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Results tagged “photo by taisha”

Aug 6, 2014: Rhododendron cinnabarinum subsp. xanthocodon Concatenans Group

Rhododendron cinnabarinum subsp. xanthocodon Concatenans Group

A couple of months ago, I spotted a rhododendron while walking along Lower Asian Way in UBC Botanical Garden's David C. Lam Asian Garden. The contrast between the upper blue-tinged young leaves and the lower older yellow-hued leaves was striking. When I approached, I saw that it was named Rhododendron cinnabarinum subsp. xanthocodon Concatenans Group. This evergreen species' foliage has a pleasant aroma that I would describe as spicy or cinnamon-like. Maybe the epithet made me think of cinnamon, and despite seeming like it describes the smell, it actually refers to the cinnabar-red flowers of some of the other subspecies that were first introduced into cultivation from the Himalayas in 1849.

Earlier in the year, fleshy yellow flowers adorned this plant. Plants that are attributed to subspecies xanthocodon have lilac to mustard-yellow flowers. Unfortunately though, I didn't photograph it when it was in bloom. However, you can see what they looked like (and a selection of other Rhododendron taxa we have here at the Garden) in this thread on the UBC Botanical Garden Forums, with photographs taken by Wendy Cutler. Worth noting, as an aside, is that the nectar from this species is reputed to be the most poisonous of the entire genus.

Aug 5, 2014: Oxalis oregana

Oxalis oregana

Here's a photo of Oxalis oregana, or redwood sorrel. I took this photo in May, within the California coast redwood forest of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. This was during an ecology field course.

Oxalis oregana, of the Oxalidaceae, is native to coastal British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California. This perennial groundcover grows in dense carpets under the shaded canopy of redwood and Douglas-fir forests. Redwood sorrel is a species that prefers shade--photosynthesizing at light levels of 1/200th of full sunlight. When it is too bright, the three heart-shaped leaves fold downward until it is shady again.

Not seen in this photograph are the delicate, pink to white flowers with five petals. This species also contains oxalic acid, leaving the edible leaves with a sour and tangy taste. This hints at the genus name Oxalis coming from the Greek oxys, meaning "sour".

Jul 15, 2014: Carpinus fangiana

Carpinus fangiana

For the next week or so Daniel is away on holiday, so Eric La Fountaine and I will be looking after Botany Photo of the Day. I'm sure Daniel will be happy to share some photographs from his trip when he returns. In the meantime we have an image of Carpinus fangiana (synonym: Carpinus wilsoniana), or Fang's hornbeam. Although unregistered, the tree in this photograph was given the cultivar name 'Wharton's Choice'. I took this photograph about a month ago after this smooth-barked, semi-weeping species caught my eye only a few steps from the Garden's entrance. It stands out with its long, impressed-veined leaves and light-green, bracteate fruiting catkins. The male catkins grow up to 6cm, whereas the female catkins can be up to 50cm long (hence another common name, the monkeytail hornbeam).

Carpinus fangiana, of the Betulaceae, is a rare species native to central and western China. It grows on limestone hills in dense deciduous mixed forests with plenty of summer cloud cover and high rainfall. Carpinus fangiania has only recently been introduced into cultivation, and is now frequently planted as an ornamental. The plantings of this species here at the UBC Botanical Garden were only accessioned in 1986. The particular tree in the photo (as well as others here at the Garden) was grown from seed received from the Shanghai Botanical Garden that was wild collected in Hunan.

Fang Wen-Pei (1988-1983) lends his name to both the species' epithet, fangiana, as well as the common name, Fang's Hornbeam. Fang Wen-Pei was a Chinese botanist who collected over 20, 000 specimens, and described over 100 new species. He was well known for his work with the genera Acer and Rhododendron (see: Lancaster, R., Rix, M. 2011. 705. Carpinus fangiana. Curtis's Botanical Magazine. 28(2):103-110).

Jun 19, 2014: Weigela coraeensis

Weigela coraeensis

I've spent some time this week working with a contractor to improve the BPotD software, so commenting sign-in should now work again. There are still a few issues, but we'll be addressing these soon. I'm also looking at upgrading the server, which should somewhat resolve the absurd comment publishing times.

Taisha is the author and photographer for today's entry. She writes:

Weigela coraeensis, or Japanese weigela, is shown here from UBC Botanical Garden's David C. Lam Asian Garden. This shrubby species, like many other angiosperms, has the floral trait of flower colour change. This trait means the plant retains its flowers post-pollination, though the flowers are now rewardless and of a different colour (they also remain turgid). Colour change in flowers has been suggested to be a strategy evolved by plants to enhance pollinator attraction while minimizing visits to non-reproductive flowers. Others have posited that the rewardless colour-changed flowers encourage pollinators to leave and thereby reduce geitonogamous self-pollination.

Although the ability to change flower colour seems useful, this function does not occur in all angiosperms and often does not even occur between closely-related plant species. In a study by Suzuki & Ohashi from the University of Tsukuba, the researchers examined how floral traits and pollination differ between colour-changing and non-colour-changing species. They compared anthesis and floral retention, nectar productivity, daily petal colour changes, responses of floral traits to pollination levels, flower visitors, flower visitor choice behaviour, daily changes in pollen receipt and removal and seed production between Weigela coraeensis (colour-changing) and Weigela hortensis (non-colour changing) plants in a shared environment. Although a variety of insect pollinators visited the flowers of these two species, the researchers chose to focus on the primary visitors, bees.

In their study, Suzuki & Ohashi found that bees strongly preferred to visit the flowers of Weigela coraeensis, which lead to a greater proportional seed set for this species over Weigela hortensis. They attributed the bees preference to floral colour over nectar production, and suggested that the bees were capable of learning where to return by using the colour difference as a cue to choose nectar-rewarding flowers. Both Weigela species secreted nectar for 2-3 days before reducing production, and retained rewardless flowers for a few days afterward, although Weigela coraeensis's petals changed from white to red-purple with decreasing nectar production and Weigela hortensis maintained the same colour. When pollination was artificially enhanced, nothing changed for Weigela coraeensis. This suggested that these plants received sufficient pollination when openly pollinated. With Weigela hortensis, no change was initially observed, but after a few days flowers rapidly fell off before reducing nectar production.

When pollinators were artificially reduced, the duration of the coloured flowers of Weigela coraeensis increased for a day or two. This implied that flower retention of this species functions primarily to enlarge overall floral display to attract pollinators, rather than to compensate for insufficient pollen receipt. On the other hand, when pollinators were reduced, Weigela hortensis did not extend the retention of rewardless flowers. This suggested that open-pollinated flowers of this species were experiencing pollination difficulty at their site, and it was proposed that the extension of floral retention by Weigela hortensis was to compensate for the pollination difficulties, as insects hardly discriminated against aged flowers of this species.

The researchers also pointed out that they studied these two species in the same environment, despite differing natural habitats. Weigela coraeensis occurs in temperate regions below an altitude of 700m, whereas Weigela hortensis grows on snowy hills and mountains up to 1800m. They point out that in their natural habitat, Weigela hortensis plants may benefit from having non-colour changing flowers. This species has the ability to adjust display size when pollinators are rare, while limiting self-pollination when they are common. Additionally, the retention of rewardless flowers with invariable colour may help Weigela hortensis save metabolic (resource allocation to nectar production, and cost of producing anthocyanins) and/or ecological (increased geitonogamy caused by larger displays) costs--both of which are important when floral colour change does not greatly increase visits by experienced pollinators. At higher altitudes, conditions may either severely limit photosynthesis or pollinators may not be willing to take risks, potentially leaving Weigela hortensis to become more adaptive.

Suzuki & Ohashi further noted that these considerations suggest that the necessary conditions for the evolution of floral colour change would be favourable photosynthesis, intense competition for pollinators by neighbouring plants, and a dependence for visits by both experienced and inexperienced foragers. They also pointed out that the elevation difference between the habitats of these two species met these conditions (see: Suzuki, M.F. and K. Ohashi. 2014. How does floral colour-changing species differ from its non-colour changing congener? - A comparison of trait combinations and their effects on pollination. Functional Ecology. 28:549-560).

May 16, 2014: Anemone blanda

A short entry from Taisha today, who writes:

A few weeks ago, I spotted a nice pop of purple (a colour that usually catches my eye) tucked away behind the Garden's amphitheatre. A closer look revealed it was Anemone blanda. In the Ranunculaceae, Anemone blanda is also known as the Grecian windflower or winter windflower. The genus Anemone is composed of about 120 species of perennials found mostly in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Within the genus, members can be divided into three groups: woodland and alpine pasture species that flower in the spring, Mediterranean or Central Asia species with early summer blooms, and larger herbaceous species that flower later summer into autumn.

Anemone blanda, is a herbaceous perennial native to southeast Europe and Turkey. This species is valued for its daisy-like appearance in the spring. The winter windflower is a spreading species that is great for the garden and prefers well-drained soil with partial sun--making it good to plant under deciduous trees which can help provide its preferred conditions.

May 8, 2014: Plectritis congesta

Plectritis congesta

Despite it not showing up in any additional entries, I have been working on BPotD quite a bit the past couple weeks. I've applied the security patches for the software that runs the weblog, and with that came a bunch of work in updating templates. Unfortunately, this didn't resolve the issue of the absurdly-long comment publishing times, and I've been exploring other options to address this. The most direct option has involved a lot of bureaucratic waiting. Still waiting, but I can't forestall new entries any longer.

Today's entry was written and photographed by Taisha, who (in a bit of good news) will be staying with BPotD over the duration of the summer. She writes:

Plectritis congesta, or seablush, is a common wildflower in southwestern British Columbia. Its range extends south to southern California. This species, now in the Caprifoliaceae (formerly Valerianaceae), tends to grow on coastal bluffs in partly shaded spring-wet slopes from coastline to mid elevations. Seablush is a species associated in part with what Canadians call the Garry oak ecosystem. It often forms large showy patches--which we can see in today's photograph taken here at UBC Botanical Garden a couple weeks ago. An annual, Plectris congesta blooms in late spring with a cluster of small pink flowers sitting atop a fleshy square stem. The flowers provide nectar for native bees including bumblebees, but can also attract butterflies such as (in Oregon) the endangered Fender's blue butterfly (Plebejus icarioides fenderi) or (from Vancouver Island to Oregon) the rare Taylor's checkerspot butterfly (Euphydras editha taylori).

Apr 17, 2014: Meliosma oldhamii var. oldhamii

Both the author and photographer for today's entry, Taisha scribes:

A couple of weeks ago, the Garden Blog posted a Q&A with David C. Lam Asian Garden curator and horticulturalist, Andy Hill. One of the questions asked of Andy was to tell us about a plant in the Asian Garden we likely hadn't heard of before. Andy responded with worm-head trees, or Meliosma spp, of which we have a few species growing in the Garden (Andy provided a map of the three species planted here). The genus name Meliosma, he notes, comes from the Greek meli meaning honey, and -osma referring to smell. He also mentioned that the buds of the immature leaves look like many worms all huddled together before they develop and open in the spring.

When I read the blog entry I realized I too was one who overlooked the Meliosma trees, despite walking by one every time I come to the garden (see point 'A' on the map link posted above). Intrigued by the common name of worm-head tree I thought I would pop outside and see these leaf buds for myself. Personally, I have never seen any worms huddle in a way that looks like the immature leaves, but was curious if this was some sort of worm phenomenon and did a few Google image searches (by the way, "worm huddle", "worm cuddles", and/or "worm gang" were not useful, while "worms on trees" and "worms attack trees" yielded some results). See my photos from a week ago of the leaf buds of Meliosma oldhamii var. oldhamii and decide for yourself about a resemblance to worm-clusters.

Meliosma oldhamii var. oldhamii is a member of the Sabiaceae, but sometimes classified in its own family Meliosmaceae with other members of its genus. The species is native to southern China, southern Japan, and Korea. It is named in honour of Richard Oldham, a botanical collector from Kew who gathered a specimen from Korea in 1867. This species has compound leaves with seven to fifteen ovate-lanceolate leaflets that increase in size toward the terminal leaflet. Despite Meliosma referring to a honey-smell, this species has a faint aroma of sour milk radiating from the leaves, particularly in warm, humid weather. The worm-head tree has small cup-and-saucer flowers that are produced in upright panicles after the leaves have expanded. The inflorescences, often produced at the tips of the branches, are large--sometimes more than 40cm tall and across. In the late summer, reddish drupes follow the flowers and add to the appealing exotic and tropical appearance.

This species information on Meliosma oldhamii var. oldhamii has been adapted from text that will be provided in the upcoming Vancouver Trees App. Over 1100 taxa are featured in the app that Douglas and Daniel (and many others) have been working on these past few months. The app will not only provide information on the genera, species and cultivars of trees in Vancouver, but also include maps of where to see individual specimens, photos and a glossary.

Mar 26, 2014: Rhododendron praevernum

Rhododendron praevernum

Better late than never for an entry, I suppose. It was a long day working on an app we're getting close to completing (sorry, not a BPotD app) -- more details on that soon. In the meantime, enjoy this photograph and write-up, both by Taisha. She writes:

This photo of Rhodoendron praevernum is from an unnamed selection of the species made by noted Rhododendron enthusiast, Del James. I took this photo a couple of weeks ago on March 7th, when the plant was in the midst of blossoming in the David C. Lam Asian Garden. This species opens its flowers earlier than quite a few others locally--which makes sense when thinking about its epithet, praevernum. Daniel and Douglas today reminded me that vernum pertains to spring (the Latin word for spring being vernus), while prae is Latin for "before".

To reinforce the notion that this is an early bloomer, Daniel has photographs of this species (perhaps even the same plant) from February of 2003. If you're interested in learning more about the rhododendrons of UBC Botanical Garden, see the January 2010 issue (20:1) of Davidsonia (PDF) where Douglas goes into detail about some of the (approximately) 450 taxa grown in the Garden. It includes a mention of today's plant. To see a regional bloom calendar for rhododendrons, check out "Twelve Months of Flowering Rhododendrons" (PDF) from Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens.

Feb 21, 2014: Zinnia grandiflora

Zinnia grandiflora

Taisha is both the author and photographer for today's entry (though I made a crop of her original photograph, which is here). She writes:

Zinnia grandiflora is also known as Rocky Mountain zinnia, plains zinnia, or prairie zinnia. I took this photo late last August in UBC's E. H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden. I wanted to feature something from UBC Botanical Garden, and settled on an older photo as most of the flowers I've photographed at this time of year have been written about previously, like Eranthis hyemalis and Galanthus nivalis 'Viridapice'. To follow what else is in bloom in the Garden, several people post updates to the Talk About UBC Botanical Garden forum.

According to Flower Breeding and Genetics (Neil Anderson, ed.), Zinnia belongs to the tribe Heliantheae within Asteraceae, and consists of 19 species of annual herbs or perennial shrubs. The centre for diversity of the genus is Mexico, with species mainly distributed throughout North America. One exception is Zinnia peruviana, which has a native range from Arizona to Argentina. Many annual zinnias are cultivated for use as bedding plants and cut flowers. Linnaeus named the genus in honor of German anatomist and botanist, Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-1759).

Zinnia grandiflora is a perennial member of the genus. Plants grow in small mounds low to the ground, spreading vegetatively by creeping rhizomes. Yellow flowers cover the mat of needle-like leaves when it's in flower. Thriving in gravelly soil without much need for water, this species is found growing wild in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

Feb 13, 2014: Helleborus x hybridus (Royal Heritage Strain)

Helleborus x hybridus (Royal Heritage Strain)

Taisha is the author and photographer for today's entry. She writes:

Helleborus x hybridus (Royal Heritage Strain) is a welcome harbinger of spring here at UBC Botanical Garden, blooming now in the European Woodland section of the E.H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden. Because they often flower in mid-winter, members of this genus are commonly named Christmas or Lenten roses. They are not true roses, belonging instead to the buttercup family or Ranunculaceae--a family containing many early-spring flowering species.

Helleborus is a genus of about twenty herbaceous perennial species, most of which are grown for their ornamental value. Helleborus x hybridus (Royal Heritage Strain) is a hybrid strain of seed with a wide variety of colours and tones in the sepals of the nodding blossoms. Leathery serrated leaves subtend the flowers and are spread along the thick stem.

Enjoying the sights of early blooms is one thing, but one can also wonder about the reasons behind early-spring blossoms. Phenology in plants is the study of lifecycle events (like flowering) and how the timing of such events are influenced by climate and environmental conditions. These conditions could include such things as temperature, length of day, elevation, disturbance, and competition from neighbours. Despite the potential drawbacks to blooming early such as tissue damage from fluctuating and sub-zero temperatures or few active pollinators, there are some adaptive advantages to flowering a little earlier than other adjacent plants. For example, early blooming plants may have increased exposure to light in the early days of the year before deciduous trees leaf out and other species grow up around it. This is particularly advantageous for hellebores, which are generally woodland species.

With regard to pollinators in the late winter or early spring: yes, it is likely that only a few are active. However, those few only have a limited amount of flowers to choose from and visit, so the advantage to being an early-spring flowering species is that there are few other competitors attempting to attract pollinators. For Helleborus spp., the number of insect visits (often bumblebees or Bombus spp.) is primarily determined by flower display and density. Evidence also suggests that early blossoms favor out-crossing. With fewer overall blossoms in early spring, pollinators must travel greater distances and therefore disperse genes over greater distances. Although the flowers of Helleborus are functionally hermaphroditic (protogynous) and self-compatible, a little pollen from a flower farther away may result in progeny that have additional frost- or disease-resistance.

Feb 3, 2014: Coreopsis rosea

Taisha is both the photographer and writer for today's entry (photos are from last autumn). She writes:

Coreopsis rosea, or the pink tickseed, is a perennial species in the Asteraceae. This taxon is found on sandy shores or marsh edges of coastal eastern North America, in three disjunct groupings: 1) Nova Scotia, Canada; 2) Massachusetts to Delaware, USA; and 3) South Carolina & Georgia, USA. It is also an ornamental species of gardens. Plants bear composite inflorescences, with pink (to white) ray flowers surrounding yellow disc florets. Stems are 10-60 cm in height and lined with a series of oppositely-arranged linear-lanceolate leaves. The dry fruits (cypselae) are oblong without wings or pappi (modified calyces).

The pink tickseed is globally rare. In Canada, it is a federally endangered species (latest assessment: 2013), occurring only at the northern limit of the plant community termed the Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora (ACPF) (a region which extends south to Florida). This floral group is threatened mainly due to habitat loss along the American eastern seaboard and adjacent Canada. In Nova Scotia, dams are of particular concern, as their placement often corresponds with watershed lakes that serve as habitat for species of the ACPF. Over half of the most important shorelines on watershed lakes in Nova Scotia have been lost as ACPF habitat. As Coreopsis rosea is at its northernmost limit in Nova Scotia, it is thought that length of growing season may be a determining factor for its distribution and abundance, as well as other species in the community.

In a study by Lusk & Reekie from the Acadia University Department of Biology, the researchers sought to test the effects of length of growing season (particularly with respect to hydrology and flooded conditions) on species from the ACPF including Coreopsis rosea. The hope was to gain a better understanding of the limiting variables affecting this group to better manage and maintain the plant community.

Beginning at the end of June 2004, Lusk & Reekie transplanted Coreopsis rosea (along with Hydrocotyle umbellata) at three lakes with different hydrological regimes within southwestern Nova Scotia's Tusket River system. The transplants were planted at several depths on three different occasions using four week intervals. The researchers visited the plants every two weeks, only ceasing over the winter months. Water levels, plant survival, flowering, and plant growth were measured, observed and recorded. At the end of August 2005, the transplants were harvested, dried, and weighed. It was found that transplant date and depth both affected the biomass and flowering of Coreopsis rosea with results varying at each of the lakes. In general, transplants planted higher on the shoreline and earlier in the year were both larger and more copiously flowering than those planted lower along the lakeshores or later in the year.

With this information, Lusk & Reekie suggested that dam reservoirs can provide appropriate habitat for certain Coastal Plain species if water levels are managed. They proposed that lowering water levels of reservoirs in the spring and during times of high precipitation would increase growing season and decrease flood stress. The authors also suggested to raise water levels in the autumn to prevent cold damage. Lastly, the researchers suggested their study can be used to address gaps in the ACPF recovery plan (PDF), in order to better help protect and conserve at-risk species within this group (see: Lusk, J, and EG Reekie. 2007. The effect of growing season length and water level fluctuations on growth and survival of two rare species and at risk Atlantic Coastal Plain flora species, Coreopsis rosea and Hydroctyle umbellata. Canadian Journal of Botany. 85(2):119-131).

Jan 28, 2014: Stauntonia hexaphylla

Another entry from Taisha today. She writes:

Stauntonia hexaphylla is a member of the Lardizabalaceae. The photographs show some of the fruit produced by the plants here at UBC Botanical Garden this past autumn (additional photographs of Stauntonia hexaphylla available via Wikimedia Commons). Daniel's longest lens was used to photograph the fruits on the vine in the third photograph, since no fruits were lower than ~8m (26 ft.) above ground level.

It took a while before the Lardizabalaceae was proposed as its own family in 1821, given that the first member of the family was described and published in 1779. Prior to the 1821 publication, species were placed in the Dioscoreaceae, Menispermaceae and even Fabaceae. Stauntonia was first recognized as its own genus in 1817 (published 1818) by De Candolle and thought to be closely related to Lardizabala for many years. Recently, it has been recognized that Stauntonia is more closely related to the genus Akebia (e.g., Akebia quinata). For a recent account of the family, see Christenhusz. 2012. An overview of Lardizabalaceae. Curtis's Botanical Magazine. 29(3):235-276.

Stauntonia hexaphylla is native to most of Japan, although is now cultivated and found in gardens around the world. Here at UBC Botanical Garden, we have three or four individual plants in the David C. Lam Asian Garden. According to Douglas Justice (UBCBG's Associate Director, Collections & Horticulture), these twining vines have flowered regularly and copiously over the last 15 years or so. However, 2013 was the first year that fruit were noticed, despite multiple clones and plenty of pollinators visiting the bell-shaped flowers at anthesis.

Douglas has a few hypotheses for the surprise of the small purple edible fruit (I tried a bite of one--the texture of the flesh is a little like dragonfruit except slimier, and has a sweet, yet subtle, flavour). Douglas mentions that this species isn't particularly hardy, and there could be a developmental problem associated with fruit formation at cooler temperatures here in Vancouver. Other possibilities he suggests include plants in the garden possibly not producing female flowers until now (Stauntonia hexaphylla is typically monoecious), or viable pollen has not been produced in the past. For now, the rare occurrence of fruits on the vines here at UBC is still a mystery, with more investigation and observation needed to determine why they may have appeared this past autumn.

Oct 18, 2013: Malus 'Okana'

Malus 'Okana'

Again, Taisha is both the writer and photographer. She writes:

The leaves are falling, the fall colours are vibrant, and the fruit is for the picking-- particularly the apple! This upcoming weekend of October 19-20 is the annual Apple Festival, held by the Friends of the Garden (FOGs). With all the hard work from the FOGs, staff, and other volunteers, this year's event is sure to be a success! Some forecasts show sun for Vancouver over the weekend, which is also pleasant considering last year we nearly were left bobbing for apples in the rain!

The Apple Festival is a family event for all ages in celebration of Malus. Each year, 44 000 lbs or 20 000 kilograms of apples are sold, including both heritage and newer varieties. Not only will apple fruits be for sale, but attendees can also see demonstrations on grafting and pressing, buy a grafted-onto-rootstock tree for the backyard or patio, or taste up to 60 varieties of apples in the apple-tasting tent. One of the highlights this year is the appearance and sale of the newly-named variety Malus 'Okana'.

The 'Okana' apple (PDF) was selected by David Evans of Oliver, British Columbia. Evans first discovered the 'Okana' apple tree among a grove of Malus 'Spartan' in 1998. It was bulked up vegetatively by grafting, and (as of 2005) 900 trees of 'Okana' were being grown on M26 rootstock. The selected traits for this cultivar were colour, sweet flavour, and ease of harvest. /p>

I did try this charming red apple after photographing it. The bright white flesh was sweet, hardly tart, and slightly acidic. It is exceptionally crisp and quite juicy. A very satisfying apple, and if you are local, you can try it for yourself this weekend--the Apple Festival runs both Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4pm.

Also, after checking out the main events at the Apple Festival, you may want to pop over to UBC Farm. Along with their on-site booth at the Apple Festival, the Farm will be offering tours of their Heritage Orchard on Saturday at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm.

Daniel adds: Here are some of the apple cultivars previously featured on BPotD: Malus 'Elstar', Malus 'Jonagold', Malus 'Melrose', Malus SPA493, now marketed as 'Salish', Malus 'Cox's Orange Pippin', Malus 'Creston', and Malus 'Rubinette'.

Oct 17, 2013: Origanum 'Nymphenburg'

Origanum 'Nymphenburg'

Taisha is both the author and photographer with today's entry.

The ornamental Origanum 'Nymphenburg' is a member of the Lamiaceae, or mint family. This photo was taken this past summer in late July in UBC Botanical Garden's E.H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden. From a browsing of search engine results, this cultivar is little-known in North America. It seems to have originated in Europe (where it can be found with some effort in the horticulture trade), and presumably it is named after either Nymphenburg Palace or Nymphenburg Porcelain. Of those two options, it is most likely to be named after the castle and its gardens.

Origanum contains about 60 species, known commonly as the oreganos and marjorams. Some are cultivated for culinary use, but as noted above, Origanum 'Nymphenburg' is primarily an ornamental cultivar. This aromatic perennial herb holds ovate leaves arranged oppositely on a square stem. Many bilabiate flowers of purple are collected terminally in a corymbose-panicle. The attractive inflorescence of this taxon appeals to numerous insect visitors, including, on this day, Neophasia menapia, commonly known as the pine white (butterfly).

Botany resource link (added by Daniel): a macro timelapse video of germinating seeds and opening leaf & flower buds by Daniel Csobot.

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.

Aug 2, 2013: Lilium distichum

Lilium distichum

The photograph and write-up today are both courtesy of BPotD work-learn student Taisha Mitchell:

While out deciding on an appropriate route for the aerial mapping project I recently took on, this lily caught my attention with its strong colour. With lilies, I often gain a better understanding of what it must be like to be a pollinator, as I can never resist a quick smell of the showy flowers. Always, this results in pollen upon my nose. I took this photo on July 16th in the E.H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden here at UBC.

Lilium distichum is one of about 110 species within the genus. Members of this genus are restricted to the North Hemisphere, but just barely, with at least one species native to the Philippines. China is the centre of diversity (see: Rong, L., et al.. 2011. Collection and evaluation of the genus Lilium resources in Northeast China. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. 58(1):115-123.). Lilium distichum can be found in China as well as adjacent Korea and Russia. This species in particular grows well in a semi-shaded place with lime-free and well-watered soil.

Lilium distichum is a bulbous species that can grow to 120cm tall. Midway up the stem, the leaves are arranged in a whorl, while in the upper part of the stem, smaller leaves are arranged alternately (see an excellent photo of this phenomenon on the Pacific Bulb Society site: Lilium spp.). Some resources online suggest the two different kinds of leaves is the reason for the epithet distichum, but distichum means "in two opposed ranks". This seems to be more appropriately applied to the tepals, as the orange-yellow tepals occur in distinct inner and outer sets of three. The ripe pollen from the anthers is a bright orange-red. Two to ten flowers occur on each stem, with the higher numbers more likely to occur in cultivation.

Jun 12, 2013: Iris wilsonii

The photographer and author today is Taisha. She writes:

While walking through the David C. Lam Asian Garden, I found some visual appeal in the blossoms of Iris wilsonii swaying on stems of different heights. In the Garden today, they are highlighted by brief flashes of early-summer sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day.

Iris wilsonii is a Siberian iris (series Sibericae), native to China (note that Siberian in this case is a botanical-horticultural grouping). In China, it is found at mid- to high elevations in alpine meadows, streamsides and forest margins of the western part of the country. Iris wilsonii was introduced to Western cultivation by Ernest Henry Wilson around 1907. Irises in the Sibericae series can often be easily confused with each other, in part because they readily hybridize.

According to A Guide to the Species Irises: Their Identification and Cultivation, this herbaceous perennial grows to 60-70cm in height with grey-green leaves of about the same length as the hollow stem. The unbranched stem supports fragrant flowers in early summer, often of pale yellow with purple-brown stripes and spots. The fruit of this species is an ellipsoidal capsule that is borne on long pedicels.

May 10, 2013: Clematis cirrhosa

Clematis cirrhosa

Today's entry was both photographed and written by Taisha. She writes:

To highlight tomorrow's upcoming plant sale and event, A Growing Affair, I chose a plant that will be included in the sale. I did want to do a grass, as Daniel will be manning that post, however they weren't cooperating photographically yesterday and instead Clematis cirrhosa, aka early clematis or winter-flowering clematis, caught my eye.

Clematis cirrhosa from the Ranunculaceae is native to the Mediterranean. This species belongs to the subgenus Montanae, which uniquely possess nodding flowers and small bracts on the pedicels. This evergreen climber can reach 8m in height on a slender, 6-ribbed stem. Flowers are solitary or paired and generally have 4 sepals that are creamy-white and can sometimes be flecked with purple markings inside and green on the exterior. The fruit is an achene (a dry indehiscent fruit) with a silky plumose tail, as seen clearly in today's photo.

Plants do well in sunny spots with moderately-draining soils. It is recommended to keep the roots cool by shading the base of the plant. During hot summers, this species may go into dormancy, but no need to panic, as when the temperature drops in autumn it will start to re-grow. To avoid a single stem and promote branching, cut back this "group one" clematis in the early summer. Any pruning should be done immediately after flowering to ensure a nice display for next year, as the new flowers grow from nodes of the previous year's shoots. Clematis can be propagated either by double leaf bud cuttings or layering in the spring, or grown by seed.

Clematis cirrhosa has been noted to have antifungal activity (see: Ali-Shtayeh, MS & SI Ghdeib. 1998. Antifungal activity of plant extracts against dermatophytes. Mycoses. 42:665-672). An aqueous extract made from the plants secondary metabolites was 90-100% effective in reducing colony growth of Trichophyton violaceum, a fungus that can cause scaly lesions of skin, nails, beard and scalp.


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