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.