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Results tagged “april-12”

Apr 12, 2013: Agave shawii

Agave shawii

Bryant again authored today's entry. He writes:

Thank you to Sandy Steinman (Sandy Steinman@Flickr or his blog, Natural History Wanderings) for today's image of Agave shawii (commonly referred to as Shaw's agave). The photo was contributed via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool.

Agave shawii is a small- to medium-sized member of the Asparagaceae. Basal rosettes of the plants, comprised of thick fleshy leaves with robust marginal spines, usually reach heights of about a meter (3 ft.) high and just under a meter wide upon maturity. It is native to Baja California as well as a few localities in southern California; this particular specimen was photographed at the Regional Parks Botanical Garden in Tilden Park, Berkeley, California.

The reproductive stalk pictured above grows about 3-5 meters (10-16 feet) tall and typically only flowers once! Like most species of Agave, Agave shawii is semelparous, meaning the rosette typically dies after it flowers. Many agaves allocate upwards of 50% of the measureable energy stored within their biomass to forming the reproductive structure and nectar for the proliferation of flowers; Agave shawii can take up to 30 years or more to do so depending on environmental conditions. Though the reproductive process may kill the parent individual, many agaves take up insurance measures in the form of vegetative rosettes that often form on the roots or sometimes the reproductive stem before, during or after the reproductive cycle takes place (see: Arizaga et al. 1995. Insurance against reproductive failure in a semelparous plant: bulbil formation in Agave macroacantha flowering stalks. (PDF) Oecologia. 101:329-334.). Therefore, clones of the parent individual may survive for centuries--often in small colonies.

It should also be mentioned that this species is considered rare and endangered in its California distribution, and imperiled/vulnerable globally.

Apr 12, 2012: Cardamine concatenata

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 12, 2011: Anemone pratensis

Anemone pratensis

Preparing for the launch of the redesigned web site has been taking all of my work time and more, so apologies about the too-seldom BPotD entries (particularly since it's spring in many places). As you may note, the www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org web site name is no more, and everything has been moved over to www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca domain. No links to the old site name should be broken, however -- it should be a seamless transition. In anticipation of upgrading the BPotD software to the latest version for the redesign, the "On This Day" feature has been removed as it is not available for that version. However, I've plans to replace it with "date tags", so if you click on "april-12" in the tag list below the recent entry, you should get the entries from April 12 in all years. Also, should I find a suitable student this summer, one of his/her tasks will be to update older entries to current standards (should mean overall speed and search-by-tag improvements for plant families).

On to today's entry, written by Claire:

beranekp@Flickr from Teplice, Czech Republic, posted this image of Anemone pratensis (syn. Pulsatilla pratensis subsp. bohemica) via the BPotD Flickr Group Pool. Much appreciated beranekp!

Daniel, on nomenclature/classification for this taxon: as noted in this entry, the evidence seems to suggest that all Pulsatilla species should be moved into Anemone. For a discussion on the topic, see the Flora of North America entry for Anemone and the current determination of Anemone pratensis by the systematic botanists at the US Agricultural Research Service. That said, I don't think anyone has published the name Anemone pratensis subsp. bohemica yet, so I couldn't use that for today's entry, though this should be considered as such.

Claire continues: Members of the Ranunculaceae (buttercup family), pasque flowers are a common sight in meadows throughout the world. If considered as Pulsatilla instead of the larger Anemone, there would be about 33 species in the genus. Anemone pratensis is distributed over a broad range of Europe, from as far north as Norway to Bulgaria at its southern limits. The species survives altitudes up to 2100 meters, but it can also be found near sea level. There are four named subspecies of Pulsatilla pratensis (Daniel: see above re: taxonomy): subsp. pratensis, subsp. bohemica, subsp. hungarica (endemic to Hungary), and subsp. nigricans. Subspecies bohemica is an endangered plant in the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic.

All subtaxa of Anemone pratensis are extremely toxic. Somehow utilized in folk medicine for treating eczema, gout and rheumatis, the species can also cause skin infections or affect the central nervous system.

If you're looking to cultivate this perennial, it tends to flower between March and May, and the flowers perched on to-15cm tall stems are a spring favourite of bees. In the summer, plants spread their fluffy achenes with the help of wind.

A nature photography site in Czech has additional photographs: Pulsatilla pratensis subsp. bohemica. More information on Pulsatilla pratensis subsp. bohemica can also be found through Botany.cz (I use translating tools to read these pages).

Apr 12, 2007: Nephelium lappaceum cultivar

Nephelium lappaceum

Continuing with the small series on tropical fruits, today's image is thanks to aegisd@Flickr (original | BPotD Flickr Group Pool). It was very clever to place the rambutan on a platter with a clover illustration for a mirroring effect. Thank you!

Julia Morton's Fruits of Warm Climates once again provides one of the best online references: rambutan. Rambutan is native to Indonesia, though it has been subsequently introduced into cultivation throughout much of the tropics. Its family, the Sapindaceae, also includes the southern China natives lychee and longan.

Morton refers to a number of cultivars of rambutan; noting that this appears to have been cultivated in Thailand, I'm going to assume this fruit is from one of the cultivated varieties, but I'll have to leave it to others with more expertise to determine the name of the one in this photograph (if that's possible on fruit and origin alone).

For more photographs, I'll again suggest the USDA's Pacific Basin Tropical Plant Genetic Resources unit's images of its accessions: Nephelium. Wikipedia draws some of its information from Morton's work, though there are some particularly interesting additional tidbits regarding the reproduction of rambutan plants if you read the entire article: Nephelium lappaceum.

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