All posts by Stephen Barstow

Allium ulleungense: a new vigorous edimental

In 2019, a very interesting paper was published giving a very good case for splitting the geographically widespread Allium victorialis species complex, at the same time describing a new endemic species to the island Ulleung between Korea and Japan. The paper also mentions that the species is “Rare in natural habitats, but widely cultivated in Korea as an edible plant named ‘Myeong-i-na-mul’ or ‘Sanmaneul.’”
Reference: Allium ulleungense (Amaryllidaceae), a new species endemic to Ulleungdo Island, Korea” by Hyeok-Jae Choi, Sungyu Yang, Jong-Cheol Yang and Nikolai Friesen in the Korean Journal of Plant Taxonomy
Those who follow my blog and FB posts will maybe remember my article on the Giant Ulleung Celery, Dystaenia takesimana, another edible endemic to this island which I’m growing in my garden from two sources, one of which is the Gothenburg Botanical Gardens in Sweden (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=24998)
Figure 4 in the paper shows a map of Allium subg. Anguinum showing the disjunct distribution of what was earlier classified as Allium victorialis, now split into Allium victorialis, microdictyon, ochotense and the new species Allium ulleungense together with other species in the section like Allium ovalifolium.
The article has a useful table and pictures showing the differences between microdictyon, ochotense and ulleungense.
I have about 10 different “Allium victorialis” accessions in my garden both from Norway, Kola (Russia), the Alps and the Far East. Having read the paper which documents that the Ulleung victory onion has both broader and longer leaves I noticed that one of my plants had very different and broader leaves than my other ones and was particularly vigorous. I had lost the label of this plant. Johan Nilson of the Gothenburg Botanical Garden wrote on the Alliorum forum thread about this species: “I believe we might grow this” (they had had an expedition to the island some years ago and this onion and Dystaenia had been collected). Johan had given me various edibles on a visit to Gothenburg a few years ago and I wonder if he might have given me this plant?
Anyway, the morphology of this plant fits well to the newly described species with several leaves 12 cm wide (ochotense reaches 10 cm and microdictyon 6 cm); leaves up to 26-27 cm long (the other two species reach 25 and 21.5cm) and yesterday I measured the white tepals which are slightly longer in the new species and this also matched with 7mm length (the others reaching 6.5). The rounded leaf apex of my plant also matches ulleungdense, acute in the other two species (and other Japanese accessions I have in my garden). I now need to propagate it and plant it in the Allium garden Chicago at the Ringve Botanical Garden. 

Bee beetle

One of my favourite insects is the bee beetle / humlebille (Trichius fasciatus). This morning I saw it on one of my favourite onions victory onion / seiersløk (this one is Allium ochotense; the East Asian species – recently separated out as a species). Later I filmed it also on a hogweed (Heracleum spp.).





Flower buds and broccolis from perennial vegetables

As we approach midsummer many of my perennial vegetables are beginning to flower and from spring leaves and shoots we are now in the flower bud, scape (flower stem) and broccoli stage. Many stronger tasting plants have much milder upperparts than the earlier growth. This is presumably because the plants transfer their energy from insect defence to seed production.

From left to right: Turkish rocket / russekål (Bunias orientalis); Allium x proliferum (topset onions / luftløk); heartleaf crambe / buskstrandkål (Crambe cordifolia); sorrel / engsyre (Rumex acetosa) and sea kale / strandkål (Crambe maritima)

 

Best left for the bees!

I inherited a garden full of columbines / akeleier (Aquilegia vulgaris) and there’s a range of different forms. I took the pictures below yesterday. I tried sucking a couple of flowers for nectar but I guess the bees got there first. I had found a paper documenting that children sucked / ate the flowers for the nectar: “People considered it more a children amusement than a feeding behaviour.” They are not so poisonous that it’s necessary to remove the flowers if children are around which is a custom here in Norway.
Ref. Wild edible plants traditionally gathered in Gorbeialdea (Biscay, Basque Country).
Otherwise this is a plant that has escaped from gardens throughout the country! I’ll leave them to the bees!

Second speckled wood

The second observation of speckled wood (skogringvinge) here and still the only place this species has been seen on this (the south) side of the fjord (see the map of observations). Last time, it was a somewhat worn butterfly in July, this time a nice fresh looking individual. Numerous grass species are the larval food plants. Here’s the post about the first record here in Malvik in 2018: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=18413

KVANN’s World Garden

At the Væres Venner community garden on the outskirts of Trondheim at Ranheim in an area we hope will remain a green belt, I have been working to create what we call Verdenshagen (The World Garden) in collaboration with KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) and Schübelers nettverk. This is a network of gardens throughout Norway which is being launched in June 2021 in honour of Fredrik Christian Schübeler (1815-1892) was a botanist and professor at the University in Christiania (now Oslo) and director of the Botanical Gardens for nearly 30 years from 1863. He established a network of gardens throughout Norway, often in collaboration with prestegård (rectory gardens) to test out new plants of economical importance (both ornamentals and edibles). Our new network is also planned centred around rectory gardens and other gardens to demonstrate and inspire to grow new plants but also to conserve old varieties of food plants and ornamentals. See more at https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=no&u=https://kvann.no/schubeler
The World Garden is basically a 12 m diameter circle where the centre represents the North Pole and houses a garden of Arctic food plants. Largely perennial vegetables are being planted geographically around the circle, currently some 80 plants, many of which can be read about inspired by my own book Around the World in 80 plants (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=30). The garden is surrounded by over 100 old and new fruit, berry and nut trees and another demonstration garden for annual crops.
The intention is to add pictures to the album below throughout the year from the World Garden. Our focus is also in creating and improving the habitat at Være for other wildlife, so there will also be pictures of insects, birds and other creatures. 

Celebration 40 genera salad

40 years ago this month I came to Norway to find a place for us to live as I was to start work at Institutt for kontinentalsokkelundersøkelser (IKU; Continental Shelf Institute) in Trondheim in October 1981. The flat I found was here in Malvik kommune (Torp). 
To celebrate 40 years in Malvik I made a salad with 40 different genera. The names of the genera are below the pictures!

The 40 genera:

  1. Begonia
  2. Anethum
  3. Salvia
  4. Lactuca
  5. Chrysanthemum
  6. Raphanus
  7. Apium
  8. Coriandrum
  9. Oxalis
  10. Tilia
  11. Tropaeolum
  12. Hablitzia
  13. Hosta
  14. Stellaria
  15. Alliaria
  16. Phyteuma
  17. Melissa
  18. Malva
  19. Lavatera
  20. Allium
  21. Lunaria
  22. Arabis
  23. Alchemilla
  24. Scorzonera
  25. Tragopogon
  26. Sanguisorba
  27. Campanula
  28. Primula
  29. Taraxacum
  30. Rumex
  31. Viola
  32. Lepidium
  33. Claytonia
  34. Ligularia
  35. Fragaria
  36. Osmorhiza
  37. Barbarea
  38. Hemerocallis
  39. Crambe
  40. Myrrhis