Friday, April 18, 2008

Week of plants: UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

I visited the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum last week. Wow, talk about a magical place! They have many different areas, but the one's that grabbed me were the gardens that specialize in plants from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa... namely members of the Proteaceae family.

You know those cone like flowers in outrageous colors that cost $10 at the florist? Well here they are featured in all their glory... These plants originated in South Africa, OZ and NZ and this is evidence that these countries were all joined at one time... the super-continent that is called Gondwana.

The Banksia'a are probably what we are most familiar with. At the Arboretum, most of the Banksia's have passed from the bloom to the seed stage, but a few are still in hanging in there. Abaove we can see the flower in front of a dried seed cluster.

Below is another seed cluster. Very interesting. The seeds are super hard, reminds me of a Brazil nut. Did you know that the Macadamia nut tree is a Proteaceae?

Leukospermum is another genus of plants in the Proteaceae family:
L. 'Veld Fire'

L. lineare

Ipsogomun dawsonii:

All of these enflorescences have a fractal pattern.

On the cone shaped Banksia clusters, you can reveal the fractal pattern by pulling out all the colorful flowers and view the basal disc.

There are Grevillea's too:
Gevillea 'Mason's hybrid'

This is a ground cover... I didn't know about this one at all. Actually there are several ground covers. The leaves vary widely, but the flowers are similar.
Grevilia montis-cole ssp. brevistyla

Another ground cover species:

Of course there are Eucalyptus, but ones that are different from our familiar invasive "Blue Gum" species. This is Eucalyptus lacrimans murrumbidgee with peeling bark revealing a gorgeous white trunk.

This SUPER cute groundcover, Pultenaea pedunculata:

Be careful where you step!

Australian forest:

Pandorea pandorana vines overtaking a Eucalyptus:

This was so beautiful, amazing!

Many of the plants did not have signs, or they weren't legible, so I don't know what species of Euc. this is, but it's form is sparse and weeping, and it was only about 12 feet tall.

A member of the Hibiscus family:

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