Greenovia aurea

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!

Lindsay writes:

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.

Greenovia aurea

15 responses to “Greenovia aurea”

  1. Quin

    ‘we’re off to see the wizard!’ great set-up for the shot!

  2. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    Lately I’ve much enjoyed the plants that look as though they could have come from another planet, or from the mind of Jim Henson, the world of Fraggle Rock.
    Trichostema lanatum was one of those (Sept 9)… and now this! :o)

  3. chico

    Interesting, unusual, beautiful plant! Thank you!

  4. carol

    I had not heard of these plants, until i opened your page, but am very interested in learning about them..I love anything unusual.////carol

  5. Martin

    Recent molecular evidence (ref below) suggests that Greenovia is not genetically distinct from the much larger Macronesian genus Aeonium.
    Phylogenetics and Evolution of the Macaronesian Clade of Crassulaceae Inferred from Nuclear
    and Chloroplast Sequence Data
    Author(s): Mark E. Mort, Douglas E. Soltis, Pamela S. Soltis, Javier Francisco-Ortega, Arnoldo
    Source: Systematic Botany, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Apr. – Jun., 2002), pp. 271-288

  6. Joyce

    Welcome Lindsay!

  7. Justin Dean

    Very Seussian!

  8. He Who Lives With Yankees

    Welcome Lindsay!

  9. elizabeth a airhart

    welcome lindsay welcome indeed
    the photo reminds me of something haeckel drew
    is this the plant also called green rose buds
    canary golden mountain rose?
    tis autum happy shaggy mumms to you all

  10. elizabeth a airhart

    forgive i did not read carefully
    the common names are in the fine writeup

  11. Margaret-Rae Davis

    Lindsey it is nice to have you on board.
    This is a lovely photo with the blue sky as the background.
    Thank you,

  12. karin

    Yes, I’m enjoying the “otherworldly” plants as well…who knew there were so many! Always caught so beautifully by the camera.

  13. Eric Simpson

    Since this wonderfully weird plant is “hardy in most Mediterranean climates”, is it considered invasive in said climates, such as SoCal where this great photo was taken?

  14. Lindsay Bourque

    Thank you all for the welcome, I’m very excited to be a part of the Botany Photo of the Day crew!

  15. Claire Woods

    Welcome Lindsay!
    Eric –
    Though these have only been in cultivation a relatively short time, I would say it’s quite unlikely that they are potentially invasive – they are slower than most Aeoniums, and in their native habitat are in decline, as tourists take the rosettes as souvenirs. They would be most similar to our California native Dudleyas – they can form colonies with time, but far from rampant.

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