Greater Periwinkle

Greater periwinkles are greater than lesser periwinkles.

  • Greater periwinkles are also known as ‘big leaf periwinkles’, ‘large periwinkles’, ‘blue periwinkles’ and ‘blue buttons’.
  • The scientific name of greater periwinkles is ‘Vinca major’ and is from a family of six species of Vinca.
  • Greater periwinkles are native to Europe and North Africa and are from the family ‘Apocynaceae’, which is typically known as the dogbone family.
  • Greater periwinkles grow up to 50-70 cm (1.6 – 2 .3 feet) in height and spread 2-5 metres (6.6 – 16.4 feet) wide.
  • Greater periwinkles are ground vines with dark green coloured leaves that are glossy and sit in pairs opposite each other, with flowers that can bloom all year round, but generally in spring and summer.

Greater Periwinkle, Purple Flower, Multiple, Two, Bush, Violet, Lavendar, Colour, Austalia, Flower, Vegetation, Ten Random Facts

  • The flowers of greater periwinkles can be white or blue in colour but are typically coloured in purple shades and are 3-5 cm(1.2 – 2 inches) in diameter.
  • Greater periwinkles are an invasive weed in parts of Australia, New Zealand and United States, due to the ease of propagation from waste plant material.
  • Greater periwinkles are often mistaken for lesser periwinkles (Vinca minor) due to their similarities, although the flower and leaf sizes are larger in the greater, which also has tiny hairs on the leaves, that the lesser doesn’t.
  • The stems of greater periwinkles can be used for basket weaving and the plant is also used medicinally, although it is poisonous if large portions are consumed.
  • Greater periwinkles are happy to grow in shady areas and send down roots from their runners, making them easy to grow from cuttings.
Bibliography:
Vinca Major, 2013, Plants for a Future, <http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Vinca+major>
Vinca Major, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinca_major>

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Ground Asparagus

Ground asparagus… though not an asparagus bearer, though.

  • Ground asparagus is also known as basket asparagus, Sprenger’s asparagus and asparagus fern.
  • Ground asparagus is from the family Asparagaceae, which is the family of asparagus and flowering plants.
  • Ground asparagus have tiny bell like flowers that are white to palish pink in colour and bloom in spring and last until autumn.
  • Ground asparagus is a small perennial, low lying, scrambling shrub that has a number of  stems coming from the ground that have ferny looking cladodes (water storing leaf like segments) and small thorns attached.
  • Ground asparagus is easily grown from the rhizomes and through seeds that birds spread, making it an invasive weed in many areas.

Ground Asparagus, Red, Berry, Fern, Green, Basket, Weed, Invasive, Australia, Ten RandoM Facts, Aethiopicus, Long ways, Green, Evergreen, Vegetation, Plant

  • South Africa is the native home of ground asparagus, where it is found in coastal areas.
  • The scientific classification for ground asparagus is Asparagus aethiopicus, although it is often confused with Asparagus densiflorus, which it is often called, and is similar in appearance.
  • Ground asparagus have berries that start off green and ripen to a red colour, and grow to 5 to 8mm (0.2 to 0.3 inches) in diameter.
  • Although ground asparagus is known as an invasive weed in a number of countries in the world, especially Australia, New Zealand, and parts of the United States, it is still used for decoration in shady areas or rocky gardens.
  • The berries of ground asparagus are poisonous, causing symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomiting. 
Bibliography:
Ground (Basket) Asparagus, n.d, Weeds Australia, <http://www.weeds.org.au/WoNS/asparagusweeds/docs/Asparagus_Weeds_BPMM-5.pdf>
Ground Asparagus, n.d, Weeds Australia, <http://www.weeds.org.au/cgi-bin/weedident.cgi?tpl=plant.tpl&state=&s=&ibra=all&card=H03>

 

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Orange Trumpet Creeper

Trumpeting Creeping Flowers – NOT.

  • Orange trumpet creepers are also known as ‘flame vines’, ‘venusta vines’, ‘Japanese honeysuckles’ (although the vine isn’t a honeysuckle), ‘Chinese cracker flowers’ and ‘golden showers’.
  • Orange trumpet creepers are from the family Bignoniaceae, and are a relative to Jacarandas.
  • The scientific name of the orange trumpet creeper is ‘pyrostegia venusta’, a combination of Greek and Latin words meaning ‘ beautiful flame covering’.
  • Orange trumpet creepers are large and long evergreen vines that grow quickly and flower mainly in winter, although they often flower in autumn and sometimes  during spring.
  • Orange trumpet creepers have beautiful, grouped, tubular, red, orange or yellow coloured flowers, that are 4 to 8 cm (1.6 to 3.1 inches) in length.

Orange Trumpet Creeper, Flame, Orange, Vine, Plant, Flower, Vegetation, Pretty Beautiful, Ten Random Facts, Australia.

  • Orange trumpet creepers can grow up to 30 meters (98 feet) in length and are a popular garden plant because of their stunning flowers and their good foliage that can grow over and cover large supports like fences, tanks, carports, and large archways.
  • Orange trumpet creepers are native to Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.
  • Orange trumpet creepers can be easily grown from cuttings and the plant can sometimes spread due to branches taking root in the ground.
  • Orange trumpet creepers are found in forest, shrubby and rocky habitats and they prefer warmer climates and do not like the cold.
  • Orange trumpet creepers are considered a weed in some countries and are said to be an invasive plant in some areas because they are easily grown and can smother trees and native vegetation.
Bibliography:
Orange Trumpet Creeper, 2006, Burkes Backyard, <http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/factsheets/Climbers/Orange-Trumpet-Creeper/2109>
Pyrostegia Venusta, 2011, Some Magnetic Island Plants, <http://www.somemagneticislandplants.com.au/index.php/plants/299-pyrostegia-venusta>
Rix, M 2011, Pyrostegia Venusta, Kew, <http://www.kew.org/plants-fungi/Pyrostegia-venusta.htm>

Prickly Pear

Prickly monster.

  • Prickly pear is also known as ‘nopal cactus’ and ‘paddle cactus’ and comes from the genus Opuntia which contains more than 150 species.
  • Prickly pears are from the family Cactaceae, which is the family of cacti and are native to North and South America and some of the surrounding islands.
  • Prickly pears have green, flat, oval shaped leaves called pads, that have long and short prickles that break off easily and irritate human skin.
  • Prickly pears have become an invasive weed in parts of Africa, Australia and Europe, where they were introduced as ornamental plants, fences and barriers, and for stock feed.
  • Prickly pears have edible fruit known as ‘cactus fruit’, ‘cactus fig’, ‘Indian fig’ and ‘tuna’, and are mainly red in colour, although other varieties include yellowy orange and green, and are high in Vitamin C.

 Prickly Pear, Invasive, Green, Fruit, Tall, Desert, Bare, Australia, Fruitful, Ten Random

  • Cochineal, a scale insect, is a common pest on prickly pear plants, and the insects are collected to make a valuable red dye called cochineal, which is used to dye fabric, cosmetics, and food.
  • The fruit and pads of prickly pears can be eaten, once the skin and prickles are removed, and the pads can be cooked like a vegetable and have been used in Mexican cooking for hundreds of years.
  • In 1788, prickly pears were introduced in Australia for the purpose of producing cochineal to dye the red coats required for the British army, however, by the 1920s prickly pears had invaded 58 million acres (24 million hectares) of land, much of it good farming land, so the cactoblastis moth was introduced to control the cactus, and was so effective, that much of the land was reclaimed.
  • The fruit of prickly pears are said to taste like a combination of bubblegum and watermelon, and can be made into candy, jam or beverages, or eaten raw, although some people do not like to eat the hard edible seeds.
  • A prickly pear can be found on the Mexican coat of arms and is said to symbolise the hard times and difficulties that have passed and will come.
Bibliography:
Opuntia, 2013, Wikipedia, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opuntia>

Tibouchina

They like to put on a show!

  • The tibouchina is also known as ‘glory bush’, ‘princess flower’, ‘lasiandra’ and ‘glory tree’.
  • Tibouchinas are flowering, evergreen shrubs or trees.
  • Tibouchinas have stunning large purple flowers, although there are a few varieties with pink or white flowers.
  • Tibouchinas flower in Autumn and are an attractive and popular garden plant.
  • Tibouchinas are from the family Melastomataceae and there are over 350 species.

Glory Bush, Purple, Plowers, Green, Tree, Australia, Tibouchina, Ten Random Facts

  • Tibouchinas are native to tropical areas of South America, especially Brazil; the Caribbean; and Mexico.
  • Tibouchinas grow to 0.5 to 6 meters (1.6 to 20 feet) depending on the species.
  • Tibouchinas are susceptible to cold weather and frost.
  • Tibouchinas are classified as an invasive weed in Hawaii.
  • Tibouchinas generally like an acid soil type, and sometimes the edges of  the leaves have a burnt appearance due to the soil not being acidic enough, which can be rectified by the addition of sulphur.
Bibliography:
Tibouchina organensis (Glory Bush), n.d., Backyard Gardener, <http://www.backyardgardener.com/plantname/pda_23c4.html>

Duranta

Do you call it a weed?

  • Duranta is also known as Golden Dewdrop, Pigeon Berry and Skyflower.
  • Duranta is from the family Verbenaceae which is the verbena family and there are 17 different species.
  • Duranta is native to the Americas and the Caribbean.
  • Duranta can grow up to 6 meters (20 feet) in height depending on the species.
  • Mature duranta have thorns and bloom light blue, violet or white coloured flowers.

Duranta, Purple Violet Flowers, Small, Tree, Bush, Bloom, Pretty, Australia, Ten Random Facts

  • Duranta have yellow or orange coloured berry fruit.
  • The berries and leaves of duranta are poisonous, and have killed children, cats and dogs.
  • Duranta was named in honour of a 16th century Italian botanist and physician, Castor Durantes.
  • Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to duranta’s brightly coloured flowers.
  • Duranta is known as a weed in Australia, South Africa and China.
Bibliography:
Duranta erecta 5 December 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duranta_erecta>
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