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Results tagged “scrophulariaceae”

Jun 2, 2014: Buddleja globosa

Buddleja globosa

Taisha is the writer for today's entry:

Today's image is of Buddleja globosa, known commonly as orange ball tree. This photo was taken in Dominion Brook Park, North Saanich, British Columbia, and was uploaded to the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool by Lotus Johnson (aka ngawangchodron@Flickr). Thanks for sharing, Lotus!

The orange ball tree is a semi-evergreen or deciduous shrub from the Scrophulariaceae. In the spring, clusters of orange flowers bloom and emit a pleasant fragrance. This ornamental species prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils and requires little maintenance, except for some pruning after flowering.

Buddleja globosa is endemic to Chile and Argentina, and was/is used by indigenous peoples of the area for medicinal purposes. The Mapuche use the leaves of this species, which is referred to as paƱil, to treat wounds, gastrointestinal complaints, and hepatic-intestinal ailments.

The Mapuche people are ancient inhabitants of the South Andean region with a livelihood of hunting, agriculture, and gathering. Although their customs are deeply rooted by family tradition, the transmission of traditional knowledge is endangered. For example, knowledge of the use of medicinal plants is in decline with younger generations. Still, some knowledge transfer persists. In an ethnobotanical survey conducted by Estomba, et al. in a rural Curruhuinca community in Argentina, semi-structured interviews were carried out to examine the present use of medicinal plants and their reputed therapeutic effects. They found that the Curruhuinca dwellers quoted 89 plants species for medicinal purposes, with 268 usages including gastrointestinal, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Forty-seven of the plant species were native (~40 of these still used) and 42 were exotic plants (34 used). As many medicinal plants are still used by the Curruhuinca people, the researchers insist that the preservation of native flora is crucial to maintain biological as well as cultural diversity of the Mapuche (see: Estomba, D. et al. 2006. Medicinal wild plant knowledge and gathering patterns in a Mapuche community from North-western Patagonia. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 103(1):109-119).

Sep 26, 2012: Harewood Plains

Harewood Plains

Bryant has already shared some of his photographs from the mid-May trip to Harewood Plains near Nanaimo, but I thought I'd share one of my own featuring both Mimulus guttatus (common monkeyflower) and Plectritis congesta (sea blush). You can read more about that trip (if you haven't already done so) from Bryant's accounts: UBC Botanical Garden Garry Oak Ecosystem Trip and a couple BPotD entries: Lotus pinnatus and Quercus garryana Ecosystems.

Sep 16, 2011: Calceolaria uniflora

Calceolaria uniflora

Returning once again to South America this week, with an entry that Alexis wrote this past summer. As an aside, I've hired a new work-study student thanks to your donations (which directly support these hires). I'll introduce her when her first entry is ready to be posted.

Alexis writes:

Dave Winkel shares this photo from Chile's Torres del Paine National Park. Thanks, Dave! Calceolaria uniflora, also known as Calceolaria darwinii, is native only to Argentina and Chile.

A study of plants of this species in southern Patagonia suggests the existence of two subspecies of Calceolaria uniflora that differ in two flower features: the appearance of the instep (in the photo, the splotchy lower lip), and the colour of the throat (the somewhat striated middle portion). The instep displayed two phenotypes within the study area. A uniformly dark red instep was called uniform and a patchier instep with more yellow and orange was called maculate. Throat colour varied from dark red to orange to yellow, though no discrete colour categories could be established.

The study found that instep type correlated with the geographical longitudinal position of the flower populations; more specifically, populations in the western forest and grassland were uniform, populations in the eastern steppe were maculate, and intermediate areas had mixed populations with individuals of both types. The throat colour variable, however, showed a latitudinal pattern, with individuals becoming more orange and less yellow from north to south.

The authors suggest several explanations for these morphological variations within the species. It is possible that different species of pollinators (such as Thinocorus rumicivorus) are attracted to different flower types, and that these variations are an adaptation designed to attract the appropriate pollinators, though there is no evidence yet to support this hypothesis. Different climatic conditions could also play a role; the study observed that flowers tended to be redder in the south, containing more anthocyanin, a feature that may help shield the plant against the cold weather and UV radiation prevalent in that region. Additionally, geographic barriers, isolation, and gene flow could have all contributed in developing the two observed subspecies of Calceolaria uniflora, and further studies may present more evidence.

Jun 18, 2011: Rehmannia glutinosa

Rehmannia glutinosa

An entry written by Alexis today:

Pictured in this photo taken by Daniel is the flower of Rehmannia glutinosa, from a plant growing in the UBC Botanical Garden. This genus is commonly referred to as Chinese foxglove.

Rehmannia glutinosa is a perennial herb native to China. It grows by trails and on mountain slopes, and can also be seen springing up through cracks in the pavement and walls in the Forbidden City, as noted by Lancaster in Plantsman's Paradise: Travels in China (2008). In the UBC Botanical Garden, a few small patches of the herb can be found in an unshaded area near the garden entrance. Every inch of the plant appears to be densely covered in hairs, which feel just as soft and fuzzy as they look. The flowers are neither fragrant nor eye-catching in colour but I found their shape uniquely endearing, as they resemble small hairy trumpets suitable perhaps for some tiny orchestra.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Rehmannia glutinosa is called Di Huang and has a multitude of purposes. When bruised, the leaves are a remedy for eczema and psoriasis. Fever, coughs and bleeding are just a few of the symptoms treated with the roots of the plant; they are also used in treating cancer and anemia. Rehmannia glutinosa is also one of the ingredients in the most popular women's tonic in China, "Four Things Soup", the other ingredients of which are Angelica sinensis, Paeonia lactiflora and Ligusticum wallichii. Apparently the roots are also edible, though I am wary of anything that supposedly requires being boiled nine times before ingesting.

May 11, 2011: Cordylanthus palmatus

Today's photographs were shared via the UBC Botanical Garden forums by member mollymCA: Alkali Sink Vernal Pools, Livermore, CA. Thank you very much! Molly has also written a great account about this area, so I'll share her writings here. Molly writes:

The Springtown Vernal Pools should be especially spectacular this year of late rains. This area, enclosed by development, has so far been saved by the presence of the endangered (FE/SE: Federal and State) Cordylanthus palmatus, palmate-bracted bird's beak. It is in the Scrophulariaceae (Daniel -- now in Orobanchaceae) and thus a relative of Indian paintbrush, and like many in the family a hemiparasite on roots of other plants. It may be able to survive without a root association, but is said to develop more color in the bracts--the 3-pronged structures that clutch the stem--according to the extent of such a relationship (if true, this plant hadn't yet found a friend!).

The Cordylanthus is a salt-excreter and you can see the crystals on the rather succulent leaves and bracts. The flowers (like those of Indian paintbrush) are insignificant even when fully out -- on May 9, 2008 they were not quite fully extended from the bracts.

The white areas in the landscape photograph are dried vernal pools and stream areas, crusted with the salt that accumulates over years of leaching from the soil into the landlocked depressions (or nearly so: there is a rather feeble flow out from some of the streams). The bird's beak would be found on the edges of the salt areas.

The green plant growing with the Cordylanthus palmatus is Salicornia, also called pickleweed, and the dry stuff lying on the ground is dormant Distichlis spicata, both typical of salty or salty-alkaline swampy areas.

Botany resource link (added by Daniel): Botany Photo of the Day was featured in the latest publication of the Berry-Go-Round blog carnival over at Foothills Fancies: check out Issue No. 39 of Berry-Go-Round to see a great selection of recent plant- and botany-based writing around the web.

Dec 10, 2010: Castilleja applegatei var. pinetorum

Castilleja applegatei var. pinetorum

It's likely I've expressed in the past my love/hate relationship with this genus. Love to be in their presence, love to photograph Castilleja, but hate to identify them. I'm hoping I have the identification correct in this case. I wrongly assumed all of the paintbrushes that looked like this at the high elevations of Steens were the same taxon, but the key in Flora of Steens Mountain suggests otherwise.

Wavy-leaved paintbrush is found in western North America. The variety pinetorum is native to Idaho, Oregon, Nevada and California, where it grows in dry places. Depending on the reference, at least a few other varieties are sometimes recognized in the Great Basin area. On Steens Mountain, Castilleja applegatei var. pinetorum is commonly found growing in association with sagebrush at higher elevations (above 2000m (6561 ft)). Having visited Steens Mtn three times in the past 4 years, 2007 seemed to have been a banner year for the local population with thousands of individual plants dotting the landscape. This photograph is from 2009, though, when plants were more often found in small pockets of the landscape.

Moerman's Native American Ethnobotany Database lists this taxon as being used as a beverage by the Miwok peoples, who occasionally sipped the flower for its nectar, something I suppose I will have to try on my next occasion to visit the area.

Like other members of its genus, Castilleja applegatei var. pinetorum is a hemiparasite (via haustoria). Though it does not to parasitize to survive (the species is chlorophyllous, after all), parasitizing other species can produce more robust, longer-living plants. In the case of Steens Mountain, I suspect the host plant is typically Artemisia tridentata, or big sagebrush.

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