Datisca cannabina

A thank you to local plant enthusiast Wendy Cutler (wcutler@UBC Botanical Garden Forums) for sharing her photographs of this plant from UBC Botanical Garden by my request (read more in this thread). As I’ve written in the past, I’m always pleased to be able to share something from a plant family that has yet to be featured.

The Datiscaceae, or datisca family, is only represented by two species. The Baja Californian/Californian/Nevadan Datisca glomerata and the Asian (& barely European) Datisca cannabina, found in “Crete, Turkey, Transcaucasia, Lebanon, N. Iran. Afghanistan, W. Pakistan and Nepal”. This biogeographical pattern (western North America, Mediterranean aka the Madrean-Tethyan disjunctions) exists in other taxa as well, a pattern that is not yet fully understood (see: Smith, SA and MJ Donoghue. 2010. Combining Historical Biogeography with Niche Modeling in the Caprifolium Clade of Lonicera (Caprifoliaceae, Dipsacales). Systematic Biology. doi: 10.1093/sysbio/syq011 ).

UBC BG’s Curator of Collections Douglas Justice’s reply to Wendy shared a few additional factoids about Datisca cannabina of interest: “A rarely cultivated herbaceous perennial…Plants are dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants) and fix nitrogen through a mutualistic relationship with a root-nodulating actinobacteria in the genus Frankia. Frankia species are also known to associate with Alnus (alder) and Elaeagnus (oleaster) and its relatives”.

Lastly, a small request to email subscribers. I know it is easier to send along your thanks or comments as a reply to the notification email, but that does have a couple disadvantages: 1) I only get to see the positive words, and if the compliments are about a submitted photograph, the photographer misses out on those; and 2) those in charge of the purse strings potentially miss out on seeing the feedback. Slow as the comment process is, I think it has its advantages.

Datisca cannabina
Datisca cannabina

24 responses to “Datisca cannabina”

  1. Elizabeth

    A graceful beauty for the gardens!!

  2. Rae Whitten

    I check this link immediately – what a JOY! I have shared this Botany Photo of the Day with Everyone I Know!!. Such a prize!! How should I let you know how importantant this is to me. I look forward to it every day!!

  3. Usha

    Thanks Daniel,
    I look forward to these posts, eagerly
    Its always a joy to see the pictures submitted and yours and other guest writers’ informative paragraphs…
    I think this is doing more for botany among lay people than any lectures could…
    Lectures are words that disappear in the wind.. but you BPhOD stays in the computer’s memory… and some I even send forward or show to older folks, it makes them smile
    This particular plant reminds me of gossamer curtains or small waterfalls… or even icicles on the roof ledges ..
    well done picture.
    Thank you

  4. SandyinZ4

    I do not even know now how many years I have enjoyed the BPOD website and the beautiful pictures and information. I am definitely a lay person. Just a common soul who loves flowers and plants and even the pics of fungi and seaweed when they appear.
    I hope that the powers that be keep this site going for many years to come. I always learn something. I do have to admit my lack of knowledge about the latin names so was really expecting something more risque with the title today Datisca cannabina. I thought it might have some relation to marijuana which I only know as a weed from living in Nebraska for a while. It ws easy to pull but sure made for stinky hands. I was glad to see that it seems there is no connection to this pretty plant.

  5. Brian Stokes

    Surely, the way they “fix nitrogen through a mutualistic relationship with a root-nodulating actinobacteria in the genus Frankia. Frankia species are also known to associate with Alnus (alder) and Elaeagnus (oleaster) and its relatives” is a model for us on the human level?

  6. Stephen Lamphear

    I repost many (maybe most) of the photos to Facebook with a link to this site. Love it!

  7. Diana Ferguson

    Thank you for this beauty – as above, graceful. Well done, Wendy. How lucky we are to see plants we’ve never heard of before this forum.

  8. Pat

    Lovely plant.
    Is it a boy or a girl?
    SandyinZ4, the plant looks a bit like Cannabis, the useful seed and fibre plant. True Cannabis has palmate leaves but the leaflets look very similar.

  9. Mandy Macdonald

    Your advice about posting, and the comments above, remind mw that i must share this site with Friends of the Cruickshank Botanical Gardens at Aberdeen University, of whom i’m one. If there are some folk there who don’t know of BPOD already, they should!

  10. Sara Rundle

    I would like to add my voice to the feedback. This is a wonderful site and I appreciate the floral/fungal beauty whenever I get a notice. I have forgotten more than I remember from my college years working in ornamental horticulture and it always pleases me when I recognize the latin – keep up the good work. When my husband retires, I’d like to take a trip to see the treetop gardens you have shown on this site.

  11. Bonnie

    What can this lay person add its all been said. Some words of course are over my head, some settle in.

  12. Brenda Elthon

    Thank you for this lovely photograph. Your posts are the first thing I look at each morning. I repost them on Twitter along with a link to your site. Please keep sharing the wealth of God’s Garden with all of us.

  13. Tanja

    The scientific slant coupled with an aesthetic approach is a breath of fresh air. I am a plant systematist and enjoy being reminded of an unusual group of plants or learning something new about their biogeography, ecology or ethnobotany. The posts often give me the impetus to search out a paper or think a little more deeply about a topic. Finally, I particularly enjoy how BPOD brings together all sorts of plant folk, ranging from citizen scientists to researchers.

  14. Ginny

    I can only add that BPoD is so important to me that I periodically (including today) make a (modest) donation. I’m sure others are inspired to do so, too. Many thanks.

  15. Carol Draco

    I have lurked on this great site for quite awhile now. It is the first mail I open every day. I’m just a lay person who is retired but can’t keep up the big gardens I used to have. BPOD gives me that refreshing view of natures bounty that I need. Today’s photo is especially appreciated. It is a plant I never knew of before. Thanks to everyone who contributes to this wonderful site.

  16. Val Walsh

    Hi Daniel (& holders of the purse strings):
    I love the BPOD, whether it’s an exquisite bloom that makes me want to hop on a plane to its tropical home, or an ugly, yet fascinating, specimen. I’m a non-professional, but I’ve learned a little Latin through gardening. I enjoy guessing at the type of plant as I click to view it, even though I’m rarely correct! I’ve shared the BPOD with friends, and posted a few on Pinterest. I feel this web site furthers both interest in, and appreciation of, the natural world. Maybe we can all send the BPOD link to one person we know who will use and share it? I know a few teachers…

  17. Kate Clover

    I love the vicarious travel through the botanical world this site offers. It’s a treat to see the photographs and to learn.
    I work in a science museum and many of the images along with the information has been useful as I’ve worked to train staff and volunteers about the role of plants, foods, flowers, plant resins, dye materials in various cultures and times in history. Keep up the great work!

  18. Tiiu Mayer

    I was thrilled to see this plant featured! About 6 years ago I acquired one at a 4-H Fair in Putnam County NY not knowing what it was – I just took all the orphan plants home and planted them. It thrived and my father asked suspiciously if it was mara-joo-wanna. It is very graceful as it arches over towards the light and loves the partial shade of a NNE exposure here in N Baltimore County MD. It is almost impossible to buy in the US – why is that? Does anyone know if you can divide the root mass successfully?

  19. elizabeth a airhart

    daniel i would suggest the powers to be look at your cluster map
    over 10,369 vistors in one one week,7,074,095 since feb 07
    i dearly love this page a true spot of sunlight in my life
    i enjoy the comments i learn from each one and laugh at others
    t’is a fine group who visit this fine garden site
    thank you for all the work and shareing daniel
    i think the plant above is where the the little folk like
    to swing back and forth in the moonlight can you not hear music

  20. Daniel Mosquin

    Thanks for the comments, all. I didn’t intend that as a consequence of my words, but, still, great to read and they will be very helpful should I ever need to share them if those sorts of decisions are ever being made.

  21. Wendy Cutler

    I was so pleased that you were able to use my photos, and that you described me as a local plant enthusiast and not as a “local garden pest”. We’ve certainly been asking plenty of questions in the Talk about UBC Botanical Garden forum. A big thanks to everyone who’s been helping us. It was fun learning about this one in particular, as the Frankia association has come up with two other plants I’ve been paying attention to recently.

  22. Pat

    Daniel, you may have missed my question in amongst the well-deserved praise for BPotD.
    Is that a female plant or a male? How different are the other gender?

  23. Daniel Mosquin

    Pat, the Flora of Pakistan has an illustration of both the male and female branches. I’d say the photographs above are from a female plant, as it appears far more showy with the long inflorescence.

  24. Connie Hoge

    I love the way the gardener has juxtaposed the stiff, formal spheres with the voluptuous curtains of the Datisca.

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