Botany Photo of the Day
In science, beauty. In beauty, science. Daily.

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Schima sericans var. sericans

Schima sericans var. sericans
Schima sericans var. sericans
Schima sericans var. sericans

I was excited about having another BPotD “exclusive” to share with you today, i.e., a species that doesn't appear on search engine image results. Unfortunately, I was scooped on this one: “growin”, a member of one of the web's largest gardening sites, posted a few photographs of this particular plant a week ago (though I'll note that he did have to walk in the bed to get these photographs, something not encouraged for garden visitors). Small consolation, perhaps, but today's BPotD pics at least seem to be the first few photographs of this plant in flower on the web.

Taking the time to smell the flowers elicited an “oooooo” from me. I thought it smelled of a sweet vanilla; Douglas thought it had elements of banana. We both agreed, though, that the fragrance was fleeting – you could only smell it for a brief time before becoming desensitized to it.

A native to the Yunnan province in China as well as Tibet, Schima sericans was published as a species in 1997. The draft treatment of the Theaceae in the Flora of China agrees with the assessment of this as a separate species segregated from the (slightly) more common Schima wallichii. Despite some reservations about the assertion that this is one of a number of closely-related species (instead of much morphological variation within a single broad species), we're treating it as distinct for the time being at UBC.


Schima - requires a sheltered position such as woodland - Hillier Manual of Trees & Shrubs, 2003

Nice flower shape.

Some of us photographers do make extreme efforts to stay out of the planting beds, but sometimes - if it's rare or exquisite, we just have to get a little closer. Respectfully, of course.

this is an interesting website

Nice pictures. I might even be able to recognize this plant from the pictures. Is there a competition to see who can be the first to get a picture of a plant?

No, no competition. I just think it's nice when I can help show a unique plant on BPotD that can't be found elsewhere.

Put coarse mulch down to allow walking around the plants without causing soil compaction. This won't prevent the possible problem of water molds and the like being tracked in, of course. But, how are visitors supposed to make use of specimens that do not hang right over the paths?

I've had gardeners at both Strybing Arboretum (San Francisco) and Van Dusen Botanical DISPLAY Garden bellow at me from some distance away for stepping into beds to read labels (Strybing) or DISPLAY SIGNS(!) whose writing could not possibly be made out from the path. Ridiculous! I wasn't running around like an unleashed dog, either, my body language should have conveyed I was being careful. Accomodation of garden users was clearly not the priority.


I was wondering how you feel about spraying plants with an atomizer for effect. I remember my father-in-law (he was avid amateur photographer) telling me how one of his photography classes was taught to do this for effect. Now, whenever I visit a flower display and see droplets on the flowers, I wish the earnest photographer had not sprayed them. I can't help thinking (with just a bit of regretful humor) "fake, not natural!" Thanks again for your efforts.

Hi Burton. I've never done that, and can't see a reason to ever start doing it. Not only because I can't be bothered, but in the “documentary-style” photography I did here, it would be fake. I suppose if I was doing an abstract that called for many spots of reflection or sun in droplets, I'd test it out. Thousands of photographs so far, and I haven't felt the need, though.

(and, just to offer some evidence, you can see that the mulch is wet in the last photograph)

Thanks for sharing I've loved it.

It's lovely! I just loved it.

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