Field of Science

Friday 'fabulous Flower - Mock orange

 One of TPP's indoor plants has a tendency to be overlooked when it flowers.  In general, it is raised for foliage, and in warmer climates it is often used as a foundation planting particularly the variety with variegated leaves.  This is probably Pittosporum tobira, a common variety.  This tree is about 16" tall and has a trunk about 2" in diameter.  It has been trained as a bonsai tree for about 30 years.  

The flowers are about a half inch in diameter and they are highly fragrant with a mock orangish sort of scent, very sweet, thus the common name.  A small cluster of flowers appears in every whorl of leaves.  You smell the flowers as you come into the room. Too bad we don't have scratch and sniff monitor screens.

who is on first? Confusion?

 The article's title promised to tell you how to grow potatoes.  Here's the photo they used to illustrate the article which compounded the confusion. OK all you sharp eyed plant people see the confusion right away because this is obviously a sweet potato, not a potato.  This is mostly a storage root but it is a stem at one end (as is obvious).  This is Ipomea batatas, a morning glory, and note the specific epithet, which sounds as if a young kid was saying "potatoes", a common name that got transferred to storage stem (a tuber) in the nightshade family Solanum tuberosum.  Both from Peru.  The common name got switched leading to much confusion.  And don't even think about bringing up the name yam.  The article was about the latter and did not mention sweet potatoes.  

Friday Fabulous Flower - Cheerful house plants

 Dear Readers, In the waning days of 2021 TPP "enjoyed" the hospitality of our neighboring hospital where it was determined that was not a complete picture of health.  Now getting used to this idea may take a bit of time.  So your indulgence for my infrequent blogging is requested.

That said, some house plants are tremendously cheerful in those dark and rather gloomy post-holiday, not so cheerful days of January.  Today's cheer is actually a quite easy plant to grow in your house, and believe it or not it is a non-hardy azalea.  These are commonly sold during the holiday season and they can stay in flower for weeks.  Actually this azalea was purchased 3 or so years ago, and grows outside in hanging basket on a garden hook for 6 months and brought inside this year well into October.  It started flowering about a month ago and has been in full bloom for 2 weeks.  Last spring it was pruned back and given acidic fertilizer (Heath family).  The double flowers are not totally to my liking, but it is a huge long-lasting flower display.  Very cheerful. It likes to be kept evenly moist so it needs careful watering both inside and out.  Not sure what species if used, but it is not hardy. The flowers are quite large on this rather small plant.  The short days and cooler temps certainly promote flowering in this plant.