eriantha is known commonly as Johnnytuck or butter and eggs. These annual plants can be found throughout most of California and parts of southwest Oregon. Calphotos has additional images, including photographs of the plants in habitat: Triphysaria eriantha.
Botany Photo of the Day
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Feb 5, 2012: Triphysaria eriantha
Feb 4, 2012: Castilleja coccinea
It is likely this is the first member of the Orobanchaceae that I ever knowingly encountered--a small patch of scarlet Indian paintbrush grew on the edge of some gravel pits about 10km from my childhood home. This species is perennial, so that patch is possibly still there if someone hasn't torn up the rocky soil with an ATV or the like. I do remember being taken out by my parents specifically to see that patch on one or two occasions.
Castilleja has somewhere in the neighbourhood of 160-200 species, and almost all of these are in western North America. Castilleja coccinea is one of the exceptions, as it is broadly distributed across eastern North America. These plants, with their scarlet-red bracts, were photographed in early May.
Feb 3, 2012: Orobanche corymbosa
Over the next few days, I'll be sharing some photographs from Thursday evening's presentation on Orobanchaceae (the broomrape family). I've been hearing a few comments that even if a long write-up isn't possible, simply sharing an image is okay, so let's try that.
Orobanche corymbosa or flat-top broomrape, is native to western North America (including British Columbia), where it is frequently a parasite on members of the Asteraceae or sunflower family. In particular, these achlorophyllous plants often grow in association with big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata).
Feb 1, 2012: Calypso bulbosa
Unfortunately, it is another busy week for me, so only a short entry today. Thank you to mossgreen2011@Flickr aka Michael McNaughton for sharing this photograph from June 2010 (Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool | original image). It's appreciated.
The Calypso orchid has previously been featured on BPotD: Calypso bulbosa from May 2, 2005 and Calypso bulbosa from May 23, 2005. Like the species of Leontochir featured in the previous BPotD entry, it is monotypic (the only species in the genus).
Jan 26, 2012: Leontochir ovallei
Another first-time BPotD contributor today, Huenchecal.@Flickr, who is associated with the exceptional Chilebosque site about the native flora of Chile. Today's photograph was shared via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool (original image). Thank you!
Garra de león, or lion's claw, is endemic to Chile, where it is restricted to the coastal zone of the Atacama Desert. Photographed here in Llanos de Challe National Park, protection for the species seems necessary; it is considered endangered (PDF), though it doesn't seem to be formally recognized as such yet (it doesn't appear on the IUCN Red List, as an example). One of the reported threats is introduced goats: Leontochir ovallei via the Pacific Bulb Society Wiki.
Leontochir is a monotypic genus (it contains only the one species). Phillippi named it Leontochir in 1873 as a Greek translation of its Chilean common name. Like most other members of its subfamily (the Alstroemerieae), the species is a geophyte (it has fleshy underground storage organs). In the wild, the species flowers in October and November.
Additional photographs of this species are available from Arkive.org: Leontochir ovallei (including some by other occasional BPotD contributors).
Jan 24, 2012: Shell Creek Road
Here is another photograph from a favourite area of mine in California, taken on April 5, 2010 (the same day as this photograph). Instead of identifying the plants when photographing these areas, I tend to just spend my limited time behind the camera. Fortunately, others who have the opportunity to spend more time with the plants have added some documentation, so I think it is relatively reasonable to use resources like Nature Alley to assign some names.
The small yellow flower that dominates the image is certainly a Lasthenia, or goldfields, but I would feel very uncertain assigning it to species. The purple inflorescences belong to a Castilleja, probably Castilleja densiflora. Resources for the area suggest that the remaining white and yellow coloured blossom is almost certainly the broadly-distributed Layia platyglossa.
Jan 23, 2012: Bauera rubioides
Thank you to first-time BPotD contributor, Bill HIgham@Flickr, who shared today's photograph with us via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool (original image). I'm always grateful when given the opportunity to feature something from a family not yet seen on Botany Photo of the Day.
Cunoniaceae, or the cunonia family, is primarily distributed in the temperate and tropical southern hemisphere. Bauera fits this distribution tidily, as the genus is endemic to southeastern Australia. A small genus of 3 or 4 species (depending on the reference), Bauera consists of short shrubs (<2m) which preferably grow in shady, cool and wet habitats. Checking our records here at UBC Botanical Garden, I notice that we had a plant of Bauera rubioides that was accessioned in 1982, but it was removed in 2002 as "deleted, year dead unknown" as part of an inventory. For us, it might be worth trying again, though we do have representation from other members of the family (i.e., Eucryphia spp.).
Multiple sources suggest that Bauera honours not one, but two individuals: Ferdinand Bauer and Franz Bauer, Austrian brothers famed for their botanical art. However, a few places suggest it only honours Ferdinand Bauer; Ferdinand was the one who did much botanical illustration work during early European exploration of Australia's coast.
Bauera rubioides, commonly known as madder-leaved bauera, wiry bauera, river rose or dog rose (illustration), is the most widely-distributed member of the genus, as it is found in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and South Australia. It has been grown in cultivation for centuries (in England since at least 1793, for example).
Jan 20, 2012: Trillium luteum
Attempt number two at an entry today--the first attempt had to be abandoned when I finally figured out that the plant had been mislabeled and/or misidentified. So, an email has been sent off to let the institution know...
On the topic of confusion, yellow trillium, yellow wakerobin or yellow toadshade has also been a puzzle for taxonomists, so much so that the Flora of North America entry for Trillium luteum states: "Botanists have been confused by Trillium luteum for a long time. Some, such as A. E. Radford et al. (1968), appear to regard it as a form of Trillium cuneatum, while others confuse it with Trillium viride, a more western species. Early botanists confused Trillium luteum with the occasional individual or very local larger population of pallid color forms of other species. Trillium cuneatum rather frequently produces green, yellowish green, or pale lemon yellow forms (but with a cuneate larger and wider petal) that mimic Trillium luteum. These forms, when growing with Trillium luteum, hybridize, leading to so many intergrades that many plants cannot be placed in either species with any confidence. For these reasons, almost no work older than J. D. Freeman's (1975) can be used reliably to plot distribution of Trillium luteum". The map in the Flora of North America shows a relatively restricted distribution in Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky and North Carolina. In the USDA PLANTS database, Trillium luteum is also shown to be present in Michigan and Ontario, where it is an introduced species.
Flowering in April and/or May, Trillium luteum is a species of "deciduous forests, thin open woods, rocky stream banks and flats, clearings and openings, old fields, [and] rich mature forest on calcareous substrate[s]". This perennial grows at elevations from 200m to 400m.
Jan 19, 2012: Tibouchina heteromalla
Another thank you to to Priscilla Burcher (aka PriscillaBurcher@Flickr) for sharing an image with Botany Photo of the Day (original image | submitted via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool). Much appreciated!
The shrubby Tibouchina heteromalla is endemic to Brazil, where it occurs in isolated or small scattered populations associated with rocky areas. Known commonly as silverleafed princess flower or glory bush, Tibouchina heteromalla is a popular ornamental plant. More on the species, including its pollination biology, can be discovered via Campos, C et al.. 2009. Floral biology and breeding mechanisms of Tibouchina heteromalla Cogn. in rocky outcrops in the South of Minas Gerais (PDF). Brazilian Journal of Ecology. Volume 8(?). The paper also makes note that the species is used in the recovery and reforestation of degraded areas.
Tibouchina is a member of the Melastomataceae, or the melastome family. This family consists of 188 recognized genera and just over 5000 recognized species, making it the eight largest vascular plant family currently. Most of the diversity of the family occurs in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, and most of that in the neotropics. Visit Melastomataceae of the World and click on the images link in order to explore some of the diversity of the family.
Plants and art resource link: time-lapse video of some plants from Buenos Aires and area: La lenta belleza de las plantas (link removed due to the video seemingly making use of copyrighted material from elsewhere), from user poseidon1257@vimeo (discovered via a Facebook friend, Elizabeth B.).
Jan 18, 2012: Bistorta bistortoides
Today's entry was put together by Katherine. She writes:
Bistorta bistortoides is commonly known as American bistort, western bistort, smokeweed, mountain meadow knotweed or dirty socks (a reference to the "fragrance" of the flowers). Scientifically, it is also known by these synonyms: Polygonum bistortoides and Persicaria bistortoides.
Bistorta bistortoides is native to western North America and is distributed from British Columbia, south to California, and eastwards into Alberta and the central United States (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico). The Jepson eFlora lists Bistorta bistortoides as being present in "wet meadows, streambanks and alpine slopes".
Bistorta bistortoides blooms relatively soon after snowmelt and fruits later in the summer. Although no uses are listed by the USDA, the Flora of North America (linked above) provides some traditional native uses: the "roots of western bistort were used in soups and stews by the Blackfoot, [and] boiled with meat by the Cherokee, and used in a poultice that was applied to sores and boils by the Miwok (D. E. Moerman 1998)". Wikipedia also notes that Bistorta bistortoides is "edible either raw or fire-roasted with a flavor resembling chestnuts. The seeds can be dried and ground into flour and used to make bread. They were also roasted and eaten as a cracked grain".
Jan 17, 2012: Leucadendron discolor
Leucadendron discolor, commonly known as the Piketberg conebush, is native to only a small part of Western Cape Province in South Africa. In 1998, it was assessed as globally endangered, as fewer than 5000 individual mature shrubs (or small trees) were known to remain, all within an area of 20km2. However, this species of rocky sandstone soils is found in cultivation in areas like California and Australia. Today's photograph is from the San Francisco Botanical Garden, while frequent contributor to BPotD, Eric in SF@Flickr, has shared a (better) photograph of a plant from the Santa Cruz Arboretum: Leucadendron discolor.
Jan 12, 2012: Cuscuta pacifica
Dodders always attract my attention. The dense mass of orange thread-like strands seem like contained chaos to me, perhaps a metaphor for life. The plants in today's photograph can be seen from the satellite imagery via Google Maps (look for the orange spots).
Prior to 2009, this taxon was considered to be a part of Cuscuta salina. However, this recent paper describes the evidence for establishing it as a separate species: Costea, M. et al.. 2009. Untangling the Systematics of Salt Marsh Dodders: Cuscuta pacifica, a New Segregate Species from Cuscuta salina (Convolvulaceae) (PDF). Syst. Bot. 34(4):787-795. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1600/036364409790139583. Costea et al. used a combination of DNA and morphometric analysis to support the segregation (splitting) of Cuscuta salina.
Cuscuta pacifica, or coastal salt-marsh dodder, is native to coastal areas from southern British Columbia to Baja California. The species it was previously lumped with, Cuscuta salina, is now recognized as generally being a species of inland salt flats, marshes and ponds, though it is present near the coast in California (including the Channel Islands) and Baja California. Its northernmost extent is in Nevada and Utah. For British Columbian botanists, this means the specimen record for Cuscuta salina from near Spences Bridge will need to be taxonomically re-evaluated; most likely it is a misidentification as opposed to a significant disjunct (note: the E-Flora BC site has yet to update to Cuscuta pacifica, but with the description of habitat and range by Costea et al., it is a near-certainty that all of the records in the extreme southwest corner of the province conform to Cuscuta pacifica).
Coastal salt-marsh dodder is "especially" parasitic on Jaumea carnosa (Asteraceae) and Salicornia spp. (Chenopodiaceae).
Jan 11, 2012: Iochroma cyaneum
Today's entry was assembled by Katherine:
Many thanks to JPierre@UBC Botanical Garden Forums for his pictures of Iochroma cyaneum. The first photograph is via the Botany Photo of the Day Submissions Forum, while the second was received via email.
Iochroma cyaneum, or violet churcu, is native to Ecuador and cultivated elsewhere. Gardeners in similar climates use them as evergreen ornamentals, while in harsher climates people grow plants outdoors in summer and use greenhouses or other structures to overwinter. According to Trade Winds Fruit, Iochroma cyaneum can flower year round, but will typically have more blossoms in the spring and fall. The Subtropical Horticultural Research Station has identified several cultivars of Iochroma cyaneum, with variation in flower colour distinguishing the cultivated varieties. Hummingbirds are known to be major pollinators of Iochroma.
A relative of Brugmansia, or angel's trumpet, it shares the angel's trumpet's tendencies for toxicity (and, the same should be noted for many species within the Solanaceae or tomato family). All parts of Iochroma cyaneum are considered toxic, to the point where simply handling the plants may cause a reaction. Trade Winds Fruit notes that Iochroma cyaneum was traditionally used for medicinal purposes, as it is known to contain alkaloids and hallucinogens.
Jan 10, 2012: Elymus canadensis
A short entry today, I'm afraid--I'll post a longer entry of this species sometime showing the entire plant with a mammal counterpart.
The range of Canada wild rye stretches from west to east in North America, and reaches its northern extent in the Northwest Territories. At its southern limit, it inhabits three northern Mexican states: Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Nuevo Leon. It is found in almost every state and province in between, with the exception of some states in the southeast USA and the easternmost provinces in Canada.
Jan 6, 2012: Hoya curtisii
Katherine is responsible for today's entry:
A big thank you to sandy130@UBC Botanical Garden Forums for today's image of Hoya curtisii. The accompanying text is from the original 1908 publication of the species in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal Pt. 2, Nat. Hist. 74(2): 563. This text was contributed to the Biodiversity Heritage Library by the Mertz Library of the New York Botanical Garden.
Hoya curtisii is native to the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand. Among hoyas, this species has some of the smallest leaves. Hoya curtisii is a relatively slow growing hoya with yellowish-green flowers with red centers. Descriptions of its fragrance range from citrus-like to smelling initially of fresh grass then, with age, more melon-like. Often used as an ornamental plant, particularly in baskets as it does not "climb or twine", plants of Hoya curtisii are tolerable to some drought, but not complete dryness.
The genus Hoya was named in honour of Thomas Hoy and comprises 200-300 species, which are commonly referred to as waxplants, waxvines, waxflowers, or hoyas. Studies at the University of Georgia found Hoya to be very capable of removing some indoor pollutants. Hoyas also exhibit Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) whereby plants reduce evapotranspiration by closing stomata in their leaves during the day, and collecting CO2 at night.
The book Medicinal Plants of Asia and the Pacific by Wiart (2006) provides insight to the traditional medicinal uses of some hoyas, including Hoya coriacea (used as treatment for asthma), Hoya coronaria (to induce vomiting, traditional use in Indonesia), and Hoya diversifolia (to ease the pain of rheumatism, used in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Malaysia). Methanolic extracts of Hoya diversifolia have also been shown to exhibit antinematodal activity.
Botany and mathematics resource link (added by Daniel): More on Fibonacci series today--a colleague had a question on branching patterns in saguaro cacti and conifers, which led him to find this neat project write-up he shared with me: The Secret of the Fibonacci Sequence in Trees, a Young Naturalist Award winner from the American Museum of Natural History.