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1. Every Friday post a photo that includes one or more flowers.
2. Please only post photos you have authority to use.
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When to Post:
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Thursday, 18 August 2016

FFF248 - HEBE 'BLUE GEM'

Hebe is a genus of plants native to New Zealand, Rapa in French Polynesia, the Falkland Islands, and South America. It includes about 90 species and is the largest plant genus in New Zealand. Apart from H. rapensis (endemic to Rapa), all species occur in New Zealand. This includes the two species, H. salicifolia and H. elliptica, that have distributions extending to South America.

The genus is named after the Greek goddess of youth, Hebe. There are differing classifications for the genus and some botanists include Hebe, together with the related Australasian genera Chionohebe, Derwentia, Detzneria, Parahebe, Heliohebe and Leonohebe, in the larger genus Veronica (hence its common name 'Shrubby veronica').

Hebe has four perpendicular rows of leaves in opposite decussate pairs. The flowers are perfect, the corolla usually has four slightly unequal lobes, the flower has two stamens and a long style. Flowers are arranged in a spiked inflorescence. Identification of Hebe species is difficult, especially if they are not in flower.

The plants range in size from dwarf shrubs to small trees up to 7 metres, and are distributed from coastal to alpine ecosystems. Large-leaved species are normally found on the coast, in lowland scrub and along forest margins. At higher altitudes smaller-leaved species grow, and in alpine areas there are whipcord species with leaves reduced to thick scales.

Hebes are grown in many gardens and public areas; they attract butterflies. Hebes cope with most soil types, and can be propagated easily from both seed and cuttings. Wild Hebe hybrids are uncommon; however, there are many cultivated hybrids, such as Hebe × franciscana 'Blue Gem', shown here.


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Thursday, 11 August 2016

FFF247 - PAPER DAISIES

Rhodanthe, also known as sunray or pink paper daisy, is a genus of Australian plants in the pussy's-toes tribe within the daisy family, Asteraceae. The name Rhodanthe is derived from Greek rhodon, rose and anthos, flower. Many Rhodanthe species were formerly classed under different genera, including Helipterum, Podotheca, Acroclinium and Waitzia.

Rhodanthe chlorocephala subspecies rosea (shown here) is the most widely grown subspecies and is commonly known as “Pink and White Everlasting”, “Rosy Sunray”, “Pink Paper-daisy” and “Rosy Everlasting”. It grows naturally in the south of Western Australia extending into South Australia. Rhodanthe chlorocephala subsp. rosea is an erect annual herb 20-60cm high with clumps of glabrous (hairless) grey-green stems and leaves 1-6cm in length. It has a large single flowering head at the tip of each stem. Flower heads grow to 6cm diameter, gradually decreasing as the flowering season progresses.

The colour of the bracts varies from deep pink (almost red) through pale pink to pure white, with a yellow or black centre. Stems branch early in the season. You can encourage this habit (to create more blossoms) by pinching out the growing tips. Rhodanthe chlorocephala subsp. rosea is adaptable and ephemeral, springing up whenever conditions are right e.g. during warm, sunny weeks anytime of the year. It prefers full sun to dappled shade and grows well in open woodland. Grown in full shade it tends to be long and spindly.

It thrives in well-drained sandy soils and tends to be smaller when grown in heavy, clay soils. It generally flowers from August to November in the wild but with sufficient water and warmth it will flower at other times. It flowers 10 to 12 weeks after germination and the flowers last a good two weeks. The flowering period lasts 4 to 10 weeks. Fruit appear approximately 4 weeks after flowering.

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Thursday, 4 August 2016

FFF246 - ALOE MACULATA

Aloe maculata (synonym Aloe saponaria; commonly known as the soap aloe or zebra aloe) is a Southern African species of aloe in the Asphodelaceae family. Local people in South Africa know it informally as the "Bontaalwyn" in Afrikaans, or "Lekhala" in the Sesotho language.

It is a very variable species and hybridises easily with other similar aloes, sometimes making it difficult to identify. The leaves range in colour from red to green, but always have distinctive "H-shaped" spots. The flowers are similarly variable in colour, ranging from bright red to yellow, but are always bunched in a distinctively flat-topped raceme. The inflorescence is borne on the top of a tall, multi-branched stalk and the seeds are reputedly poisonous.

This species was previously known as Aloe saponaria (a name that came from the Latin "sapo" meaning soap, as the sap makes a soapy lather in water - the juice from the leaves is traditionally used as soap by indigenous people). Its currently accepted name, according to the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), is Aloe maculata ("maculata" means speckled or marked). Taxonomically, it forms part of the Saponariae series of very closely related Aloe species, together with Aloe petrophila, Aloe umfoloziensis, Aloe greatheadii and Aloe davyana.

The Soap Aloe is highly adaptable and is naturally found in a wide range of habitats across Southern Africa, from Zimbabwe in the north, to the Cape Peninsula in the south. Specifically, it is native to southern and eastern South Africa, south-eastern Botswana and Zimbabwe. In addition, it is now planted around the world as a popular landscape plant in warm desert regions – especially in the United States, where it is the most popular ornamental aloe in the Tucson, Arizona area, and is also popular in California.

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Thursday, 28 July 2016

FFF245 - AEONIUM

The genus Aeonium includes at least 35 species of tender, rosetted, leaf succulents mainly from the Canary Islands but also found in Madeira, Morocco and Ethiopia. These succulent plants vary in size from small herbs almost flat against the ground to woody shrubs with stout basal stems supporting one or more disc-shaped rosettes, giving them a distinctive appearance. The generic name comes from the Greek "aionion" = everliving.

Flowers are panicles of numerous small yellow or white florets. Some Aeonium species are monocarpic. Natural hybrids are common and there are many attractive horticultural hybrids and cutivars. The sap of Aeonium lindleyi is a traditional antidote to the toxic sap of Euphorbias e.g. E. canariensis. Aeonium includes the former genera Greenonium and Greenovia (Mountain Roses), which may be seen occasionally on plant labels and in old books. Many species were originally classified as Sempervivums.

Aeonium undulatum, shown here, is a succulent, evergreen subshrub, is one of the larger species of Aeonium with the rosette often over a metre from the ground on a single stem. Other rosettes do not branch off this stem (normally) but grow from the bottom, unlike most aeoniums. The plant is monocarpic so the flowering stem will die when it flowers which is normally after about 5 years. The specific epithet undulatum comes from the Latin unda, meaning "wave" and refers to the wavy leaves. Synonyms include Sempervivum undulatum and Sempervivum youngianum. The common name "saucer plant" is applied to this and other plants of a similar habit. In temperate regions this plant is grown under glass. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

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Thursday, 21 July 2016

FFF244 - GUNGURRU

Eucalyptus caesia, commonly known as Caesia, Gungurru or Silver Princess, is a mallee of the Eucalyptus genus. It is endemic to the central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, where it is found on a small number of granite outcrops. The name "silver" refers to the white powder that covers the branches, flower buds and fruit. "Gungurru" comes from the name used by the indigenous Noongar people.

Two subspecies have been identified: caesia (about 6–9 metres tall) and magna (up to 15 metres tall). The bark is red-brown, of the curly minni ritchi type. Branches tend to flail or weep on the ground. Trees have large red-pink or white flowers, 40-50mm in diameter. They are widely grown as ornamental native plants, but have become rare in the wild.

Eucalyptus caesia was named in 1867 by George Bentham from specimens collected by James Drummond in 1847. Drummond made his collection too late in the season to gather buds and flowers, and this made later identification difficult. During the Elder Scientific Exploring Expedition of 1891–2, Richard Helms gathered specimens of a Eucalyptus that the Indigenous Australians of the area called "Gungurru".

This was almost certainly Eucalyptus woodwardii, but in 1896 it was misidentified by Mueller and Tate as E. caesia. This led to the incorrect application of the common name "Gungurru" to E. caesia, and to confusion about the species' distribution. Authenticated collections of E. caesia were later made by A. Morrison in 1885, and in 1923 Charles Gardner collected specimens from a form with considerably larger leaves, buds, flowers and fruits. This was later recognised as subspecies magna by Brooker and Hopper (1982), with the original form being designated subspecies caesia.

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Thursday, 14 July 2016

FFF243 - SPEAR THISTLE

Cirsium vulgare (spear thistle) is a species of the genus Cirsium, in the family Asteraceae, native throughout most of Europe (north to 66°N, locally 68°N), Western Asia (east to the Yenisei Valley), and northwestern Africa (Atlas Mountains). It is also naturalised in North America, Africa, and Australia and is as an invasive weed in some areas.  It is the national flower of Scotland.

It is a tall biennial or short-lived monocarpic thistle, forming a rosette of leaves and a taproot up to 70 cm long in the first year, and a flowering stem 1–1.5 m tall in the second (rarely third or fourth) year. The stem is winged, with numerous longitudinal spine-tipped wings along its full length. The leaves are stoutly spined, grey-green, deeply lobed; the basal leaves up to 15–25 cm long, with smaller leaves on the upper part of the flower stem; the leaf lobes are spear-shaped (from which the English name derives). The inflorescence is 2.5–5 cm diameter, pink-purple, with all the florets of similar form (no division into disc and ray florets). The seeds are 5 mm long, with a downy pappus, which assists in wind dispersal. As in other species of Cirsium (but unlike species in the related genus Carduus), the pappus hairs are feathery with fine side hairs.

Spear thistle is often a ruderal species, colonising bare disturbed ground, but also persists well on heavily grazed land as it is unpalatable to most grazing animals. Nitrogen-rich soils help increase its proliferation. The flowers are a rich nectar source used by numerous pollinating insects, including honey bees, wool-carder bees, and many butterflies.

The seeds are eaten by goldfinches, linnets and greenfinches. The seeds are dispersed by wind, mud, water, and possibly also by ants; they do not show significant long-term dormancy, most germinating soon after dispersal and only a few lasting up to four years in the soil seed bank. Seed is also often spread by human activity such as hay bales.

Spear thistle is designated an "injurious weed" under the UK Weeds Act 1959, and a noxious weed in Australia and in nine US states. Spread is only by seed, not by root fragments as in the related creeping thistle C. arvense. It is best cleared from land by hoeing and deep cutting of the taproot before seeds mature; regular cultivation also prevents its establishment.

The stems can be peeled and then steamed or boiled. The tap roots can be eaten raw or cooked, but are only palatable on young thistles that have not flowered yet.

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Thursday, 7 July 2016

FFF242 - BACOPA SCOPIA

Sutera is a genus of annual and perennial flowering plants and shrubs of the family Scrophulariaceae mainly confined to Africa. S cordata was named Manulea cordata in 1800 by Thunberg. Bentham renamed it Chaenostoma in 1836, Kuntze changed it to Sutera in 1891 on the grounds of Synonymy. In 1994 Hilliard considered the two terms subgenera of Sutera, but in 2005 Kornhall and Bremer separated the two again, placing S cordata in Chaenostoma!

Illustrated here is a garden hybrid, Sutera 'Dancop28'( SCOPIA® GULLIVER BLUE SENSATION, SCOPIA® SERIES) PP21551. They are pretty little pale blue-violet flowers with yellow throats cover the toothed foliage on the Scopia® Gulliver Blue Sensation. This hybrid cultivar from the Scopia™ Series is a vigorous, trailing, tender perennial, descended from plants native to South Africa. It was selected in 2007 by plant breeders at a greenhouse facility in Israel.

Like other Suteras, it is prized as a container plant and groundcover. The flowers rise above just the stems, facing upward, are larger than those of parental species and appear continuously as long as the plant is growing and conditions are sunny and mild. With a rounded habit and somewhat spreading branch tips, 'Dangul14' - marketed as Scopia® Gullivar Blue Sensation - grows and blooms best in well-drained, moist soil or potting mix. Its mounded, rather compact habit and tireless bloom make it useful for hanging baskets, planters and containers, or as a year-round groundcover where winters are frostless and summers are mild.

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