Monday, May 15, 2017

Pteridium esculentum

Pteridium esculentum, commonly known as Austral bracken or simply bracken, is a species of the bracken genus native to a number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Esculentum means edible.

First described as Pteris esculenta by German botanist Georg Forster in 1786, it gained its current binomial name in 1908. The Eora people of the Sydney region knew it as gurgi.

P. esculentum grows from creeping rhizomes, which are covered with reddish hair. From them arise single large roughly triangular fronds, which grow to 0.5–2 metres (1 ft 8 in–6 ft 7 in) tall. The fronds are stiff with a brown stripe.

It is found in all states of Australia apart from the Northern Territory, as well as New Zealand, Norfolk Island, Malaysia, Polynesia, and New Caledonia. Within Victoria it is widespread and common to altitudes of 1,000 metres (3,300 ft).[5] In New South Wales, it occurs in across central, eastern and southern parts of the state. It can also be weedy and invade disturbed areas.[4] In Western Australia, it grows near the southern and western coastlines, as far north as Geraldton.

Like its northern hemisphere relatives, Pteridium esculentum is very quick to colonise disturbed areas and can outcompete other plants to form a dense understorey. It is often treated as a weed. It does create a more humid sheltered microclimate under its leaves and is food for a variety of native insects.[7] Two species of fruit fly (Drosophila) were recorded in a field study near Sydney, Another study near Sydney yielded 17 herbivorous arthropods (15 insects and two mites), notable for the lack of Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps) and Coleoptera (beetles).

Asclepias syriaca

Asclepias syriaca, commonly called common milkweed, butterfly flower, silkweed, silky swallow-wort, and Virginia silkweed, is a species of flowering plant. It is in the genus Asclepias, the milkweeds. This species is native to southern Canada and of much of the conterminous eastern U.S., east of the Rocky Mountains, excluding the drier parts of the prairies. It grows in sandy soils and other kinds of soils in sunny areas. It was one of the earliest North American species described in Cornut's 1635 work Canadensium Plantarum Historia. The specific name was reused by Linnaeus due to Cornut's confusion with a species from Asia Minor.

Common milkweed is a clonal perennial herb growing up to 2.6 m tall. Its ramets grow from rhizomes. All parts of common milkweed plants produce white latex when broken. The simple leaves are opposite or sometimes whorled; broad ovate-lanceolate; up to 25 cm long and 12 cm broad, usually with entire, undulate margins and reddish main veins. They have very short petioles and velvety undersides.

The highly fragrant, nectariferous flowers vary from white (rarely) through pinkish and purplish and occur in umbellate cymes. Individual flowers are about 1 cm in diameter, each with five cornate hoods and five pollinia. The seeds, each with long, white flossy hairs, occur in large follicles. Fruit production from selfing is rare. In three study plots, outcrossed flowers had an average of about 11% fruit set.

Many kinds of insects visit A. syriaca flowers, and some kinds pollinate them, including Apis mellifera (Western honey bees) and Bombus spp. (bumble bees).[3][4] In the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Region, the introduced A. mellifera was the most effective and most important diurnal pollinator with regard to both pollen removal and pollen deposition.[5] However, when considering the self-incompatibility of A. syriaca, A. mellifera was not the most important pollinator because of its high self-pollination rate compared to Bombus spp. Additionally, the rate of self-pollination increased more rapidly with the number of flowers per inflorescence in A. mellifera than in native Bombus spp.

Many insect species feed on common milkweed, including the red milkweed beetle (Tetraopes tetrophtalmus), large milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus), small milkweed bug (Lygaeus kalmii), milkweed aphid (Aphis nerii), milkweed leaf beetle (Labidomera clivicollis), milkweed stem weevil (Rhyssomatus lineaticollis), milkweed tiger moth (Euchaetes egle) and monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). Monarch larvae consume only milkweeds, and monarch populations may decline when milkweeds are eliminated with herbicides.[6]

Efforts to increase monarch butterfly populations by establishing butterfly gardens require particular attention to the butterfly's food preferences and population cycles, as well to the conditions needed to propagate milkweed. For example, in the Washington, D.C., area and in the northeastern United States, monarchs prefer to reproduce on Asclepias syriaca, especially on young, soft leaves.[7] Common milkweed new, tender leaves are preferred monarch oviposition sites and larval food.[7] In the Washington, D.C., area, one can have such leaves in July, August, and early September during the main oviposition period in three ways. First, one can grow seedlings.[7] Second, one can cut large shoots to about half their height in June and July before or after they bloom.[7] Third, one can cut large shoots to the ground in June and July. Cut plants often produce new shoots from their rhizomes.[7] It is advisable to let some large, mature shoots remain in summer and fall because large monarch larvae, milkweed tiger moth larvae, and other native species feed on mature leaves. Milkweed bugs commonly feed on follicles. Monarch larvae can consume small seedlings to the ground. To save seedlings, one can transfer larvae from seedlings to larger shoots.

Deforestation due to European settlement may have expanded the range and density of common milkweed. This plant can become invasive; it is naturalized in several areas outside of its native range, including Oregon and parts of Europe. However, recently in the United States, milkweed populations have diminished dramatically due to factors such as development and the use of herbicides, which has played a significant part in the monarch butterfly's dramatic population decline.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Cupressus cashmeriana

Cupressus cashmeriana (Bhutan cypress, Kashmir cypress, weeping cypress; Dzongkha language: Tsenden) is a species of cypress native to the eastern Himalaya in Bhutan and adjacent areas of Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India. It is also introduced in China and Nepal. It grows at moderately high altitudes of 1,250–2,800 metres (4,100–9,190 ft).

Cupressus cashmeriana is a medium-sized to large coniferous tree growing 20–45 metres (66–148 ft) tall, rarely much more, with a trunk up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) diameter. The foliage grows in strongly pendulous sprays of blue-green, very slender, flattened shoots. The leaves are scale-like, 1–2 mm long, up to 5 mm long on strong lead shoots; young trees up to about 5 years old have juvenile foliage with soft needle-like leaves 3–8 mm long.

The seed cones are ovoid, 10–21 mm long and 10–19 mm broad, with 8–12 scales, dark green, maturing dark brown about 24 months after pollination. The cones open at maturity to shed the seed. The pollen cones are 3–5 mm long, and release pollen in early spring.

A tree of 95 metres (312 ft) tall has recently been reported, but the measurements await verification.

Meconopsis autumnalis

Meconopsis autumnalis, the Nepalese Autumn Poppy, is a yellow-flowered Himalayan poppy belonging to series Robustae, and is endemic to the Ganesh Himal range of central Nepal, where it was discovered in 2008 on a research expedition from the University of Aberdeen. In addition to several morphological features, the species is characterised by its late flowering period (as reflected in the specific etymology), which has more than likely resulted in a barrier to gene flow and subsequent evolutionary divergence from the closely related and sympatric species Meconopsis paniculata.

Specimens of M. autumnalis had twice previously been collected, by famous plant hunter J. D. A. Stainton on his 1962 expedition with S. A. Bowes Lyon to central Nepal, and on the Flora of Ganesh Himal expedition undertaken by the University of Tokyo in 1994. However, despite recognition as to the novelty of the plant implicated in Stainon's fieldnotes accompanying the species paratype (where it was described as 'easily distinguishable' from M. paniculata), it was not until new collections and field observations in 2008 that the true status of the plant as a new species was definitely realised. It was formally described in 2011.

M. autumnalis grows in sub-alpine habitat commonly along stream margins, grassy alpine slopes or at edges and openings of Abies forest. Commonly associated herbaceous species include Rumex, Arisaema, Stellaria, Nepeta, Persicaria, Aster, Swertia, as well as dwarf shrubs such as Berberis, Rhododendron and Juniperus. The species ranges in elevation from 3300–4200 m, favouring stony, humus-rich soils. Similar to Meconopsis manasluensis and other Meconopsis of Nepal, the species appears to exhibit a very limited geographic distribution, thus necessitating more in-depth conservation assessment. Flowering occurs in late July to September.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Rheum nobile

Rheum nobile, the Noble rhubarb or Sikkim rhubarb is a giant herbaceous plant native to the Himalaya, from northeastern Afghanistan, east through northern Pakistan and India, Nepal, Sikkim (in India), Bhutan, and Tibet to Myanmar, occurring in the alpine zone at 4000–4800 m altitude.

It is an extraordinary species of rhubarb (genus Rheum). At 1–2 m tall, R. nobile towers above all the shrubs and low herbs in its habitat, and it is visible across valleys a mile away.
R. nobile is often called a glasshouse plant because of its outer curtain of translucent bracts which pass visible light, creating a greenhouse effect, while blocking ultraviolet radiation. These are important defenses against the increased UV-B exposure and extreme cold in its high altitude range.

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum is a prostrate succulent plant native to Africa, Sinai and southern Europe, and naturalized in North America, South America and Australia. The plant is covered with large, glistening bladder cells or water vesicles, reflected in its common names of common ice plant, crystalline ice plant or ice plant. The bladder cells are enlarged epidermal cells. The main function of these bladder cells is to reserve water. It can be annual, biennial or perennial, but its life cycle is usually completed within several months, depending on environmental conditions.

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum is found on a wide range of soil types, from well-drained sandy soils (including sand dunes), to loamy and clay soils. It can tolerate nutritionally poor or saline soils. As with many introduced species it also grows in disturbed sites such as roadsides, rubbish dumps and homestead yards.

The plant usually uses C3 carbon fixation, but when it becomes water- or salt-stressed, it is able to switch to Crassulacean acid metabolism. Like many salt-tolerant plants, M. crystallinum accumulates salt throughout its life, in a gradient from the roots to the shoots, with the highest concentration stored in epidermal bladder cells. The salt is released by leaching once the plant dies. This results in a detrimental osmotic environment preventing the growth of other, non-salt-tolerant species while allowing M. crystallinum seeds to germinate.

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum flowers from spring to early summer . Flowers open in the morning and close at night, and are insect pollinated.

In M. crystallinum, the number of seeds produced depends on whether CAM has been activated (C3 metabolism is more efficient) and the size the plant has grown to in its juvenile growth phase. During seed production, older portions of the plant progressively die off and dry out. The developing seed capsules continue to sequester salt and produce viable seeds. Seeds at the top of the capsule generally germinate immediately on imbibation while seeds at the base may remain dormant for longer than four weeks.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Clusia major

Clusia major, the autograph tree, copey, balsam apple, pitch-apple, and Scotch attorney, is a tropical and sub-tropical plant species in the genus Clusia.

Clusia major is a tree found in the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Hispaniola (such as in Los Haitises National Park), Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Florida.

It is a hemiepiphyte, that is, it grows as an epiphyte on rocks or other trees at the start of its life and resembles a strangling fig (Ficus). Just as a strangling fig it overgrows and strangles its host tree with its many aerial roots.

The flowers are white. The upper leaf tissue registers 'writing' giving it the common name autograph tree. The tree produces a fleshy, light green but poisonous fruit; once the fruit has split, the seeds are favored by birds and other wildlife.

This plant is cultivated as an ornamental plant, for its flowers, foliage, and fruit. It is planted in gardens as a fruiting and ornamental tree in sub-tropical climates, and used as a houseplant in many climates.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Clerodendrum infortunatum

Clerodendrum infortunatum, the hill glory bower, is a perennial shrub belonging to the family Lamiaceae, also sometimes classified under Verbenaceae. It is the type species among ~400 species of Clerodendrum. It is one of the most well-known natural health remedies in traditional practices and siddha medicine.

The species is native to tropical regions of Asia including Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, the Andaman Islands, and Sri Lanka.

Clerodendrum infortunatum is a flowering shrub or small tree, and is so named because of its rather ugly leaf. The stem is eresct, 0.5–4 m high, with no branches and produce circular leaves with 6 inch diameter. Leaves are simple, opposite; both surfaces sparsely villous-pubescent, elliptic, broadly elliptic, ovate or elongate ovate, 3.5–20 cm wide, 6–25 cm long, dentate, inflorescence in terminal, peduncled, few-flowered cyme; flowers white with purplish pink or dull-purple throat, pubescent.

Fruit berry, globose, turned bluish-black or black when ripe, enclosed in the red accrescent fruiting-calyx. The stem is hollow and the leaves are 6-8 inch (15–20 cm) long, borne in whorls of four on very short petioles. The inflorescence is huge, consisting of many tubular snow white flowers in a terminal cluster up to 2 ft (0.6 m) long. The tubes of the flowers are about 4 inch (10 cm) long and droop downward, and the expanded corollas are about 2 inch (5 cm) across. The fruits are attractive dark metallic blue drupes, about a half inch in diameter. Fruit usually with 4 dry nutlets and the seeds may be with or without endosperm. It flowers from April to August.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Mollugo verticillata

Mollugo verticillata (green carpetweed)  is a rapidly spreading annual plant from tropical America. In eastern North America, it is a common weed growing in disturbed areas. It forms a prostrate circular mat that can quickly climb over nearby plants and obstacles. 

The species has been reported from every state in the United States except Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah, as well as from British Columbia, Manitoba. Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Although considered an invasive weed, M. verticillata is also known to be edible. Archaeological evidence has shown that M. verticillata has been in North America around 3000 years. Sometimes also referred to as "Indian chickweed", and in China is referred to as zhong leng su mi cao.

Carpetweed has narrow, whorled leaves, 3-8 at each node. At maturity the plant may lose its characteristic basal rosette formation. Leaves are approximately 1–3 cm in length and possess an obovate shape. Leaf apex may vary from rounded to acute. The plant will grow and sprawl across the soil due to its habit of prostrate growth and form mats. The flowers are usually in clusters of 2-5, blooming from July through September. Flowers are white or greenish white with tiny 5–15 mm stalks. Flowers quickly turn into fruit that is egg shaped and 1.5–4 mm in length. The dehiscent capsule opens at maturity. The seeds are 0.5 mm long and are red to rusty brown in coloration.

Advances in molecular genetic sequencing has improved understandings of the taxonomic relationship in the family Molluginaceae which had previously not been as inclusive.

Genera from Molluginaceae had previously been placed under Aizoaceae, Nyctaginaceae, and Phytolaccaceae before recent studies. The genus Mollugo L. is currently compromised of about 35 species of annual herbs. Several sub taxa species of M. verticillata have been reported due to its varying morphological nature however they are not thoroughly documented. Mollugo verticillata has many accepted synonyms including: Mollugo dichotoma, Mollugo diffusa, Mollugo costata, Pharnaceum arenarium, and Pharnaceum verticellatum to name a few. It is also referred to as alfombra in spanish, and mollugine in french. Other closely related sister taxa include Mollugo floriana, Mollugo flavescens, Mollugo snodgrassii, Mollugo crockeri, and Mollugo enneandra.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Poa annua

Poa annua, or annual meadow grass (known in America more commonly as annual bluegrass or simply poa), is a widespread low-growing turfgrass in temperate climates. Though P. annua is commonly considered a solely annual plant due to its name, perennial bio-types do exist. 'Poa' is Greek for fodder. It is one of the sweetest grasses for green fodder, but less useful than hay. This grass may have originated as a hybrid between Poa supina and Poa infirma.

It has a slightly creeping, fibrous, rootstock. The stem grows from 15–25 cm high. It is slightly flattened, due to being folded rather than rolled.
The panicle is open and triangular shaped, 5 to 7.5 cm long. The spikelets are stalked, awnless, 1 to 2 cm long when flowering, and loosely arranged on delicate paired or spreading branches. Sometimes they are tinged purple.
The vivid green leaves are short and blunt at the tips, shaped like the prow of a small canoe. They are soft and drooping. Long sheaths clasp the stem. The leaves are smooth above and below, with finely serrated edges. Occasionally the leaves are serrated transversely.
The ligule is pointed and silvery. Compared this to Common Meadowgrass Poa pratensis, which has a squared ligule, and Poa trivialis, which has a pointed, but less silvery ligule.
The leaves are smooth above and below, with finely serrated edges. Occasionally the leaves are serrated transversely.

It is in flower all year around except for severe winters. The seeds ripen and are deposited 8 months of the year. The plant grows rapidly from seed, flowering within 6 weeks, seeding and then dying.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Osmanthus fragrans

Osmanthus heterophyllus (Chinese:t 柊樹, s 柊树, p zhongshu; Japanese: 柊, Hiiragi), variously known as holly osmanthus, holly olive, and false holly, is a species of flowering plant in the olive family Oleaceae, native to eastern Asia in central and southern Japan (Honshū, Kyūshū, Shikoku, and the Ryukyu Islands) and Taiwan.

It is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 2–8 m (7–26 ft) tall. The bark is brown to grey or blackish, cracking into small plates on old plants. The leaves are opposite, 3–7 cm long and 1.5–4 cm broad with a thick, leathery texture, lustrous dark green above, paler yellow-green below; the margin is entire or with one to four large spine-tipped teeth on each side. Spiny leaves predominate on small, young plants (an adaptation to deter browsing animals), while entire leaves predominate higher on larger mature plants out of the reach of animals. The flowers are very fragrant, white, with a four-lobed corolla, the corolla tube 1–2 mm long and the lobes 2.5–5 mm long; they are dioecious, with flowering in the autumn. The fruit is an ovoid dark purple drupe 1.5 cm long and 1 cm diameter, mature in the following summer about 9 months after flowering.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Papaver dubium

Papaver dubium is a species of poppy known by the common names long-headed poppy and blindeyes. It is a very undemanding species which prefers sandy soils without lime. It is widespread throughout Europe and America.

Papaver dubium is a variable annual, growing to about 60cm in height. It generally flowers in late spring to mid-summer. The flower is large (30-70mm) and showy, with four petals that are lighter red than in the similar Papaver rhoeas, and most commonly without a black spot at the base. The flower stem is usually covered with coarse hairs that are closely appressed to the surface, helping to distinguish it from P. rhoeas in which the hairs are more usually patent, held at right angles to the stem. The capsules are hairless, elongated to more than twice as tall as they are wide, tapering slightly at the tip, with a stigma generally less wide than the capsule. The plant exudes white to yellowish latex when the tissues are broken. The species can form a long-lived soil seed bank that can germinate when the soil is disturbed.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Sedum reflexum

Sedum reflexum or Sedum rupestre, also known as reflexed stonecrop, Jenny's stonecrop, blue stonecrop, stone orpine and prick-madam, is a species of perennial succulent plant of the genus Sedum, native to northern, central, and southwestern Europe.

The Sedum reflexum plants are typically up to 10 cm high, with sprawling stems and stiff foliage resembling spruce branches, with softer tissue. The leaves are frequently blue-gray to gray but range to light greens and yellows; the flowers are yellow. Like most other Sedum species, it has a prostrate, spreading habit.

Sedum reflexum is a popular ornamental plant, grown in gardens, containers, and as houseplants. It is drought-tolerant. There are named cultivars with variegated (multi-colored) leaves.
This sedum is prone to fasciation (cristate forms), which produces attractive cactus-like forms, with irregular curves. However it reverts easily, so all normal offshoots need to be removed quickly to maintain the cristate form.
S. reflexum is occasionally used as a salad leaf or herb in Europe, including the United Kingdom. It is said to have a slightly astringent or sour taste.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sedum acre

Sedum acre, commonly known as the goldmoss stonecrop, mossy stonecrop, goldmoss sedum, biting stonecrop, and wallpepper, is a perennial flowering plant in the family Crassulaceae. It is native to Europe, but also naturalised in North America, Japan and New Zealand.

Biting stonecrop is a tufted perennial herb that forms mat-like stands some 5 to 12 cm (2 to 5 in) tall. Much of the year the stems are short, semi prostrate and densely clad in leaves. At the flowering time in June and July, the stems lengthen and are erect, somewhat limp and often pinkish-brown with the leaves further apart. The leaves are alternate, fleshy and shortly cylindrical with a rounded tip. They are also sometimes tinged with red. The starry flowers form a three to six-flowered cyme. The calyx has five fleshy sepals fused at the base, the corolla consists of five regular bright yellow petals, there are ten stamens, a separate gynoecium and five pistils. The fruit is five united, many-seeded follicles. The leaves contain an acrid fluid that can cause skin rashes.

Biting stonecrop is a low-growing plant that cannot compete with more vigorous, fast-growing species. It is specially adapted for growing on thin dry soils and can be found on shingle, beaches, drystone walls, dry banks, seashore rocks, roadside verges, wasteland and in sandy meadows near the sea.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Pinguicula primuliflora

Pinguicula primuliflora ( /ˌpɪˈŋgwɪkjələ ˌpɹɪmjʊləˈfloːɹə/ ), commonly known as the southern butterwort or primrose butterwort, is a species of carnivorous plant belonging to the genus Pinguicula. It is native to the southeastern United States. The typical variety forms a white flower in blooming. Like other butterworts, it has sticky adhesive leaves which attract, capture and digest arthropod prey in order to supply the plant with nutrients such as nitrogen not found in the nutrient poor, acidic soil that it grows in. Its name derives from the fact it is usually the first one to flower in the spring.

Like all Pinguicula, the roots are undeveloped, and are mainly used to absorb water and anchor the plant, nutrients are absorbed through carnivory.

Pinguicula primuliflora, like all members of the family Lentibulariaceae, is carnivorous. Their leaves are covered with tiny hairs which secrete a mucilagenous liquid. This gives the leaves a wet appearance and is believed to attract insects in search of water. As soon as an insect lands on the leaves, it becomes ensnared in the mucilage; as it struggles, it gathers more of the liquid on it. The plant responds by secreting digestive enzymes that dissolve and digest the insides of the prey, creating a nutrient soup which the plant then absorbs. The leaves of P. primuliflora are green.

Pinguicula primuliflora is an ideal beginners first butterwort in cultivation. It is typically easy to grow, and does not require high humidity, nor extremely intense lighting to flower and create sticky, carnivorous leaves. It can be propagated by selfing, or, more effectively, through cross pollination with another plant. P. primuliflora has known to be quite the weed in cultivation, it is not unusual to find many shoots coming out from the plant, which can eventually take over the pot and may need maintenance. P. primuliflora requires the basics of any carnivorous plant; it needs poor, acidic soil, such as 50/50 peat moss and perlite or horticultural sand mix, or pure sphagnum peat moss mix, with no potting soil or fertilizer. P. primuliflora, along with some other butterworts, can be grown in a tray of standing water to increase humidity and maintain soil moisture.

Convolvulus arvensis

The leaves are spirally arranged, linear to arrowhead-shaped, 2–5 cm long and alternate, with a 1–3 cm petiole. The flowers are trumpet-shaped, 1-2.5 cm diameter, white or pale pink, with five slightly darker pink radial stripes. Flowering occurs in the mid-summer, when white to pale pink, funnel-shaped flowers develop. Flowers are approximately 0.75-1 in. (1.9-2.5 cm) across and are subtended by small bracts. Fruit are light brown, rounded and 1/8 in. (0.3 cm) wide. Each fruit contains 2 seeds that are eaten by birds and can remain viable in the soil for decades.

Although it produces attractive flowers, it is often unwelcome in gardens as a nuisance weed due to its rapid growth and choking of cultivated plants. It was most likely introduced into North America as a contaminant in crop seed as early as 1739, as an invasive species. Plants typically inhabit roadsides, grasslands and also along streams. Its dense mats invade agricultural fields and reduce crop yields; it is estimated that crop losses due to this plant in the United States exceeded US$377 million in the year 1998 alone.
In one of the tales collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Our Lady's Little Glass, this flower is used by Our Lady to drink wine with when she helps free a wagoner's cart. The story goes on to say that "the little flower is still always called Our Lady's Little Glass."

Ecological Impacts
Field bindweed intertwines and topples native species. It competes with other species for sunlight, moisture and nutrients. It poses threats to restoration efforts and riparian corridors by choking out grasses and forbs. It can decrease habitat biodiversity. It is one of the most serious weeds of agricultural fields in temperate regions of the world.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Calendula maritima

Calendula maritima, known as the sea marigold and trailing calendula, is a very rare species from the family of Asteraceae. Some scientists regarded it as Calendula suffruticosa subspecies maritima.

This halophyte plant is endemic to the western part of Sicily in small coastal habitats, and is a critically endangered species. As of 2012, this plant could still be found in only five small sites in East Sicily. The Province of Trapani has chosen the plant as its official symbol. The sea marigold occurs only on the Sicilian coast: on the island mainland between Marsala and the Monte Cofano; and on the two nearby islets Isola Grande dello Stagnone and Isola la Formica. The most significant population is in a small 10-km2 (3.9-mi2) nature reserve area within the Riserva Naturale Saline di Trapani e Paceco.
It is on the IUCN Red List of critically endangered plant species.

This perennial plant reaches a height between 20 and 40 cm (7.9 and 15.7 in). The stems can be easily lignified on the underparts and the leaves are covered with short sticky hairs. The young stems are at first erect, but later they begin to hang and spread on the soil.
In contrast to Calendula officinalis (pot marigold), the leaves are fleshy and have a strong smell. The form of the leaves varies from egg-shaped to linear depending on their placement on the stems.

The basket-shaped blossoms consists of pale to bright yellow single-standing petals, and have a diameter between 3 and 5 cm (1.2 and 2.0 in). The main flowering period is from May to June.

The sea marigold is cultivated as an ornamental plant, used as a flowering groundcover and container plant. Cultivars such as the yellow flowering 'Skyfire' and 'Summerlovers Skyfire Yellow', are commonly planted in gardens, parks, and street and highway median plantings; and in flower pots on patios and balconies.

Geranium sanguineum

 Geranium sanguineum, common names bloody crane's-bill or bloody geranium, is a species of hardy flowering herbaceous perennial plant in the cranesbill family Geraniaceae. It is also the county flower of Northumberland.

The genus name is derived from the Greek γέρανος ("géranos"), meaning crane, with reference to the appearance of the fruit capsule. The specific Latin name sanguineum refers to the red color assumed by the leaves in Autumn.

Geranium sanguineum is native to Europe and temperate Asia. It is widespread in most of Europe up to Caucasus. In the north-east of Ireland it is a rare garden escape.

The typical habitat of this species is grassland, sand dunes and open woodland on calcareous soils, including rocky slopes. It prefers calcareous soils with neutral pH, with low nutritional value, at an altitude of 0–1,200 metres (0–3,937 ft) above sea level.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Potentilla villosa

Potentilla villosa is a species of flowering plant in the rose family, Rosaceae. Its common names include villous cinquefoil, northern cinquefoil,and hairy cinquefoil. It is native to northwestern North America, where its distribution extends from Alaska to Alberta to Oregon. There are records from eastern Asia.

This is a coastal plant. It occurs on coastal bluffs and beaches, and in meadows, tundra, and alpine talus.

This is a rhizomatous perennial herb with a tuft of several hairy to woolly stems growing from a thick base covered in previous seasons' dead foliage. The stems are up to 20 to 30 centimeters tall. The thick, leathery basal leaves are compound, divided into three veiny, toothed leaflets with woolly to silky-haired undersides. There may be a few leaves higher on the stem which are nearly the same size. The inflorescence bears one to five flowers. The flower has a five-lobed calyx and five bractlets at the base. The bowl-shaped corolla has five notched yellow petals each up to 1.2 centimeters long. Each petal is marked with an orange basal spot. There are usually 20 stamens at the center. Flowering occurs in July through September. The fruit is an achene, borne in clusters.

Succisa pratensis

Succisa pratensis Moench, also known as devil's-bit or devil's-bit scabious, is a flowering plant in the honeysuckle family Caprifoliaceae. It differs from other similar species in that it has 4-lobed flowers, whereas small scabious and field scabious have 5 lobes and hence it has been placed in a separate genus in the same family. It also grows on damper ground.

Species of scabious were used to treat scabies, and other afflictions of the skin including sores caused by the Bubonic Plague. The word scabies comes from the Latin word for "scratch" (scabere). The short black root was in folk tales bitten off by the devil, angry at the plant's ability to cure these ailments, in anger against the Virgin Mary, or as part of some 'devilish plot'.

Succisa pratensis is a perennial herb up to 1m tall, growing from a basal rosette of simple or distantly-toothed, lanceolate leaves. Its unlobed leaves distinguish it from Knautia arvensis (Field scabious). The plant may be distinguished from Centaurea scabiosa (greater knapweed) by having its leaves in opposite pairs, not alternate as in knapweed. The bluish to violet (occasionally pink) flowers are borne in tight compound flower heads or capitula. Individual flowers are tetramerous, with a four-lobed epicalyx and calyx and a four-lobed corolla. Male and female flowers are produced on different flower heads (gynodioecious), the female flower heads being smaller. The flowering period in the British Isles is from June until October.