Eric La Fountaine, the garden’s accession technician, continues the series from his recent trip to South America (previous entry here). Thanks for the photograph and write-up, Eric! He writes:
This is a difficult flower to photograph. Nolana reichei is known as the flower of seven colours and I am pleased at how clearly this is illustrated by this photo. The yellow centres are surrounded by black with deep blue spots fading to grey and a white circle and rays ringed with pale blue and rich lavender.
The species was first described by Dr. Karl Friedrich Reiche, but appeared to belong to an existing species, so was not validly published at the time. Michael O. Dillon and Gina Arancio agreed with Dr. Reiche’s original assessment and published their description in Five new species of Nolana (Solanaceae-Nolaneae) from Chile (PDF), naming the species after Dr. Reiche.
The 89 named species of Nolana are native to the coastal deserts of Chile and Peru with one disjunct, endemic species from the Galapagos Islands.
Botany resource link (added by Daniel): The New England Wildflower Society has published an extensive set of Conservation and Research Plans for rare plants of northeast USA. I find it intriguing (and admirable) that these plans “[involve] over 140 authors and reviewers” and “represent the first time that a non-governmental organization has undertaken such extensive documentation of a region’s flora.” Very impressive work and kudos to them.