Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wildflowers in italian alpine country

Our recent escape to the italian alpine regions of Lombardy and Trentino was to have been a bit of a “snooping session” into private little kitchen gardens, but the real surprise ended up being what flourished up at higher altitudes. Of the two shown here, I was only able to identify one.

This achene seed head (also called a fruit) with its filament-like appearance belongs to a floral genus which goes by names such as Easter flower and meadow anemone among others, but in Italy it is known as Infiorescenza di anemone alpino. I thought of them as interesting-looking weeds up until I found an italian article (cited source) which offered vernacular examples translating into hair of the witch or hair of the devil. I suppose they'd give such an impression with that red color!

The name to this flower, unfortunately, I've no clue. If anyone can identify it, please do. A third species, the edelweiss or stella alpina was one which I had hoped so much to see but was to be found nowhere. They grow at higher altitudes and getting caught picking them fetches you a hefty(?) fine. I found out that seeds are actually available online, even if I do not know of anyone who cultivates them. You can bet that edelweiss is on the flower garden planning board for next year.

Stella Alpina seed sources: LocalHarvest (USA) | Seeds of Italy (UK) | Semilandia (Italy)

15 comments:

  1. Lovely wildflowers. I love the meadow anemone. How wild it looks with those pink filiments.

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  2. lovely seed heads. The second plant is an Euphorbia, I'm just not sure which.

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  3. Fern, PGL, gintoino - my subconscious must've already been gearing toward wildflowers weeks before. I just remembered that I bought a seed mix for field wildflowers...whatever they may be as no names are listed on the packaging. I just hope that they aren't dandelions!

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  4. Both flowers are beautiful and your photographs are lovely - particulary that first one... you can almost imagine the breeze blowing over the meadow!

    I have no idea what that second flower is, but it reminds me in a way of a pointsettia, with the leaves that look like petals. I started searching on Euphorbia (the genus that includes the pointsettia) and found something called Snow on the Mountain (Euphorbia marginata) which looks similar: http://www.plantoftheweek.org/week274.shtml maybe that's it?

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  5. The meadow anemone is absolutely stunning! I've never seen anything like it. I hope you'll tell us about the kitchen gardens too.

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  6. Ciao Rowena, I just found this blog while on your home page. It's lovely. You really are naure's child! :))

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  7. Hi Rowena. I remember the meadow anemone in the Swiss alps a very long time ago, I haven't seen it since. Thanks for this lovely picture. The other plant is a Euphorbia and I have always known it as snow in summer. Ciao and take care.

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  8. Cathy - okay I don't mean to get all silly and giddy, but I ♥ you!!! Thanks for the link, it checks out perfectly!

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  9. What wonderful flowers!

    And such a fantastic header with the cockrel too!

    Lucy Corrander
    PICTURES JUST PICTURES

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  10. that Infiorescenza di anemone alpino is a mouthful, [i like how each syllable exercises the tongue] but what a beauty! reminds me of a very fragil lehua blossom.

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  11. SUR - lehua blossoms...what a sharp observation on that one. And if my memory serves me right, when you pick a lehua blossom it's supposed to rain, true? Or at least that's what I grew up hearing.

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  12. that is the myth-- kinda familiar with the flower and the story as am a grad of leilehua high on o'ahu... the lehua is hardier looking than the above -- as it should-- otherwise a lei made of it would just fall apart... come to think of it- no wonder wahiawa was always rainy...

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  13. The second flower is most definitely Euphorbia marginata--we grow it as a beautiful groundcover around here.

    Nice work, friend!

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  14. Christina - I've been patiently waiting for updates on your gardening scene! Thanks to you, Collective Farm Woman and Black Krim are at the top of my seed order list...which reminds me, I had better put that order in now before I get an "Out of Stock" notice in the mail!

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