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Results tagged “october-10”

Oct 10, 2014: Parrotiopsis jacquemontiana

We start a series today guest-written and photographed by Martin Deasy, who is a British horticulturist based in Oxford, England. Martin trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where he spent three years studying for the Kew Diploma in Horticulture. Martin writes:

This is the first in a 5-part series on the witch hazel family (Hamamelidaceae), focusing mainly on subfamily Hamamelidoideae, the largest and best resolved of Hamamelidaceae's five subfamilies. The classification adopted is that of Li and Bogle (2001).

For a relatively small family (±140 species in 31 genera), the Hamamelidaceae exhibits remarkable diversity in floral structure and pollination syndromes. Most people will be familiar with the characteristic flowers of the common (American) witch hazel, Hamamelis virginiana (Daniel adds: or, similar to it, Hamamelis mollis), with its heads of 4-petalled, strap-like, fly-pollinated flowers. However, other Hamamelidaceae genera have very different blooms. Today's photo shows the pseudanthial inflorescence of Parrotiopsis jacquemontiana, in which the "flower" is in fact a compound floral structure imitating the appearance of an individual flower.

Parrotiopsis belongs to tribe Fothergilleae, which is characterized by the absence of petals. In this striking but rarely cultivated species, what look like "petals" are in fact white bracts inserted on the peduncle below the inflorescence. The central yellow head comprises numerous hermaphrodite flowers, each with ±15 stamens and a bifid style mounted on a tomentose ovary; the tiny sepals are scarcely visible, and petals are absent entirely.

Parrotiopsis jacquemontiana--the only member of the genus--is native to the northwestern Himalaya (India, Pakistan, Afghanistan), and forms a small, compact tree. Its sturdy wood is used to make walking sticks and furniture, while the pliable twigs are used for weaving baskets. The plant shown grows at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (UK), from seed collected in 1983 in the Swat Valley, Pakistan, on a west-facing scree slope at 2700m-2980m.

The floral diversity of the Hamamelidaceae reflects the family's ancient lineage and widespread distribution (the family has been present on every continent except Antarctica, though glaciation wiped it out of Europe). The great age of this group of plants means that closely related genera have persisted in isolation thousands of kilometres--or even continents--apart. Since the evolution of pseudanthia represents a relatively local adaptation to specific pollinators, inflorescence morphology can vary even between closely related genera. Thus although most of tribe Fothergilleae are wind-pollinated (e.g. Parrotia, Sycopsis, Distylium), their close relations Fothergilla and Parrotiopsis are pollinated by insects. The only bird-pollinated hamamelid genus, the distantly related eastern Asian Rhodoleia, likewise has a pseudanthial inflorescence.

Oct 10, 2013: Anemone x hybrida 'Andrea Atkinson'

Anemone x hybrida 'Andrea Atkinson'

The photograph and write-up today are both courtesy of Taisha. She writes:

Today's photo is Anemone x hybrida 'Andrea Atkinson'. This photo was taken in early September here at the UBC Botanical Garden. It is still possible to see some of these fall-blooming anemones in the Garden, as they are known for having many weeks of autumn bloom (see the Chicago Botanic Garden's Plant Evaluation Notes on Fall-Blooming Anemones (PDF)).

Autumn arrived a couple weeks ago locally and Vancouverites can certainly feel it! The air is crisp and the days are both cooler in temperature and shorter in duration. Although the sky here can often be grey at this time of year, one can still seek out a bit of colour in the garden. Along with other fall garden flowers such as chrysanthemums, dahlias and autumn-crocuses, one can also find the so-called Japanese anemones (though not native to Japan! - see Patrick's Garden blog post about The Beguiling Japanese Anemone). Although this cultivar isn't particularly colourful apart from its yellow centres, it is attractive with its sometimes nodding flowers that are set upon slender and branching ~1m high stems. This anemone is fairly elastic in terms of its growing conditions. According to the Royal Horticulture Society, this cultivated taxon will grow in either full or partial sun at any aspect and will tolerate a variety of soil types, as long as they are allowed to dry out after watering. This cultivar can spread easily and naturalize once established by means of spreading rhizomes. The RHS also notes propagation is either by root cuttings or by division in the spring or autumn.

Oct 10, 2011: Osmunda claytoniana

Osmunda claytonianaa

From a series assembled and written by Alexis over the summer:

The prehistoric plant series continues today, and we progress through the geologic time scale to the Triassic period. Much thanks to Keith Board for sharing his photo of Osmunda claytoniana, which was taken in a swamp forest at the Indiana Dunes State Park in Porter County, Indiana. Keith is a contributor at this neat blog, Get Your Botany On!.

Osmunda is a genus of about six terrestrial fern species. Osmunda species grow in open, wet environments such as bogs, swamps, and lake edges. The genus has a wide distribution throughout the globe, though it is limited by climates that are too cold or dry (Tryon & Tryon's Ferns and Allied Plants (1982)).

Osmunda claytoniana has the "oldest known fossil record of any living fern", and can be traced back to the Triassic period. This species can also be considered a living fossil, because it appears almost identical to a fossil fern species from 200 million years ago, Osmunda claytoniites. It has gained the common name interrupted fern because of the appearance of its fronds, on which the brown fertile pinnae "interrupt" the green sterile pinnae.

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