Paronychia cephalotes’ secret

I am wondering why this interesting, cold hardy, beautiful and excellent rockery plant is absolutely ignored. Is there a secret?

Paronychia cephalotes (Fam. Caryophyllaceae) in wild habitat – Dolomite hills to the south of Öskü, Hungary – photo courtesy Stefan Lefnaer

Last year I easily germinated seeds and grew the seedlings into a fine clump by the end of the season (the seedlings pot was planted in the rockery as a whole in May). I am confident it will make it well over the winter, and maybe even produce a few flowers. Meanwhile, someone else already knows why is it such a ‘secret’ species please?

Paronychia cephalotes – end of August 2016 (a group of seedlings were planted together in May);name=Paronychia%20cephalotes

Friday’s Seeds – Papaveraceae

Back to seeds, and just a few here from the last published seed gallery.

Many of the species of Papaveraceae family present seeds with elaiosomes, a well-known adaptation to ant dispersal (myrmechory). In the general term ‘elaiosomes’ are included various seed appendages rich in lipids (with oleic acid as the main component), amino acids, carbohydrates and vitamins.

These appendages are often very beautiful and interesting. Problem is, you have to be fast in admiration because few days after dispersal/collecting (whichever comes first ;-) they will ‘shrink’ or simply ‘disappear’. This applies as well for the seeds which are kept in moist storage for later sowing/sales (keeping these species as dry seeds is strongly NOT recommended).

Stylophorum diphyllum, one of my favourites, with ‘mohawk-style’ elaiosomes (insert with seeds in moist storage).

Stylophorum diphyllum

Stylophorum lasiocarpum – with a different ‘hair’ style.

Stylophorum lasiocarpum

Corydalis solida – displays  ‘leaf shaped’ elaiosomes.

Corydalis solida

Dicentra cucullaria – a hard one to catch and the elaiosomes fade very fast.

Dicentra cucullaria

And, I cannot forget the Sanguinaria: ‘little snails’ trying to get away :)

Sanguinaria canadensis


More on the Papaveraceae seed gallery.



All over again

The first Arisaema of the season – in love all over again… 

Arisaema fargesii seedling


Through the looking-glass: Montreal Botanical Garden

Every time I visit a Botanical Garden, it feels like stepping into a parallel world full of wonders. Montreal Botanical Garden especially felt like the Garden of Live Flowers. Did the flowers think that I was one of them? I don’t know, but let’s see what’s on the other side of the mirror.

Maybe not enough time to do a full exploration, but we can always return for more ;-) There are 10 exhibition greenhouses and about 30 thematic outdoor gardens!!!
Link to – Montreal Botanical Garden

Very short, I have to mention that MBG came into being in 1931 through the efforts and vision of botanist Frѐre Marie Victorin, which practically dedicated his life to this garden. Rightly so, today he welcomes all visitors at the entrance.
In the pictures: Frere Marie Victorin, and second, an archive image with him and the garden’s designer, Henry Teuscher (1936) – please click to open the full size images in the gallery.

Because it is cold, snowy and I had a bad cold, there is no other place I’d rather be right now than the Rainforest section of the Conservatory where it is warm and humid, and epiphytic plants and lianas are draping over the skilfully built ‘cork trees’.

Tropical Rainforest Greenhouse at Montreal Botanical Garden

Before starting to admire the multitude of species growing here, it’s good to note how much effort went into creating an environment that mimics very well the wild habitats of the displayed species, in this case many epiphytic bromeliaceae, Tillandsia, various  aroids, Orchids, Maranthaceae, Zingiberaceae and Nepenthaceae.

Aechmea gamosepala and Vriesea sucrei from Brasil

As you can see from the close-up image, pieces of cork (bark of Quercus suber, I think) were skillfully arranged and tied over ‘skeletons’ of trees (made from metallic tubes). In this way, were created various levels on which species from many parts of the world could coexist harmoniously according with their light requirements.

As well, panels with the same cork supporting epiphytic Tillandsia and orchid species hanged around the sides of the greenhouse and helped to achieve a tri-dimensional look of the indoor forest.

Tillandsia andreana (Colombia)

And a bit more :)



On the mend – Rhododendron caucasicum

I spent the last week coughing out my lungs while entranced in computer/website related problems – an awful combination ;(
Today, I found the first tiny seedlings of Rhododendron caucasicum waiting for me under the lights – it was a very cheering image!!!
It feels like things are on the mend…

Rhododendron caucasicum first seedlings

Germination: at warm/room temperature (sowing in Jan.18th – first germinated seeds spotted Feb.4th); superficial sowing.

Rhododendron caucasicum (Georgian snow rose) is a most beautiful, evergreen rhododendron, with white or pinkish large flowers; it is found in alpine habitats, of the Caucasus of course. Besides being a beautiful plant, it also has, allegedly, medicinal properties (like other Rhoddendron spp.).

Rhododendron caucasicum in wild habitat (Dombay, Karachay-Cherkessia)

Google link to see flowers images and more – Rhododendron caucasicum.