Botany Photo of the Day welcomes a new writer today, Lindsay Bourque. Lindsay will be helping me to write / photograph BPotD entries from now until April. Welcome Lindsay!
Many thanks to Claire Woods, aka buildingadesert@Flickr, of San Pablo California, for submitting the photo of this delectably bizarre member of the Crassulaceae (original image | Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Group Pool).
Native to the Canary Islands, Greenovia aurea grows on dry volcanic slopes up to 2300 meters in its native environment but is also hardy in most Mediterranean climates worldwide. Named for the 19th Century English geologist George Bellas Greenough, canary golden mountain rose or green rose buds is probably the most frequently cultivated species within this genus. Aside from Greenovia diplocycla, it is the largest Greenovia, growing up to 25cm in diameter and setting creamy yellow flowers in May and June.
It is interesting to note that in addition to succulence, members of the Crassulaceae family possess an additional water retaining mechanism called Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) or CAM photosynthesis, a complex carbon fixation pathway that, among other things, allows the stomata of the plant to remain shut during the day, preventing water loss. While this mechanism is not unique to the Crassulaceae, it was first observed in crassulacean plants, thus bearing its name.