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

February 16, 2016: Botany Photo of the Day will return this spring with a new format similar to the new UBC Botanical Garden web site. In the meantime, please enjoy the restored content!

Nassauvia lagascae

Nassauvia lagascae
Nassauvia lagascae
Nassauvia lagascae

Thank you to Douglas Justice for today's write-up.

Another wonderful photograph by Alan Tracey from his recent peregrinations in the southern Andes. Nassauvia Comm. ex Juss. is a southern south American endemic genus of about 50 shrubs and herbs, allied to the genus Mutisia (the climbing daisies). Local peoples refer to plants of the genus as repollito, meaning little cabbage sprout. The individual species of Nassauvia are differentiated in part by, and notable for, the degree of reduction displayed by flowers, inflorescences, leaves and stems. In the genus, the higher the elevation and more extreme the conditions, the more reduced (compact) are the plants. This is a general rule in alpines; however, as you can see from the image here, these are not typical looking "compact" alpine plants. The vocabulary describing this reduction series is somewhat arcane, but for the adventurous, this link opens to the abstract of "A typological analysis of the inflorescences of the genus Nassauvia (Asteraceae)" (the full article is unfortunately unavailable to most viewers).

The genus name honours Charles Orthon, Prince de Nassau-Siegen (1745-1809), who accompanied Louis Antoine Bougainville on the first official French circumnavigation of the globe (1766 to 1769). Bougainville had been charged with officially handing over the Falkland Islands to the Spanish. This is probably the connection with the plants we know as Nassauvia, as at least one species is found in the Falklands. The epithet commemorates the Spanish botanist Marianio La Gasca y Segura (1776 to 1839).


Wow, nosegays growing out of rocks!

What a lovely plant! Just wondering how small it is?

Does anybody know the cold tolerance of this genus? This plant?

Oh,the joy of living color amongst the rocks! I've worn out many pairs of boots dancing on mt. tops and it always good for the heart when the vibrant splash of alpine flowers catch and dazzle your eyes! This picture has done the same for me while spring and winter still battle for dominance outside my window.

This lovely little plant amongst the rocks reminds me of my journeys on the high altiplano in Peru, where very little grew. Every so often we would pass a round green boulder amid the barren rocks. Intrigued I persuaded the driver to stop the jeep. These boulders were totally encrusted by hard densely packed little green plants, perhaps 5-8mm thick. I could not guess their genus. Does anyone have a picture?

mr justice thank you
i enjoy the stories of discovery
bougainville i live in florida
with this name covering walls and patios

this is a hopeful plant sitting
in the rocks hanging in there

Fabulous plant. I am constantly amazed by the incredible variety found in the Asteraceae. Oh I wish I could visit those mountain tops.

Tracey, those round green boulders were in fact not boulders at all, but very old plants, probably of the species Azorella compacta Phil. As the plants grow, the develop a densely branching "trunk" of sorts below the layer of tiny green leaves that form the "green boulders" that you observed. They grow incredibly slowly. Some large plants have been estimated to be many hundreds (perhaps more than a thousand!) years old. Here are some photos: Llareta.

Oops! Should have addressed that comment to Tessa!

Here is another high altitude cushion plant from the southern puno in Peru, near the Bolivian border.

What incredible plants...architectural and beutiful!

My son commented, "It looks like land coral." Doesn't it?


I just loved this one!


Awww, that is so cool! Plants are amazing. Wonderful pictures.

Wow! Beautiful.
And love those Llareta.

one word for these lovelies: Tripindicular!

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