Monday, 15 October 2012

Autumn, not just about leaves - take this Anemone, whatever it's called


If I look out window into our backyard here at Kew (our own backyard, the one Lynda with some help from Eli, looks after), there are gorgeous red leaves but also quite a few flowers still: Lavatera x clementii 'Kew Rose' is still doing its thing, as are a few salvias, daisies and a rose or two.


In the shade of half a dozen shrubs and tangled creepers is a small Anemone, planted this summer. It isn't quite photogenic enough so I cycled over to the Japanese garden around Chokushi-Mon (Gateway of the Imperial Messenger) at the south end of Kew Gardens for these pictures.


These flowers, like those in our home garden, are so-called Japanese Anemones. They are a cultivar of Anemone hupehensis, I believe. Although native to China this species has been grown in Japan for centuries and is now naturalised there.


Lynda calls them Windflower and they are sometimes called Anemone x hybrida which sounds like as vague a scientific name as you are going to get. I have no doubt they are the hybrid of something with something else, all from the genus Anemone.

There were two Anemone x hybrida names established in the twentieth century, and another brace of plain old Anemone hybrida in the mid-nineteenth century (International Plant Name Index). The Plant List treats the first two as 'unresolved' and one of the latter as a synonym of something else (Anemone halleri).

I would note that the Royal Horticultural Society use the name Anemone x hybrida, and they tend to know what they are doing with horticultural names. In fact their featured cultivar 'Honorine Jobert' looks very much like this Kew plant.

Anemone hupehensis is an 'unresolved' name in The Plant List and the Royal Horticultural Society treat it as quite separate to Anemone x hybrida, but presumably it is one of the parents of this rather oddly named cluster of cultivars.

ABC Gardening Australia's (awkwardly large but informative garden reference book) Flora describes Anemone x hybrida as 'Garden hybrids of uncertain origin but certainly with Anemone vitifolia and Anemone hupenhensis var. japonica in their background'. But the Plant List treats the latter as a synonym of Anemone scabiosa...

Enough! This blog is not the place for a forensic nomenclatural investigation: I have to solve matters with the minimum of mouse clicks, book referrals and helpful advice from colleagues, family and passers-bys. It is my role merely to raise matters of interest and intrigue, to occasionally inspire, and perhaps sometimes irritate. Like all blogs it's all I, I, I and I...

So there you have it. A beautiful flower, what ever it's called, in the midst of autumnal colour.



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