Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Enchantingly Perennial

Enchanter's Nightshade, Circaea lutetiana
Enchanter's Nightshade (Circaea lutetiana) is a delicate herb of damp woods, shady places and hedgerows on basic soil (Phillips, 1977 Wild Flowers of Britain p. 90). It has opposite pairs of oval leaves and bears flowers in loose spikes above the leaves. It exhibits a pseudo-annual life cycle: it is a perennial (clonal) plant that behaves as a vegetatively propagating annual (Verberg and During,  Plant Ecology 134 pp. 211-224). C. lutetiana completes its life cycle at the end of the summer, producing seeds or hibernacles from the rhizome apices. These hibernacles do not produce new ramets and remain dormant over winter, giving rise to new vegetative growth in the spring.

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