Montag, 9. Juli 2012

Plant of the Day (July 9th, 2012) - Filipendula ulmaria (L.) Maxim

Today's “Plant of the Day” is Filipendula ulmaria (L.) Maxim; a member of the Rosaceae family. In German, this plant is known as “Echtes Mädesüß”, while common English names are e. g. “meadowsweet”, “meadwort” bridewort” or “Queen of meadow”.

F. ulmaria - habitus

It's a perennial plant, which can reach heights between 60 and 200 centimetres (23.6 to 78.7 inches). The stalk grows upright. Only its upper regions has branches The whole stalk is slightly angular and bald.
The leaves are pinnate with 2 to 5 leaflets per leaf. The leaflets remind a little bit to the leaves of an elm (Genus: Ulmus), what is also the reason for the Latin name “ulmaria”. The basal leaves are arranged in a rosette; the upper leaves have a long petiole. All leaves are bald to slightly felty.

F. ulmaria - leaf

The inflorescences are umbel-like racemes. The small flowers are radial. The sepals are green and the petals white to cream-coloured; flowering time is between June and August.
The ripe fruits are small, bended nuts, which grow in groups of six to eight fruits per flower. This makes them seem like a single, spirally -grooved fruit.

F. ulmaria - inflorescence

F. ulmaria is native to Europe and Asia but can also be found in North America as neophyte. It likes nutrient-rich and wet to waterlogged places. So, this species grows e. g. in carrs, bogs, at riverbanks or on wet meadows but also in ditches.

watterlogged place are a typical habitat of 
F. ulmaria

The flowers of F. ulmaria have a strong, sweet odor. Meadows with this plant smell very pleasant what is also the reason for the name “meadowsweet”. This odor is caused by the many ingredients within this species. These include essential oils, Flavonoids or Salicylic acid. Thereby, the plant was used in past as febrifuge.

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