Montag, 28. Mai 2012

Plant of the Day (May 28th, 2012)- Viburnum rhytidophyllum Hemsl.

This time, I've a species from the Adoxaceae family for you. This species is Viburnum rhytidophyllum Hemsl.; known as “Runzelblättriger Schneeball” or “Immergrüner Schneball” in German and as “Leatherleaf Viburnum” in English. The Chinese name is 皱叶荚蒾, which means “wrinkled leafed Viburnum”.

V. rhytidophyllum - habitus

It's an evergreen shrub or tree, which can reach a height of 4 metres (13.1 feet). The bark has a greyish colour and young branches are covered with hairs. Because of these hairs, the branches have a yellowish or reddish colour. Later, these hairs fall off and the branches are getting bald.

V. rhytidophyllum - leaf (dorsal site)

The lanceolate leaves are arranged in a decussate leaf-pattern. They have no stipules but a long petiole, which is also very hairy. The leaf-blade of young leaves is reddish to brownish but gets a deep green colour on the shiny dorsal site, when the leaves become older. The ventral site is always brighter. Both sides of the leaf-blade are very leathery and deeply furrowed by the leaf-veins. This leathery leaves are also the reason for the scientific name (“rhytidophyllum” means something like “leathery leafed”).

V. rhytidophyllum - inflorescnece

The inflorescence is a umbel-like cyme with many small, radial flowers. V. rhytidophyllum is dioecious, but in the most case, only the flowers in the centre of the inflorescence are fertile while the peripheral flowers are sterile. In both cases, each flower consists of five green sepals and five white petals. The sepals are fused to a tubular structure and also covered with (star-shaped) hairs. The petals are also fused but nearly bald. Flowering time is from April to May.

The fruits are red drupes, but they change the colour to black with the time.

V. rhytidophyllum - leaves (different ages)

V. rhytidophyllum is native to central and Southern China and can be found in the undergrowth of forests. The species is very undemanding towards the growing conditions and grows in heights between 700 and 2400 metres. As evergreen shrub with large inflorescences and distinctive leaves, it's also a very popular ornamental plant for gardens and parks; especially for hedges in order to block the line of sight.

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