Postcard no. 2 from South America
I am happy to report on four additional old friends, known to me from the flora of Israel, that have a South American history. [Conyza bonariensis] carries in its Latin name the fact that the author named it after Buenos Aires (bonariensis = Buenos Aires). It was brought from here to Carolus Linnaeus who published it in his monumental book Species Plantarum (in 1753) and named it after its place of origin. It is not as common a weed here as it is in Israel, and I found it in a somewhat abandoned ornamental garden in this city. As in Israel, [Conyza albida] was also found here, near these plants. When I first found it in Israel (in summer 1974), I collected it and took dried specimens with me to a workshop I attended in Montpellier, France. During our conference we had a vegetation recording session, and I was surprised to see a lot of the [Conyza] I had brought with me. They named it there Conyza naudinii. Naudine was a French botanist who specialized in hybrids, and because he put forward the idea, in the 1800´s, that it is a hybrid of [Conyza bonariensis] and [Conyza canadensis], the plant was later named after him.
However, Prof. G. Long, our host in Montpellier, suggested that when I am in Paris, I should consult with Dr. Jovet. This old and kind man, a botanist in the Natural History Museum, opened his files from the 1940`s and showed me his illustrations of Conyza naudinii, or, it would be better to say [Conyza albida] (it is the correct name and the name in our website). With some shame and hesitation he showed me the reverse of the paper he used for his illustrations. It was the
announcement of the Nazi regime in Paris ordering the Jews to concentrate in a certain place (on their way to the “final solution” the Germans of that time planned for our people).
[Conyza albida] was first determined from specimens which derived from S. America as well. [Conyza canadensis] also grows in Argentina. The epithet bearing the name canadensis – Canada – generally means that the author (here Linnaeus is the author as well) named it after the first specimen that came into his hands. It says nothing about the biological origin of the plant.
It might be that all three [Conyza] species mentioned here are of South American origin. In fact, I found them in the vicinity of the Iguazu River, where disturbed ground is a natural habitat after strong floods. However, serious research into the origin of
such a group needs much more time and effort than I have at my disposal.
The fourth old friend is [Ciclospermum leptophyllum]. It is a small umbellifer with very fine leaves. I found it for the first time in 1990 in a 2-4 meter square area of disturbed ground in an irrigated lawn in Jerusalem ([http://flora.huji.ac.il/browse.asp?lang=en&action=showfile&fileid=14603 article]). It was a surprise for my friends Jennifer Lamond and Ian Hedge in Edinburgh, Scotland. They are Umbelliferae experts and determined the plant. We wrote in Willdenowia that the plant is possibly of Central American origin and became a weed in S. America and other places. The finding in Jerusalem was the first discovery in the Near East. It was less than 10 cm high and for at least 2 years evaded the cutting of the lawn leaves, bearing minute fruits close to the ground. I found it now in the same garden with the two [Conyza] species. Here [Ciclospermum leptophyllum] is 15-20 cm tall and I had a few pleasant moments seeing it several times in several places in Buenos Aires. Now, after processing the photos, we shall have an authentic photo of the plant in the website.
- The new photos:
- [tableofcontents All the previous issues of “Flower Talk”, “Useful Plants” chapters, “Plant Tales” issues, postcards from South America and more…]