Let’s get back into the swing of things. Before we do, though, thank you to all of you who sent kind wishes over the holidays. That was very much appreciated. For those of you who, for whatever reason made sense to you, sent snark and rudeness, I hope your new year’s resolution is to be kinder to both other people and yourself.
Today’s photographs and write-up are thanks to Jackie Chambers. For local folks, Jackie is presenting this Thursday night at the Native Plant Society of BC‘s monthly south coast meeting. I know a lot of folks have been staying inside these past few weeks with the exceptional weather we’ve been having (I know I have), so it’ll be a good opportunity to venture out of your home and see some colour instead of snow-white and slush-blue-grey. Jackie writes:
The yellow flowers of Grindelia integrifolia, speak of summer and sunshine, two things to look forward to in the New Year. Native to western North America, this herbaceous perennial can range in height from 15-80 cm and can be found in coastal habitats along the shoreline of British Columbia, Oregon and Washington.
Like many members of the Asteraceae, the flower is composed of ray and disk florets (in this case, both yellow). The unopened flower buds tend to be covered in “gum” which makes them sticky to the touch (see photos of the flowers in bud). The involucral bracts — the green bracts at the base of the flower head — are also covered in gum, adding to the sticky reputation of the plant.
The gummy feature is shared by many members of this genus and has given rise to the common name gumweed or resinweed as a collective term. This particular gumweed is sometimes called Puget Sound gumweed, a reference to its distribution. It is also called entire-leaved gumweed, but the species is quite variable and the leaves may be entire or serrated.
Basal leaves are lance-shaped and can reach 40 cm in length. Stem leaves are found in alternate arrangement clasping the stem. Leaves produce resin and the odour of plant is sometimes likened to Retsina.
The genus Grindelia is named after Russian botanist David Grindel (1776 – 1836), and the species integrifolia is a reference to the entire leaves exhibited by many individuals of the species.
Grindelia integrifolia is a late-summer or fall flowering plant. This specimen was photographed in September in the Garry Oak Meadow at the UBC Botanical Garden, part of our new Garry Oak planting. To learn more about this unique and threatened landscape see the site of the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team.
Botany resource link (from Daniel): Check out the intriguing Burmanniaceae web site. This family consists mostly of “tiny and extremely rare beauties of the tropical rain-forests”. I spent a little time on the site today after browsing through the garden’s newest library acquisition, Illustrated Book of Taiwan Endemic Rare Plants Vol. 2 and encountering a species of Thismia for the first time. A little online searching led to this intriguing story about the possibly-extinct Thismia americana (Thismia americana in Flora of North America), known only from a single location near Chicago and last seen in 1916.