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Results tagged “myrtaceae”

Jul 9, 2014: Eucalyptus racemosa

And another thank you to Taisha for writing today's entry:

These Eucalyptus racemosa (syn. Eucalyptus signata) images (image 1 | image 2) were uploaded to the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool by regular BPotD contributor dustaway@Flickr. Thank you dustaway!

Eucalyptus is a large genus, and those who work with the genus frequently may divide it into subgeneric groupings (with each grouping having some common characteristics). For example, Eucalyptus racemosa, or the narrow-leaved scribbly gum, belongs to the Series Psathyroxyla. This grouping has varied in size from as few as four species to as many as ten (see: Atlas of Leaf Venation and Oil Gland Patterns in the Eucalypts, but whatever the size and taxonomic treatment, it has always included the informal group of trees known as the scribbly gums. Members of this informal group are distinguished by the markings on their bark, as well as possessing raised fruit discs, mostly hemispherical fruit, and small seeds.

Scribbly gums are trees or mallees (a mallee refers to species with a mallee habit) that are restricted to eastern Australia: the woodlands on the coast of southern Queensland and New South Wales, as well as tablelands and southwestern slopes in NSW. Species can have a patchy distribution within their respective ranges, but when found, are often locally abundant. They tend to grow in infertile, sandy or stony soil on ridge tops or rises. Occasionally, and only in coastal New South Wales, they can also be found on sandy and sometimes swampy flats (see: Pfeil, B., Henwood, M. (2004). Multivariate analysis of morphological variation in Eucalyptus series Psathyroxyla Blakely (Myrtaceae): taxonomic implications. Telopea. 10(3):711-724).

The characteristic markings of scribbly gums on their otherwise smooth bark are due to the scribbly gum moth (Ogmograptis scribula). The larvae of this moth species bore a meandering tunnel through the bark of affected trees. At first, the loops are long and irregular. Later, a zigzagging pattern is produced, then doubled up after a narrow turning loop. In response to the larval boring, the bark-producing process by the cork cambium is altered somewhat, and scar tissue is produced. The thin-walled scar tissue cells patch up the larval tunnels. However, the cells of the scar tissue are highly nutritious and ideal food for the caterpillars. After the larva molts into its final stage with legs, it reverses direction, eating the scar tissue cells as it goes. It then begins to mature rapidly, until it leaves the tree to spin a cocoon and pupate at the base of the tree. Shortly after the caterpillar leaves, the bark of the tree cracks off, exposing the scribbles underneath.

Oct 3, 2013: Darwinia fascicularis subsp. fascicularis

Darwinia fascicularis subsp. fascicularis

It seems like I've underestimated the amount of time I need to prep for this year's Horticulture Training Program, as I now have a backlog of Taisha's entries to share. Here is one of them. She writes:

Today's image is of Darwinia fascicularis subsp. fascicularis (Myrtaceae). This photo was taken on July 7th in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia by dustaway@Flickr. Thanks for the picture, dustaway!

Darwinia fascicularis subsp. fascicularis is found on exposed sandstone ridges of shallow soil along the coast of New South Wales, Australia within 30km of the coast and up to 500m in elevation. It is one of two subspecies of Darwinia fascicularis, both of which are endemic to Australia. Darwinia fascicularis subsp. oligantha has fewer flowers, is shorter in stature, grows more inland and occurs at higher elevations.

This evergreen decumbent shrub has light green, needle-like leaves that cluster at the end of branches. Leaves are typically in a whorled arrangement, radiating from the stem likes the spokes of a bicycle wheel. The small flowers are grouped together amongst the foliage. They first bloom a creamy-white then turn bright red as they age.

May 31, 2013: Melaleuca quinquenervia

Melaleuca quinquenervia

Thank you to dustaway@Flickr) for contributing today's image of Melaleuca quinquenervia (via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool). Much appreciated!

Broadleaf paperbark tree is native to eastern Australia, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea. However, it has been introduced elsewhere, and has become invasive in some regions including Florida (where it is also known as the punk tree) and South Africa. In Australia, the species occurs in flatlands that are seasonally-inundated with water, water courses, and coastal swamps. Not only is it tolerant to the water-logging and salinity associated with some of those habitats, but it is also a fast grower adapted to fire; these properties are associated with resilience to disturbance and are part of the reason for its success as an invader.

Feb 18, 2013: Plinia cauliflora

Plinia cauliflora

Bryant is the author of today's entry. He writes:

Today's image is of Plinia cauliflora (aka jabuticaba, jaboticaba, or Brazilian grapetree). The photograph was taken by Bruno Karklis and was sourced via the Wikimedia Commons. To see this species in flower (highly recommended), view this photograph by frequent BPotD contributor 3Point141@Flickr.

This remarkable member of the Myrtaceae is native to a number of states in Brazil. The proliferation of black 3-4cm-in-diameter grape-like fruits seen growing directly out of the trunk are a striking demonstration of the habit known as cauliflory. It is thought that cauliflory is sometimes an adaptation to promote pollination and seed dispersal by animals that may have trouble climbing or flying high up in the canopy. It is also suggested that sometimes cauliflory may increase pollination by insects inhabiting lower levels of a forest community. Yet another hypothesis, for species such as jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) and papaya (Carica papaya), is that cauliflory provides a better support structure for their exceedingly large fruits; see the Wisconsin Master Gardener Program's page on cauliflory for more reading.

The fruits of Plinia cauliflora are edible and have been used in a variety of ways as food and drink. Apparently the fruits do not have a long shelf life and often begin to ferment shortly after being picked, making them an excellent candidate for wines and liqueurs. The species is commercially cultivated for its fruit (which may be produced several times a year with frequent irrigation), as well as for the bonsai trade due to its generally slow growth rates. The fruits also have shown several medicinal qualities, including containing antioxidants with anti-inflammatory/anti-cancer activity; see Reynerson, KA et al. 2006. Bioactive Depsides and Anthocyanins from Jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora). Journal of Natural Products. 69(8):1228-1230. Traditionally, the dried skins of the fruit have been used to treat a variety of ailments including asthma and swollen tonsils.

Aug 21, 2012: Kunzea ambigua

Kunzea ambigua

A first-time appearance of a photograph from silverbanksia@Flickr aka Jonathan Esling of Australia on BPotD (original | via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool). Thank you!

Kunzea consists of 36 species of woody shrubs, all endemic to Australia with the exception of Kunzea ericoides (an Australian native also found in New Zealand). Kunzea ambigua is native to southeastern Australia (including a bit of Tasmania), associated with sandy-soiled heath and open forest. Generally, the species is white-flowered (one of its common names is white kunzea), but today's photograph shows a pink-flowered selection.

Other common names for this species include poverty bush and tick bush (as Mabberley states in The Plant Book, "allegedly found only in tick-infested areas near Sydney"). It is certainly anything but impoverished regarding how much it flowers: Kunzea ambigua.

Kunzea ambigua is a useful species for attracting insect pollinators and for sand-dune stabilization. The properties associated with the latter benefit, though--for example, tolerating poor soils--also give it potential as a weedy invader in non-native ecosystems. Indeed, some Kunzea species are invasives in South Africa's biodiverse fynbos.

Mar 13, 2012: Calytrix tetragona

Calytrix tetragona

Thank you to Bill Higham@Flickr, of Hobart, Tasmania, for sharing today's image with us (original). Not only is Bill a skilled photographer, but he's also a poet and writer; you can read some of his work at his website: The Cut Monkey. Much appreciated!

Over seventy species of Calytrix are recognized. All are endemic to Australia. Calytrix tetragona, or common fringe-myrtle, is widely distributed through southern and eastern Australia. It is a shrubby species reaching about 2m (6 ft.) in height at maturity. Flowering is typically in Australia's spring, though it can flower throughout the year, which seems to be the instance in this case as it appears Bill photographed this individual in March.

Variation in flower colour (ranging to pink) and calyx colour (maturing to a deep-red) can occur, as documented on the site of the Australian Native Plant Society: Calytrix tetragona.

May 4, 2011: Eugenia uniflora

Eugenia uniflora

Today's entry was written by Claire:

This photograph of a profusion of Eugenia uniflora fruits, shared by 3Point141@Flickr, was taken at Hunt Grove, Merritt Island, Florida, USA. Thank you 3Point141!

These Surinam cherries (or Brazilian cherries or pitanga in Brazil or a number of other common names), belong to the myrtle family. The Myrtaceae is known for evergreen shrubs and trees containing essential oils (think eucalyptus trees). Eugenia uniflora is a native of tropical South America, but the species has been widely cultivated for both its ornamental value and edibility. Areas of the world where it has been cultivated include Florida (as a common hedge plant), China, India and southeast Asia. Eugenia uniflora fruits are easily eaten raw and can also be made into jams and even distilled into liquor. The seeds are highly aromatic and resinous and the woody stems can contain up to 28.5% tannins in the bark.

Apr 15, 2007: Psidium guajava hybrid

Psidium guajava hybrid

The second last in the series on tropical (and subtropical) fruits is again courtesy of Eric in SF@Flickr (original | BPotD Flickr Group Pool). Another thank you for you, Eric!

Guava is cultivated in tropical regions worldwide, so it is difficult to discern its origin. It is thought to be native to Central America and Mexico. Again, dozens if not hundreds of cultivated varieties exist, hence the addition of the word hybrid to the name. Read more via Fruits of Warm Climates: Psidium guajava.


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