Sonntag, 24. Juli 2011

Supplement: Flowers of Calystegia sepium (L.) R. Br. (July 24th, 2011)

Hi everybody,

not a real Article today, but a supplement to Calystegia sepium (L.) R. Br. (Hedge Bindweed). In its post, I had no pictures of the flowers of this plant but during the Last Days, I've found some exemplars with flowers and had also the time, to photograph them. So here are some pictures of the funnel-shaped flowers.

 C. sepium - flower

C, sepium - flowers

C. sepium - flower (and leaves)

Dienstag, 19. Juli 2011

Plant of the Day (July 19th, 2011) - Fallopia japonica (Houtt.) Ronse Decr.

Hello everybody.. After a longer break, I am back again with a new Article.

This time, I want to show you one of Germany's most problematic plants. And no, it's not because of this plant is toxic. It's just only an extremely fast growing plant, which can invade biotopes very fast and overgrow them easily. Of course, I'm speaking of Fallopia japonica (Houtt.) Ronse Decr. from the Polygonaceae family. In German, this plant is called “Japanischer Flügelknöterich” and in English “Japanese Knotweed”.

F. japonica - habitus

It's a big shrub, which can reach heights until 3 metres (or 9,8 feet). The stalk is textured red and hollow inside. The leaves are alternate and have a very characteristic leaf-blade with a small tip and a nearly straight bottom. Their leaf-stalks are red.

F. japonica - leaf

The inflorescences are panicles with many flowers. Each flower has five, white petals with three stigmas or eight stamens (the plants are dioecious, so we've only male or female individuals).

F. japonica - leaf

As the name suggest, this plant is native to Japan, but can also be found in China or Korea. During the 19th century, it was brought to Europe as ornamental and food plant for cattle and deer. Since then, F. japonica has spread rapidly over Europe and from there also in other parts of the world like North America.

F. japonica - shoot (look at the reddish texture)

The plant uses its rhizomes for vegetative propagation; the generative way plays a minor role. In this way, the plant is able to form large stocks very quickly. The rhizomes are very resistant towards frost or dryness, while the whole plant is undemanding towards its soil. So, you can find F. japonica on many different places like roadsides, ruderal wastelands or parks. I found two exemplars in my neighbourhood, one in Bochum, Western Germany and many in Solingen, also Western Germany.

F. japonica - here you can see the 
hollow inside of the shoot

Because of this properties, F. japonica has become one of the most problematic neophytes of the world. The species is able to displace other plants and to destroy the biodiversity of an ecosystem. In many countries, F. japonica is combated to prevent its spread. However, it's still a popular garden plant In Switzerland, the possession and the sale of this plant is forbidden.

 F. japonica - stock beneath trees

Samstag, 9. Juli 2011

Plant of the Day (July 9th, 2011) - Calystegia sepium (L.) R. Br.

Today's “Plant of the Day” is Calystegia sepium (L.) R. Br from the Convolvulaceae. In English, this species is known as “Hedge Bindweed” and in German as “Gewöhnliche Zaunwinde”

C. sepium - habitus

This herb is a climber, that means, its stalk winds up along walls, other plants or fences. After the germination, this plant crawls across the floor, until it finds something to climb up. Then, it start winding up, by wrapping around the object multiple times. So, C. sepium can climb until heights between 1 and 5 metres (3,3 – 16,4 feet). It needs 1h 45 for one winding.

C. sepium -leaves

The stalk is bald, round and has blunt edges. The leaves are arrow-shaped with two “ears” at the base of their leaf-blade. They also has a long stalk.

The single flowers are funnel-shaped with big, white petals and tip bracts. The stamens are covered with glands.

C. sepium - habitus

This plant is native to the temperate areas of the world. So you can find it for example in the USA, Middle Europe, Asia and also Australia, Argentina and South Africa. It is very undemanding towards the soil and can be found in hedges, gardens and reeds. It's also a weed in vineyards, what can be problematic, because C. sepium is able to displace other species.

Dienstag, 5. Juli 2011

Important Message

Hi everybody. For the next four weeks, I will absolve a placement. So, I will work from morning to evening and will not always have the time, to write articles. That means, new plants will be present in an irregular cycle; depending on the time I have.

Samstag, 2. Juli 2011

Plants of the Day (July 2nd, 2011) - Cornus sanguinea L. and Cornus sericea L.

So folks, today I've two plants for you, because they are very similar and one article fort both of them makes more sense. This plants are Cornus sanguinea L. (“Common Dogwood” or “Blutroter Hartriegel”) and Cornus sericea L. (“Red Osier Dogwood” or “Weißer Hartriegel”) Both are plants from the the Genus Cornus of the Cornaceae family.

C. sanguinea - leaves and flowers

C. sericea - leaves and young fruits

C. sanguninea is a shrub with heights between 2 and 5 metres (6,6 to 16,4 feet), while C. sericea is a little bit smaller with heights between 1 and 3 metres (3,3 to 9,8 feet). The branches of both species are red overflowed. 
In both cases, the inflorescence is a umbel-like panicle without any bracts and whith white petals. The flowers appear after the leaves. The fruits of C. sericea are white, while the fruits of C. sanguinea are deep blue (nearly black).

 C. sanguinea - inflorescence

The best way to differ these two species are their leaves. The leaves of C. sanguninea are more eliptical and have 3 – 4 pairs of leaf-veins, while the leaves of C. sercia are lanceolate and pointed. They have also 5 – 7 pairs of leaf-veins.

 C. sericea - leaf (7 pairs of leaf-veins)

 C. sanguinea - leaf (4 pairs of leaf-veins)

C. sericea is native to North America and a Neophyte in Europe. C. sanguinea is native to Europe and part of the Middle East (e. g. Turkey). Both species prefer fresh soils, but C. sanguinea grows better on acid soils, while C. sericea needs nutrient-rich ones. Both species can be found at lake sides or the edges of woods. They are also very popular as garden plants for the hedge.

 C. sericea - leaves and flowers