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.
3. Include a link to this blog in your post - http://floralfridayfoto.blogspot.com/
4. Leave the link to your FloralFridayFoto post below on inlinkz.
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When to Post:
inlinkz will be available every Thursday and will remain open until the next Wednesday.

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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Thursday, 17 May 2018

FFF338 - BORONIA

Boronia is a genus of about 160 species of flowering plants in the citrus family Rutaceae, most are endemic in Australia with a few species in New Caledonia, which were previously placed in the genus Boronella. They occur in all Australian states but the genus is under review and a number of species are yet to be described or the description published. Boronias are similar to familiar plants in the genera Zieria, Eriostemon and Correa but can be distinguished from them by the number of petals or stamens. Some species have a distinctive fragrance and are popular garden plants.

Plants in the genus Boronia are nearly always shrubs although a very small number occur as herbs or as small trees. The leaves are usually arranged in opposite pairs and may be simple leaves or compound leaves with up to nineteen or more leaflets, in either a pinnate or bipinnate arrangement. The flowers are arranged in groups in the leaf axils or on the ends of the branches and have both male and female parts. There are usually four separate sepals, usually four separate petals and generally eight stamens. (In Zieria there are only four stamens, Eriostemon species have five petals and in Correa the petals are joined to form a bell-shaped tube.) There are four carpels with their styles fused and there are two ovules in each carpel.

Boronias are found in all states and mainland territories of Australia and generally grow in open forests or woodlands, only rarely in rainforests or arid areas. Boronias, especially B. megastigma, are known for their perfumed flowers. Unfortunately, they are generally somewhat difficult to grow in cultivation. All species require excellent drainage and part shade.

Shown here is red boronia (Boronia heterophylla), which features bell-shaped blossoms that are a striking magenta pink and have a delicate perfume that adds to its appeal as a cut flower. It grows to about 1.5 m in height by half a metre wide. It originates in Western Australia but has adapted well to east coast gardens as well. ‘€˜Ice Charlotte’ is a white flowered form of this species that has similar requirements.

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Thursday, 10 May 2018

FFF337 - EREMOPHILA

Eremophila maculata, also known as spotted emu bush, or spotted fuchsia-bush is a plant in the figwort family, Scrophulariaceae and is endemic to Australia. It is the most widespread of its genus in nature and probably the most frequently cultivated Eremophila. It is a spreading, often densely branched shrub with variable leaf shape and flower colour, but the other features of the flowers such as the size and shape of the parts are consistent. The inside of the flower is often, but not always spotted.

Eremophila maculata is a low spreading shrub, which usually grows to less than 2.5 metres tall. Its leaves range in size from 3.8 millimetres to 45 millimetres long and 0.5–18 millimetres wide and range from almost thread-like to almost circular but are nearly always glabrous and always lack teeth or serrations on the edges. The flower colour often varies even within a single population and may be pink, mauve, red, orange or yellow, often spotted on the inside.

Its flowers occur singly in the leaf axils and have a glabrous, S-shaped stalk, 10–25 millimetres long. There are 5 sepals which are egg-shaped but end in a sudden point and are green or purplish-green. The 5 petals are joined for most of their length in a tube 25–35 millimetres long, but the lobes on the sides and bottom of the flower are often turned or rolled back. The outside of the petals is glabrous but the inside surface of the tube is hairy and the lobes have a few spider-web like hairs. There are 4 stamens which extend beyond the petals. Flowers may appear in almost any month but are most prolific in winter and spring. The fruits which follow the flowers are dry, almost spherical and have an obvious beak.

This plant is well known in horticulture and hybrid forms and cultivars such as "Carmine Star" and "Aurea" have been developed. The most common form in gardens is the cherry-coloured form of E. maculata subsp. brevifolia but other colours are becoming popular. It is easily propagated from cuttings, with firm tip cuttings taken during warmer months striking the most easily. In nature, spotted emu bush often grows in heavy clay soil and in the garden can be grown in similar soil or even in deep sand. A sunny position sheltered from strong wind is ideal but the shrub is very drought and frost hardy and can be grown in coastal areas which are sometimes subject to high humidity. It is recommended for gardens in the hotter, drier areas of the United States such as Arizona and New Mexico.

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Thursday, 3 May 2018

FFF336 - OUR GARDEN

Autumn is advancing in Melbourne, but we have had relatively mild weather and not much rain. The garden is doing well and the chrysanthemums are glorious right now, just in time for Mother's Day on 13 May this year (annually observed in Australia on the second Sunday of May).

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.

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Thursday, 26 April 2018

FFF335 -YELLOW GUM

Eucalyptus leucoxylon, in the family Myrtaceae, commonly known as the Yellow Gum, (South Australian) Blue Gum or White Ironbark, is a small to medium-sized tree with rough bark on the lower 1-2 metres of the trunk, above this, the bark becomes smooth with a white, yellow or bluish-grey surface. Adult leaves are stalked, lanceolate to broad-lanceolate, to 13 x 2.5 cm, concolorous, dull, green.

Flowers in white, pink or red appear during winter. The nectar-filled flowers attract native birds. E. leucoxylon is widely distributed on plains and nearby mountain ranges or coastal South Australia, where it is known as the Blue Gum and extends into the western half of Victoria where it is known as the Yellow gum.The species has been divided into numerous varieties and subspecies. A spectacular red-flowered form of uncertain provenance,  Eucalyptus leucoxylon ‘Rosea’ is widely planted as an ornamental plant, it flowers profusely in winter.

A threatened subspecies known as the Bellarine Yellow Gum (Eucalyptus leucoxylon subsp. bellarinensis) is endemic to the Bellarine Peninsula at the south-eastern end of the species' range. The leaves are distilled for the production of cineole based eucalyptus oil.

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Thursday, 19 April 2018

FFF334 - CHRYSANTHEMUM SEASON

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 Autumn garden.

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Wednesday, 11 April 2018

FFF333 - ROSA 'JUST JOEY'

Rosa 'Just Joey' was bred by Cants of Colchester, United Kingdom, in 1972. It was named for the wife of the Managing Director of Cants of Colchester, Joey Pawsey. This Hybrid Tea rose performs well throughout Australia and there are many fine specimens in Melbourne gardens, beginning with ours, where we have no less than four bushes of this variety!

The plant is vigorous and grows well, achieving a height of 1.5 m and width of 1.2 m. Flowers are borne one per stem and can be of an impressive size (up to 20cm in Spring and Autumn, slightly smaller during Summer). The bush is disease and heat resistant and tends to survive well with a little care.

The flower is an eye-catching ripe apricot colour with a loose, informal display of pretty frilled petals. Probably its most seductive feature is its intense, spicy fragrance which will quickly fill a room, when a bunch is placed in a vase. This perfume is inherited from its parents (Fragrant Cloud x Dr. A.J. Verhage) also renowned for their strong scent. It has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Merit 1993 and World’s Favourite Rose 1994.When introduced, its colour and size of flowers were considered breakthroughs. This lovely rose is readily available and will reward and delight any rose lover!

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Thursday, 5 April 2018

FFF332 - ROBINIA

Robinia pseudoacacia, commonly known as the black locust, is a tree of the genus Robinia in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae. It is native to the southeastern United States, but has been widely planted and naturalised elsewhere in temperate North America, Europe, Southern Africa, Australia and Asia and is considered an invasive species in some areas.

A less frequently used common name is false Acacia, which is a literal translation of the specific epithet. It was introduced into Britain in 1636. With a trunk up to 0.8 m diameter (exceptionally up to 52 m tall and 1.6 m diameter in very old trees), with thick, deeply furrowed blackish bark. The leaves are 10–25 cm long, pinnate with 9–19 oval leaflets, 2–5 cm long and 1.5–3 cm broad. Each leaf usually has a pair of short spines at the base, 1–2 mm long or absent on adult crown shoots, up to 2 cm long on vigorous young plants.

The intensely fragrant (reminiscent of orange blossoms) flowers are white to lavender or purple, borne in pendulous racemes 8–20 cm long, and are edible. In France and in Italy Robinia pseudoacacia flowers are eaten as beignets after being coated in batter and fried in oil.

The fruit is a legume 5–10 cm long, containing 4–10 seeds. Although the bark and leaves are toxic, various reports suggest that the seeds and the young pods of the black locust are edible. Shelled seeds are safe to harvest from summer through fall, and are edible both raw and/or boiled. Due to the small nature of Black Locust seeds, shelling them efficiently can prove tedious and difficult.

The name locust is said to have been given to Robinia by Jesuit missionaries, who fancied that this was the tree that supported St. John in the wilderness, but it is native only to North America. The locust tree of Spain (Ceratonia siliqua or Carob Tree), which is also native to Syria and the entire Mediterranean basin, is supposed to be the true locust of the New Testament.

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Thursday, 29 March 2018

FFF331 - HAKEA

Hakea bucculenta is a large shrub up to 4 metres high with linear leaves up to 150 mm long x 3 mm wide. The species is similar to H. francisiana and H. multilineata and all have fairly similar cultivation requirements. They all belong to the Proteaceae family.

The flowers of H. bucculenta occur in large racemes about 150 mm long which are seen in the leaf axils in winter and spring. The flower colour is orange-red. Although the flowers occur within the foliage, the open habit of the plant means that they are well displayed, never failing to attract attention. Flowers are followed by woody seed pods about 20mm long containing two winged seeds, the usual number for all Hakea species. The pods do not shed the seed until stimulated to do so by environmental conditions (eg after a bushfire).

This species has been in cultivation for many years but is mainly suited to areas of low summer humidity. In humid areas it can grow successfully for some years but may collapse overnight. Grafting (see below) is recommended for these areas. The species is tolerant of at least moderate frosts and the flowers are attractive to honeyeating birds. The species grows and flowers best in an open, very well drained, sunny position but it will tolerate some shade.

Hakea bucculenta is easily grown from seed. Cuttings may succeed but these may not be particularly easy to strike and often do not produce a strong root system. Grafting of the species onto the eastern species H. salicifolia has proved to be very successful and has enabled the plant to be grown in previously unsuitable areas. Grafted plants are now appearing in specialist Australian plant nurseries in eastern Australia. This tree is becoming a very popular and attractive street tree in Melbourne.

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Thursday, 22 March 2018

FFF330 - ROSA 'SLIM DUSTY'

Rosa 'Slim Dusty' is a Floribunda Rose released to commemorate the life of the Australian Icon and Country Music Legend, Slim Dusty. This rose was released in Australia by Landsdale Rose Gardens and part of the proceeds from the sale of this rose will go towards the development of the Slim Dusty Centre in Kempsey, NSW, Slim’s home town.

The Slim Dusty Rose is rich golden coppery orange – a colour reminiscent of the Australian outback. The flowers are carried on strong-stemmed clusters and produced in massive profusion throughout the flowering season. The bloom possess an old fashioned tea rose fragrance. The bush is very compact to a height of around one metre and a group planting or rose hedge would make a stunning, eye-catching border of the rose garden.

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Thursday, 15 March 2018

FFF329 - DAHLIA

Dahlia is a genus of bushy, tuberous, herbaceous perennial plants native mainly in Mexico, but also Central America, and Colombia. A member of the Asteraceae dicotyledonous plants, related species include the sunflower, daisy, chrysanthemum and zinnia.

There are at least 36 species of dahlia, with hybrids commonly grown as garden plants. Flower forms are variable, with one head per stem; these can be as small as 5.1 cm diameter or up to 30 cm ("dinner plate"). This great variety results from dahlias being octoploids (that is, they have eight sets of homologous chromosomes), whereas most plants have only two. In addition, dahlias also contain many transposons (genetic pieces that move from place to place upon an allele), which contributes to their manifesting such great diversity.

The stems are leafy, ranging in height from as low as 30 cm to more than 1.8–2.4 m. The majority of species do not produce scented flowers or cultivars. Like most plants that do not attract pollinating insects through scent, they are brightly coloured, displaying most hues, with the exception of blue.The dahlia was declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963. The tubers were grown as a food crop by the Aztecs, but this use largely died out after the Spanish Conquest. Attempts to introduce the tubers as a food crop in Europe were unsuccessful.

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Thursday, 8 March 2018

FFF328 - POM-POM TREE

Dais cotinifolia, known as the Pompom Tree, is a small Southern African tree belonging to the Thymelaeaceae family. It occurs along the east coast northwards from the Eastern Cape, inland along the Drakensberg escarpment through KwaZulu-Natal and the Transvaal, with an isolated population in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe.

It flowers profusely during the summer months and produces a multitude of pink, sweet-scented, globular flowerheads about 10 cm across. Depending on the circumstances it can reach a height of up to 12m, although it rarely exceeds 6m in cultivation. This is a beautiful ornamental tree and the delicious scent of the flowers can make the whole area around the tree replete with fragrance.

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Thursday, 1 March 2018

FFF327 - HYDRANGEA

Hydrangea (common names hydrangea or hortensia) is a genus of 70-75 species of flowering plants in the Hydrangeaceae family, native to southern and eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas, and Indonesia) and the Americas. By far the greatest species diversity is in eastern Asia, notably China, Japan, and Korea. Most are shrubs 1 to 3 meters tall, but some are small trees, and others lianas reaching up to 30 m by climbing up trees.

They can be either deciduous or evergreen, though the widely cultivated temperate species are all deciduous. Having been introduced to the Azores, H. macrophylla is now very common, particularly on Faial, which is known as the "blue island" due to the vast number of hydrangeas present on the island. Species in the related genus Schizophragma, also in Hydrangeaceae, are also often known as hydrangeas. Schizophragma hydrangeoides and Hydrangea petiolaris are both commonly known as climbing hydrangeas.

There are two flower arrangements in hydrangeas:
1) Mophead flowers are large round flowerheads resembling pom-poms or, as the name implies, the head of a mop.
2) Lacecap flowers bear round, flat flowerheads with a centre core of subdued, fertile flowers surrounded by outer rings of showy, sterile flowers. The flowers of some rhododendrons can appear similar to those of some hydrangeas, but Rhododendron (including azaleas) is in a different order.

In most species of hydrangea the flowers are white, but in some species (notably H. macrophylla), can be blue, red, pink, light purple, or dark purple. In these species the colour is affected by soil pH. For H. macrophylla and H. serrata cultivars, the flower colour can be determined by the relative acidity of the soil: An acidic soil (pH below 6) will usually produce flower colour closer to blue, whereas an alkaline soil (pH above 6) will produce flowers more pink. This is caused by a colour change of the flower pigments in the presence of aluminium ions which can be taken up into hyperaccumulating plants.

Seen here is the Hydrangea macrophylla 'Forever' hybrid. It is from the ‘You and Me’ series,  and is a sturdy hybrid featuring lacecap like flowerheads when they first start to open but as they mature the central florets also open creating a complete mophead of double pale pink  or blue florets. A deciduous shrub of a compact habit. Best grown in neutral/ alkaline soils.

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Thursday, 22 February 2018

FFF326 - PINK SUN ORCHID

Thelymitra carnea, the pink sun orchid, is a perennial herb with fleshy egg-shaped tubers in the Orchidaceae family. It grows from 8 to 40 cm and has a slender reddish-brown stem. Plants are scattered. It has an erect single narrow to rounded channelled leaf 4-18cm x 1-2.5mm, green with reddish base, sheathing at base of stem; 2-3 sheathing stem bracts.

Each plant has one to four pink flowers up to 15mm across. Sepals and petals are similar. Column pale pink, mid lobe with pink collar and yellow tip, short, narrow, not hooded; yellow column arms narrow, obliquely erect, margins scalloped; anther green. It flowers October to November. The plant grows in moist soils which dry out in summer on margins of swamps. It prefers full sun to semi shade. Flowers only open on hot humid days, self-pollinating in cooler weather.

It is found in Southeastern Australia and New Zealand. It is not threatened in the wild. The use of native orchids in gardens is not recommended, unless they already occur naturally, in which case they need to be protected. Removing orchids from the bush usually results in their death and further depletes remaining wild orchid populations. Take only photographs, not plants from the bush!

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Thursday, 15 February 2018

FFF325 - CERATOSTIGMA

Ceratostigma, or leadwort, plumbago, is a genus of eight species of flowering plants in the family Plumbaginaceae, native to warm temperate to tropical regions of Africa and Asia. Common names are shared with the genus Plumbago.

They are flowering herbaceous plants, subshrubs, or small shrubs growing to 0.3–1 m tall. The leaves are spirally arranged, simple, 1–9 cm long, usually with a hairy margin. Some of the species are evergreen, others deciduous. The flowers are produced in a compact inflorescence, each flower with a five-lobed corolla; flower colour varies from pale to dark blue to red-purple. The fruit is a small bristly capsule containing a single seed.

Ceratostigma willmottianum shown here is a species of flowering plant native to western China and Tibet. It is an ornamental deciduous shrub that grows to 1 metre in height, with pale blue plumbago-like flowers appearing in autumn as the leaves start to turn red.

Ceratostigma is derived from Greek, meaning 'horned stigma’. This is in reference to the ‘shape of the stigmatic surface’. Willmottianum was named for Miss Ellen Ann Willmott (1858-1934), a keen gardener and plant introducer from Warley Place, Essex.

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Thursday, 8 February 2018

FFF324 - STEPHANOTIS

Stephanotis floribunda syn. S. jasminoides (Madagascar jasmine, waxflower, Hawaiian wedding flower, bridal wreath) is a species of flowering plant in the family Apocynaceae, native to Madagascar. Growing to 6 m or more, it is an evergreen woody climber with glossy, leathery oval leaves and clusters of pure white, waxy, intensely fragrant tubular flowers. Grown commercially, the trumpet-shaped blooms are in season year-round, provided they are given enough light and water, and are a popular component of bridal bouquets.

It is a vigorous climber, tough-stemmed, bearing dark green leathery leaves, which grow in pairs at regular intervals along the vine. It grows best in sunny, tropical conditions, or inside. They can grow from 2–6 meters, and are widely cultivated as garden plants. They can flourish for years, grown indoors on a sunny windowsill. They can be moved outside or into a greenhouse during the summer.

Few resources are published relating to the culture of this woody vine. In areas where the outside winter temperature drops below 4 °C, Stephanotis floribunda can be wintered over in greenhouse or household settings. During the summer growth season, this vine requires full sun, abundant water, high humidity and a balanced fertiliser. The vine will need to be trellised due to the vigorous growth habit. As temperatures begin to cool, pots should be brought indoors and placed in the sunniest location available. If the temperature in the home is on the cool side, the vines slow in their growth and thus should be watered very infrequently. Kept on the cool, sunny and dry side, the plants will "rest" until the outside temperatures begin to rise again, at which time they may be eased back into full sun.

They may continue to grow during this period, but growth is often slower and less vigorous. When the weather warms, moving the vines into a full sun exposure too quickly will result in leaf blister and sun burns on the plant, rendering it less attractive and damaging the plant's ability to produce food. In ideal conditions, these vines may be kept in bloom all year, but this is difficult in the home setting, especially where Australian possums, to which the leaves are highly attractive, are present.

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Stephanotis floribunda appears to do best if root bound, thus it is best to not plant the vines in an over-sized container. The soil mixture used should have a high content of loam and peat moss with generous drainage material such as perlite or coarse sand. A citrus-type soil mixture works well in most home situations. A soil mixture that retains too much water will lead to root rot.

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Thursday, 1 February 2018

FFF323 - CANNA

Canna (or canna lily, although not a true lily) is a genus of 19 species of flowering plants. The closest living relations to cannas are the other plant families of the order Zingiberales, that is the Zingiberaceae (gingers), Musaceae (bananas), Marantaceae, Heliconiaceae, Strelitziaceae. Canna is the only genus in the family Cannaceae. The APG II system of 2003 also recognises the family, and assigns it to the order Zingiberales in the clade commelinids, in the monocots.

The genus is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the New World, from the southern United States (southern South Carolina west to southern Texas) and south to northern Argentina. The species have large, attractive foliage, and horticulturists have turned it into a large-flowered and bright garden plant. In addition, it is one of the world's richest starch sources, and is an agricultural plant. Although a plant of the tropics, most cultivars have been developed in temperate climates and are easy to grow in most countries of the world as long as they receive at least 6–8 hours average sunlight during the summer, and are moved to a warm location for the winter.

The name Canna originates from the Latin word for a cane or reed. The flowers are typically red, orange, or yellow or any combination of those colours, and are aggregated in inflorescences that are spikes or panicles (thyrses). Although gardeners enjoy these odd flowers, nature really intended them to attract pollinators collecting nectar and pollen, such as bees, hummingbirds, sunbirds, and bats. The pollination mechanism is conspicuously specialised.

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Thursday, 25 January 2018

FFF322 - INDIAN HAWTHORN

Rhaphiolepis is a genus of about fifteen species of evergreen shrubs and small trees in the family Rosaceae, native to warm temperate and subtropical eastern and southeastern Asia, from southern Japan, southern Korea and southern China south to Thailand and Vietnam. In searching literature it is well to remember that the name commonly is misspelt "Raphiolepsis". The genus is closely related to Eriobotrya (loquats), so closely in fact, that members of the two genera have hybridised with each other; for example the "Coppertone loquat" is a hybrid of Eriobotrya deflexa X Rhaphiolepis indica.

The best known species is Rhaphiolepis indica (Indian hawthorn) from southern China, grown for its decorative pink flowers, and popular in bonsai culture. Rhaphiolepis umbellata (Yeddo hawthorn) from Japan and Korea has blunter leaves and white flowers. It is the hardiest species, tolerating temperatures down to about −15 °C. Its fruit is edible when cooked, and can be used to make jam.

Indian hawthorn is a mainstay horticultural specimen in temperate climates. It is often found in commercial as well as in private landscapes. Often it is trimmed into small compact hedges or balls for foundation plants. It has been successfully pruned into a standard form as well as small dwarf-like trees up to 3 metres in height. It is apt to develop leaf spot.

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Thursday, 18 January 2018

FFF321 - PINCUSHION PROTEA

Leucospermum (Pincushion, Pincushion Protea or Leucospermum) is a genus of about 50 species of flowering plants in the family Proteaceae, native to Zimbabwe and South Africa, where they occupy a variety of habitats, including scrub, forest, and mountain slopes. They are evergreen shrubs (rarely small trees) growing to 0.5-5 m tall. The leaves are spirally arranged, tough and leathery, simple, linear to lanceolate, 2-12 cm long and 0.5-3 cm broad, with a serrated margin or serrated at the leaf apex only.

The flowers are produced in dense inflorescences, which have large numbers of prominent styles, which inspires the name. The genus is closely related in evolution and appearance to the Australian genus Banksia. Shown here is a Leucospermum patersonii hybrid. An excellent ornamental hardy shrub for most well-drained soils and full sun positions. It is a relatively fast growing landscape shrub for coastal or inland gardens. The two-tone orange-red flowers make a great long stemmed cut flower. Grown commercially.

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Thursday, 11 January 2018

FFF320 - CREPE MYRTLE

Crepe myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica) are among the world's best-loved flowering trees. They are native to eastern Asia and are hardy in most parts of Australia. They are deciduous, vase-shaped trees about 6-8m tall. The tree is often severely pruned and grown as a shrub 3-4m tall.

Trusses of white, pink, mauve or purple blooms appear in late summer. The petals are ruffled, with a crepe-like texture. In autumn the mid-green leaves turn yellow, orange or red (depending on the variety) before falling. Unpruned crepe myrtles develop beautifully coloured, smooth, mottled trunks.

There is an Australian native crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia archeriana), which grows to around 7m tall and has pinkish mauve flowers. The Indian Summer Crepe Myrtle range (Lagerstroemia indica x L. fauriei) which is widely planted in Melbourne as a street tree, has been specially bred to resist powdery mildew, a fungal disease that can be seen on some older crepe myrtle varieties. Each cultivar is named after an American Indian tribe, and they range in size from around 3-6m fully grown. Illustrated here is the variety "Tonto".

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Thursday, 4 January 2018

FFF319 - BLUE SPIDERWORT

Tradescantia virginiana, the Virginia spiderwort, is the type species of Tradescantia (spiderwort) in the family Commelinaceaenative to the eastern United States. Spiderwort is commonly grown in gardens and many garden spiderworts seem to be hybrids of T. virginiana and other Tradescantia species (e.g. T. ohiensis).

Tradescantia virginiana is a herbaceous plant with alternate, simple leaves, on tubular stems. The flowers are blue, purple, or white, borne in summer. It is is a perennial forb/herb. It likes most moist soils but can adapt to drier garden soils. Plants may be propagated from seed but they are more easily started from cuttings/divisions, in which latter case they will preserve the parent plant's characteristics.

Tradescantia virginiana is found in eastern North America, west to Missouri, south to northern South Carolina and Alabama, and north to Ontario, Vermont, and Michigan. Much of the northern range, however, may represent garden escapes rather than indigenous wild populations. It is an attractive garden plant and many showy hybrids  bear striking, large blue flowers, such as this one illustrated, T. virginiana 'Zwanenburg Blue'.

Look closely at a bloom and you'll notice tiny hairs covering the stamens. Under normal circumstances, they're the same blue colour as the flower. However, as Steve Bender and Felder Rushing revealed in their classic, best-selling book, "Passalong Plants", in the presence of radiation the hairs turn pink. Thus, spiderwort is an essential part of any garden near nuclear plants! Your very own natural Geiger counter in your garden...

Spiderwort had many uses in First Nation’s culture as food and medicine. The seeds are edible when roasted and are ground into a powder (although they are somewhat bitter to taste). Leaves can be made into a tea or tossed into salads, soups, etc. The root can be collected all year round. The flowers can be tossed on top of a salad and eaten. (Dried, powdered flowers were once used as a snuff for nosebleeds).

Externally, this plant can be used as a poultice to help heal wounds and haemorrhoids. Internally the leaves and roots are a valuable alternative medicine used by medical herbalists for their patients as an antidiarrhoeal, analgesic, anthelminthic, antiperiodic, astringent, diaphoretic, emetic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, vermifuge, and vulnerary. Also, drinking spiderwort tea is supposed to be a good for increasing breast milk (galactagogue).

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