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To celebrate our green friends, Plantae Fellows and ASPB Conviron Scholars have complied infographics with lots of fun facts about plants. Enjoy!
The fifth international “Fascination of Plants Day” is launched by plant scientists across the world under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO).
Happy Fascination of Plants Day!
References:Missouri Botanical Garden. Available at: www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/ ; Penny, H. (2018). Plants400. University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum. Available at: medium.com/university-of-oxford-botanic-garden-and-arboretum/hops; https://pngimage.net/hop-png-5/
Did you know?
Is a herbaceous perennial vine native to Europe, southwestern Asia and North America. Its female fruits are used to preserve and flavor beer.
What & where
Featuring plants on #PlantDay
Originally it was used as a beer preservative becoming unpopular because of its bitterness. Henry VIII Parliament described it as a ‘wicked weed that would spoil the drink taste’.
Specific epithet lupulus means “small wolf”, as its shoots (up to 9 m in length) would be found climbing over trees and completely cover them.
Tamarind is a tropical fruit tree native to the dry regions of tropical east Africa. It has fruit pods with hard outer shells and pulpy centers.
It is known as a "Tree of life" because of the shade given by its feather-like leaves and also due to its numerous uses, as for oil, wood and food.
References: Bhadoriya, S, et al. (2011). Tamarindus indica: Extent of explored potential. Pharmacognosy reviews, 5(9), 73–81; Hall, L. (2018). Plants400. University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum. Available at: medium.com/university-of-oxford-botanic-garden-and-arboretum;. KissPNG.com
Its common and generic names are from the Arabic "Tamr-I-hind":
Tamr: due to the date-like appearance of the dried pulp.
Hind: due to India.
Meaning the "Indian date".
It is a perennial herb endemic of the south-west of Australia.
The individual plants consist of grey-green strap-like leaves to about 30 cm in height.
Anigozanthos from the Greek “anises”, meaning unequal and “anthos”,flower, due to the division of the floral extremities. Manglesii, after Robert Mangles who raised it in England.
Kangaroo paw is derived from the appearance of the unopened cluster of flowers.
References: Australian Native Plants Society. (2009). Anigozanthos manglesii. Available at: http://anpsa.org.au/a-man.html ; Bodden, A. (2012). Floral Emblems of Australia. Australian National Herbarium. Available at: https://www.anbg.gov.au/emblems/wa.emblem.html
It was proclaimed "The Floral Emblem of Western Australia" on November 9th, 1960.
Red and green
What & Where
"Dandelion" is derived from dent de lion in French meaning "lion's tooth." This name is based on its jagged leaves. The species name, officinale, comes from the Latin word for pharmacy, denoting its value as a medicinal herb.
This perennial is native to Europe and Asia though
Considered a weed
based on its persistent nature.
Illustrated by @CPFreed
Dandelions have other uses besides making wishes. They have important medicinal and culinary properties. Though bitter in taste, many enjoy dandelion wine, tea, and salad!
Panda ears are endemic to Madagascar. They are one of many species from a succulent family, Kalanchoe.
Kalanchoe are popular house plants because they don't need to be watered often. They store water in their leaves as they come from hot and dry climates.
It's no surprise this plant was named "panda ear" based on its soft, fuzzy leaves. It's also referred to as "chocolate soldier" based on the brown spots on its leaf tips.
Poppy flowers are symbolic for commerating fallen soldiers. This originates from trench warfare in a poppy field in Flanders during WWI.
This perennial originates from west Asia and southeast Europe. Its seeds contain edible oils and alkaloids, making it economically important for the culinary and pharmaceutical industries.
Poppies come from the diverse family, Papaveraceae. Their vibrant colors really "pop" out and grab your attention.
A very colorful and fragrant flower. This plant is found in the wild in the southeast region of Mexico, and Is used in the Día de Muertos celebration.
The dried petals, are used in poultry feed to ensure a good coloration of egg yolk. The flower is commonly planted in cemeteries.
PICTURES: Eduardo Tejedor, PINTEREST
In Mexico is called FLOR de MUERTOS, (flower of the dead), the aztec name Cempoalxóchitl means "twenty flower".
The Vanilla plant, an orchid native to Mexico, now widely grown throughout the tropics. Indonesia and Madagascar are the world largest producers.
Only the melipona bee, found in Central America, can pollinate vanilla. In other parts of the world, humans duplicate the process using a wooden needle.
Vainilla, the name in spanish, is from the diminutive of vaina, literally meaning “little pod”.
It is perennial flowering plant native to Europe and Asia. A mature plant may have a height of 1.5 metres! The part of the plant used medicinally is the root or rhizome.
Used by Greek physician, Dioscorides, for heart palpitations, digestive problems, epilepsy and urinary tract infections. Valerian was recommended by Galen during the second century as a treatment for insomnia. Medicinal plant for anxiety, and sleep problems, the metabolites responsible for the activity are valeric and iso-valeric acids and valepotriates, due to GABA re-uptake inhibition (mechanism of action).
Derived from the latin “Valerius”, which means to be strong and healthy. Two other ancient names are “Nard” meaning “strong smell” and “phu” refers to the exclamation of disgust when we smell the dried root.
Wheatley, D. (2005). Medicinal plants for insomnia: a review of their pharmacology, efficacy and tolerability. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 19(4), 414–421.doi:10.1177/0269881105053309
Murti, K., Kaushik, M., Sangwan, Y., & Kaushik, A. (2011). Pharmacological properties of valeriana officinalis- a review. Pharmacologyonline 3: 641-646.
Juvenile leaves are heart-shaped and lack any splitting or holes, making young Monsteras easily mistaken for other plants.
Swiss Cheese Plant
The common name Swiss Cheese Plant comes from the numerous holes in the mature leaves. “Deliciosa” refers to the large, edible fruit said to taste like fruit salad.
Native to Mexico and Central America. It is thought that the holes in the leaves help allow light to reach lower leaves while also increasing leaf surface area for photosynthesis.
Native to Central Europe. Hens and chicks were historically planted on roofs in their native range, hinted at in their other common name “house leek”. The succulent leaves provided emergency winter sustenance.
The Latin name Sempervivum means “live forever”. The common name Hens and Chicks refers to the many plantlets or “chicks” that surround the mother plant or “hen”. The plant seems to live forever through its plantlets.
Hens and Chicks
A favorite of houseplant enthusiasts, new varieties are always being developed. Some interesting varietal names are Cinnamon Starburst, Appletini, and Cranberry Cocktail.
Monkey Puzzle Tree
It was featured as a major plot point in the 1947 movie “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”, in which a ghost was angered and saddened by the removal of his beloved tree.
Introduced in gardens in Britain by Archibald Menzies in 1795 after tasting their seeds as a dessert, the Monkey Puzzle got its name from the idea that due to its rigid, sharp leaves and overlapping, scale-like branch pattern, a monkey would be puzzled trying to climb it.
Native to Southern Chile and Western Argentina. The trunk and branches are covered in sharp pointed leaves and the cones are covered in spikes.
A key structural adaptation in junipers: resistance to what scientists call "cavitation" - a tendency for bubbles to form in the water-conducting xylem tissues of plants. Juniperus species are among the most resistant species in the world to water‐stress‐induced xylem cavitation.
In Latin, juniperus is combination of the word junio, which means young, and parere, to produce, hence youth producing, or evergreen. In 2011, the name Juniper entered the top 1000 list of given names in the US!
A small coniferous evergreen tree or shrub. Junipers are the most widespread conifers in the world. The center of diversity is in arid regions of Mexico.
Willson, C.J., Manos, P.S. and Jackson, R.B., 2008. Hydraulic traits are influenced by phylogenetic history in the drought‐resistant, invasive genus Juniperus (Cupressaceae). American Journal of Botany, 95(3), pp.299-314.
It is believed that ‘mother’s ruin’ was first made as a medicinal tonic in the early 17th century, and the Gin and Tonic was developed in the 19th century as a way to make quinine more palatable for British officers at risk of catching malaria in India.
Warman, N.M. and Aitken, E.A., 2018. The Movement of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (sub-tropical race 4) in Susceptible Cultivars of Banana. Frontiers in Plant Science, 9, 1748.
The name may be derived from Antonius Musa, physician to the Emperor Augustus, or Linnaeus may have adapted the Arabic word for banana, mauz.
Outbreaks of Panama disease decimated a banana industry in Central America in the 1950s. The outbreak forced the industry to shift production from Gros Michel cultivars to Cavendish varieties. The global banana industry was saved until the 1990s, when a new strain (Race 4) of the disease emerged infecting Cavendish bananas - the strain that once again threatens global banana production!
They might look like trees but they are not woody plants but 'giant herbs'! The first bananas are thought to have grown in the the Malaya Peninsula, Indonesia, the Philippines and New Guinea. The mass production of bananas started in 1834.
It's the Devil’s fruit!
According to folklore, when the devil was cast out heaven by St Michael, he landed on a bramble bush and cursed it. It was believed this caused blackberries to become unpalatable around 29 September – St Michael’s Day – after which they should not be picked.
BBC4 Radio "8 juicy facts about blackberries and brambles"
Sochor, M. and Trávníček, B., 2016. Melting pot of biodiversity: first insights into the evolutionary patterns of the Colchic bramble flora (Rubus subgenus Rubus, Rosaceae).
Scientists studying brambles are called batologists!
Brambles or wild blackberries grow on every continent - except from Antarctica - and are a troublesome group of plants. Some are highly invasive and can grow in many habitats, from sandy beaches to pine forests!
The generic name means 'blackberry' in Latin and was derived from the word ruber, meaning "red". In Europe, about 750 bramble 'micro-species' are listed but scientists have not been able to figure out what is a bramble species as they have very different forms and shapes in different environments!
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Hope you enjoyed the infographics!