February 1, 2016

Magnolia (Magnolia 'Butterflies')

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Genus: Magnolia

This cross of M. acuminata and M. denudata usually forms a small tree with an upright central leader or sometimes a multi-stemmed shrub. It has yellow cup to star-shaped flowers (3 to 4 inches across) that are fragrant and appear before the leaves in early to mid-spring.

Care: Grow in moist, well-drained, preferably acidic to neutral soil in sun or partial shade; they do not tolerate wet feet. Magnolia flowerbuds are susceptible to late-season frosts; shelter large-leaved species from windy locations. Prune trees and deciduous shrubs in late winter or late summer to prevent bleeding of sap; prune minimally to maintain a healthy framework. Continue reading...

February 2, 2016

Helianthus annuus ('Common Sunflower')

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Genus: Helianthus

Helianthus annuus, the common sunflower, is a large annual forb of the genus Helianthus grown as a crop for its edible oil and edible fruits (sunflower seeds). This sunflower species is also used as bird food, as livestock forage (as a meal or a silage plant), and in some industrial applications. The plant was first domesticated in the Americas. Wild Helianthus annuus is a widely branched annual plant with many flower heads. The domestic sunflower, however, often possesses only a single large inflorescence (flower head) atop an unbranched stem. The name sunflower may derive from the flower's head's shape, which resembles the sun, or from the impression that the blooming plant appears to slowly turn its flower towards the sun as the latter moves across the sky on a daily basis.

Sunflower seeds were brought to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century, where, along with sunflower oil, they became a widespread cooking ingredient.Continue reading...

February 3, 2016

Passiflora Incarnata ('Purple Passion Flower')

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Genus: Passiflora

Passiflora incarnata, commonly known as maypop, purple passionflower, true passionflower, wild apricot, and wild passion vine, is a fast-growing perennial vine with climbing or trailing stems. A member of the passionflower genus Passiflora, the maypop has large, intricate flowers with prominent styles and stamens. One of the hardiest species of passionflower, it is a common wildflower in the southern United States. The Cherokee in the Tennessee area called it ocoee; the Ocoee River and valley are named after this plant, which is the Tennessee state wildflower. This, and other passionflowers are the exclusive larval host plants for the gulf fritillary and non-exclusive for the variegated fritillary butterflies. Continue reading...

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