Today’s Botany Photo of the Day once again comes from the album that Douglas Justice collected on his recent trip to China. Douglas also provided the attached write-up.
The genus Lysimachia consists of about 180 species worldwide, most of which are in the northern subtropics and temperate zone, with a few species scattered throughout Africa, Australia, and South America. According to Flora of China, 138 species are native to China. Most species are recognized easily as robust plants with oppositely arranged, (usually) pointed leaves and mostly yellow flowers arranged around a characteristically reddish centre. Due to the reputed medicinal qualities of a number of species, the common name for the genus is yellow loosestrife . This species is evidently used to treat fractures, contusions, and strains, though Flora doesn’t mention precisely how the plant might be employed for these maladies.
I photographed this little beauty crawling around in the sand and gravel on the side of a road in Sichou (Sichow) County in southern Yunnan Province. Clearly, this is a tough plant. While admiring it, it struck me that it looked very familiar, and indeed, this species is commonly grown in the West. Lysimachia congestiflora has been adopted by the bedding plant industry because of its compact growth and long flowering tendencies. Lysimachia species are notoriously persistent plants (many are weedy) and this one appears to be even tougher than most. The cultivars 'Persian Chocolate' (with purple leaves) and 'Golden Harvest' (with red and gold leaves) are also available commercially.