The rules for posting are simple!

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, 15 November 2018

FFF364 - ALSTROEMERIA

Alstroemeria, commonly called the Peruvian lily or lily of the Incas, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Alstroemeriaceae. They are all native to South America. Almost all of the species are restricted to one of two distinct centres of diversity, one in central Chile, the other in eastern Brazil. Species of Alstroemeria from Chile are winter-growing plants while those of Brazil are summer-growing. All are long-lived perennials except Alstroemeria graminea, a diminutive annual from the Atacama Desert of Chile.

The genus was named after the Swedish baron Clas Alströmer (1736 – 1794) by his close friend Carolus Linnaeus. Many hybrids and at least 190 cultivars have been developed, featuring many different markings and colours, including white, yellow, orange, apricot, pink, red, purple, and lavender. The most popular and showy hybrids commonly grown today result from crosses between species from Chile (winter-growing) with species from Brazil (summer-growing). This strategy has overcome the problem of seasonal dormancy and resulted in plants that are evergreen, or nearly so, and flower for most of the year. This breeding work derives mainly from trials that began in the United States in the 1980s. The flower, which resembles a miniature lily, is very popular for bouquets and flower arrangements in the commercial cut flower trade.

Shown here is the hybrid 'Indian Summer'. This variety has a strong upright habit and produces pale orange to yellow flowers set against unique bronze foliage. Height 70-100cm spread 30-70cm. Plant in part-shade, fertilise regularly and do not allow the soil to dry out.

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Thursday, 8 November 2018

FFF363 - PINCUSHION PROTEA

Leucospermum is a genus of evergreen upright, sometimes creeping shrubs that is assigned to the Proteaceae, with currently forty-eight known species. Almost all species are easily recognised as Leucospermum because of the long protruding styles with a thickened pollen-presenter, which jointly give the flower head the appearance of a pincushion, its common name. Pincushions can be found in South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Currently, the genus is subdivided in nine sections based on morphological commonalities and differences, each section having several species. The classification becomes more complex when garden hybrids are considered. Leucospermum pluridens 'Gold Fever' is shown here and is a large upright evergreen shrub of up to 3 m high. It has leathery, oblong to wedge-shaped leaves about 7½ cm long and 2½ cm wide, deeply incised near the tip with seven to ten teeth.

It has initially yellow, later carmine coloured flower heads. The 2 cm long bracts have slender, recurved tips. From the centre of the perianth emerge long styles that jointly give the impression of a pincushion. It is called Robinson pincushion in English and Robinson-kreupelhout in Afrikaans. Flowers can be found between September and December. It naturally occurs in the south of South Africa.

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Thursday, 1 November 2018

FFF362 - ROSA 'HENRI MATISSE'

Rosa 'Henri Matisse' is a Delbard rose. Georges Delbard began the family empire with a simple shop in Paris 1935 selling his vegetable seedlings and flowers. A keen grower of new plant varieties, Georges soon found the need for more varieties of fruit trees, so he began breeding new trees on a small property in Malicorne, 3 hours south of Paris. His success grew and many Delbard Garden Centres were opened around France.

Rose breeding began in earnest around the early 1950's and from that moment Delbards fame as a great rose breeder grew, first throughout France, then Europe. Today their roses can be seen growing in gardens and glasshouses from South America to South Africa, North America, Japan, Russia and finally Australia.

The Delbard rose collection is well known for its 'Painters' hybrids, which are variegated and multicoloured. These roses have been named after great Artists that add a brilliant flare to any garden. We have 'Henri Matisse' hybrid growing in our garden, and what led us to choose this was the intense delicious fragrance it has.

Rosa 'Henri Matisse; is a grandiflora style plant with swirling colours of raspberries, pinks and whites in large double flowers. Marvellous rich perfume with notes of rose and raspberry. it is a sturdy bush and produces mass flowering, bursting with colour.

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Thursday, 25 October 2018

FFF361 - TIGER LILY

Lilium (members of which are true lilies) is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants growing from bulbs, all with large prominent flowers. Lilies are a group of flowering plants which are important in culture and literature in much of the world. Most species are native to the temperate northern hemisphere, though their range extends into the northern subtropics. Many other plants have "lily" in their common name but are not related to true lilies.

The Tiger Lily, bears large, fiery orange flowers covered by spots. The name tiger probably refers to the spots on the petals. The flowers of this perennial can grow up to three inches in width. The Tiger Lily is also known as the Ditch Lily as it is found in and around ditches in large parts of America. This lily has a strong, sweet and distinctive smell. Besides producing a stunning spectacle, most parts of this plant are edible.

There are two varieties of the Tiger Lily: The Oriental Variety, which propagates through bulbs that form at leaf axils; and the Common Wildflower Variety, which propagates by tuberous roots. Due to its wild growing nature, the Tiger Lily is incredibly easy to grow. It thrives in moist to wet soils and hence grows well near ditches. Early to mid-autumn is the best time to plant out the bulbs in cool temperate areas, in warmer areas they can be planted out as late as late autumn.

The Tiger Lily is sterile and does not produce seeds. It can, however, be propagated through the bulbils (small bulbs) that grow in the axils of the leaves. Bulb scales can be removed from the bulbils and grown in moist peat in a cool dark place until they produce bulbets. They can be then grown in a nursery and later planted outside.

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Thursday, 18 October 2018

FFF360 - ROSA 'KARDINAL'

Rosa 'Kardinal' was raised by Kordes, Germany in 1985 and was originally produced for the cut-flower market. This rose does exceedingly well in the home garden and one bush will continually produce many perfect flowers. However, if three bushes are planted in a clump, gardeners would never have to purchase a red rose from the florist because this abundant flowering rose will generously provide bunches of vase quality roses throughout the season.

Unfortunately, because of its perfect form, Kardinal invites you to take a sniff to enjoy the perfume – the disappointment of little or no fragrance lasts only moments because the flowers will endure in the vase for more than 10 days! The strong, long stems on this rose carry lots of prickles and there is usually one rose per stem which makes it easy to use a de-thorner. The foliage is semi-glossy, dark green and has good resistance to black-spot and mildew. If Kardinal is well nurtured, the flowers will be large and flower production will be immense in all weather conditions.

The generally sunny, dry and hot conditions of the Australian garden are particularly well suited to planting roses and roses flourish in our gardens when you take measures to provide the following:
  • WATER – Roses are very deep rooted plants and require one good, deep soaking at least every 10 days in hot and dry conditions.
  • FEED – Because roses flower throughout all but the Winter season, they should be regularly fertilized with quality (preferably organic) fertilizer which contains a balance of major nutrients (NPK) and trace elements. The fertilizer should be applied at least once a month – small amount often – with fortnightly applications of liquid seaweed over the foliage.
  • PRUNE – During Winter, 70% of the rose plant should be pruned and all old wood removed back to the crown and the bush pruned to shape. During the flowering seasons, 25% of all flowering stems should be cut back after flowering to encourage strong re-growth.
  • MULCH – Particular attention to application of lucerne or pea straw directly around the root-zone of each rose will enhance the overall health of the rose and then the whole bed should be mulched to 75mm with any other mulch medium available.

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Thursday, 11 October 2018

FFF369 - PALE POPPY

Papaver argemone is a species of the genus Papaver. Its common names include long pricklyhead poppy, prickly poppy and pale poppy. Its native range includes parts of Eurasia and North Africa, and it is cultivated as an ornamental plant. It can be found growing wild in parts of North America, where it is an introduced species.

This annual herb grows up to 50 cm, Its 15–50 cm long, branching stems are coated in stiff prickly hairs. The fern-like green, leaves at the base of the plant have stalks, but upper leaves are stalk-less. They can be up to 20 cm long. It blooms in spring to summer, between May and July. The flowers have four, slightly overlapping red petals, around a dark base. They can measure 2–5.5 cm across, with pale blue anthers and 4-6 stigmas. Later, the plant produces a seed capsule, oblong to clavate (clubbed like) shaped with ribs and up to 2 cm long.

The plant contains alkaloids, explaining its traditional use in herbal medicines. It also means the plant is not eaten much by grazing animals. It is native to Europe and countries around the Mediterranean. It grows in fields and disturbed soils (including ploughed). It is normally found at 0–300 m above sea level.

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Thursday, 4 October 2018

FFF368 - SERRURIA

Serruria florida is a species of flowering plant in the family Proteaceae, endemic to South Africa. It is known by the common names of blushing bride or pride of Franschhoek. This species grows to between 0.8 and 1.5 metres in height and 0.5 metres in width. The leaves are fine and dissected and the flowers are white to pink and appear from July to October in its native range.

It occurs in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve in the Cape Province. A well-drained position in full sun is preferred by this species, which tolerates dryness. Propagation is from cuttings or seed, although the latter can prove difficult. The species is cultivated for the cut flower trade and it is also grown as an ornamental plant.

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Thursday, 27 September 2018

FFF367 - WARATAH

Telopea speciosissima or the “waratah” is a native Australian plant with spectacular flowers. Robert Brown (1773-1858) named the genus Telopea in 1810 from specimens collected in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. Sir James Smith (1759-1828), a noted botanist and founder of the Linnaean Society in England, wrote in 1793: 'The most magnificent plant which the prolific soil of New Holland affords is, by common consent, both of Europeans and Natives, the Waratah. It is moreover a favourite with the latter, upon account of a rich honeyed juice which they sip from its flowers'.

The generic name Telopea is derived from the Greek 'telopos', meaning 'seen from afar', and refers to the great distance from which the crimson flowers are discernible. The specific name speciosissima is the superlative of the Latin adjective 'speciosus', meaning 'beautiful' or 'handsome'. 'Waratah', the Aboriginal name for the species, was adopted by early settlers at Port Jackson.

Telopea is an eastern Australian genus of four species. Two are confined to New South Wales, one to Tasmania and one extends from eastern Victoria into New South Wales. Telopea belongs to the family, Proteaceae, which is predominantly Australian and southern African. The Waratah is a stout, erect shrub which may grow to 4 metres. The dark green leathery leaves, 13-25 cm in length, are arranged alternately and tend to be coarsely toothed. The flowers are grouped in rounded heads 7 to 10 cm in diameter surrounded by crimson bracts, about 5 to 7 cm long.

It flowers from September to November and nectar-seeking birds act as pollinators. Large winged seeds are released when the brown leathery pods split along one side. The species is fairly widespread on the central coast and adjoining mountains of New South Wales, occurring from the Gibraltar Range, north of Sydney, to Conjola in the south. It grows mainly in the shrub understorey in open forest developed on sandstone and adjoining volcanic formations, from sea level to above 1000 metres in the Blue Mountains. Soils within its range tend to be sandy and low in plant nutrients. Rainfall is moderately high. Waratah plants resist destruction by bushfires, a natural element of their habitat, by regenerating from the rootstock. Flowering recommences two years after a moderate fire.

The Waratah is a spectacular garden subject in suitable soil and climate; it flowers prolifically and tends to be long-lived. The Waratah occurs naturally in at least ten national parks in the geological formation, know as the Sydney Basin. Brisbane Water, Dharug and Macquarie Pass National Parks are among the areas where this species is conserved. Waratahs are cultivated north of Sydney and in the Dandenong Ranges, Victoria. They are grown in Israel, New Zealand and Hawaii for the cut flower trade. It was introduced to England in 1789 but cannot survive English winters out of doors except in the south-west coastal regions, and it rarely flowers in glasshouses. It is also cultivated in California.

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Thursday, 20 September 2018

FFF356 - SPRING BOUQUET

It's the Spring Equinox here in the Southern Hemisphere and I'm posting today a bouquet gathered from our garden. You can find in it the following flowers:

Freesias, anemones, bluebells, daisies, marigolds, stocks, ixias, rosemary, bergenias, lilies, sparaxis, canola, red valerian.

The fragrance is delicious and it certainly brings Spring indoors very effectively.

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Thursday, 13 September 2018

FFF355 - LITHODORA

Lithodora diffusa ‘Grace Ward’ (also called blue lithospermum, USDA Zone: 5-9) in the Boraginaceae family is a choice ground-cover or rock garden plant, making an unforgettable display when grown well. Plants form a low, creeping mat of hairy dark-green leaves, studded with sapphire-blue star flowers from late spring through summer. The Greek lithodora literally means "stone gift", referring to their preferred rocky habitats.

Plants must have a well-drained, acidic soil in order to thrive. Heavy clay soils are sure death. In colder regions this plant will benefit from a light covering of evergreen boughs as soon as the soil is frozen in late Autumn. Combines well with heaths and heathers, since plants have similar requirements. Evergreen where hardy. Not especially vigorous.

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Thursday, 6 September 2018

FFF354 - WHITE BOTTLEBRUSH

Callistemon is a genus of shrubs in the family Myrtaceae, first described as a genus in 1814. The entire genus is endemic to Australia but widely cultivated in many other regions and naturalised in scattered locations. Their status as a separate taxon is in doubt, some authorities accepting that the difference between callistemons and melaleucas is not sufficient for them to be grouped in a separate genus.

Callistemon species have commonly been referred to as bottlebrushes because of their cylindrical, brush like flowers resembling a traditional bottle brush. They are mostly found in the more temperate regions of Australia, especially along the east coast and typically favour moist conditions so when planted in gardens thrive on regular watering. However, two species are found in Tasmania and several others in the south-west of Western Australia. At least some species are drought-resistant and some are used in ornamental landscaping elsewhere in the world.

Melaleuca pallida, commonly known as lemon bottlebrush, is a plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae and is endemic to eastern Australia. (Some Australian state herbaria use the name Callistemon pallidus.) It is an upright shrub with thin, spreading branches, silvery new growth and pale yellow, sometimes pinkish bottlebrush flowers. Callistemon pallidus is a hardy plant, adaptable to many soils but needs full sun.

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Thursday, 30 August 2018

FFF353 - LACHENALIA

Lachenalia aloides (opal flower) is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae, native to the Western Cape of South Africa. It is a bulbous perennial growing to 15–28 cm  tall by 5 cm broad, with strap-shaped spotted leaves and fleshy stems bearing pendant tubular yellow flowers, red at the tips, in winter and spring.

The Latin aloides literally means "aloe-like"; though L. aloides, despite its similarity, does not belong to the same family of plants as aloes. Numerous cultivars have been bred for garden use. They require a sheltered, frost-free position or under glass. The following have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit: L. aloides var. aurea and L. aloides var. quadricolor.

Lachenalia look good planted at the front of beds and borders, in rockeries, along pathways or in pots. Plant into well drained soil in a sunny position. They will tolerate some shade but flower better in sun. Plant 5-10cm deep and 10cm apart. Water in then keep just moist in growth. Add a little fertiliser when they begin to bloom and that is about all you will need to do. They are easy care bulbs that can be left in the ground to naturalise. Try combining Lachenalia with Muscari or Grape Hyacinths; they also grow well with early Daffodils or spring star flowers.

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Thursday, 23 August 2018

FFF352 - LEUCADENDRON

Leucadendron is a genus of about 80 species of flowering plants in the family Proteaceae, endemic to South Africa, where they are a prominent part of the fynbos ecoregion and vegetation type.

Species in the genus Leucadendron are small trees or shrubs that are erect or creeping. Most species are shrubs that grow up to 1 m tall, some to 2 or 3 m. A few grow into moderate-sized trees up to 16 m tall. All are evergreen. The leaves are largely elliptical, sometimes needle-like, spirally arranged, simple, entire, and usually green, often covered with a waxy bloom, and in the case of the Silvertree, with a distinct silvery tone produced by dense, straight, silky hairs. This inspired the generic name Leucadendron, which literally means "white tree".

The flowers are produced in dense inflorescences at the branch tips; plants are dioecious, with separate male and female plants. The seed heads, or infructescences, of Leucadendron are woody cone-like structures. This gave rise to their generic common name cone-bush. The cones contain numerous seeds. The seed morphology is varied and reflects subgeneric groupings within the genus.

Shown here is Leucadendron salignum 'Fireglow'. It has red-tipped, green foliage, with masses of red flower bracts from early autumn to early spring. It prefers a well drained, acidic soil and will tolerate light frosts, as well as coastal conditions. Prune after flowering and fertilise with an acidic fertiliser sparingly. This plant has a moderate water requirement once established. These flowers bracts make excellent cut flowers. The plants compact nature makes it ideal for small hedges, general landscaping, and looks fantastic in decorative pots.

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Thursday, 16 August 2018

FFF351 - TULIP TREE

Liriodendron tulipifera (known as the tulip tree, American tulip tree, tuliptree, tulip poplar, whitewood, fiddle-tree, and yellow poplar) is the Western Hemisphere representative of the two-species genus Liriodendron, and the tallest eastern hardwood. It is native to eastern North America from Southern Ontario and Illinois eastward across southern New England and south to central Florida and Louisiana.

It can grow to more than 50 m in virgin cove forests of the Appalachian Mountains, often with no limbs until it reaches 25–30 m in height, making it a very valuable timber tree. It is fast-growing, without the common problems of weak wood strength and short lifespan often seen in fast-growing species. April marks the start of the flowering period in the southern USA; trees at the northern limit of cultivation begin to flower in June. Surprisingly, the flower-bearing branches make good cut flower displays.

The flowers are pale green or yellow (rarely white), with an orange band on the tepals; they yield large quantities of nectar. The tulip tree is the state tree of Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Tulip trees make magnificently shaped specimen trees, but are very large, growing to about 35 m in good soil. Liriodendron tulipifera has been introduced to many temperate parts of the world, at least as far north as Sykkylven, Norway.

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Thursday, 9 August 2018

FFF350 - LOROPETALUM

Loropetalum is a genus of three species of shrubs or small trees in the witch-hazel family, Hamamelidaceae, native to China, Japan, and south-eastern Asia. The name Loropetalum refers to the shape of the flowers and comes from the Greek loros meaning strap and petalon meaning petal.

Flowers are produced in clusters during spring and are similar to those of the closely related witch-hazel. Each flower consists of four to six (depending on species) slender strap shaped petals 1-2 cm long. Illustrated here is Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum, often called "Chinese Fringe Flower". Plan your colours to begin with. This particular loropetalum looks great in a black pot for an oriental feel or try a bright contrasting colour for a real statement.

As it’s low growing, plant it at the front of garden beds for maximum impact. Loropetalums in general prefer moist but well drained soils but are quite adaptable to less than ideal conditions. Pruning is generally not required, however, you can give a light trim after flowering to help keep them in your preferred shape. A feed with a slow release fertiliser in early spring is beneficial. They are ideal for low maintenance areas, rockeries and garden edges.

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Thursday, 2 August 2018

FFF349 - DEANE'S WATTLE

Acacia deanei (Deane's wattle, green wattle) is a tree native to Australia, which is used for controlling erosion. There are two subspecies: Acacia deanei subsp. deanei and Acacia deanei subsp. paucijuga. Both subspecies are mainly 2-4 m tall and grow on plains, slopes and tablelands, often near watercourses, in gullies or on stony hillsides, and on a wide range of soil types in Eastern Australia.

This species often flowers throughout the year, especially during March to August; pods mature mainly during October to March or sometimes later. There are about 45 viable seeds per gram. Nicking or boiling the seeds in water for a minute at 100°C is required to induce germination. The seeds start to germinate in about 5 days if grown at 25°C.

Acacia deanei is a fast growing, nitrogen-fixing shrub that has the potential to play a valuable role in catchment protection. It is relatively drought and cold tolerant; its pollen has value in apiculture. This tree is known to be moderately drought tolerant but is killed by damaging fire and does not regenerate foliage afterwards. It tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range or tolerates heavy frosts colder than -5°C. This tree has good ornamental attributes and is often used in the urban environment as a street or park tree. 

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Thursday, 26 July 2018

FFF348 - PRUNUS

Prunus mume is an Asian tree species classified in the Armeniaca section of the genus Prunus subgenus Prunus. Its common names include Chinese plum and Japanese apricot. The flower is usually called plum blossom. This distinct tree species is related to both the plum and apricot trees. Although generally referred to as a plum in English, it is more closely related to the apricot.

In Chinese, Japanese and Korean cooking, the fruit of the tree is used in juices, as a flavouring for alcohol, as a pickle and in sauces. It is also used in traditional medicine. The tree's flowering in late winter and early spring is highly regarded as a seasonal symbol. It is flowering now in Melbourne, which is a little early! Our July is equivalent to the Northern Hemisphere January. Nevertheless, it does look splendid...

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Thursday, 19 July 2018

FFF347 - CHRYSANTHEMUM

Although once referred to as Dendranthema, the florists chrysanthemum is now correctly known under its old name. There are about 40 species in the genus Chrysanthemum, mainly from East Asia. In China, where they have been cultivated for over 2,500 years, the chrysanthemum was used medicinally and for flavouring, as well as for ornament. All chrysanthemum flowers are edible, but the flavour varies widely from plant to plant, from sweet to tangy to bitter or peppery. It may take some experimentation to find flavours you like.

The flower is also significant in Japan where it is a symbol of happiness and longevity, and the royal family has ruled for 2,600 years from the Chrysanthemum Throne. The annual species are referred to as Xanthophthalmum and are mainly used for summer bedding or as fillers in borders of perennial flowers. Most chrysanthemums are upright plants with lobed leaves that can be aromatic. The many showy flowerheads, carried at the tips of strong stems, begin to bloom as the days shorten.

Florists chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum grandiflorum) are grouped according to form: Irregular incurved, reflexed, regular incurved, intermediate incurved, pompon, single and semi-double, anemone, spoon, quill, spider, brush or thistle, and unclassified, which is a catch-all group for blooms not yet classified or not falling into one of the existing groups. Florists chrysanthemums prefer a heavier richer soil in a sunny position, though they like a spot that offers some afternoon shade. The plants require training and trimming to produce their best flowers. Pinch back when young and disbud to ensure the best flower show.Propagate by division when dormant or from half-hardened summer cuttings.

Shown  here is the 'Garden Pixie' miniature chrysanthemum, which flowers prolifically and adds welcome splashes of intense colour in the garden or in pots. Intense greenhouse cultivation for the florist trade means that these chrysanthemums are available almost all year round.

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Thursday, 12 July 2018

FFF346 - JONQUILS

Narcissus jonquilla (Jonquil, Rush daffodil) is a bulbous flowering plant, a species of Narcissus (daffodil) that is native to southwestern Europe and northern Africa, but has naturalised throughout Europe and the United States. It bears long, narrow, rush-like leaves (hence the name "jonquil", Spanish junquillo, from the Latin juncus = "rush"). It is in the Amaryllidaceae family of plants.

In Spring it bears heads of up to 5 scented yellow or white flowers. It is a parent of numerous varieties within Division 7 of the horticultural classification. Division 7 in the Royal Horticultural Society classification of Narcissus includes N. jonquilla and N. apodanthus hybrids and cultivars that show clear characteristics of those two species. N. jonquilla has been cultivated since the 18th century in France as the strongest of the Narcissus species used in Narcissus Oil, a component of many modern perfumes.

Like other members of their family, narcissi produce a number of different alkaloids, which provide some protection for the plant, but may be poisonous if accidentally ingested. This property has been exploited for medicinal use in traditional healing and has resulted in the production of galantamine for the treatment of Alzheimer's dementia.

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Thursday, 5 July 2018

FFF345 - CHOISYA

Choisya is a small genus of aromatic evergreen shrubs in the rue family, Rutaceae. Members of the genus are commonly known as Mexican orange or mock orange due to the similarity of their flowers with those of the closely related orange, both in shape and scent. They are native to southern North America, from Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and south through most of Mexico. In its generic name Humboldt and Bonpland honoured Swiss botanist Jacques Denis Choisy (1799-1859).

The species grow to 1 to 3 m tall. The leaves are opposite, leathery, glossy, palmately compound with 3-13 leaflets, each leaflet 3–8 cm long and 0.5–3.5 cm broad. C. ternata (shown here) has three broad leaflets, while C. dumosa has up to 13 very narrow leaflets. The flowers are star-shaped, 3–5 cm diameter, with 4-7 white petals, 8-15 stamens and a green stigma; they are produced throughout the late spring and summer. The fruit is a leathery two to six sectioned capsule.

Choisya species are popular ornamental plants in areas with mild winters, grown primarily for their abundant and fragrant flowers. The foliage is also aromatic, smelling of rue when bruised or cut. The most commonly found cultivars in the horticultural trade are the species, C. ternata, the golden-leaved C. ternata 'Sundance', and the inter-specific hybrid C. 'Aztec Pearl' (C. arizonica x C. ternata). All three varieties have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. The flowers are also valued for honeybee forage, producing abundant nectar.

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Thursday, 28 June 2018

FFF344 - FIREWHEEL TREE

Stenocarpus sinuatus, known as the Firewheel Tree is an Australian rainforest tree in the Proteaceae family. The range of natural distribution is in various rainforest types from the Nambucca River (30° S) in New South Wales to the Atherton Tableland (17° S) in tropical Queensland. However, Stenocarpus sinuatus is widely planted as an ornamental tree in other parts of Australia and in different parts of the world. Other common names include White Beefwood, Queensland Firewheel Tree, Tulip Flower and White Silky Oak.

A medium to large tree, up to 40 metres tall and 75 cm in trunk diameter. The bark is greyish brown, not smooth and irregular. The base of the cylindrical trunk is flanged. Leaves alternate and variable in shape, simple or pinnatifid, the leaf margins wavy, 12 to 20 cm long. Leaf venation is clearly seen above and below the leaf. Leaves are characteristic and easily identified as part of the Proteaceae family.

The ornamental flowers are bright red in umbels, in a circular formation, hence the name Firewheel Tree. Flowers form mostly between February to March. The fruit is a follicle, in a boat shape, 5 to 10 cm long. Inside are many thin seeds 12 mm long. Fruit matures from January to July. Regeneration from fresh seed occurs speedily. Cuttings also strike well.

The flower (as "Wheel Flower") is the subject of some of Australian artist, Margaret Preston's most popular flower prints (see image here, ca 1929).

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Thursday, 21 June 2018

FFF343 - POLYGALA

Polygala myrtifolia, the myrtle-leaf milkwort, is an evergreen 2-4m tall South African shrub or small tree found along the southern and south-eastern coasts, from near Clanwilliam in the Western Cape to KwaZulu-Natal. It is a fast-growing pioneer plant, a typical fynbos component, and may be found on dunes, rocky places, along forest margins, beside streams, and in open grassland. It belongs to the milkwort family of Polygalaceae.

The thin, oval, mucronate leaves, 25–50 mm long and up to 13 mm wide, are arranged alternately and have entire margins - some forms of P. myrtifolia have thin, needle-like leaves. The attractive mauve sweetpea-like flowers, which close at night, may also be pink, magenta, crimson or white, and have a characteristic brush-like tuft protruding from the keel. For pollination an intricate piston mechanism is used. The fruit is an oval, brown, dehiscent capsule which is narrowly winged.

The species is often cultivated in South African and Australasian gardens. The genus of Polygala comprises some 360 species with a wide distribution in the tropics and temperate zones. 'Polygala' is interpreted as 'much milk' since the plant was thought to stimulate milk production in European cows - 'myrtifolia' translates as 'myrtle-shaped leaves'. This species has become naturalised in some of the coastal areas of Australia, Norfolk Island, New Zealand and California. This species is noted for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Research conducted by the University of KwaZulu Natal found that aqueous extracts of P. myrtifolia proved effective against Candida albicans.

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Thursday, 14 June 2018

FFF342 - AFRICAN BUSH DAISY

Euryops chrysanthemoides (with the common names African bush daisy or bull's-eye) is a small shrub in the Asteraceae family, native to Southern Africa that is also grown as a horticultural specimen in tropical to subtropical regions around the world. It occurs in the Eastern Cape, along the coast and inland, to KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Swaziland.

It is usually found on forest edges, in riverine bush and in ravines, as well as in coastal scrub, grassland and disturbed areas. It is a compact, densely branched, leafy, evergreen shrub, 0.5 to 2m in height. The species was moved to Euryops from the genus Gamolepis on the basis of chromosome counts. It is a ruderal weed in New South Wales, although it is not weedy in all places where it is cultivated or has naturalised.

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Thursday, 7 June 2018

FFF341 - CASUARINA

Casuarina is a genus of 17 tree species in the family Casuarinaceae, native to Australia, the Indian Subcontinent, southeast Asia, and islands of the western Pacific Ocean. It was once treated as the sole genus in the family, but has been split into three genera. They are evergreen shrubs and trees growing to 35 m tall. The foliage consists of slender, much-branched green to grey-green twigs bearing minute scale-leaves in whorls of 5–20. The apetalous flowers are produced in small catkin-like inflorescences.

Most species are dioecious, but a few are monoecious. The fruit is a woody, oval structure superficially resembling a conifer cone, made up of numerous carpels, each containing a single seed with a small wing. The generic name is derived from the Malay word for the cassowary, kasuari, alluding to the similarities between the bird's feathers and the plant's foliage, though the tree is called rhu in current standard Malay.

Casuarina species are a food source of the larvae of hepialid moths. Casuarina obesa (shown here), commonly known as Swamp She-oak or Swamp Oak, is a species of Casuarina that is closely related to C. glauca and C. cristata. The Noongar peoples know the plant as Goolee, Kweela, Kwerl and Quilinock. It is native to a broad area of south-western Australia, with a much more restricted occurrence in New South Wales and Victoria. It is a small dioecious (male and female flowers on separate trees) tree, growing to 1.5 to 10 metres in height and capable of flowering at any time of year. It has male and female flowers on separate plants, the female plants produce woody cones in an indehiscent state, with crops from two seasons sometimes present. It is found in sand or clay soils, often in brackish or saline environments, along rivers, creeks and salt lakes. It is widely planted for agroforestry, particularly in salt-affected areas, and as a street tree.

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Thursday, 31 May 2018

FFF340 - DAISIES

Bellis perennis is a common European species of daisy, of the Asteraceae family, often considered the archetypal species of that name. Many related plants also share the name "daisy", so to distinguish this species from other daisies it is sometimes qualified as common daisy, lawn daisy or English daisy. Historically, it has also been commonly known as bruisewort and occasionally woundwort (although the common name woundwort is now more closely associated with Stachys).

Bellis perennis is native to western, central and northern Europe, but widely naturalised in most temperate regions including the Americas and Australasia. B. perennis generally blooms from early to midsummer, although when grown under ideal conditions, they have a very long flowering season and will even produce a few flowers in the middle of mild winters. Numerous single- and double-flowered varieties are in cultivation, producing flat or spherical blooms in a range of sizes (1 cm to 6 cm) and colours (red, pink & white).

They are generally grown from seed as biennial bedding plants. They can also be purchased as plugs in Spring. The cultivar 'Tasso series' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. This daisy may be used as a potherb. Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked, noting that the leaves become increasingly astringent with age. Flower buds and petals can be eaten raw in sandwiches, soups and salads. It is also used as a tea and as a vitamin supplement.

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Thursday, 24 May 2018

FFF339 - BOUGAINVILLEA

Bougainvillea in the Nyctaginaceae family is a genus of thorny ornamental vines, bushes, and trees with flower-like spring leaves near its flowers. Different authors accept between four and 18 species in the genus. They are native plants of South America from Brazil west to Perú and south to southern Argentina (Chubut Province). Bougainvillea are also known as Bugambilia (Mexico).

The vine species grow anywhere from 1 to 12 m tall, scrambling over other plants with their spiky thorns. The thorns are tipped with a black, waxy substance. They are evergreen where rainfall occurs all year, or deciduous if there is a dry season. The leaves are alternate, simple ovate-acuminate, 4–13 cm long and 2–6 cm broad. The actual flower of the plant is small and generally white, but each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts with the bright colours associated with the plant, including pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow.

Bougainvillea glabra is sometimes referred to as "paper flower" because the bracts are thin and papery. The species here illustrated is Bougainvillea spectabilis. The first European to describe these plants was Philibert Commerçon, a botanist accompanying French Navy admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville (hence the generic name), during his voyage of circumnavigation, and first published for him by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in 1789.

It is possible that the first European to observe these plants was Jeanne Baré, Commerçon's lover and assistant whom he sneaked on board (despite regulations) disguised as a man (and who thus became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe). 

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