Samstag, 21. April 2012

Plant of the Day (April 22nd, 2012) - Adonis vernalis L.

It's spring and more and more flowering plants awake from their hibernation. This little beauty is Adonis vernalis L. from the Ranunculaceae family (the most Ranunculaceae are in fact typical, early flowers of spring). The German name for this species is “Adonisröschen”, while the English names is “(yellow) pheasant's eye”.

A. vernalis - habitus

It an upright growing herb, which can reach height between 10 and 40 centimetres. The alternate arranged leaves are finely pinnate with many narrow leaflets, which forms a dense foliage, which reminds a little bit to a whorl (but it's not)

A. vernalis - pinnate leaves

The inflorescence are terminal flowers (4 to 7 per plant). There are five, green sepals and between 10 and 20 petals. These petals are narrow to cuneiform and have a golden-yellow colour. As with the most Ranunculaceae A. vernalis has many stamens, which are also yellow, and free carpels. The ripe fruit is a compound nut; consisting of many small nuts. Flowering time is between April and May.

A. vernalis - flower (you can see the petals
and the numerous stamens)

A. vernalis is native to Siberia and the Altai mountains and is a species of the dry grasslands and plains in this region. So, it prefers warm, sunny and dry places with only a low-developed soil. However, because of clearing and grazing habitats for A. vernalis were created also in other regions of the world. It can be found in scattered areas in Middle Europe, Eastern Europe and the Alps on dry grasslands .But it's still a very rare plant in this region, because dry grasslands are also rare here..

The plant contains glycosides, so it was used as medicinal plant to cure heart diseases. On the other hand, a high dose of these ingredients can be lethal

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