Thursday, 12 May 2022

PATTERSON'S CURSE

Paterson's Curse (Echium plantagineum) is an invasive plant species in Australia. The name "Salvation Jane" originated from, and is mostly used in South Australia, due to its use as a source of food for grazing animals when the less drought tolerant grazing pastures die off. Other names are Blueweed, Lady Campbell Weed, Riverina Bluebell, and Purple Viper's Bugloss. Three other Echium species have been introduced and are of concern; Viper's Bugloss (Echium vulgare) is the most common of them. Viper's Bugloss is biennial, with a single unbranched flowering stem and smaller, more blue flowers, but is otherwise similar. This species is also useful for honey production.

Paterson's Curse has positive uses — it is the source for a particularly fine grade of honey. As a fodder plant, with proper handling, it can be valuable fodder over summer for cattle and sheep, but not livestock without ruminant digestive systems. In the 1880s it was introduced to Australia, probably both as an accidental contaminant of pasture seed and as an ornamental plant. It is said that both names for the plant derive from Jane Paterson or Patterson, an early settler of the country near Albury. She brought the first seeds from Europe to beautify a garden, and then could only watch helplessly as the weed infested previously productive pastures for many miles around.

Paterson's Curse is now a dominant broadleaf pasture weed through much of New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania and also infests native grasslands, heathlands and woodlands.

Echium plantagineum contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids and is poisonous. When eaten in large quantities, it causes reduced livestock weight or even (in severe cases) death. Paterson's Curse can kill horses and irritate the udders of dairy cows and the skin of humans. After the 2003 Canberra bushfires, there were over 40 recorded cases of horses being put down after eating the weed.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.





Thursday, 28 April 2022

CLEMATIS

Clematis is a genus of about 300 species within the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. Their garden hybrids have been popular among gardeners, beginning with Clematis × jackmanii, a garden standby since 1862; more hybrid cultivars are being produced constantly.

They are mainly of Chinese and Japanese origin. Most species are known as clematis in English, while some are also known as traveller's joy, a name invented for the sole British native, C. vitalba, by the herbalist John Gerard; virgin's bower for C. viticella; old man's beard, applied to several with prominent seedheads; and leather flower or vase vine for the North American Clematis viorna.

Illustrated here is the splendid hybrid Clematis 'Daniel Deronda'. Introduced in 1882, 'Daniel Deronda' still holds its own among modern varieties and has given the Royal Horticultural Society's prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in recognition of its outstanding excellence. It produces purple-blue flowers throughout the summer. These are semi-double early in the season and then single later on. The blooms are followed by eye-catching seed-heads which have a twist at the top.

To prune, remove any dead or weak stems in late winter or early spring and cut remaining stems back to the highest pair of strong-growing buds. To encourage blooms to cover the whole plant, train the stems so that they are evenly spaced on their support. As new growth appears in mid-spring, train this to fill any gaps. Plant in a sheltered position that is not north-facing.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme


Thursday, 7 April 2022

CHINESE LANTERN

Abutilon or 'Chinese lanterns' are closely related to hibiscus, and most of the hundred or so species have pendulous, hibiscus-like flowers. Cultivars produced by hybridising some of the South American abutilons have all been placed in one group known as Abutilon x hybridum, and these are the ones most commonly grown in Australian gardens.

They have a wispy, delicate form and colourful, lantern-shaped flowers. For gardeners who prefer plants with a more dense habit, new compact varieties are also available. Another popular abutilon is Abutilon megapotamicum, which is a prostrate or ground covering species with small orange flowers. Abutilon are evergreen shrubs with attractive maple-like leaves and an open, pendulous habit. They grow to about 2-3 metres tall.

Flowers in the Southern Hemisphere are produced in September to December, but they spot flower at other times. Flower colours include white, pink, red, yellow, orange and salmon. These plants grow well in most parts of Australia, except for the very cold mountain zones. In inland areas be sure to water well and keep protected with mulch. In hot inland climates abutilons appreciate some light shade.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Thursday, 31 March 2022

CHOCOLATE COSMOS

Cosmos atrosanguineus, the chocolate cosmos, is a species of Cosmos, native to Mexico, where it is extinct in the wild. The species was introduced into cultivation in 1902, where it survives as a single clone reproduced by vegetative propagation.

Cosmos atrosanguineus is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 40–60 cm tall, with a fleshy tuberous root. The leaves are 7–15 cm long, pinnate, with leaflets 2–5 cm long. The flowers are produced in a capitulum 3-4.5 cm diameter, dark red to maroon-dark brown, with a ring of six to ten (usually eight) broad ray florets and a centre of disc florets typical of the Asteraceae family.

The flowers have a light vanillin fragrance (like many chocolates), which becomes more noticeable as the summer day wears on. The single surviving clone is a popular ornamental plant, grown for its rich dark red-brown flowers. It is not self-fertile, so no viable seeds are produced, and the plant has to be propagated by division of the tubers, or by tissue culture.

It requires partial sun or full sun, and flowers from mid- to late summer. It is frost-sensitive (Zones 6-11); in temperate zones, the tuber has to be dug up and stored in a frost-free store over the winter.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme



Thursday, 17 March 2022

EVERGREEN AZALEA

Rhododendron is a genus of 500 to 900 species in the Ericaceae family and includes both of what we commonly call rhododendrons and azaleas. Most are evergreen but some are deciduous. Genus name comes from the Greek words rhodon meaning rose and dendron meaning tree. Transferred from the Greek name for Nerium oleander.

They originate mostly from the Northern Hemisphere with high concentrations in western China, the Himalayas and Myanmar (Burma). They are grown for their showy spring flowers and in the case of evergreen types for their attractive winter foliage. True rhododendrons have 10 stamens in a flower and azaleas have only 5. Much hybridisation has resulted in a great number of hybrid cultivars. Of note to gardeners in cool temperate areas are the large and small leaved evergreen rhododendrons and the evergreen and deciduous azaleas.

Evergreen azaleas develop as multi-stemmed plants from the ground and usually grow 3-5 feet tall. They retain their leaves throughout the year and are not as winter hardy as the deciduous azaleas. In cold winters flower buds may be frozen resulting in reduced or no flowering and foliage may winter burn (turn brown and be killed). Colour range is mostly from white to pink, red, lavender and purple.

'Conlec', commonly sold under the trade name of AUTUMN ROYALTY, is an evergreen azalea (Encore Series) that features large single purplish-pink flowers. It typically matures over time in an upright, dense, rounded form to 1.5 m tall and to 1.2 m wide. Large, open funnel-shaped flowers (to 10 cm diameter) bloom singly in early midseason (late April-May). A lesser repeat bloom may occur in late summer to fall. Matte green leaves (to 16 cm long) are evergreen. Parents are R. 'Georgia Giant' x R. oldhamii 'Fourth of July.' U. S. Plant Patent PP10,580 was issued on September 1, 1998.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme



Thursday, 10 March 2022

SUNRING

SUNRING

When you walk on grassy field
Ope’ your eyes and keep them peeled,
For Sunring golden may you find.
Angels came from Heaven high
To walk on fields with joy, so spry,
Bringing joy and love, mankind!

O, Sunring gold; O, Sunring round
Mine is good luck, fortune, found!

NJV

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme


Thursday, 24 February 2022

WALLFLOWERS

Erysimum cheiri syn. Cheiranthus cheiri (common name "wallflower") is a species of flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae (Cruciferae), native to Europe but widespread as an introduced species elsewhere. It is also widely cultivated as a garden plant. This is a herbaceous perennial, often grown as a biennial, with one or more highly branching stems reaching heights of 15–80 cm. The leaves are generally narrow and pointed and may be up to 20 cm long.

The top of the stem is occupied by a club-shaped inflorescence of strongly scented flowers. Each flower has purplish-green sepals and rounded petals which are two to three cm long and in shades of bright yellows to reds and purples. The flowers fall away to leave long fruits which are narrow, hairy siliques several cm in length. This is a popular ornamental plant, widely cultivated for its abundant, fragrant flowers in spring.

Many cultivars have been developed, in shades of yellow, orange, red, maroon, purple, brown, white and cream. It associates well in bedding schemes with other spring flowers such as tulips and forget-me-nots. It is usually grown as a biennial, sown one year to flower the next, and then discarded. This is partly because of its tendency to grow spindly and leggy during its second year, but more importantly its susceptibility to infections such as clubroot.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.




Thursday, 10 February 2022

SUNFLOWERS

Helianthus or sunflowers (from the Greek: ήλιος, Hēlios, "sun" and ανθός, anthos, "flower") is a genus of plants comprising about 70 species in the family Asteraceae. The genus is one of many in the Asteraceae that are known as sunflowers. Except for three species in South America, all Helianthus species are native to North America. The common name, "sunflower", typically refers to the popular annual species 

Helianthus annuus, the common sunflower (shown here), whose round flower heads in combination with the ligules look like the sun. This and other species, notably Jerusalem artichoke (H. tuberosus), are cultivated in temperate regions as food crops and ornamental plants. The largest sunflower field is located in Tuscany, Italy. The domesticated sunflower, H. annuus, is the most familiar species.

Perennial sunflower species are not as popular for gardens due to their tendency to spread rapidly and become invasive. Whorled sunflowers, H. verticillatus, were listed as an endangered species in 2014 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a final rule protecting it under the Endangered Species Act. The primary threats are industrial forestry and pine plantations in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. They grow to 1.8 m and are primarily found in woodlands, adjacent to creeks and moist, prairie-like areas.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Thursday, 27 January 2022

XERANTHEMUM

Xeranthemum annuum (immortelle; everlasting) is an annual herb with an erect and branched stem, 20–50 cm high. The leaves are alternate, sessile, linear, densely white downy, the flower-heads are solitary, petal-like involucral bracts are spreading, pink, lilac, rarely white, tubular florets are purple. The fruit is an achene.

It is a native of Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Western Asia (Iran, Lebanon, Syria). It grows on sunny slopes, in vineyards, on river and lake banks, from lowlands to foothills. Flowers from May to August. A very popular garden plant, may be used as a cut or dried flower.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme


Thursday, 20 January 2022

VERVAIN

Verbena rigida, known as slender vervain or tuberous vervain, is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant in the family Verbenaceae. It is native to Brazil and Argentina, and is not fully hardy in temperate climates, where consequently it is grown from seed as an annual. Growing to 60 centimetres, it has a spreading habit, with stalkless toothed leaves and bright purple or magenta, scented flowers in summer. Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden use. The species has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Thursday, 13 January 2022

HIBISCUS

A double, pink hibiscus hybrid in a neighbour's yard. I am not overly fond of the double forms, but this one was looking at its best and the day was a perfect Summer's day, so I relented and took the photo.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme