Sunday, January 28, 2024

Plant Story--Sambucus, Elder or Elderberry, Widespread Tasty Berry

Species in the genus Sambucus are called elder. That somehow doesn't sound right to my eastern North American ear, so I always say elderberries. That name I prefer is clearly weird--the tree doesn't always have berries, or the berries are just the fruit of the elder--but I'm not alone in this speech pattern, you can see it in a lot of U.S. writing. Historically and properly, it was elder, but bear with me, I keep sticking -berry on the name.

Elder with berries, southern Scotland
Elderberry with berries

They are shrubs or small trees with richly green long divided leaves. They produce big clusters of small white flowers that turn into brightly-colored berries.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Flowers, Since its Midwinter

 It has been snowy and cold, icy and cold, windy and cold, and just cold the last week. So here are so plant photos to remind you of warmth. 


Sunday, January 14, 2024

Travel Story--Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

It was a rainy September day two years ago when I visited the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. We walked from our hotel, down old streets and past local markets. 

fall in Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh in September

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Plant Story--Lovely Fernbush, Chamaebatiaria millefolium

The plant I call fernbush is an American shrub native to the U.S. west, from eastern Oregon and Idaho south to California and New Mexico. It grows to be about 10 feet tall, spreading to 10' wide. It has leaves with lots of divisions, hence the name fernbush, with a rich spicy scent. The flowers rise in spikes of white flowers with yellow centers. The USDA plants data base calls it desert sweet. An older plant book called it tansybush, because the leaves look like, and smell a little like, the garden plant tansy (Tanacetum vulgare). 

fernbush Chamaebataria millefolium
fernbush Chamaebataria millefolium

Monday, January 1, 2024

Botanical Garden Observations

Botanical gardens are zoos for plants; places where plants from around the world are conserved. Frequently they are public but they do not have to be. Frequently also the staff conduct research on topics relating to plant propagation and identification.

Singapore Botanic Garden
Singapore Botanic Garden