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Results tagged “august-25”

Aug 25, 2014: Bauhinia galpinii

Bauhinia galpinii

Here is entry number six in Taisha's South African plants and biomes series. She writes:

Bauhinia galpinii, known as Pride of the Cape or Pride of De Kaap, is featured today as part of the savanna biome. Even though the name may suggest it is from the Cape (de kaap= cape), it is actually named after the De Kaap valley in the northeastern region of South Africa. This 2007 photo was taken by frequent BPotD contributor, Bart Wursten (aka zimbart@Flickr), in Manica, Mozambique. In addition to South Africa and Mozambique, the species is also present in Zimbabwe. Thanks for sharing, Bart!

The savanna biome spans a large area over the lowveld and Kalahari regions of South Africa. Elevation ranges between sea-level and 2000 m. Summers are very hot and rainy in this region, with temperatures anywhere between 12 and 39°C. This is followed by a cooler dry season where temperatures range from 0-32°C. Annual rainfall varies from 235mm-1000mm in the biome, and some parts of it may be frost-free while others can have up to 120 days of frost/year. Many of the major soil types (PDF) are represented in the region, though soils are usually porous, quick-draining, and with a thin layer of humus.

The savanna has a distinguishable grass-dominated ground layer accompanied by the different densities of woody shrubs and trees (shrubs may be the most prolific plants in overgrazed areas). C4 grasses form much of the grass layer where there is a hot growing season (C4 photosynthesis is best-suited for heat), while C3 grasses tend to be in the majority in cooler, wetter parts of the biome. Many plant species are adapted to survive fires, and most will resprout from stem bases even after severe burning.

Bauhinia galpinii is a fabaceous shrub with two-lobed leaves and bright red-orange flowers. This species is traditionally used medicinally by the Venda (or vhaVenda) people of the Limpopo province. In Mahwasane et al.'s survey of indigenous knowledge on medicinal plants used by the traditional healers of Limpopo's Lwamondo area, the roots of Bauhinia galpinii are boiled and the mixture drunk to treat stomach worms or to improve sexual performance. They also add that the concoction can be used to make a soft porridge for stomach pains. The researchers further mention that other studies have claimed that this species is used for treating diarrhea and infertility (bark and leaves), for infertility using the roots, or for amenorrhea (seeds). Traditional healers (herbalists) of the vhaVenda use up to 16 species of herbs, trees, or shrubs within seven families for medicinal purposes. Those from the Fabaceae are used most frequently; other families represented were Annonaceae, Asteraceae, Ebenaceae, Orobanchaceae, Oxalidaceae, and Verbenaceae. Different plant parts are collected from the medicinal species, most often the roots (also the leaves, bark, flowers, or whole plant), and diversely prepared for treating the above illnesses as well as others, including stomach ailments, dysmenorrhoea and oedema (see: Mahwasane, S., L. Middleton, and N. Baoduo. (2013). An ethnobotanical survey of indigenous knowledge on medicinal plants used by the traditional healers of the Lwamondo area, Limpopo province, South Africa. South African Journal of Botany. 88:69-75).

Aug 25, 2012: Adonis pyrenaica

Adonis pyrenaica

Bryant is the author of today's article:

Thank you to beranekp@Flickr for sharing another image with us today: Adonis pyrenaica via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool. Much appreciated.

Adonis pyrenaica is a clump forming perennial native to the Pyrenees of Spain and France, and a few isolated locations in the Maritime Alps. Plants grow in moist rocky pastures and on coarse settled scree at elevations between 1300-2500m. The leaves form on stems that usually range from 20-50cm high, although their height can vary depending on local conditions. Adonis pyrenaica is one of the standouts in its native region for its large bright yellow flowers and its ability to form colonies.

Cultivating Pyrenean pheasant's eye out of its native range is challenging but can be done successfully if the proper precautions are taken. The seeds have a very short period of viability, and therefore obtaining fresh seeds is very important (which can be a difficult task - check specialist alpine gardening nurseries). Plants should be grown in moist soil that won't dry out. It is recommended that a few large rocks be placed in the bed. The roots apparently grow deeply, so deep soil must also be provided.

Aug 25, 2011: Aechmea gamosepala

An entry written by Alexis today:

Thank you to forum member davallia for posting these photographs of Aechmea gamosepala on the BPotD Submissions Forum. These were taken at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, Australia.

Aechmea is a genus in the Bromeliaceae that has over 200 species. Its name derives from the Greek word aichme, meaning "spear".

The common name for this Brazil native is matchstick plant, and its flowers do resemble its namesake. Bromeliads are known for their showy bracts, and in the case of Aechmea gamosepala, they are pink in colour, while the petals are purple. Though the flowers are relatively short-lived, they bloom several times annually, making it a desirable ornamental. Typical of Bromeliaceae, the leaves are arranged in a rosette. Aechmea gamosepala grows to about 30cm in height, and can be epiphytic (sometimes growing on trees).

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