April 2010
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What is in a name?

Penaea dahlgrenii

What’s in a name? Members of family Penaeaceae are a distinct and easily recognised part of the unique South African (Cape) fynbos vegetation. Closely related are the two small and also (southern) African families Oliniaceae and Rhynchocalyx, and they are sometimes lumped into family Penaeaceae. Sister to this group is the South American [...]

Known unknowns (in Africa)

Gerrardina eylesiana

Is there anyone who want to go to Africa and have a close look at these plants? Flacourtiaceae is not only merged with Salicaceae (willows), but have also had many genera splitted off. One of these is genus Gerrardina with two species from south-east Africa. Today it is the sole genus in the [...]

Ever changing truth

Oncoba glauca

Science is an ever evolving pursuit, and family Flacourtiaceae is a good example of this. It was earlier a fairly large tropical and subtropical family, but recent phylogenetic analyses have revealed, i.a., that the temperate family Salicaceae is part of Flacourtiaceae (and these two families should then be united and named Salicaceae), and [...]

Rijgersma's passion

Passiflora suberosa

Hendrik van Rijgersma’s (1835-1877) collections from Saint Martin (Lesser Antilles) are always small beauties, here as often accompanied with a water colour drawing. The plant is a Passiflora pallida (a species sometimes included in P. suberosa), one of about 430 Passion flower species in the tropic and warm America (and a further 20 [...]

The Lutheran’s grass

Lars Levi Laestadius‘ (1800-1861) fame is as the founder of the conservative Lutheran revival movement named after him. But he was also a skilled botanist, and only 24 years old he collected and described this plant as a new variety (later rised to species of its own) of “Arundo lapponica” from Tåsjöberget in Ångermanland, northern [...]

Not really a strawberry...?

Alchemilla taernaënsis

If you want to see this newly described (1993) Alchemilla taernaensis you have to go up quite far north, to Lyckelse Lappmark in northern Sweden, the only region in the world where it grow. Alchemilla is a genus with several hundred species mostly in Eurasian temperate and subarctic regions. Many of these species [...]

True Mahogany, another soon-no-more?!

Swietenia mahagoni

Cuban mahogany, the “original” mahogany introduced to Europe five centuries ago, before it was almost extinct in the wild (wherever that is; since it has been introduced to many areas it is now difficult to know where it is natural). The remaining populations are now of poor quality, through “genetic erosion”, that is [...]

Soon no more?

Dactyladenia cinerea

Wanted! More collections! And recent ones, please! But I doubt it ever will be collected again; according to the IUCN Red List it has only been collected once (in 1904), in an area now mostly turned into agriculture land… For the time being, it is listed as Critically Endangered, but can probably be [...]

Solander's hair?

Acrostichum calomelanos

Is it the great Linnaean disciple Daniel Solander’s (1733-1782) hair that is stuck under the frond? Or even Linnaeus’?! This Pityrogramma calomelanos was collected on Jamaica in the 18C, perhaps by Patrick Browne (1720-1790). It is a widely cultivated and naturalized species (“first colonizer of erupted volcanoes in Mex.”), used as ornamental. Mabberley [...]