The Figworts or Scrophulariacea is a family wich has many introduced ornamental plants, through planting in the garden. It used to be much larger but has been split since the new molecular system of classification (APG III) came into place.
The name Figwort is only just represented by the genus Scrophularia in the B.I..
The individual genera of Scrophulariaceae are all unique in their general appearance. The uses are mainly for wildlife and garden plants, but the Figworts and Mulleins also have medicinal uses which you can read up about on the next page.
The Buddlejaceae are now amalgamated with the Scrophulariaceae.
Hopefully more about those families in future blogs.
More info and pictures can be found through the links provided. The pictures used in this post are by Mike Poulton (M.P.) of Ecorecord and Rudi Pilsel (R.P.), Derrick Forster, Matt Summers (M.S.) as well as from Wikipedia Common.
If the plants are found in the Flora of Birmingham and the Black Country a FBBC will be added behind the Common name in the contents page below.
The Valerian Family is again a small plant family in the B.I. and I choose to do this as it comes before the family of last week which was the Teasel Family.
The best known is probably the Common Valerian although perhaps the Red Valerian is now a lot more common, especially here in the Midlands!
More info can be found through the links provided from online websites and the pictures are by Mike Poulton (M.P.) and Ian Trueman (I.C.T.) of Ecorecord and Wikipedia Common.
If the plants are in the Flora of Birmingham and the Black Country a FBBC will be added behind the Common name of the plant in the main contents.
Above also the other half a page of Plate 43 in the Concise British Flora in Colour, showing mainly some members of the Valerian family. In the last post the Teasel family half was shown. The Common Teasel is also mixed in the picture above. This book was aquired by myself for the Kew Diploma Course in 1986 as one of the reference books to get! Still a beautifully illustrated book with 1486 species illustrated in 100 plates of all the flowering plant families of the B. I. The work was completed by W. Keble Martin in 60 years and first published in 1965.
The Teasel family or Dipsacaceae came to my attention again now we are nearing Christmas time and I am hunting around for attractive seedheads to utilize in the yearly Christmas wreaths we are making.
There are many proud stems left in our Bee Garden at my allotment but I had to remove several which were dropping accross the pathways, which won’t go to waste!
I learned from Stace that this family has now moved to be family 140, situated in between the Valerianaceae before and the Griseliniaceae & Pittosporaceae after. These last two are both non-native families, originating from New Zealand. The next family is the Araliaceae or Ivy family, which is very familiar and a post about ivy and its uses can be found here.
More info can be found through links provided from online websites and pictures are by partner Matt Summers (M.S.), Mike Poulton of Ecorecord (M.P.) as well as from Wikipedia Common.
Above also this time half a page of Plate 43 in the Concise British Flora in Colour. This book was aquired by myself for the Kew Diploma Course in 1986 as one of the reference books to get. Still a beautifully illustrated book with 1486 species illustrated in 100 plates of all the flowering plant families of the B. I. The work was completed by W. Keble Martin in 60 years and first published in 1965.
The Teasel family only has 5 genera with few species on the B.I.. Most of the plants below are also found in the Birmingham and Black Country:
This time of the year, late summer or early autumn, the Heather family or Ericaceae, come to their own!
Many heathlands and mountain sides are painted purple with Calluna vulgaris or Common Heather or Ling as it is also known by.
The Vaccinium myrtillus or Bilberry put on their orange and red coats. Not many people know that this family is also very ornamental in Autumn!
According to The Wild Flower Key they are “shrubs (and rarely trees) with simple , usually narrow leathery, mostly evergreen leaves without stipules. Petals are joined into a tube and the fruit is a berry or capsule.
Attractive , distinctive family, mainly low shrubs of acid soils.”
Stace describes 17 different genera, 5 of which are non-native and introduced as ornamental in the Victorian era or later. All will be listed below in the contents and more fully described on the next page with their known ethnobotanical or wildlife uses.
A link on the Scientific Name is usually information of the Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora and the information of ecology of that plant in the B.I. also comes from that website. The link on the Common Name is often from Wikipedia or another good website in the U.K.
“Along with the Asteraceae, they are one of the two largest families of flowering plants. The Orchidaceae have about 28,000 currently accepted species, distributed in about 763 genera worldwide.”
Stace mentions 22 straight genera growing in the British Isles. There are also many intergeneric crosses, which makes the classification a lot more complicated. Some genera only have a limited number of species, whilst Dactylorhiza (Marsh orchid), Epipactis (Helleborine) and Orchis (Orchids) have many species.
There are 15 entries in our Flora of Birmingham and the Black Country although some are old records and have not been seen in recent years. These entries will be indicated by FBBC after the name in the contents page.
If you are interested in native orchids you can also have a look at the website of The Hardy Orchid society, who share an interest in the wild, native orchids of Britain and the rest of Europe, as well as those from similar temperate climates throughout the world.
The info about wildlife associated is mainly from Wikipedia.
Most orchids require a mycorrhizal symbiosis to germinate successfully and remains partially dependent upon the fungus in order to access soil nutrients. This information can also be found in the Wikipedia link and I will omit this in order to keep the information concise.
Pictures are mainly thanks to Mike Poulton (M.P.), Andrew Bennett (A.B.), Matt Summers (M.S) and from various people on Wikipedia.
In Stace it is family 164 after the Liliaceae and before the Iridaceae. The family is split into 7 tribes which you can find in the contents below and please use the jump link to find more info on the next page!
The Crassulaceae or Stonecrop family looks ornamental most of the year because of its rounded, succulent and evergreen foliage. However, the flowers give it an extra attraction!
I always associated this family with drought loving plants but I learned it has several moisture loving members too!
The flowers are providing food as well as shelter for many types of insects.
Several of the genera and species mentioned in Stace are in fact ornamental garden plants and have ‘escaped’ into the wild as often happens! At least one species of Crassula is now a serious weed, originally introduced as an aquatic ornamental for ponds.
Thanks for pictures donated by Mike Poulton of Ecorecord as well as from Wikipedia Commons. If there is no picture, you will see what it looks like by pressing the link below the (common) Name. Also pictures in the Gallery of the Plant Atlas Online, which you can find pressing the link on the Scientific Name.
A bluebackground tells you about the habitat where it can be found in B.I. as well as for interesting facts or wildlife use! A pink background means a warning (such as poisonous!) or medicinal use, green for edible, ornamental or other uses.
Amaranthaceae is a family of flowering plants commonly known as the amaranth family, in reference to its type genus Amaranthus. It now includes the former goosefoot family Chenopodiaceae and contains about 165 genera and 2,040 species in the world!
It is not an obviously attractive family but as always when you delve further in all those families there are some fascinating members!
In Stace, 12 genera are described of which many are introduced by accident through wool, soya bean waste, as birdseed and other sources.
The less common, introduced genera + species will briefly be mentioned on the next page as well as our more common, native species.
Click links of the plants in the contents below for more info and pictures from various websites. Scientific/Latin Name usually has a link from the Online Atlas of the British Isles and Irish Flora. Pink background means a warning (such as poisonous!) or medicinal use, green for edible, ornamental or other uses and blue for habitat where it can be found in B.I. , for interesting facts or for wildlife use. Pictures from Wikipedia or Mike Poulton and edited information mainly from PFAF and Wikipedia.
Again, similar to the previous post this has several good garden plants which have established themselves often very happily in the wild!
The debate of native and non-native and what to include in my blog will be more and more difficult in future as rare endemics will not be known by many and certainly should not be ‘used’ in any way! Common, ornamental plants will be more accessible to all and get established in the wild more and more for everybody to use! They will become in fact our new ‘weeds’!
Click links for more info and pictures of the plants from various websites. Scientific/Latin Name usually has a link from the Online Atlas of the British Isles and Irish Flora. Pink background means a warning (such as poisonous!) or medicinal use, green for edible or other uses and blue for habitat where it can be found in B.I. , interesting facts or wildlife use.
Contents are included to easily jump to right genus on next page!
Pictures with thanks by Matt Summers, Mike Poulton of Ecorecord and Wikipedia .
This and the next posts are about a number of native families which in the ‘Wild Flower Key’ is lumped together into the one Liliaceae.
But according to Stace this family is split into several families.
This is what he has to say about it:
‘It has long been known that Cronquist‘s very broad Liliaceae should be subdivided, some of the segregate families belonging to different orders. This has now been confirmed by molecular data; the taxa in our flora should be divided into at least the 9 families recognised here.’
The debate of native and non-native and what to include in my blog will be more and more difficult in future as rare endemics will not be known by many and certainly should not be ‘used’ in any way. Common, ornamental plants will be more accessible to all and get established in the wild more and more for everybody to use! They will become in fact our new ‘weeds’!
Click the links for more info and pictures from various websites. Scientific/Latin Name usually has link from the Online Atlas of the British Isles and Irish Flora. Pink background means a warning (such as poisonous!) or medicinal use, green for edible, ornamental or other uses and blue for habitat where it can be found in B.I. , for interesting facts or wildlife use.
We start of with the Liliaceae then, which in factonly has Fritillaria meleagris and 3 native species which are all in the genus Gagea.
The Iris family or Iridaceae, according to Stace has 15 genera but several genera are clearly escaped garden plants and not yet widely spread in the wild so will mainly mention the real natives and/or the more common introduced ones which are also described in the Wildflower Key.
They are more difficult to identify without flower as of course all have similar, strap-like leaves in various shades of green!
I use colour coding for easy reading! Blue background is general interesting info (although I hope you find it all interesting!!). Green is about all the uses except for medicinal uses or if there is a warning in which case I use a pink background. Pictures by Matt Summers (MS), Mike Poulton (MP) of Ecorecord and Wikipedia Commons
Please use Jump-links in contents to easily get to the various species on next page!