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:
inlinkz will be available every Thursday and will remain open until the next Wednesday.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

FFF316 - HEAVEN LOTUS

Gustavia superba is an understorey tree in the Lecythidaceae family, that grows in Central and North-Western South America. Common names include membrillo, sachamango and heaven lotus. The trunk is around 5-10m high with the leaves radiating from the top (like palms).

Gustavia grows naturally abundantly, especially in secondary forests. It appreciates lots of  moisture, sun and well drained soil. It branches little until mature, and has a bunch of leaves at the top, so that it resembles a palm. Seeds are dispersed by agoutis. The leaves are a favourite food of iguanas.

The flowers have big white/pink petals and the centre is pink and yellow and a compacted rounded mass of yellow/pink anthers in the centre. The flowers have a sweet fragrance.It bears rounded pear shaped fruit cauliflorously (on the trunk). Inside the hard green shell that contain several large seeds about 4 cm in diameter. The yellowish-orange pulp is edible, is usually boiled after which it is said to resemble meat in taste. It is rich in A, B and C vitamins.

The tree is not widely known outside its native range from Ecuador to Panama and Venezuela, but has been planted in tropical botanical gardens, including in Singapore (where it is referred to as 'pungol') and in Australia.

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Thursday, 7 December 2017

FFF315 - CASANOVA ROSE

Rosa 'Casanova' is a floribunda/modern shrub rose raised by Fryers, UK. This very versatile rose will stand out wherever it is planted because of the bright warm orange blooms which hold well in all weather conditions and fade at the very last to a pale orange/pink.

Casanova has the most striking crimson new foliage which turns dark green and is so very disease-resistant. When the plant is so clothed with green foliage, the orange blooms stand out and put on a grand display. The rounded bush of 1 metre x 1 metre is never without flowers from very early in the Spring right through to Winter pruning.

There is a strong fragrance of floral spice when it is warm and still, and this rose is a brilliant one to pick in great branches for the vase – it holds up very well as a cut flower. Suited to mass planting or a low rose hedge.

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Thursday, 30 November 2017

FFF314 - SWEET PEA

Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) is a flowering plant in the genus Lathyrus in the family Fabaceae (legumes), native to Sicily, Cyprus, southern Italy and the Aegean Islands. It is an annual climbing plant, growing to a height of 1–2 metres, where suitable support is available.

The leaves are pinnate with two leaflets and a terminal tendril, which twines around supporting plants and structures, helping the sweet pea to climb. In the wild plant the flowers are purple, 2–3.5 centimetres broad; they are larger and very variable in colour in the many cultivars. The annual species, L. odoratus, may be confused with the everlasting pea, L. latifolius, a perennial.

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Thursday, 23 November 2017

FFF313 - TREE GREVILLEA

Grevillea robusta, commonly known as the southern silky oak or silky oak, or Australian silver oak, is the largest species in the genus Grevillea of the family Proteaceae. It is not closely related to the true oaks, Quercus. It is a native of eastern coastal Australia, in riverine, subtropical and dry rainforest environments receiving more than 1,000 mm per year of average rainfall.

It is a fast-growing evergreen tree, between 18–35 m tall, with dark green delicately dented bipinnatifid leaves reminiscent of a fern frond. It is the largest plant in the Grevillea genus, the trunk reaching diameter in excess of 1 m. The leaves are generally 15–30 cm long with greyish white or rusty undersides.

Its flowers are golden-orange bottlebrush-like blooms, between 8–15 cm long, in the spring, on a 2–3 cm long stem and are used for honey production. Native birds (like the Rainbow Lorikeet here) feed on the nectar. Like others of its genus, the flowers have no petals, instead they have a long calyx that splits into 4 lobes. The seeds mature in late winter to early spring, fruiting on dark brown leathery dehiscent follicles, about 2 cm long, with one or two flat, winged seeds.

Before the advent of aluminium, the timber from this tree was widely used for external window joinery as it is resistant to rotting. It was also popular for making furniture. There are severe restrictions on the harvesting of this tree now as the number of trees became depleted. Silky Oak is a valuable timber and was one of Australia’s best known cabinet timbers.It is the best tree which can be used for fencing and it is one of the fastest growing trees.

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Thursday, 16 November 2017

FFF312 - EPIPHYLLUM HYBRID

The plants known as epiphyllum hybrids, epiphyllums, epicacti or just epis, widely grown for their flowers, are artificial hybrids of species within the group of cacti placed in the tribe Hylocereeae, particularly species of Disocactus, Pseudorhipsalis and Selenicereus. In spite of the common name, species in the genus Epiphyllum are less often involved as parents of epiphyllum hybrids.

The parent species from which epiphyllum hybrids were bred are different in appearance and habit from most cacti. They are found in the tropical forests of Central America where they grow as climbers or on trees as epiphytes. They have leafless (or apparently leafless) flattened stems which act as the plant's photosynthetic organs. Relatively large flowers are borne on the sides of the stems; in many species they open at night. Hybrids between Disocactus and Epiphyllum have been called ×Disophyllum or ×Aporophyllum. The Epiphyllum Society of America (the International Registration Authority for hybrids of the Tribe Hylocereeae) maintains a list of epiphyllum hybrids (and Hylocereeae species) which contained over 7,000 names in 1996.

Epiphyllum hybrids need different treatment from semi-desert cacti. They should be protected from direct sunlight, with preferably 75% shading at midday. They are not frost hardy, so need to be protected from freezing conditions. It is recommended that the growing medium allows rapid drainage of water and is open, with at least one third of coarse material to prevent compaction. Plants should be kept moist. High nitrogen fertilisers are not recommended; no fertiliser should be given during the winter rest period.

Propagating epiphyllum hybrids from cuttings is easy. Rooting hormone can be applied to the base of the cutting before it is allowed to dry for ten days or more so that the cut forms a callus. The cutting is then planted sufficiently deeply so that it can stand upright. Water is not given for two weeks, after which the growing medium is kept at least slightly moist. Plants can be misted. They are fast growing plants and should flower within two years. Epiphyllum hybrids should be re-potted every 2 to 3 years as they tend to deplete the nutrients in their growing medium.

We have about half dozen different Epiphyllum hybrids growing in pots and they do quite well outside in Melbourne's climate. All of them we have grown from cuttings, and I am not aware of their "official" name. This pink one is quite spectacular with blooms about 20 cm in diameter. They last a few days (up to seven) on the plant and they can even be cut at the base of the stem as a cut flower that lasts 4-5 days indoors.

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Thursday, 9 November 2017

FFF311 - RHAPSODY IN BLUE

Rosa 'Rhapsody in Blue' is a bushy shrub rose with light green leaves and very fragrant, cupped, semi-double purplish-blue flowers fading to slate-blue, with a paler reverse, flowering in summer and autumn. It is currently blooming in our garden and looks wonderful in the Spring sunshine. One can smell these roses from a distance and the bees like their cup shape that allow them to harvest pollen and nectar.

This shrub rose will grow in a wide range of situations but best in an open site with full sun and moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil. For best flowering apply a balanced fertiliser and mulch in late winter or early spring and a balanced fertiliser again in early summer. Propagate by hardwood cuttings in autumn or by chip budding in summer.


Roses can be pruned during late winter when growth is just resuming. Deadheading is carried out in summer after flowering. Unlike modern bush roses, shrub roses generally flower on older wood and should be allowed to develop naturally, maintained by light but regular pruning and with a balance of older wood and young, vigorous growth. Bear in mind that a large number of old garden roses have an arching habit and need adequate space; shortening stems simply to restrict spread spoils their graceful shape.


The main maintenance requirement is to keep the plants free of dead, diseased and damaged wood, crossing or rubbing branches, or spindly growth. Avoid excessive build-up of older, unproductive wood that is causing the centre to become crowded, removing one or two older branches from the centre if necessary. If they become leggy and bare at the base, remove one or two stems back to near ground level, which will usually encourage new growth from the base.


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Thursday, 2 November 2017

FFF310 - SIBERIAN BUGLOSS

Brunnera is a genus of flowering plants in the family Boraginaceae. They are rhizomatous perennials, native to the woodlands of Eastern Europe and North West Asia. They have hairy leaves and sprays of blue flowers in spring. Numerous cultivars are available, which are valued as groundcover in dappled shade. Some possess variegated foliage, such as the  ‘Silver Heart’ hybrid shown here.

The best known species is Brunnera macrophylla, known as Siberian bugloss. It thrives in shade but also likes morning sunshine as long as it is in consistently moist, rich, organic soil. It does not tolerate dry conditions. It is often used in woodland gardens along streams of ponds and in naturalised areas as a specimen plant or clumped together as a border. Clumps slowly spread by both creeping rhizomes to form thick ground covers.

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (USDA Zone: 4-9) is a superb introduction, forming a clump of very thick, heart-shaped leaves that are silver with green edging and veining. Sprays of deep blue Forget-me-not flowers appear in spring. This is a choice collector’s plant, but an easy-to-grow perennial that performs well in all but the driest of shady conditions. Excellent for the woodland garden. Provided there is sufficient moisture, plants can tolerate full sun; as the leaves are so thick, little or no scorching occurs. Bred by Spitsbergen-Willemsen of the Netherlands. USPP#24685: Unlicensed propagation prohibited.

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Thursday, 26 October 2017

FFF309 - BECHTEL CRAB APPLE

Malus ioensis 'plena' (Bechtel Crab Apple) is one of the most commonly planted Malus trees. known for its floral display in spring. Adaptable to urban soil and is drought tolerant. The Malus ioensis 'plena' prefers slightly acidic, well drained soils, positioned in full sun to partial shade. This tree is a good choice for areas where space is limited due to its small growing nature.

The tree has a low to moderate growth rate, reaching a height of 5-6 m and a spread of 4-5 m. It exhibits a broad spreading habit with a rounded crown. It displays green leaves with serrated margins, turning to a rich dark red and orange colour through autumn. Small green crab apples will thinly disperse over the tree. Fragrant white, pink double flowers will grow in groups of 3 to 5 in late spring making it a highly attractive garden tree.

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Thursday, 19 October 2017

FFF308 - DUTCH IRIS

Iris is a genus of 260-300 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. It takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, referring to the wide variety of flower colours found among the many species. As well as being the scientific name, iris is also very widely used as a common name for all Iris species, though some plants called thus belong to other closely related genera. A common name for some species is 'flags', while the plants of the subgenus Scorpiris are widely known as 'junos', particularly in horticulture. Irises are popular garden flowers. The showy graceful blooms of Dutch Iris (Iris xiphium - also called Spanish Iris!) provide height and colour in mid- to late spring.

Definitely one of the easiest and most reliable spring bulbs to grow, they perform well in both open sunny positions as well as in part or full shade. Flower colour varies from white and yellows through to many shades of blue and purple in either single colour standards and falls through to a combination of both. They are very frost hardy and prefer a sunny position with ample moisture during growth, but none during their dormancy in summer. They can be grown in pots and terrace planters and are ideal as cut flowers for vases and arrangements. Dutch Iris grow to a height of 40 to 50cm.

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Thursday, 12 October 2017

FFF307 - 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, 5 October 2017

FFF306 - QUINCE FLOWERS

The quince (Cydonia oblonga) is the sole member of the genus Cydonia in the family Rosaceae (which also contains apples and pears, among other fruits). It is a small deciduous tree that bears a pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear, and bright golden-yellow when mature. Throughout history the cooked fruit has been used as food, but the tree is also grown for its attractive pale pink blossom and other ornamental qualities.

The tree grows 5 to 8 metres high and 4 to 6 metres wide. The fruit is 7 to 12 centimetres long and 6 to 9 centimetres across. It is native to rocky slopes and woodland margins in South-west Asia, Turkey and Iran although it can be grown successfully at latitudes as far north as Scotland. The immature fruit is green with dense grey-white pubescence, most of which rubs off before maturity in late autumn when the fruit changes colour to yellow with hard, strongly perfumed flesh.

The leaves are alternately arranged, simple, 6–11 cm long, with an entire margin and densely pubescent with fine white hairs. The flowers, produced in spring after the leaves, are white or pink, 5 cm across, with five petals. Quince jam, jelly, paste and stewed fruit are all quite delicious and easily made. Quinces are also used as an ingredient in savoury food. You can find several recipes here.

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Thursday, 28 September 2017

FFF305 - CLIVIA

Clivia is a genus of monocot flowering plants native to southern Africa. They are from the family Amaryllidaceae, subfamily Amaryllidoideae. Common names are Natal lily or bush lily. They are herbaceous evergreen plants, with green, strap-like leaves. Individual flowers are more or less bell-shaped, occurring in umbels on a stalk above the foliage; colours typically range from yellow through orange to red. Many cultivars exist, some with variegated leaf patterns.

Species of Clivia are found only in South Africa and Swaziland. They are typically forest undergrowth plants, adapted to low light (with the exception of C. mirabilis from the Western Cape). Clivia miniata grows into large clumps and is surprisingly water wise. It is also reportedly naturalised in Mexico. It is a popular plant for shady areas and is commonly seen growing in older established suburbs in most Australian states. It is also popular in New Zealand, Japan, China and southern parts of the USA , particularly California.

It grows to a height of about 45 cm, and various varieties have flowers that are red, orange or yellow, sometimes with a faint, but very sweet perfume.

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Thursday, 21 September 2017

FFF304 - CINERARIAS FOR SPRING!

Cineraria is now generally treated as a genus of about 50 species of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, native to southern Africa. The genus includes herbaceous plants and small sub-shrubs. In the past, the genus was commonly viewed in a broader sense including a number of species from the Canary Islands and Madeira which are now transferred to the genus Pericallis, including the Florist's Cineraria (Pericallis x hybrida), seen here. The uses for Cineraria include topical application for the treatment of cataracts.

Celebrating the Vernal Equinox and the official arrival of Spring in the Southern Hemisphere!

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Thursday, 14 September 2017

FFF303 - CEANOTHUS

Ceanothus L. is a genus of about 50–60 species of shrubs or small trees in the family Rhamnaceae. Common names for members of this genus are California Lilac, Wild Lilac, and Soap Bush. "Ceanothus" comes from a Greek word meaning "spiny plant". The genus is confined to North America, with the centre of its distribution in California. Some species (e.g. C. americanus) are found in the eastern United States and southeast Canada, and others (e.g. C. coeruleus) extend as far south as Guatemala.

Most are shrubs 0.5–3 m tall, but C. arboreus and C. thyrsiflorus, both from California, can be small trees up to 6–7 m tall. The species illustrated here is Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (also known as blueblossom or blue blossom ceanothus), which is an evergreen shrub in the genus Ceanothus that is endemic to California. The term 'Californian lilac' is also applied to this and other varieties of Ceanothus, though it is not closely related to Syringa, the true lilac.

In late spring and early summer, this bushy evergreen shrub is smothered in clusters of of dark blue flowers among small, dark green, glossy leaves. It looks great in the middle of a south or west-facing mixed border, or as a specimen at the edge of a terrace or path. It requires protection from cold, drying winds. Each year, after the plant has flowered, take out dead, diseased or damaged shoots and trim back the flowered shoots to the required shape. Apply a 5-7cm mulch of well-rotted organic matter around the base of the plant in spring.

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Thursday, 7 September 2017

FFF302 - AZALEA

Azaleas are flowering shrubs in the genus Rhododendron, particularly the former sections Tsutsuji (evergreen) and Pentanthera (deciduous). Azaleas bloom in spring, their flowers often lasting several weeks. Shade tolerant, they prefer living near or under trees. They are part of the family Ericaceae.

Plant enthusiasts have selectively bred azaleas for hundreds of years. This human selection has produced over 10,000 different cultivars which are propagated by cuttings. Azalea seeds can also be collected and germinated. Azaleas are generally slow-growing and do best in well-drained acidic soil (4.5–6.0 pH). Fertiliser needs are low; some species need regular pruning.

Azaleas are native to several continents including Asia, Europe and North America. They are planted abundantly as ornamentals in the southeastern USA, southern Asia, and parts of southwest Europe.

While azaleas are nowhere near as popular as they were some years ago, they’re still hard to beat when it comes to producing a mass of garden colour in winter and spring. Azaleas vary in size from small, rather delicate shrubs that are happiest in pots, to the large, hardy indica varieties that seem able to survive all the climatic challenges that are thrown at them. The latter group includes salmon-pink ‘Splendens’, purple ‘Magnifica’ and white or bicoloured bloomers that can reach up to more than two metres tall.

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Thursday, 31 August 2017

FFF301 - PURPLE LEAF PLUM

Prunus cerasifera, or the purple leaf plum is a small deciduous tree commonly planted for its deep reddish-purple leaves and white/pale pink flowers that are among the first to appear in Spring. Although it is short lived, it is fast growing and great for use as a specimen or shade tree.

It is in the Rosaceae family, and this like many of the stone fruits are part of the Prunus genus. Purple leaf plum grows to approximately 4-6 m tall and wide at maturity, and has a rounded shape. It should be planted in a location with full sun. The leaves will turn green if grown in the shade. Most cultivars for sale have the reddish-purple leaves, there are ones with green foliage also available.

Flowers are small, fragrant and either white or pale pink. Purple leaf plum is one of the first trees to flower in the spring, with the blossoms appearing before the leaves. Although the fruits are small at only 3 cm, they are edible. These little gems can be yellow, purple, or red, depending on the cultivar chosen. Birds love to eat these fruits off the tree, too.

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Thursday, 24 August 2017

FFF300 - DAFFODILS

Narcissus is a genus of predominantly spring perennial plants in the Amaryllidaceae (amaryllis) family. Various common names including daffodil, daffadowndilly, narcissus, and jonquil are used to describe all or some members of the genus. Narcissus has conspicuous flowers with six petal-like tepals surmounted by a cup- or trumpet-shaped corona. The flowers are generally white or yellow (orange or pink in garden varieties), with either uniform or contrasting coloured tepals and corona.

Narcissus were well known in ancient civilisation, both medicinally and botanically, but formally described by Linnaeus' in his "Species Plantarum" (1753). The genus is generally considered to have about ten sections with approximately 50 species. The number of species has varied, depending on how they are classified, due to similarity between species and hybridisation. The genus arose some time in the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene epochs, in the Iberian peninsula and adjacent areas of southwest Europe.

The exact origin of the name Narcissus is unknown, but it is often linked to a Greek word for intoxicated (narcotic) and the myth of the youth of that name who fell in love with his own reflection. The English word 'daffodil' appears to be derived from "asphodel", with which it was commonly compared.

The species are native to meadows and woods in southwest Europe and North Africa with a centre of diversity in the Western Mediterranean, particularly the Iberian peninsula. Both wild and cultivated plants have naturalised widely, and were introduced into the Far East prior to the tenth century. Narcissi tend to be long-lived bulbs, which propagate by division, but are also insect-pollinated. Known pests, diseases and disorders include viruses, fungi, the larvae of flies, mites and nematodes. Some Narcissus species have become extinct, while others are threatened by increasing urbanisation and tourism.

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Thursday, 17 August 2017

FFF299 - VIOLETS

Viola is a genus of flowering plants in the violet family Violaceae. It is the largest genus in the family, containing between 525 and 600 species. Most species are found in the temperate Northern Hemisphere, however some are also found in widely divergent areas such as Hawaii, Australasia, and the Andes. Some Viola species are perennial plants, some are annual plants, and a few are small shrubs.

A large number of species, varieties and cultivars are grown in gardens for their ornamental flowers. In horticulture the term "pansy" is normally used for those multi-coloured, large-flowered cultivars which are raised annually or biennially from seed and used extensively in bedding. The terms "viola" and "violet" are normally reserved for small-flowered annuals or perennials, including the type species.

Viola odorata is a species of the genus Viola native to Europe and Asia, but has also been introduced to North America and Australia. It is commonly known as wood violet, sweet violet, English violet, common violet, florist's violet, or garden violet.

The sweet scent of this flower has proved popular throughout the generations particularly in the late Victorian period, and has consequently been used in the production of many cosmetic fragrances and perfumes. The scent of violet flowers is distinctive with only a few other flowers having a remotely similar odour. References to violets and the desirable nature of the fragrance go back to classical sources such as Pliny and Horace when the name ‘Ion’ was in use to describe this flower from which the name of the distinctive chemical constituents of the flower, the ionones – is derived. The leaves are edible and contain mucilage.

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Thursday, 10 August 2017

FFF298 - PEACH BLOSSOM

The peach (Prunus persica) in the Rosaceae family is a deciduous tree native to the region of Northwest China between the Tarim Basin and the north slopes of the Kunlun Shan mountains, where it was first domesticated and cultivated. It bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach or a nectarine.

The specific epithet persica refers to its widespread cultivation in Persia (modern-day Iran), whence it was transplanted to Europe. It belongs to the genus Prunus which includes the cherry, apricot, almond and plum. The peach is classified with the almond in the subgenus Amygdalus, distinguished from the other subgenera by the corrugated seed shell.

Peaches and nectarines are the same species, even though they are regarded commercially as different fruits. In contrast to peaches, whose fruits present the characteristic fuzz on the skin, nectarines are characterised by the absence of fruit-skin trichomes (fuzz-less fruit); genetic studies suggest nectarines are produced due to a recessive allele, whereas peaches are produced from a dominant allele for fuzzy skin. China alone produced 58% of the world's total for peaches and nectarines in 2014. Spain accounted for 39% of global export volume in 2013.

Prunus persica grows to 4–10 m tall and has a trunk 15 cm in diameter. The leaves are lanceolate, 7–16 cm long, 2–3 cm broad, pinnately veined. The flowers are produced in early spring before the leaves; they are solitary or paired, 2.5–3 cm diameter, pink, with five petals and delicately fragrant.

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Thursday, 3 August 2017

FFF297 - 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. A few such as the Silvertree, Leucadendron argenteum have a silky-haired parachute, enabling the large round nut to be dispersed by wind. A few are rodent dispersed, cached by rats, and a few have elaiosomes and are dispersed by ants. About half the species store the seeds in fire-proof cones and release them only after a fire has killed the plant or at least the branch bearing the cone. Many such species hardly recruit naturally except after fires.

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Thursday, 27 July 2017

FFF296 - FELICIA

Felicia amelloides, the blue marguerite or blue daisy, is a species of flowering plant of the family Asteraceae, native to South Africa. F. amelloides is synonymous with, and formerly known as, F. aethiopica, Aster amelloides, Aster capensis, and Aster coelestis.

F. amelloides is an evergreen shrublet usually 30–60 cm tall by 50 cm wide, but sometimes up to 1 m tall, with densely branched and frequently dark red stems, and rough, hairy, ovate green leaves. Striking blue composite flowers with prominent yellow centres, about 30 mm in diameter, and borne on naked stalks up to 180 mm long.

This species is much cultivated, and in the temperate world is usually grown as a half-hardy annual in pots, window-boxes, hanging baskets, and other summer bedding schemes for parks and gardens. Drought- and wind-resistant, it requires a sheltered aspect in full sun, and does not tolerate frost.


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Thursday, 20 July 2017

FFF295 - COOTAMUNDRA WATTLE

Acacia baileyana or Cootamundra wattle, is a shrub or tree in the genus Acacia, in the Fabaceae family. The scientific name of the species honours the botanist Frederick Manson Bailey. It is indigenous to a small area of southern New South Wales in Australia, but it has been widely planted in other Australian states and territories.

In Melbourne, this wattle is a very commonly encountered street tree. In many areas of Victoria, this wattle has become naturalised and is regarded as a weed, out-competing indigenous Victorian species. Wattles have been extensively introduced into New Zealand.

Almost all wattles have cream to golden flowers. The small, lightly fragrant, flowers are arranged in spherical to cylindrical inflorescences, with only the stamens prominent. These trees start to bloom in early Winter and different varieties of wattle will continue to flower until Spring. A. baileyana is used in Europe in the cut flower industry, where it is called "mimosa". It is also used as food for bees in the production of honey.

This plant is adaptable and easy to grow. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Unfortunately it has an ability to naturalise (i.e. escape) into surrounding bushland. Also, it hybridises with some other wattles, notably the rare and endangered Sydney Basin species Acacia pubescens. The fine foliage of the original Cootamundra wattle is grey-green, but a blue-purple foliaged form, known as 'Purpurea' is very popular.

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Thursday, 13 July 2017

FFF294 - STAR MAGNOLIA

Magnolia stellata, sometimes called the star magnolia, is a slow-growing shrub or small tree native to Japan. It bears large, showy white or pink flowers in early spring, before its leaves open. This species is closely related to the Kobushi magnolia (Magnolia kobus), and is treated by many botanists as a variety or even a cultivar of that. However, Magnolia stellata was accepted as a distinct species in the 1998 monograph by Hunt.

This tree grows 1.5 to 2.5 m in height, spreading to 4.6 m in width at maturity. Young trees display upright oval growth, but the plants spread and mound with age. The tree blooms at a young age, with the slightly fragrant 7-10 cm flowers covering the bare plant in late winter or early spring before the leaves appear. There is natural variation within the flower colour, which varies from white to rich pink; the hue of pink magnolias also changes from year to year, depending on day and night air temperatures prior to and during flowering.

The flowers are star-shaped, with at least 12 thin, delicate petal-like tepals—some cultivars have more than 30. The leaves open bronze-green, turning to deep green as they mature, and yellow before dropping in autumn. They are oblong and about 10 cm long by about an 4 cm wide. These magnolias produce a reddish-green, knobby aggregate fruit about 5 cm long that matures and opens in early autumn. Mature fruit opens by slits to reveal orange-red seeds, but the fruits often drop before developing fully. Young twigs have smooth, shiny chestnut brown bark, while the main trunks have smooth, silvery gray bark. Like the saucer magnolia (Magnolia × soulangeana), it is deciduous, revealing a twiggy, naked frame in winter. Plants have thick, fleshy roots which are found fairly close to the surface and do not tolerate much disturbance.

The species Magnolia stellata may be found growing wild in certain parts of the Ise Bay area of central HonshÅ«, Japan’s largest island, at elevations between 50m and 600m. It grows by streamsides and in moist, boggy areas with such other woody plants as Enkianthus cernuus, Corylopsis glabrescens var. gotoana and Berberis sieboldii.

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Thursday, 6 July 2017

FFF293 - CHOCOLATE COSMOS

Cosmos atrosanguineus, the chocolate cosmos, is a species of Cosmos, native to Mexico, where it is extinct in the wild. The species was introduced into cultivation in 1902, where it survives as a single clone reproduced by vegetative propagation.

Cosmos atrosanguineus is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 40–60 cm tall, with a fleshy tuberous root. The leaves are 7–15 cm long, pinnate, with leaflets 2–5 cm long. The flowers are produced in a capitulum 3-4.5 cm diameter, dark red to maroon-dark brown, with a ring of six to ten (usually eight) broad ray florets and a centre of disc florets typical of the Asteraceae family.

The flowers have a light vanillin fragrance (like many chocolates), which becomes more noticeable as the summer day wears on.

The single surviving clone is a popular ornamental plant, grown for its rich dark red-brown flowers. It is not self-fertile, so no viable seeds are produced, and the plant has to be propagated by division of the tubers, or by tissue culture. It requires partial sun or full sun, and flowers from mid- to late summer. It is frost-sensitive (Zones 6-11); in temperate zones, the tuber has to be dug up and stored in a frost-free store over the winter.

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Thursday, 29 June 2017

FFF292 - RED 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.

Shown here is one of the Mammoth™ Series of chrysanthemums.  Developed in Minnesota, these plants result from crosses between C. x morifolium hybrids and the very hardy C. weyrichii. This results in tall, almost shrubby plants with single to semi-double flowers, interesting for the middle or even the back of the flowerbed. Do note though that these plants grow slowly, only gaining their final dimensions of about 110 cm x 150 cm in their third year. This series includes the full range of chrysanthemum colours. The Mammoth™ series was originally launched under the name 'My Favorite' and you may still see some of these plants sold under their former name.

This is the Mammoth™ ‘Red Daisy’ (formerly My Favorite™ ‘Autumn Red’.): Semi-double red with a yellow centre. It is making quite a show still in early Winter here in Melbourne. Heroic pruning keeps the plant neat and will ensure repeat blooming in a compact bushy plant. Chrysanthmums prefer full sun and become a bit thin even in light shade. Any garden soil is acceptable, but they prefer a rich, well-drained, slightly acid soil. Add compost or all-purpose fertiliser regularly as chrysanthemums are rather heavy feeders! Chrysanthemums have shallow root systems and won’t tolerate prolonged drought. From Spring right until Autumn, water thoroughly whenever the soil is dry to the touch. Divide in spring or take cuttings in early summer. Their seeds germinate readily, but are not true to type.

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Thursday, 22 June 2017

FFF291 - EURYOPS

Euryops chrysanthemoides (with the common names African bush daisy or bull's-eye) is a small shrub 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. This particular variety is Euryops chrysanthemoides 'African Sun'. As you can see it is blooming profusely in our Winter here in Melbourne.

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Thursday, 15 June 2017

FFF290 - NEMESIA

Nemesia is a genus of annuals, perennials and sub-shrubs which are native to sandy coasts or disturbed ground in South Africa. Numerous hybrids have been selected, and the annual cultivars are popular with gardeners as bedding plants. In temperate regions the annual cultivars are usually treated as half-hardy bedding plants, sown from seed in heat and planted out after all danger of frost has passed.

The flowers are two-lipped, with the upper lip consisting of four lobes and the lower lip two lobes. The cultivar 'Innocence', a low-growing bushy perennial with white flowers, has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. The cultivar shown here is 'Sunsatia Banana', which is a popular ornamental hybrid.

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Thursday, 8 June 2017

FFF289 - CHICKWEED

Stellaria media, chickweed, of the Caryophyllaceae family is a cool-season annual plant native to Europe, but naturalised in many parts of North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. It is used as a cooling herbal remedy, and grown as a vegetable crop and ground cover for both human consumption and poultry. It is sometimes called common chickweed to distinguish it from other plants called chickweed. Other common names include chickenwort, craches, maruns, winterweed. The plant germinates in autumn or late winter, then forms large mats of foliage.

The plants are annual and with weak slender stems, they reach a length up to 40 cm. Sparsely hairy, with hairs in a line along the stem. The leaves are oval and opposite, the lower ones with stalks. Flowers are white and tiny, with 5 very deeply lobed petals. The stamens are usually 3 and the styles 3. The flowers are followed quickly by the seed pods. This plant flowers and sets seed at the same time. This plant is common in gardens, fields, and disturbed ground as a weed. Control is difficult due to the heavy seed sets. Common chickweed is very competitive with small grains, and can produce up to 80% yield losses among barley.

Stellaria media is edible and nutritious for humans, and is used as a leaf vegetable, often raw in salads. It is one of the ingredients of the symbolic dish consumed in the Japanese spring-time festival, Nanakusa-no-sekkuS. media contains plant chemicals known as saponins, which can be toxic when consumed in large quantities. Chickweed has been known to cause saponin poisoning in cattle. However, as the animal must consume several kilos of chickweed in order to reach a toxic level, such deaths are rare.

The plant has traditionally been used medicinally in folk medicine. It has been used as a remedy to treat itchy skin conditions and pulmonary diseases. 17th century herbalist John Gerard recommended it as a remedy for mange. Modern herbalists prescribe it for iron-deficiency anaemia (for its high iron content), as well as for skin diseases, bronchitis, rheumatic pains, arthritis and period pain. Not all of these uses are supported by scientific evidence. The plant was used by the Ainu for treating bruises and aching bones. Stems were steeped in hot water before being applied externally to affected areas.

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