Dienstag, 17. Juli 2012

Plant of the Day (June 17th, 2012) - Scrophularia nodosa L.

Today's “Plant of the Day” is Scrophularia nodosa L. from the Scrophulariaceae family. This species is known as “Knotige Braunwurz” in German and as “figwort” in English.

S. nodosa - habitus

It's a herbaceous plant, which can reach heights between 50 and 100 centimetres (19.7 to 39.5 inches). The quadrangular stalk grows upright but there are also underground rhizomes. These Rhizomes have many nodes, what is also the reason for the Latin name of this species (“nodosa” means “nodular”).

S. nodosa - leaf

The bald, dark-green leaves are arranged in a decussate leaf-pattern. They have a long petiole, a strongly serrated margin and a shimmering ventral side. The basal leaves are heart-shaped, while the bracts are egg-shaped. Crushed leaves smells very unpleasant.

S. nodosa - inflorescence

The inflorescence is a loose panicle. The globular flowers are about 8 millimetres long. They are multicoloured with a green base, a reddish brown to purple top and a green-white lower lip. The primary pollinators of these distinctive flowers are bees and wasps but also hummingbirds. Flowering time it between June and September. The ripe fruits are globular, bald capsules.

S. nodosa - flowers

S. nodosa is native to Europe an Eurasia, but can also be found as Neophyte in North America. It prefers wet, nutrient-rich soils in the penumbra. So, it grows e. g. at brooks, forests and riverbanks. In past, this plant was used to cure Lymphadendopathy and other kinds of engorgements. Because of the nodular rhizome, healers suspected, that S. nodusa can cure such diseases.

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