Montag, 2. April 2012

Plants of the Day (April 2nd, 2012) - Skimmia japonica Thunb. & Skimmia reevesiana (Fortune) Fortune

Sorry, but the last two Fridays, I hadn't the time to write an article, so the last ones came only in weekly intervals.

Anyway, this time, I don't want to show you another conifer but two flowering plant's. Both are species from the genus Skimmia and members of the Rutaceae family. The first species is Skimmia reevesiana (Fortune) Fortune, while the other species is Skimmia japonica Thunb. German names of this plants are “Japanische Skimmie” (S. japonica) and “Japanische Fruchtskimmie” (S. reevesiana). In England, both plants are known as “Japanese Skimmia”. The name “Skimmia” refers to the word “Shimiki”, which is the Japanese name of the genus.

S. japonica - habitus

Both plants are evergreen shrubs. S. japonica can reach heights between 2 and 7 metres, while S. reevesiana is smaller with maximum heights between 1 and 2 metres.

 S. reevesiana - habitus

The leathery leaves of both species are arranged in dense rosettes at the end of each branch. In both cases, the leaf-blade is elliptical over oval to lanceolate. Their dorsal sites have a dark-green colour, while the ventral site is a little bit brighter.
With a length between 1 to 10 centimetres, the leaves of S. japonica are a little bit longer than the leaves of S. reevesiana.
The leaf vein of S. reevesiana is hairy.

S. japonica - inflorescences

The pale bark of S. reevesiana has a grey-greenish color and is very smooth.

The inflorescences of both species are panicles. The petals of S. reevesiana are yellowish-white, while the petals of S. japonica are reddish-brown to red. In both cases, the ripe fruits are small globular berries with one seed inside. Both species are normally dioecious with male and female individuals. However, some plants and cultivars are monoecious with hermaphroditic flowers.

S. reevesiana -berries

Both, S. reevesiana and S. japonica are native to East Asia and can be found in Japan, China and Korea, but also in East Russia and the Philippines. They prefer fresh, cool soils and a humid climate. So, they grow in the undergrowth of mountainous forests, which are a good example for such a place. S. reevesiana grows in height between 1200 and 2600 metres. 
 
S. reevesiana - inflorescence with closed flowers (middle)

As evergreen shrub, plants from the Genus Skimmia are very popular ornamental trees for parks, gardens and cemeteries. So, cultivars of these two species can be found all over the world today. Interestingly, S. japonica bears no fruits in foreign regions like Middle Europe. Perhaps, the species has not yet found suitable pollinators

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