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07 Jul 2018

Acacia (Leguminosae)

The name derives from the Greek akakía «acacia». This common name is erroneously applied to Robinia (see), as well as the Acaia is called Mimosa, which, in botany, is another genus of the same family; A. farnesiana is also called gaggia. It is a genus composed of about 500 species of shrubs or small flowering trees, of which those cultivated for ornamentation are mostly Australian, while part of the African ones have a certain economic importance because they exude a resin from which the arabic gum is extracted. Of varying height and posture, they also have variety characteristics in the foliage: many species have bipinnate leaves, while most Australian species have petioles enlarged to form leaf laminae (phyllodes). The flowers are yellow, formed by globular flower heads that appear feathery because of the numerous colored stamens and can be isolated or grouped in long and pendulous racemes. The seeds are contained in pods as in all Leguminosae.

Acacia Clair de lune mistakenly called Mimosa
Acacia Clair de lune mistakenly called Mimosa

Cultivated species Acacia:

A. bayleyana (m 4,50-6), gray-green foliage, compound leaves (up to 20 pairs of leaflets), longer racemes of leaves with showy golden-yellow flowers, blooms since January in mild climate; A. decurrens variety dealbata (m 15), rustic, arborescent, pale or silver-gray leaves formed by 30-40 pairs of leaflets, long pale-yellow racemes also with 30 flowers; many varieties and hybrids have been derived, including A. hanburyana; A. howittii known as “clair de lune” due to the pale yellow of its flowers; A. longifolia floribunda variety, a shrub that bears the foliage mainly at the tip of the branches, linear phyllodes (about 6 cm), acuminates, yellow-live flowers in small spikes and blooms in spring; A. melanoxylon, of considerable development, which with its strong roots helps to curb sandy soils and is also used for its wood; Acacia poda-lyriifolia (about 4 m), shrub with ovate and pubescent fillias and simple racemes but with numerous flower heads, which blooms in winter; A. retinodes, a small tree with lanceolate phyllodes, racemes composed of more than 30 lemon-yellow flowers, which blooms all year round and, since it bears the calcareous soil, is often used as a rootstock for more delicate species; Acacia saligna bears more than the others the salty winds and the proximity of the sea; it is also present in Italy.

Cultivation:

acid and very permeable soil, sunny position, sheltered from the wind, minimum temperatures of 7-13 °C, lower for short periods. Pruning is carried out after flowering or directly, cutting off the flowering branches, at the end of winter or spring, trying to contain the plants in the desired height and shape. They reproduce by seed in spring or multiply by semi-hard wood cuttings at the beginning of the summer in multiplication tanks; the grafts are also performed at the beginning of the summer, almost always on A. retinodes, sometimes on A. longifolia.

04 May 2018

Amorpha (Leguminosae)

The name derives from the Greek dmorphos «informe» and derives from the irregular shape of the flower. The genus includes shrubs that can reach even 4-5 m. The flowers that are collected in spikes are formed at the ends of the branches developed in the previous season.

violet flowers, gathered in spikes, of the false indigo, Amorpha fruticosa.
Violet flowers, gathered in spikes, of the false indigo, Amorpha fruticosa.

Cultivated species of Amorpha:

A. fruticosa, false indigo, is native to North America; imported into Europe it has also spontaneousized in Italy, it blooms in July with violet flowers gathered in spikes. It is a shrub up to 3-5 meters tall, with erect, pubescent branches, small flowers in spiky racemes, terminals; Amorpha canescens, smaller than the previous one, can reach cm 90 in length, the blue flowers open from June to September; Amorpha microphilla is characterized by fragrant flowers, forming a cluster inflorescence.

Cultivation:

all the plants of the genus Amorpha are suitable for the realization of mixed hedges in open places well exposed to the sun. They can be transplanted from October to February. After flowering, the plants must be pruned and deprived of the branches that have brought the inflorescences to their extremities. At the base of the bush will be formed numerous suckers that will guarantee its subsequent development. The multiplication is commonly done by cuttings in the summer or even in autumn using the branches obtained with pruning, but it can also be done by seed sowing in cold chests in spring.


Read also: Amelanchier (Rosaceae)

24 Apr 2018

Albizzia (Leguminosae)

The name of Albizia was given in honor of the Italian naturalist Albizzi. The genus includes small trees and shrubs all originating in warm climates; they are related to the acacias and are cultivated for the leaves, whose shape closely resembles those of the mimosa, and for the small, numerous flowers, with a characteristic pea shape and with prominent stamens and like a brush.

Albizzia julibrissin è coltivata come pianta ornamentale per i fiori rosa, dalla caratteristica forma sfrangiata; per la sua delicatezza è adatta a zone dal clima particolarmente mite.
Albizzia julibrissin è coltivata come pianta ornamentale per i fiori rosa, dalla caratteristica forma sfrangiata; per la sua delicatezza è adatta a zone dal clima particolarmente mite.

Cultivated species of Albizzia:

in Italy it is cultivated frequently, with the exception of the colder areas, in parks and gardens the Albizzia julibrissin (gaggia of Constantinople). It is a sapling able to reach 10 meters in height. The flowers are pink and open in late summer; the var is also cultivated. rosea, smaller, more resistant to cold and characterized by deep pink flowers. The gaggia of Constantinople is a plant native to Western Asia.

Cultivation:

it wants ordinary soils that are not too heavy and it is often advisable to grow it close to a high wall that protects it from cold winds, unless it is grown in particularly hot places. It is multiplied by seeds sown at the beginning of spring in a sheltered place. The seedlings are then transplanted outdoors in May. In the most rigid areas the plants can be kept in pots and then put outdoors in the warmer months and kept indoors in winter.