BPotD is in brief entry mode on weekends and holidays from April through September. – Daniel
Read more about the eastern North American bloodroot via the Kemper Center for Home Gardening.
BPotD is in brief entry mode on weekends and holidays from April through September. – Daniel
Read more about the eastern North American bloodroot via the Kemper Center for Home Gardening.
A one-day reprieve from starting to do brief entries on weekends and vacations. Today's entry (and photographs) are courtesy of Douglas Justice. – Daniel
Prunus ×yedoensis 'Akebono' (daybreak cherry) is a medium sized tree with a stiff, upright-spreading crown, eventually becoming umbrella shaped, flowering in March or April, immediately following the purple-leaf plums in the Vancouver area. Flowers are produced abundantly, shell pink fading to nearly white. This cultivar is a seedling of Prunus ×yedoensis (Somei-yoshino cherry) that was selected by a California nursery in 1925. 'Akebono' is noted for its essentially rainproof flowers (often with an extra petal, as pictured here), tough constitution and freedom from disease. Autumn leaf colour is yellow to pumpkin orange.
This spring has been good for cherry blossoms. Cool and humid conditions tend to promote flower longevity and we've had plenty of that. The first cherries to flower in Vancouver are always downtown and in the West End, where pavement and buildings create a significant heat island effect. 'Akebono' was in full bloom at the Burrard Street Skytrain Station on the Spring Equinox, nearly two weeks earlier than here at UBC. You could hear the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival organizers heaving a huge sigh of relief at their big opening ceremony, the Cherry Jam, there on the 22nd. (Note from Daniel – we've started a Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival discussion forum to discuss the trees and identifications plus share photographs and stories.)
Speaking of good timing, Ohanami, the annual cherry viewing festival held at Nitobe Memorial Garden is happening this Saturday, 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Most of the cherries on display at Nitobe are Somei-yoshino—the cherry made famous through Japanese cherry blossom viewing festivals, as well as the celebration held by the American National Parks Service in Washington, DC. [I think I overheard Dr. Peter Raven, who was visiting Nitobe Garden earlier this week, remark that our Somei-yoshino were more impressive than any he'd seen in Washington.] Nitobe and the surrounding area boasts an interesting selection of flowering cherries, including those already mentioned and (also in bloom) 'Ojochin' (the rare “lantern” cherry, so named for its plump buds), and 'Shirotae', the beautiful Mount Fuji cherry. Later in the season, 'Pink Perfection', 'Kanzan', 'Shogetsu', 'Shirofugen' and the wonderfully fragrant 'Jo-nioi' will captivate visitors.
Ribes sanguineum, or red-flowered currant, was previously featured in fruit on Botany Photo of the Day. There have been a few recent plant identification requests on the forums that turned out to be this species, so I thought it timely to highlight it.
It seems like every popular account I read about this western North American native showers it with compliments, and deservedly so. I particularly like Sarah Gage's account of Ribes sanguineum for the Washington Native Plant Society's Plant of the Month series, which includes a tidbit on how popular this plant became when it was introduced into cultivation in London. A similarly entertaining article is shared by Ketzel Levine.
Ribes is the only genus in the Grossulariaceae. It has an interesting distribution: much of Europe, Asia, and North America, mountainous regions of Central and South America and a small area in northern Africa. If you scroll down on that page, you can compare the Grossulariaceae distribution range with its closest familial relative, the Saxifragaceae. The similarities are very curious, and suggest that the families share limitations that prevent them from becoming cosmopolitan in distribution.
In BPotD news, today is the second anniversary of this weblog. The past year has been a mix of successes and disappointments. What I am most pleased about is the continued generosity of the folks from around the world who kindly share their photographs for use in BPotD. To those who do, thank you very much! I wish there was the time and space to be able to use all of them on BPotD. Since there isn't, I'd also like to thank all of those who contribute for their understanding that the one-a-day process means I can't use every image.
I'm also pleased that between the forums and BPotD, the garden's web site has as much “reach” (as determined by Alexa.com) as any of three of the largest botanical gardens in the world, Missouri, New York and Kew (here's the comparison graph) – on roughly 1/50th of the institutional budget. Again, though, that is in large part thanks to the hundreds of people who contribute freely of their time on the forums, for which we at the garden are very grateful.
And now for a bit of bad news: starting with tomorrow's entry, and continuing through to the end of September, BPotD will be image + the-briefest-of-text on weekends, holiday weekdays and (my) vacation days. I've done this in the past, so it's nothing too new, but it will occur more frequently. Since I've failed to secure help with summertime relief for the web site, pulling back a little is the only available option. I curtail my weekend travelling come October, so BPotD will likely return to the more typical 7 days-a-week image+text format then.
Coltsfoot is native to much of Europe and neighbouring Asia and Africa. It is no surprise that historic medicinal and food uses caused it to be introduced to Canada, USA and New Zealand (Wikipedia also cites South America, but that doesn't match this list). Unfortunately, Tussilago farfara has qualities that make it somewhat invasive in the introduced countries: “Namura-Ochalska-Anna (1993) reports that the success of Tussilago farfara L. in colonizing disturbed environments, after its seeds reach the site and germinate, is a function of several of the important traits of this species: 1) tolerance of seedlings and juveniles to a wide range of changeable external conditions, 2) fast growth and development of individuals, 3) a high degree of adaptability in reaching successive stages of development, 4) guerilla type growth, 5) intense spreading and renewal of individuals of generative and vegetative origin, 6) high effectiveness of vegetative reproduction, 7) adaptable allocation of resources to above-, and underground shoots.” (quoted from the Global Invasive Species Database).
Fortunately, its preference for colonizing disturbed environments suggests it has relatively low impact on natural areas that haven't been degraded. Instead, it seems to be a problem in agricultural areas.
Science / conservation resource link: In case you don't follow the garden's plant news weblog, here's a recent entry: A Blooming Crisis about the risk of extinction for over half of the world's magnolia species.
The family Strelitziaceae (Strelitzia reginae shown in flower here) is native to South America, southern Africa and Madagascar. The stem-group for the Strelitziaceae is dated to 78 million years before present. South America, Africa and Madagascar, at 78mybp, were already separated by bodies of water (though not so distant from one another as present day), so either there remains older fossils to be found or the present-day distribution requires some dispersal events in its history (or a combination of the two!). If dispersal events were part of the history, they'd be relatively ancient: each of the three continents / subcontinents have their own genera (Strelitzia in Africa, Ravenala in Madagascar and Phenakospermum in South America).
In local news, Dr. Peter Raven of Missouri Botanical Garden is giving two public lectures today. The first is scheduled for 2pm at VanDusen Botanical Garden: How Many Plant Species Will Survive the 21st Century?. This will be followed by a 7:30 pm UBC Biodiversity series lecture, The Future of Plant Survival.
Today's post is a follow-up to the January 28, 2007 entry on Isomeris arborea. I thought I would share why the common name for this plant is bladderpod.
The underside of the leaves of Rhododendron traillianum are apparently sweet-smelling, but I didn't think to try it so I can't describe the scent. Perhaps Douglas will describe the scent in a comment.
This species is native to southwest China and Tibet. The Flora of China provides a detailed description, while the American Rhododendron Society provides a quick factsheet. More images of Rhododendron traillianum can be found in the photo galleries of Asperupgaard, a Danish garden.
One of the first plants encountered by most visitors to UBC Botanical Garden is Magnolia 'Pegasus', which is at its peak right now. Not widely known in cultivation yet, I have the suspicion it will one day be at least a tad more common. It was one of the first two to sell out in the rare magnolia sale.
I took these photographs in the garden yesterday. If you're local, this will be the best weekend to visit the garden and see the most variety of magnolias in bloom.
Opinions differ as to whether this taxon is a distinct species or a subspecies of Narcissus bulbocodium, i.e., Narcissus bulbocodium L. subsp. obesus (Salisb.) Maire. I'm opting for the former, but you may need to use the latter if you are searching for more information. There are several broad horticultural groupings of daffodils, so perhaps some of the confusion can be found there; even if treated as a separate species scientifically, the general resemblance to Narcissus bulbocodium results in Narcissus obesus being known horticulturally as one of the bulbocodium daffodils.The horticultural groupings are based, at least in part, on the morphology of the flowers. Though he doesn't name the groupings (you'll have to visit Wikipedia: Popular culture for those), Ian Young's Bulb Log entry for April 26, 2006 has a photograph of a comparative display of various flower types in Narcissus. He also provides a photograph of Narcissus obesus on that page, or you can visit the Pacific Bulb Society for two other images.
Hoop-petticoat daffodil is a native of west and central Portugal.
Thank you once again to Katy S for sharing one of her photographs. This is a January 2006 photograph from Kings Park Botanic Gardens in Perth, Australia.
Neither Katy nor I knew the name of the plant beyond it being a Verticordia. I looked at every image of Verticordia I could find on FloraBase and came up with a few possibilities. While trying to find some confirmation of my amateur guesses, I ended up talking with Eric La Fountaine. Eric spent some time in Kings Park a couple years ago. I don't think I ever would have guessed that he took a photograph of the exact same plant (Kings Park has roughly 2000 of Western Australia's 12000 species on display in its Western Australian Botanic Garden), which he then posted in the stumpers forum in this thread. So, we now have a name, or rather, know that we don't have one: Verticordia hybrid is the limit of identification, so far.
Plants in the genus Verticordia are commonly known as featherflowers or morrisons. Florabase explains the origin of the name: “From the Latin verticordia; an epithet of Venus, the Turner of Hearts”. Wikipedia has a similar definition: The name Verticordia means ‘turns the heart’, presumably this is the effect it had on botanist A. P. de Candolle who named the genus.”. Considering the poetic nature of the scientific name and one of its common names, perhaps I should have posted this entry on July 3.
The genus primarily occurs in Western Australia, though a limited number of the ninety-nine (or so) species can be found in Australia's Northern Territory.
Nature resource link: The First Annual Blogger Bioblitz (and updates) discovered via Bev Wigney's blog featured yesterday. The idea is to document the flora and fauna in a certain place for a certain amount of time. Too many benefits to list, really – polishing observation skills, becoming familiar with a place, improving identification skills, sharing a piece of the world with others and much more. I'm still wavering on whether I have the time to participate, but if you throw your hat in the ring, I'd be happy to feature what you discover via BPotD.
Today's photograph of a plant in UBC Botanical Garden was shared by Chris Klapwijk of Surrey, BC. Chris is responsible for a number of local gardening or garden web sites, including the Alpine Garden Club of BC, Darts Hill Park and the Fraser South Rhododendron Society. He also contributes on the rhododendrons discussion forum when he has an opportunity. Many thanks, Chris!
There's little information online about Rhododendron parmulatum 'Ocelot'. The best source is a short paragraph on page 8 of the May 2002 newsletter (PDF) of the Vancouver Rhododendron Society, which I suspect was written by Douglas Justice:
“Rhododendron parmulatum is a seldom encountered species in Section Neriiflora. It was discovered by Kingdon Ward in 1924 growing in very wet conditions on steep slopes, cliffs and rocks at 10,000 to 12,000 feet in SE Tibet. Not surprisingly, the species requires excellent drainage. In the Botanical Garden, a handsome specimen of the cultivar ‘Ocelot’ ... was flowering in late April in a lightly shaded part of the David C. Lam Asian Garden. The cultivar won an RHS Award of Merit (AM) in 1977.”
I note that the Royal Horticultural Society has subsequently retracted the Award of Garden Merit, but I don't know the rationale. Perhaps lack of availability?
The Flora of China provides a scientific description of Rhododendron parmulatum.
Natural history resource link: Bev Wigney's weblog, Burning Silo, is “a place where nature, photography and writing meet”. Bev is based in eastern Ontario, and if you are particularly interested in her photographs, you can visit her photo galleries.
Another thank you to Rosa, aka contemplar@Flickr for sharing a photograph with us (original image | BPotD Flickr Group Pool). I thought a little bit of colour was in order to offset yesterday's entry. Do visit Rosa's weblog, Blog De Cheiros, for more of what is blooming in Portugal (here's her write-up on Chaenomeles japonica). Thanks again, Rosa!
Maule's quince or Japanese flowering quince sometimes goes by another common name, and it is one that is the cause for some confusion: japonica. If you were to ask for a japonica at a nursery, or have a question about japonica on web forums or other horticultural extension service, the reply in almost all cases will be “Which one?”, the assumption being that you were familiar with part of the scientific name for a plant and not providing a common name. Over one hundred and thirty genera in cultivation have a species with the epithet japonica (e.g., Camellia japonica, Cryptomeria japonica, Pieris japonica, Primula japonica, etc.). As you can tell, japonica does not a good common make.
The fruit of Chaenomeles japonica resembles an miniature yellowish-green apple (and is indeed a pome), but it isn't particularly edible without processing into jams, juices, jellies or liquers. In the Botanical Garden office, though, we enjoy the autumnal fruits for the smell; a golf ball-sized fruit can add a hint of apple fragrance to a small office.
This was supposed to be the entry for St. Patrick's Day, but I wasn't able to complete it. As it turns out, though, two people have sent me Galanthus related links in the past week, so it is perhaps a bit of serendipity that I now have the opportunity to include them with the entry.
Today's photograph is courtesy of Paddy Wales (do check out her photographs!). I do need to admit to adjusting the background with Photoshop to make it black – this image is from a scanned slide, I believe, so the original had a noticeable halo effect in areas of high contrast, which I've edited out. Then again, considering the nature of art, it's possible I erred gravely in doing this as the halo might have been intentional and done “in-camera” – so Paddy, when you see this entry, please let me know if I should have used the original, and I'll switch it as soon as I'm able (and please accept my apologies for not having communicated with you about this beforehand!).
This plant was growing in the garden of Kathy Leishman. Paddy took the photograph to accompany the plants that will be available in the 2007 Collectors' Plant Auction (list of plants) organized by the Friends of the Garden (FOGs) to support two of the garden's new projects, the Carolinian Forest and the Garry Oak Meadow and Woodlands.
Why does this bulb plant merit inclusion in the auction? In addition to the inherent beauty of snowdrops, there are some shades of tulip mania in that it is extremely difficult to acquire some cultivars due to limited numbers. Galanthus 'Rosemary Burnham', in fact, is mentioned by name by Adrian Higgins in a Washington Post article from Thursday: “Melting Over Snowdrops – A Little Bulb's Popularity Enjoys a Growth Spurt ”: “It is the development of novel varieties that has helped to give snowdropping its current cachet... the two priciest bulbs in Grimshaw's catalogue are about $70 each. One is a variety of the giant snowdrop named Rosemary Burnham, with green petals (technically perianth segments)...” (thanks Beverley for sending this along).
I have very few pieces of art hanging on my walls, but one piece is a watercolour of a violet. The painter? Rosemary Burnham. Rosemary is a local artist and gardener (yes, she's a FOG too), and this cultivar was named in her honour by Don Armstrong.
A few more links of note: earlier this week, Eva J. sent me a link to an article from Julie at the Human Flower Project on “Hovirag – Hungary's Hot Snowdrop”. Through reading the comments, I also discovered Graham Rice's piece on “Snowdrops Escaping from Gardens – in the UK and USA” on his weblog, Transatlantic Plantsman. Julie's piece touches on what happens when plants become too cherished. Graham alludes to this as well in the first paragraph of his article, though the main focus is about the naturalizing of garden escapees.
In news on the Hydatellaceae, Sean Graham's radio interview with the BBC World Service is now online via their Science in Action web site. The audio clip is available from today until the early morning of March 30, 2007.
I perceive Lysichiton americanus in much the same way as Caltha palustris: a shallow-depth aquatic with a yellow inflorescence and thick, tough foliage that appears in early spring before most other native plants. I also have a similar affection for it — love at first smell, if you will — ever since I first encountered it along the Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk Trail in Mt. Revelstoke National Park many years ago.
Of course, there are obvious differences, such as the spadix and spathe inflorescence typical of the Araceae. The distribution of Lysichiton americanus is also more restricted, being confined to western North America.
And then there's the smell.
While some of my colleagues prefer swamp lantern as a common name for this plant, the oft-used skunk cabbage is far more evocative. I don't think there's any way to deny the skunky fragrance which can tease the nose from quite some distance away. The cabbage reference is a bit harder to defend, as cabbages are in a wholly different plant family, though the tough, large foliage does resemble cabbage. Perhaps skunk swamp-lantern is an awkward compromise.