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03 May 2018

Amelanchier (Rosaceae)

The name derives from the ancient French name of A. ovalis. The genus includes small trees or large shrubs, deciduous, rustic, cultivated for their decorative properties: at the beginning of spring the freshly sprouted leaves are copper-colored; white or rarely rosé flowers; and in autumn the foliage is colored with golden red.

Amelanchier canadensis, very decorative tree, can constitute ornamental elements for your garden.
Amelanchier canadensis, very decorative tree, can constitute ornamental elements for your garden.

Cultivated species of Amelanchier:

A. ovalis (A. vulgaris), corvino pear, is a small tree of about 3 meters, widespread throughout central and southern Europe. In Italy it is spontaneous in the hilly and mountainous areas, where it blooms in April with white flowers, and bears fruit at the end of the summer or in the first autumn; the dark red, almost blackish, fruits are edible. All the other species are native to North America: Amelanchier alnifolia, about 6 m tree, with white flowers in racemes erected in April, followed by the formation of sweet red and edible berries; A. canadensis (m 6-9), with small and fleeting white flowers, very abundant in April, and with berries of indefinite flavor in June; the young leaves are fluffy, and in autumn they are brightly colored; Amelanchier laevis (m 6-9), very similar to the canadensis, but the young leaves are smooth and red; the flowers are white, in May; A. grandiflora (m 3-5) is a hybrid of laevis and canadensis; the var. rubescens has pink flowers; A. oblongifolia (m 3-5), shrub with white flowers in April; A. stolonifera, a low spreading shrub (m 1-1.5), with white flowers in April.

Cultivation:

all these species adapt to all types of soil, including calcareous soil. They are obtained by seed, collecting the berries when they are ripe, before they are caught by birds, which are greedy; they are sown in spring. The bushy species can be divided in autumn.


Read also: Amaryllis (Amaryllidaceae)

05 Apr 2018

Alchemilla (Rosaceae)

Alchemilla from the Arabic alkemelych passed into the Latin akhymía, to indicate that the plant was used by alchemists. The genus includes perennial, rustic grasses, typical of mountainous regions that have flowers in corymbs or umbrella-like peaks, of a greenish-yellow color; their low height makes them suitable for rock gardens in cool climates. Alchemillavulgaris, usually not grown in Italy, is a spontaneous plant, very common and is commonly called “star grass”.

Typical of mountainous areas, Alchemilla mollis, an easy-to-grow plant, is used above all in shady locations to decorate caves and borders.
Typical of mountainous areas, Alchemilla mollis, an easy-to-grow plant, is used above all in shady locations to decorate caves and borders.

Cultivated species of Alchemilla:

A. alpina (cm 15), elegant gray-green foliage on the upper page, silver in the lower one, pale green-yellow flowers, grows well in the crevasses between the rocks, also in Italy; Alchemilla mollis (cm 30), with lobed-toothed tomentose leaves and greenish-yellow flowers, tends to be intrusive, but it serves well as covering the ground especially in shady locations.

Cultivation:

an excellent drainage is essential for the Alchemilla to prosper; for the rest, any good soil will be to their liking; naturally, being mountain plants, they can not stand warm and sunny climates. The simplest method of multiplication consists of the division of tufts in spring or autumn; However they can also be propagated by means of the seeds that are abundantly produced.