Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wildflower Wednesday: Pygmyflower Rockjasmine
Also known as Northern Rock Jasmine and Fairy Candelabra, Androsace septentrionalis L., a member of the Primrose family, must be one of the tiniest wildflowers in the Home Bug Garden. One wonders how this diminutive annual plant - the leaves are only about an inch (25 mm) long and the flowers perhaps 5 mm in diameter - has acquired so many elaborate common names? However, with a hand lens or a macro lens, the charms are undeniable. Our Fairy Candelabras have been few and far between, mostly transient in disturbed soil (it is a good competitor against spring row crop seedlings, and hence considered a weed). The flowering scapes have never gotten more than a few centimeters tall in the HBG, but apparently they can reach 25 cm (10 inches), so that would make them a bit more obvious. Also, Fairy Candelabra has a circumboreal distribution and seems to be a common member of alpine and subalpine plant communities, so it appears in many research papers (although rarely as the star, mostly just the pretty wall flower). I've picked it because we like it and its brevity is appropriate for another late post due to too little time.