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Results tagged “written by jackie”

Apr 29, 2013: Drosera binata

Jackie Chambers is the author of today's entry, and the photographer for the first image. The second image is courtesy of Noah Elhardt@Wikimedia Commons, shared here: Drosera binata. Jackie writes:

Drosera binata, or forked-leaved sundew, is native to Australia and New Zealand. This particular specimen was photographed in the Coromandel in New Zealand.

The flower stalk of this plant was almost 25 cm, holding the five-petaled flowers well above the reddish foliage below. It is usually the foliage of sundews that capture people's attention; these plants are insectivores and the leaves are covered in stalked glands. Each gland supports a drop of glistening mucilage for the capture and digestion of insects. More images and information about this species can be found via the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network: Drosera binata, or the New Zealand Carnivorous Plant Society: Drosera binata.

Drosera binata stands apart from other sundews in that it has narrow, forked leaves. The leaves may be forked more than once and enthusiasts identify a range of forms. Adrian Slack discusses these forms in his classic book Carnivorous Plants, but this online article also details some of the variation: Drosera binata (PDF). For those interested, the International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS) provides some advice on growing fork-leaved sundews.

Drosera is a large genus and there are over 100 species. They are found on every continent except Antarctica, and can range from tight rosettes to upright tufts to climbing stems. For more about the range of species and some interesting evolutionary relationships within the genus, see Drosera phylogeny, also via the ICPS.

Feb 27, 2013: Euphrasia cuneata

Euphrasia cuneata

The author and photographer for today's entry is Jackie Chambers, who (if you're a long-time BPotD reader) you may remember contributing a fair number of photographs several years ago. After spending some time abroad, she's back in the Vancouver area and has a new set of photographs and stories that she'll be sharing on occasion. Jackie writes:

Europeans arriving in New Zealand used the common name eyebright to refer to this plant, as they would have seen similarities between this species and its European relative Euphrasia officinalis (botanical sketch).

Euphrasia officinalis has a long history of use by humans for the treatment of conjunctivitis and other eye complaints, dating back to at least the time of the herbalist Nicholas Culpeper. However, a 2010 assessment by the European Medicines Agency reviewed the documented medical efficacy of Euphrasia officinalis (PDF), and found there to be insufficient data to recommend therapeutic use.

In New Zealand, eyebright or tutumako, was not used for the eyes but traditionally played a role in spiritual cleansing (via the Māori Plant Use Database).

The New Zealand Plant Conservation Network has more photographs of Euphrasia cuneata.

If you are a local reader and interested in traditional knowledge and the links between people and plants, distinguished ethnobotanist Dr. Nancy Turner will be giving the Wharton Memorial Lecture at UBC on March 7th: "Reflections on the Journey from Biodiversity and Culture to Biocultural Diversity".

Apr 15, 2009: Paxistima myrsinites

Paxistima myrsinites

...and another thank you to Jackie Chambers for sharing both today's photograph and write-up. Jackie writes:

Paxistima myrsinites is currently flowering in UBC Botanical Garden's Native Garden. Although they may not be the showiest of spring flowers, those fascinated by detail will appreciate these very tiny maroon flowers, just 3-4 mm wide. The flowers, each with four petals and four stamens, are held in clusters in the leaf axils along the branches. It is interesting to note that the structure of these flowers is very similar to other members of the family. You can use Flowering Plant Families from the University of Hawaii to compare the flowers of other Celastraceae and observe these similarities.

The thick, leathery leaves of Paxistima myrsinites are oppositely-arranged along the stem. Oval in shape with toothed margins, the leaves can be 1-3cm long. For more photos of this species, see Paxistima myrsinites via VirginiaTech.

False box, or mountain boxwood as it is sometimes called, is an evergreen shrub ranges in height from 20-80cm tall, and can have an erect or prostrate growth habit. Its reddish-brown branches may be either smooth or ridged.

Paxistima myrsinites is native to the coniferous forests and dry mountain slopes of British Columbia. Its native range extends south along the west coast into California and northern Mexico. For more information and a map of its BC distribution see E-Flora BC: Paxistima myrsinites.

Apr 15, 2008: Calycophyllum candidissimum

Calycophyllum candidissimum

Thanks once again to Jackie Chambers for a photograph and a write-up.

Calycophyllum candidissimum is native to southern Mexico, Cuba, and Central & South America. It has the distinction of being the national tree of Nicaragua, where it has the common name El Madroño. Other common names include degami (or dagame) and lemonwood, which refers to the light brown yellow colour of the wood.

This small to medium size hardwood tree can reach 12-15m in height. For an idea of size and growth habit, see the "tree form" photographs on this website.

The species name candisissimum means "very white" and must refer to the showy flower clusters produced in December and January. The white leaf-like forms beneath the flowers are actually bracts and are a component of the flower cluster. Their role is to attract pollinators.

The fruit is a brown capsule that splits open once it is mature (January - May). Leaves are a dark green and simple in an opposite arrangement along the stem. The leaves may be shed during periods of drought. The link above regarding flower clusters also provides detailed photos of leaves, capsules and seeds.

Calycophyllum candidissimum is used in archery, as it is apparently a very good wood for making bows.


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