viernes, 27 de abril de 2012

The plant of the month (April): Bamboo

Nowadays the word "bamboo" is refer to two different types of plants. On the one hand there are all the species belonging to the subfamily Bambusoideae (about 1200 species) and on the other hand the sp. Dracaena sanderiana which taxonomically it doesn't nothing to do with the first group. The assignement of "bamboo" is only correct for the first group. This entry is specially dedicated to the species of the subfamily Bambusoideae, although at the end we'll talk about Dracaena sanderiana, also called "Lucky bamboo".

The subfamily Bambusoideae belongs to the extensive Poaceae family. Generally this Subfamily owns herbaceous, woody, cold-resistant and evergreen plants. Their distribution includes the tropical areas of the planet although this type of plants can adapt to other climates. They have green and pseudopeciolated leaves. They flower with very irregular cycles, so it's very unfrequent to see these plants flowering. This subfamily i divided in 2 groups (or supertribes) :

Olyredae. The minority of the generes are in this group.
Bambusodae. This group owns the most of the generes. The most important generes are:

-Bambusa: It has around 100 species like B.vulgaris. The stem is yellow whith green lines and the leaves are green. It can be 12 m tall, the shoots are edible, with  reminelalizing and laxative properties. Also they are very used in order to control the erosion of the lands.
-Chusquea: It has around 120 species originaries of Soth America. Their stem are solid. Some species are C.culeou and C.quita.
-Arundinaria: (around 50).They are originary of China and North America. The leaves are long, lanceolated and flexible. Some species are A.densiflora and A.japonica.
-Phyllostachys:(around 45) Originary of East Asia. The most important species are:
    *P.aurea/bambusoides: Also called "Golden bamboo" because of the yellow colour of the stem. It is udes as ornamental, support and edible plant.
    *P.edulis: Also called "Moso bamboo". It occupies 2/3 of the total bamboo population of China. Its main use is as food plant (the stems and the shoots)
    *P.nigra: Also called "Black bamboo" because of its black stem. Its leaves are dark green and bright. It is used in ornamentation and nowadays there are lots of varieties.

These plants usually grow in gregarious groups, and sometimes making forests. In Asia 8specially in China) these forsts are very characteristic beacause of it singularity and beauty , and very important because they occupy around 20.000 km2. And bamboo is the main food of the panda's diet.

The Dracaena sanderiana is known incorrectly as "Bamboo" because of the similarity of its stem to the stem of the species of the subfamily Bambusoideae. This sp. belongs to Agavaceae family and it's also called "Lucky bamboo" because according to the Chinese Feng Shui "pseudoscienece" this plant brings good luck wherever you place it, although its origin is African.
This plant is being more and more known around the world and used at ornamentation due to its easy care and its beauty appearance.
From the node sprouts the leaves, and from the internode sprouts the roots.
Its ideal temperature is around 20-25ºC.It needs a great amount of light, but in an indirect way. The most common plagues are cochineal and fungus.

¿Why have I chosen this plant?
This plant attracted my attention long time ago. I think that bamboo is a curious plant because of its stems, which have an uncommon structure. And apart from that fact, I would like to explain the difference between the 2 types of bamboo,specifyng which is the true bamboo and which is the "false" due to the last is becoming more and more popular in our homes.

domingo, 11 de marzo de 2012

The plant of the month (March): Bougainvillea

This genere owns to the Nyctaginaceae family. It's originary from South America, specifically from Brazil. This plant is present around the world due to its resistance to almost all climates, although it prefers warm and dry climates without extreme wind, with temperatures until -4ºC.
Bougainvillea is a climber plant, the original form is a bush, although nowadays it has a lot of uses like wall cover, hedges, bushes, bonsais, etc.
The most characteristic of this plant is its colorful "petals", that in fact, instead of petals like they could seem at first glance , they are modificated and colored leaves, called bracts. The true flower is in the middle of the bracts, it's very small and it has the shape of a large tube, wide at the vertex, where there are the true petals. This plant is hermaphrodite. The flowers are abundant and durable almost all the year. The stem and the branches have small spines which the plant uses in order to hold the surfaces for climb. Its roots are very sensible.
This genere has some species like B.glabra, B.buttiana, B.peruviana and B.spectabilis. Although currently there are several hybrids and varieties the most frequent species are Bougainvillea glabra and Bougainvillea spectabilis.
Bougainvillea glabra has lanceolate, glossy, hairless and soft green leaves, and magenta bracts. It is very frequent as a bonsai form.
Bougainvillea spectabilis has oval, hairy and matt green leaves, and the bracts can be purple, pink, red, yellow, white and beige.
The most frequent plague that attacks to Bougainvillea are cochineal, white fly and red spider. And there are some diseases like the powdery mildew and chlorosis.
The Bougainvillea is an easy plant to cultivate, if you want to cultivate one follow this link.
Here there is a chart with several ornamental uses of Bougainvillea.

¿Why have I chosen this plant?
Bougainvillea has been a plant that although I see it everyday ,I am struck by it since I was a child. It seems to me a special plant maybe because it keeps in flower all year long, maybe because of its characteristic "petals", maybe because it can grow up on an abandoned gardens...or maybe beecause it is a whole of all...

viernes, 3 de febrero de 2012

The plant of the month (February): Iris

This genere owns to the Iridaceae family. The most of them have rhizome, the leaves grow from the base.The flowers have different sizes according to the species, with loud colors. In this plant we can't differentiate between petals and sepals because they are fusioned in a single structure; the tepal. These flowers have 3 arched down external tepals and 3 straight internal tepals. The strange morphology of the flower is tightly linked with the pollination ; the external tepals are "designed" with the aim the flying insect perchs on its surface and approaching to the flower centre in order to get the nectar it touches the stamens and get soaked of pollen. In spite of this plant is hermaphrodite, it has an alternative to the selfing ; it has a mechanism in order to prevent the insect from putting away the pollen on the same flower.
This plant has a very large distribution around the North hemisphere, and it grows at almost every ground. Some species of Iris are I.germanica, I.reticulata, I.siberica, I.ensata...
If you want to know how to cultivate Iris follow this link

Why have I chosen this plant?
This time, Ihaven't chosen the plant of the month, but a very important person for me, to whom I dedicate this entry.

viernes, 20 de enero de 2012

The wonderful world of carnivorous plants I

When you hear "carnivorous plant" it's likely that you think in the Venus' Flytrap who "eats" every insect that perchs at it. But there are a lot of carnivorous plants very different and amazing, with complex mechanisms difficult to imagine, mechanisms that seem science fiction. In this entry and in the 2 next I'll explain all the generes of this wonderful type of plants. But before of that, I'll do a small introduction about the carnivorous plants.
The carnivorous plants live on the insects and small animals in order to get Nitrogen, because this element isn't present at the acid grounds where they live. These grounds are very hostile for the rest of the plants. But according to the rest of ways to get energy and other elements, they work like the others.
The most characteristic aspect of these plants are their traps, they are very varied and complex. Generally the basic action mechanism of the traps is:
1st.To attract by means of nectar
2nd. To fix by means of sticky substance
3rd. To digest by means of enzymes
They can "catch" from ants to little mice. These plants can live without eating any animal, but consecuently their growth will be slower.
The most of them live at very humid atmosphere with acid grounds, and they are from 1cm to 3m tall.
According to the cultivation, they are very difficult and delicated, generally the carnivorous plants need peat moss, with acid pH(5-6), distilled or rain water and a lot of humidity, although there are some exceptions. The typical causes of the carnivorous plants' dead are the lack of the demands and trying to force and manipulate the trap.
Some carnivorous plants due to their "monstrous" appearance have been used as ideas to create characters and creatures in movies, series, videogames... For some years...

And now, let's go with the generes:


This genere has only one species (Dionaea muscipula), "Dionaea" comes from "Diana"; the roman goddess of the hunting. This is the carnivorous plant "par excellence" because it's the most cultivated and known around the world, although it's originary of North and South Carolina (USA). It's also called Venus' Flytrap. According to its trap, at the end of the leaf it has 2 lobes with flexible thorns around its edges, at the centre there are 2 types of glands, one of them are nectar secretory glands and the other are secretory enzymes glands, and in the middle of the lobes there are detector tiny tentacles .
In the junction of the 2 lobes there are some glands that produce nectar, that substance attracts the insects, for example a fly. This small animal perchs on the lobes (in that moment they are open), and when the fly moves, it shaves the tiny tentacles, which activate the mechanism that closes the 2 lobes and traps the fly. The long flexible thorns around the edge prevents that the fly could scape. Then, the plant liberates the digestive enzymes that kill the fly.


This is one of the generes with more species (around 170) distributed around the world, but principally in Australia. This plant has antitussive properties There are some groups: Subtropical, Pigmy, Nordic, Tuberous and Queensland. Generally the leaf ends with a lobe, where there are some short tentacles at the centre and long tentacles at the edge. The tentacles of the centre contains mucilage drops, this substance attracts the victims and fix them to the tentacles, and when the victim tries to escape, it produces some vibrations which the plant detects, and in that moment it's when the long tentacles moves and trap tre prey, and the enzymes are liberated by the plant.

This is a very odd plant; first because it's aquatic, and second because it has a very complex mechanism. There is only one species (Aldrovanda vesiculosa) distributed at Europe, Africa, Japan, India and Australia, in fresh water and acid pH(5-6) water areas. It has shooting naps that creates an air expulsion of its sack, causing the vacuum at the adjoining area and putting the victim to the interior and digesting it by means of enzymes. The small aquatic insects are attracted by its translucent leaves.

This genere contains around 18 species, it's native of the Venezuelan steppes, it lives at flooded areas. This plant has another type of trap very different to the others. Its leaves have a structure that seems a sack or a tube open, empty and relatively big (15cm) with a "small bell" at the top that produces nectar. The prey goes to the small bell attracted by the smell, and when the it arrives it's very likely that it falls at the bottom of the tube, where instead of the digestive enzymes, there are bacteria and microorganisms which rots the prey and forms nutrients that the Heliamphora gets

jueves, 5 de enero de 2012

The plant of the month (January): Muscari

There are around 40 species of these bulbs(Ex: Muscari neglectum, M.armeniacum, M.botryoides...) The most of them have a blue and globose bunch of flowers, and laminar leaves. Muscari owns to Liliaceae family, it's an hermaphrodite plant (1 gynoecium and 6 stamen), it produces a capsule fruit. This bulb flowers in spring, it grows on rocky and grassy lands, originary of Eurasia and North Africa. Muscari is around 20-25 cm tall.
At the crop fields it is knowed as a weed because its ease of spread. But its use is mainly ornamental because of its beautiful colour, this cause and the first are the two mainly reasons of it use at the extense gardens; a big amount of this little plants produce a beautiful visual shock.

If you want to know how to cultivate Muscari, follow this link

Why have I choosen this plant?
I was struck by Muscari one morning at the country , some years ago, when I was doing an Herbarium, and I was realy shocked at how colorful it was, the intensity of the blue flowers and the green leaf contrasting with the brown and dry lands around it. I searched its scientific name with my Bonnier (it was Muscari neglectum) and I never forgot its name.

Note: Although I mention this plant as "The plant of the mounth" it doesn't have nothing to do with blossoming period, simply it's because I wanted to choose a plant that I like for every month ^^.

Note 2 :The next time I'll try to write the entry at the begining of the month :3

lunes, 2 de enero de 2012

Welcome to my garden,yours.

I have done a presentation before, but I would like to write a welcome entry ^^.
I hope you feel confortable as soon as possible enjoying one of the greatest nature's goods although pitfuly there are some ignorant people who destroy it indiscriminately, but I 'll deal with that subject later on. I'll do everything possible to update with an appropriate periodicity. Well, to start with this blog I think that's all, I f you have a question or you would like to give an opinion, or add any information you only have to post a comment ^^ even if it's a grammatical correction(I'm Spanish). Thank you again :D