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/
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Thursday, 26 May 2022

FFF546 - TECOMA

Tecoma capensis (common name Cape honeysuckle) is a species of flowering plant in the family Bignoniaceae, native to southern Africa. Despite its common name, it is not closely related to the true honeysuckle. Synonyms include Bignonia capensis, Tecomaria capensis and Tecoma petersii. An erect, scrambling shrub, it grows to 2–3 m in height and a similar width. Normally evergreen, it may lose its leaves in colder climates. In certain habitats it may scramble, meaning that it shoots out long growth tips which lean on the stems and branches of other plants, as well as boulders, trellises, fences and walls; this can lead to the plant appearing untidy.

The leaves are up to 15 cm long. They are opposite, slightly serrated, green to dark-green, and pinnate with 5 to 9 oblong leaflets. The flowers are tubular, narrow, about 7.5 cm long, and are produced at different times throughout the year. They are grouped in 10–15 cm long terminal clusters. The flower colour ranges from orange to orange-red to apricot.

The species occurs naturally in South Africa, Swaziland and southern Mozambique. It is cultivated in other areas of the world, such as in South-east Asia, Australia, Hawaii and California. It can be considered invasive in remote islands such as the Azores (as seen at the island of São Miguel, near Ponta Garça).

Tecoma capensis has been in cultivation for many years and is often used for hedging, as it is a scrambling shrub. It can be propagated from cuttings or by removing rooted suckers during the active growth phase. It can be planted in semi-shade to full sun. In cold areas young plants should be protected from frost. To keep this shrub clean and tidy, it must be pruned back in late winter to promote new growth and flowers. The application of a balanced fertilizer after pruning will enhance the growth and flowering. This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

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Thursday, 19 May 2022

FFF545 - LEUCADENDRON

Leucadendron salignum is the most widespread species of the family Proteaceae, occurring in a large part of South Africa. It is common from Port Elizabeth in the east, to north of Ceres in the west. It occurs on a wide range of soil types, from sea level to an altitude of 2000 m and is quite variable in leaf size as well as leaf- and bract colour.

Leucadendrons are dioecious, i.e. separate male and female plants. This is unusual in the protea family. Its long flowering season (May - Dec), coupled with colourful leaves and bracts surrounding the flowers, make this species an attractive garden plant. Leucadendron salignum is a multi-stemmed shrub with a persistent rootstock, which enables it to resprout after fire. In its natural conditions it grows to a height of 0.75 to 2 m.

The variability of growing conditions, from mild winter temperatures to snow and frost near mountain tops, as well as the variability of leaves and bracts, from greenish-yellow to vivid orange-red, have made this species an excellent candidate for hybridisation. In addition, this species adapts well to vigorous pruning, which makes it suitable for the production of cut foliage on a large scale. These characteristics have made the species a natural choice for the wild flower industry.

There are a range of plants in cultivation, which differ markedly from the usual parent species, most often in growth form, leaf- and bract colour and flowering time. They may be either selections, known as 'cultivars' or hybrids, i.e. 'crosses' between species. Many hybrids and cultivars have been produced in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and other countries growing Proteaceae. The hybrid illustrated is 'Royal Ruby'.

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Thursday, 12 May 2022

FFF544 - CHRYSANTHEMUM HYBRID

Chrysanthemums, sometimes called mums or chrysanths, are flowering plants of the genus Chrysanthemum in the family Asteraceae. They are native to Asia and northeastern Europe. Most species originate from East Asia and the centre of diversity is in China. There are countless horticultural varieties and cultivars.

Modern cultivated chrysanthemums are showier than their wild relatives. The flower heads occur in various forms, and can be daisy-like or decorative, like pompons or buttons. This genus contains many hybrids and thousands of cultivars developed for horticultural purposes. In addition to the traditional yellow, other colours are available, such as white, purple, and red. The most important hybrid is Chrysanthemum × morifolium (syn. C. × grandiflorum), derived primarily from C. indicum, but also involving other species.

Over 140 varieties of chrysanthemum have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

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Thursday, 5 May 2022

FFF543 - EVERLASTING DAISY

Xerochrysum bracteatum, commonly known as the golden everlasting or strawflower, is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae native to Australia. Described by Étienne Pierre Ventenat in 1803, it was known as Helichrysum bracteatum for many years before being transferred to a new genus Xerochrysum in 1990.

It grows as a woody or herbaceous perennial or annual shrub up to a metre tall with green or grey leafy foliage. Golden yellow or white flower heads are produced from spring to autumn; their distinctive feature is the papery bracts that resemble petals. The species is widespread, growing in a variety of habitats across the country, from rainforest margins to deserts and subalpine areas.

The golden everlasting has proven very adaptable to cultivation. It was propagated and developed in Germany in the 1850s, and annual cultivars in a host of colour forms from white to bronze to purple flowers became available. Many of these are still sold in mixed seed packs. In Australia, many cultivars are perennial shrubs, which have become popular garden plants. Sturdier, long-stemmed forms are used commercially in the cut flower industry.

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Thursday, 28 April 2022

FFF542 - BANANA FLOWERS

Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colours when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red. Almost all modern edible parthenocarpic bananas come from two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana or hybrids Musa acuminata × balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific names Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca are no longer used.

Bananas are native to tropical South and Southeast Asia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. Today, they are cultivated throughout the tropics and subtropics. They are grown in at least 107 countries, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fibre, banana wine and as ornamental plants. Our climate in Melbourne is sufficiently mild in winter to allow banana "trees" to survive and in summer it is not unusual to see many banana plants in gardens bearing fruit. This specimen photographed here thrives in our next door neighbours' garden and much more than the fruit, it is the flowers that fascinate me!

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Thursday, 21 April 2022

FFF541 - STRAWFLOWERS

Xerochrysum bracteatum, commonly known as the golden everlasting or strawflower, is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae native to Australia. Described by Étienne Pierre Ventenat in 1803, it was known as Helichrysum bracteatum for many years before being transferred to a new genus Xerochrysum in 1990. It grows as a woody or herbaceous perennial or annual shrub up to a metre tall with green or grey leafy foliage.

Golden yellow or white flower heads are produced from spring to autumn; their distinctive feature is the papery bracts that resemble petals. The species is widespread, growing in a variety of habitats across the country, from rainforest margins to deserts and subalpine areas. The golden everlasting serves as food for various larvae of lepidopterans (butterflies and moths), and adult butterflies, hoverflies, native bees, small beetles, and grasshoppers visit the flower heads.

The golden everlasting has proven very adaptable to cultivation. It was propagated and developed in Germany in the 1850s, and annual cultivars in a host of colour forms from white to bronze to purple flowers became available. Many of these are still sold in mixed seed packs. In Australia, many cultivars are perennial shrubs, which have become popular garden plants. Sturdier, long-stemmed forms are used commercially in the cut flower industry.

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Thursday, 14 April 2022

FFF540 - LOQUAT FLOWERS

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a species of flowering plant in the family Rosaceae, native to south-central China. It is a large evergreen shrub or small tree, grown commercially for its yellow fruit, and also cultivated as an ornamental plant. Eriobotrya japonica was formerly thought to be closely related to the genus Mespilus, and is still sometimes known as the Japanese medlar. It is also known as Japanese plum and Chinese plum.

Loquats are unusual among fruit trees in that the flowers appear in the autumn or early winter, and the fruits are ripe in late winter or early spring. The flowers are 2 cm in diameter, white, with five petals, and produced in stiff panicles of three to ten flowers. The flowers have a sweet, heady aroma that can be smelled from a distance. These trees are currently in bloom in Melbourne.

Loquat fruits, growing in clusters, are oval, rounded or pear-shaped, 3–5 cm long, with a smooth or downy, yellow or orange, sometimes red-blushed skin. The succulent, tangy flesh is white, yellow or orange and sweet to subacid or acid, depending on the cultivar. Each fruit contains 2-3 large brown seeds. The skin, though thin, can be peeled off manually if the fruit is ripe. The fruits are the sweetest when soft and orange. The flavour is a mix of peach, citrus and mild mango.

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Thursday, 7 April 2022

FFF539 - GEUM

Geum, commonly called avens, is a genus of about 50 species of rhizomatous perennial herbaceous plants in the rose family Rosaceae, native to Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa, and New Zealand. They are closely related to Potentilla and Fragaria.

From a basal rosette of leaves they produce flowers on wiry stalks, in shades of red, yellow and orange, in midsummer. Geum species are evergreen except where winter temperatures drop below −18 °C. The cultivars "Lady Stratheden" and "Mrs J. Bradshaw" have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

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Thursday, 31 March 2022

FFF538 - HONEY FLOWER

Melianthus major (giant honey flower or Kruidjie-roer-my-nie) is a species of flowering plant in the family Melianthaceae. It is an evergreen suckering shrub, endemic to South Africa and naturalised in India, Australia and New Zealand. It grows to 2–3 m tall by 1–3 m wide, with pinnate blue-green leaves 30–50 cm long, which have a distinctive, unpleasant odour.

Dark red, nectar-laden flower spikes, 30–80 cm in length, appear in spring, followed by green pods. All parts of the plants are poisonous. The Latin binomial Melianthus major literally means "large honey flower". In cultivation this plant requires a sheltered location and may also need a protective winter mulch in temperate regions. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

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Thursday, 24 March 2022

FFF537 -ROSA 'EBB TIDE'

Rosa 'Ebb Tide' was bred by Tom Carruth, USA, in 2004. It is a wonderful rose, which created a massive impact for the intense colour and fragrance which was rarely seen in modern roses. This very free-flowering rose bears flowers in small clusters with an amazingly intense clove fragrance throughout the flowering season.

Ebb Tide has beautiful, medium sized, glossy and dark green foliage which is highly disease resistant. The bushy growth is around 90 cm in height with flowers all over the shrub. The striking purple colour and the intense, spicy fragrance will make this rose variety a delightful addition to the rose garden.

Roses thrive in generally sunny, dry and hot conditions as we experience in most Australian gardens, and roses will flourish if we take some care:

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 fertilised with quality (preferably organic) fertiliser which contains a balance of major nutrients (NPK) and trace elements. The fertiliser 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, 17 March 2022

FFF536 - CRASSULA

Crassula ovata, commonly known as jade plant, friendship tree, lucky plant, or money tree, is a succulent plant with small pink or white flowers in the Crassulaceae family. It is native to South Africa and Mozambique, and is common as a houseplant worldwide. It is sometimes referred to as the money tree; however, Pachira aquatica also receives this nickname. The jade plant is an evergreen with thick branches. It has thick, shiny, smooth, leaves that grow in opposing pairs along the branches. Leaves are a rich jade green, although some may appear to be more of a yellow-green. Some varieties may develop a red tinge on the edges of leaves when exposed to high levels of sunlight. New stem growth is the same colour and texture as the leaves, but becomes brown and woody with age.

Under the right conditions, they may produce small white or pink star-like flowers in early spring. Numerous varieties and cultivars have been selected, of which C. ovata 'Hummel's Sunset' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. As a succulent, Crassula ovata requires little water in the summer, and even less in the winter. It is susceptible to overwatering. C. ovata may attain a red tinge around its leaves when grown with bright sunlight. In more extreme cases, the green colour of the plant is lost and can be replaced by yellow. This is caused by the jade plant making pigments such as carotenoids to protect from harsh sunlight and ultraviolet rays.

The jade plant does best in rich, well-draining soil. The plant flowers in the wintertime, particularly during a cooler, darker, dry spell. C. ovata is sometimes attacked by mealybugs, a common nuisance of the succulents. The jade plant is known for its ease of propagation, which can occur by clippings or even stray leaves which fall from the plant. Jade plants propagate readily from both with success rates higher with cuttings. In the wild, vegetative propagation is the jade plant's main method of reproduction. Branches regularly fall off wild jade plants and these branches may root and form new plants.

Like many succulents, jade plants can be propagated from just the swollen leaves which grow in pairs on the stems. While propagation methods may vary, most will follow similar steps. Typically, the wounds on the leaves are left to dry and callus forms over them. Then the leaves are placed in or on soil. Roots begin to grow on severed leaves about four weeks after being removed from the stem. Environmental factors such as temperature and humidity affect the speed at which the roots and new plant develop. Foliage usually appears soon after new roots have formed.

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Thursday, 10 March 2022

FFF535 - LILIUM

Lilium (members of which are true lilies) is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the Liliaceae family, 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.

Asiatic Lilies are a very popular garden and florist flower and they offer a brilliantly colourful range of blooms to choose from. The bulbs of Asiatic lilies are tough and resilient, providing a bounty of colourful blooms for vases, very easily grown and wonderfully tolerant of searing Australia's hot Summers.

Asiatic Lilies come in a wide range of brilliant colours from bright red to soft and pretty pink which means they can be used to create pockets of colour or gentle waves of soft and pretty cottage colours. Asiatic Lilies have more advantages in that they are great in pots and the bulbs can be planted anytime between May and October (in the Southern Hemisphere).

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Thursday, 3 March 2022

FFF534 - CROWEA

Crowea exalata, or Small Crowea, is a flowering plant in the family Rutaceae, which is native to the states of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria in Australia. It is a small shrub growing to 1 metre tall. It is named after James Crowe, an 18th-19th century surgeon and botanist. The specific name exalata means without wings, referring to the lack of ridges on the stems - this is not a definitive characteristic.

This species flowers during most months of the year, resting only in extremes of heat and cold, and with flushes in autumn and spring. Pointed buds open to five-petalled starry flowers 2 cm across, in clear tints of rose purple. They are of a solid waxy substance, and make a vivid display for the size of the plant. Before falling they close again to look like buds of deeper pink. Propagation by cuttings is easy using tip growth (which is very soft in character), at a half-ripe stage.

Nurseries dealing in native plants usually stock this small shrub and it should be planted in light, lime-free soil. A position with some shade is desirable - otherwise the soil should be shaded in some way from hot sun. This may be done by surrounding the plant with 5-10 cm of leaves, bush litter or compost. Rocks make an attractive setting, and in fact this is a beautiful rockery subject. Pruning should be done to maintain bushy growth, or a straggly plant with bare stems may develop. The end of winter is a good time to do this - or any time when sprigs of cut flowers are wanted, as these are dainty and long-lasting in water.

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Thursday, 24 February 2022

FFF533 - BAT FLOWER

Tacca integrifolia (white bat plant) has strange, almost bizarre flowers resembling a bat’s black face with white ears and long whiskers. It is found naturally in south-east Asia and from eastern India to southern China. It belongs to the yam family, Dioscoraceae. It is an upright leafy plant with grey-green, narrow leaves growing from an underground fleshy root.

The flowers are borne in flower heads of up to thirty blooms. These form the bat’s face. They range in colour from purple-red to brown. The flowers are topped by white floral leaves called bracts, which resemble bat’s ears. Filaments up to 20cm long or more hang from the flowers. The similar black bat plant has black or purple bracts. 

There is also an Australian native species called T. leontopetaloides. This plant is suited to the tropics and subtropics. Outside these areas bat plants can be grown in filtered light in a humid glasshouse or conservatory, with a minimum temperature of about 15°C. It produces extraordinary flowers, has attractive foliage and is a stunning novelty plant. It is difficult to grow, may be hard to find and therefore suited to dedicated green thumbs!

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Thursday, 17 February 2022

FFF532 - ACANTHUS

Acanthus mollis, commonly known as bear's breeches, sea dock, bear's foot plant, sea holly or oyster plant, is a species of plant in the family Acanthaceae and is native to the Mediterranean region. It is a leafy, clump-forming perennial herb, with a rosette of relatively large, lobed or toothed leaves, and purplish and white flowers on an erect spike.

It is a leafy, clump-forming perennial herb with tuberous roots. It has a basal rosette of dark glossy green, lobed or divided, glabrous leaves 50 cm long and 30 cm wide on a petiole 20–30 cm long. The flowers are borne on an erect spike up to 200 cm tall emerging from the leaf rosette. The sepals are purplish and function as the upper and lower lips of the petals, the upper lip about 4 cm long and the lower lip 3 cm long. The petals are about 4–4.5 cm long and form a tube with a ring of hairs where the stamens are attached. Flowering occurs in summer and the fruit is a sharply-pointed capsule about 2 cm long containing one or two brown seeds about 14 mm  long and 8 mm wide.

Acanthus mollis was first formally described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus in his book Species Plantarum. The name of the genus derives from the Greek name of the plant ἄκανθος ákanthos. This ἄκανθος ákanthos is related to ἄκανθα ákantha meaning "thorn" referring to the thorn-bearing sepals, or any thorny or prickly plant in Greek. The Latin name of the species, mollis meaning "soft, smooth", refers to the texture of the leaves.

Acanthus mollis is entomophilous, pollinated only by bees or bumble bees large enough to force their way between the upper sepal and the lower, so that they can reach the nectar at the bottom of the tube. Bear's breeches is regarded as invasive in some countries, including Australia and New Zealand.

The shape of the leaf of this plant inspired the ancient Greek sculptor Callimachus (5th c. BCE) to model the capital of the Corinthian column. Since then, the Corinthian order column has been used extensively in Greco-Roman and Classical architecture. For centuries, stone or bronze stylized versions of acanthus leaves have appeared as acanthus decorations on certain styles of architecture and furniture. Virgil described Helen of Troy as wearing a dress embroidered with acanthus leaves.

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Thursday, 10 February 2022

FFF531 - AUSTRALIAN FLAX

Linum marginale, known by the common name of native flax or Australian flax, is a short lived perennial flowering herb, native to Australia. A slender, wispy, upright plant, growing to around 1 metre high, Native Flax is often overlooked when not in flower. It should not be confused with species of Wahlenbergia, which occurs in the same area and can appear similarly.

Like most species of Linum, Linum marginale can be used to produce useful fibre, but is not grown on a commercial level for this purpose. Native flax has small linear blue green leaves, often pushed quite close to the stem. To the untrained eye from a distance, in may appear to have no leaves. Unlike most other species of flax which have yellow flowers, Linum marginale beaks into sprays of large, electric blue flowers in spring and early summer.

The flowers (around 3 cm across) have five petals and form at the top of each wiry stem of the plant. Flowers are replaced in summer by small, globular, papery capsules, about 3 mm across, containing a cluster of buff coloured, sesame-like seeds. Like many southern Australian flowers, the plant dies back in summer, but reshoots the following autumn when the rains return.

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Thursday, 3 February 2022

FFF530 - FENNEL

Summer is progressing and the wild fennel flower heads are going to seed.

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Thursday, 27 January 2022

FFF528 - STRAWFLOWERS

Xerochrysum bracteatum, commonly known as the golden everlasting or strawflower, is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae native to Australia. Described first by Étienne Pierre Ventenat in 1803.

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Thursday, 20 January 2022

FFF527 - ASTILBE

Astilbe chinensis, commonly known as false goat's beard, tall false-buck's-beard or Chinese astilbe, is a plant in the saxifrage family, SaxifragaceaeIt is a herbaceous plant with alternate, pinnately compound leaves, on thin stems. The flowers are purplish-pink, borne in summer.

Chinese astilbe is prized for its attractive foliage, plume-like inflorescence in the summer, and dried seed heads afterwards. In 1902, the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society described it as "the most important hardy perennial introduced during the past few years". Chinese astilbe is usually planted in woodland gardens and shaded parts of herbaceous borders or cottage gardens as groundcover or edging plant.

The plant requires partial to full shade, and grows best in soil which is well-drained and rich in organic material. While more tolerant of drought and exposure to direct sunlight than its congeners, the soil must never dry out. Generally resistant to pathogens and herbivores, most problems are caused by high temperatures and drought.

The variety shown here is the hybrid Astilbe chinensis, "purpurkerze".

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Thursday, 13 January 2022

FFF526 - BLUE CONVOLVULUS

Convolvulus Blue (Convolvulus sabatius) is a super vigorous, non invasive, easy to grow ground cover that covers those difficult to maintain places. The violet blue flowers appear in early spring and continue until early autumn.

It is native to the Mediterranean region and suitable for a full sun to part shade position in well drained soil, requiring little water once established. Suitable as a spillover plant ground cover plant hanging baskets and coastal gardens.

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Thursday, 6 January 2022

FFF526 - COMMON EVERLASTING

Chrysocephalum apiculatum of the Asteraceae family is often referred to as ‘yellow buttons’ or ‘common everlasting’.  A tough plant from areas such as the Yorke Peninsula and other areas, this is a low growing evergreen perennial. As with many plants that grow over a wide areas, a number of different forms are available, the main difference seeming to be in height.

Silvery grey green foliage buttery yellow flowers that are tightly held on tallish stems. Chrysocephalum grow over a large part of Australia and good drainage would seem to be important. Chrysocephalum apiculatum grows to about 0.5m, has a low water requirement and seems to tolerate frost.

It is a fast growing plant that will spread to around 1m, the long lasting flowers make it a welcome addition to the garden border. It does grow well in near coastal conditions and is very low care.

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