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Results tagged “melanthiaceae”

Feb 26, 2014: Helonias bullata

Helonias bullata

The photograph today is courtesy of Michael Hogan (aka hoganphoto@Flickr), who submitted it via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool (original photo). Thank you for sharing, Michael.

Swamp-pink is a threatened species throughout its entire range of the eastern USA (from Delaware to Georgia), primarily due to habitat destruction. New Jersey, where today's photograph was taken, contains both the most and the largest remaining populations (a "stronghold", partly due to the Pinelands National Reserve). Like yesterday's alpine-groundsel, the common name suggests its habitat: "...wetland habitats. These include Atlantic white-cedar swamps; Blue Ridge swamps; swampy forested wetlands which border small streams; meadows, and spring seepage areas. The plant requires habitat which is saturated, but not flooded, with water..." (via the Center for Plant Conservation's fact sheet on Helonias bullata).

This Trillium relative is a herbaceous perennial species. Evergreen leaves grow near the ground in a rosette, so can be hidden and protected by leaf-litter and snow during the winter and early spring. A single flowering stalk is produced, reaching as high as 90cm (3ft.) while in bloom (mid-April to June) and even higher (to 150cm) in fruit.

Additional photographs of swamp-pink can be seen on Michael's site: Helonias bullata (includes close-ups and habitat threats) or the site of Steve Greer: Helonias bullata.

Jun 22, 2013: Paris quadrifolia

Taisha is the author of this entry. She writes:

Today's photos of Paris quadrifolia, or herb paris, in habit and close up were taken by stevieiriswattii!@Flickr on May 14, 2013 (submitted via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool). They were taken in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) region of Germany. Thank you for the images, steveiriswatti!

Paris quadrifolia of the Melanthiaceae is a perennial species found in shaded woodlands of Europe. Its range extends eastward to include western Asia, Siberia, and the Himalayas. In the last century, populations have been in decline in most western European countries due to the destruction of broad-leaved woodland. For a detailed account of the species see: Jacquemyn, H. et al.. 2008. Biological Flora of the British Isles: Paris quadrifolia L.. Journal of Ecology. 96:833-844.

Herb paris grows from a creeping rhizome. Plants have symmetrical leaves occurring in two pairs. Extending above the leaves is a single inconspicuous flower with green sepals and yellow petals. The eight bright yellow stamens are exserted upward, almost appearing protective of the purple-red ovary. After pollination, a many-seeded berry on a pedicel will develop, presented enticingly for the picking. However, it is not advised to consume the fruit, rhizomes, or any of the foliage, as herb paris is poisonous in just small doses.

Aug 1, 2012: Kettle Mountain Meadows

I thought I'd add a visual coda to the series on colours in plants, since Bryant is feeling under the weather today. These photographs are from last weekend's near-solitary field-trip up to the peak of Kettle Mountain while I was attending Botany BC. As of a few weeks ago, these meadows formed part of the northeast edge of the Cascade Recreation Area, but they have now been added to E.C. Manning Provincial Park. One hopes that this might mean additional enforcement in dealing with those who despoil the meadows by driving off-trail (examples of both responsible and irresponsible use if one searches Youtube for "Whipsaw" and "Trail").

Feb 8, 2012: Trillium vaseyi

Trillium vaseyi

A favourite from last year's trip to North Carolina, Vasey's trillium (or sweet trillium or sweet beth) is native to parts of only five states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. Once thought to be a variety of Trillium erectum, the Flora of North America points out a number of differences between the two species: "Although sometimes submerged within Trillium erectum, Trillium vaseyi has a later blooming season, a nodding flower of much larger size, a sweet fragrance, and cove habitat unlike that of Trillium erectum...Trillium vaseyi is clearly a distinct species" (but see below). By contrast, Trillium erectum (sometimes known as stinking benjamin) is described as having "flower odor fetid, of wet dog".

However, Trillium vaseyi is indeed closely related to Trillium erectum, along with a half-dozen or so other species, though a strict species concept does not really work. The work of Christina Stoehrel, in her Master's thesis on A Study of the Systematic Relationships Between Members of the Trillium erectum Complex (PDF via the North Carolina Native Plant Society's page on trilliums) observes that "The populations of Trillium vaseyi that are parapatric (distributed adjacent to, but not overlapping with) or allopatric (isolated in its distribution, not near) with other taxa are more closely related to each other than to the other taxa, but each population has a distinct allozyme haplotype, which eludes to varying ecological selection. The populations of Trillium vaseyi that are sympatric with other taxa (overlapping distributions, populations in same area) are genetically dissimilar from the other Trillium vaseyi populations. Thus the Erectum Complex appears to be a syngameon: a collection of semi-species with varying degrees of reproductive connectivity". Research by KC Millam (referenced by Stoehrel in her thesis) "suggests that two groups began to diverge 600,000-900,000 years ago, the Trillium erectum clade and the Trillium cernuum clade; divisions within those two lineages began 280,000 and 90,000 years ago respectively".

Additional photographs of Trillium vaseyi (and other North Carolinian trilliums) are available via Jeff Pippen: North Carolina Wildflowers - Trillium.

Jan 20, 2012: Trillium luteum

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.

The Missouri Botanical Garden provides a profile on Trillium luteum for gardeners, while the Pacific Bulb Society provides additional images: trilliums.


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