Some Wildflowers at the Botanical Garden in Iasi

by Mira

By Mira at Wizzley. A few pictures of wildflowers from the beautiful Botanical Garden in Iasi (Iași), Romania, as well as photos of lilac blossoms.

The Anastasie Fătu Botanical Garden (Grădina Botanică Anastasie Fătu) in Iași is the oldest and largest in the country. It was founded in 1856 at the initiative of physician and naturalist Anastasie Fătu, graduate of The University of Vienna Faculty (School) of Law and of The Paris Faculty of Medicine. The Botanical Garden that now carries his name is maintained by the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Iași. It now occupies 100 hectares (250 acres).

Over 6,000 species of plants are on display in the gardens, both outdoors and in glasshouses. It’s a place that has something to offer all throughout the year. When I visited a few days ago (May 2013), the tulips and daffodils were gone, but the many lilac shrubs were in bloom, and so were the chestnut trees lining up the first segment of the main alley.

Lilac in the Botanical Garden, Iasi
Lilac in the Botanical Garden, Iasi
© Mira at Wizzley

As I made my way into the gardens, I noticed that away from the main alleys, they were not very well tended. And even on the sides of the main promenades, there were plenty of dandelions in spots where I would have expected a clump of flowers of other plants. I imagine there just isn’t enough money for these gardens to be perfect. But they are wonderful nevertheless. I discovered some trees and shrubs I have always wondered about, and plenty of tiny wildflowers. I didn’t have time to step into the glasshouses. I did visit them many years ago, however, and loved it there. Plan to do it again sometime in the future.

This place also has one of the largest collection of roses in Romania (around 800 varieties). It is topped only by the Rose Park (Parcul Rozelor) in Timisoara (Timișoara), which arguably showcases 900 different varieties.

And now some of the wildflowers I photographed in the Anastasie Fătu Botanical Garden of Iași.

Cerastium tomentosum L. (snow-in-summer)
Snow-in-Summer
Snow-in-Summer
© Mira at Wizzley

Cerastium tomentosum L. (snow-in-summer) is native to alpine regions of Europe. Nowadays it is also a garden escapee in places like Cork, Ireland, and Dorcas Bay, Ontario. This flower is a good choice for sites with poor soil. It needs full sunlight.

As its name says, it blooms in late spring / early summer -- which is why you don't see many flowers in the photo. It seeds freely, forming a fast-spreading mat. I saw a photo online where carpets of these flowers surround the roots of two trees. Snow-in-summer indeed.

Amsonia Tabernaemontana Walt. (Eastern bluestar)
Eastern bluestar
Eastern bluestar
© Mira at Wizzley

Eastern bluestars are native to the American Midwest. Their flowers come in clusters. They were not in full bloom when I photographed them. Their time is in late spring through early summer. They like sun to partial shade.

I see they're also called blue ice, among other things.

I wish I had taken a closer shot, but I was really rushing through the gardens because I only had an hour and a half to visit the grounds. Not enough! Not to mention that I would have liked to visit the glasshouses as well.

Phlox divaricata L. (wild blue phlox)
Phlox divaricata L.
Phlox divaricata L.
© Mira at Wizzley
Wild blue phlox
Wild blue phlox
© Mira at Wizzley

Phlox divaricata or wild blue phlox is native to the forests of Central United States and eastern North America up to Quebec. Its midly fragrant leaves attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It thrives in part shade to full shade (the clump to the right was planted next to a large bush), and in rich, moist, well-drained soil. You'll find it in forests, fields, and along watercourses.

Of all the wildflowers I saw at the Botanical Gardens, these, the forget-me-nots, and the creeping gromwells (what a name!) were my favorite.

Myosotis alpestris (forget-me-nots)
Forget-me-nots, Exposition Park, Iasi
Forget-me-nots, Exposition Park, Iasi
© Mira at Wizzley
Forget-me-nots
Forget-me-nots
© Mira at Wizzley

Forget-me-nots (genus Myosotis) come in about 50 species. They're very popular in parks in Romania. Also in literature (their name translates as forget-me-not in many European languages; the English name was calqued after the French "ne m'oubliez pas"), and yet until now I failed to make the connection between the flower name and the actual plant. I used to call them albăstrele (and I wasn't alone), which is actually a different blue wildflower, Centaurea cyanus.

I think the species shown in the photo is Myosotis alpestris, the alpine forget-me-not, which I read is the county flower of Westmorland in the UK and the state flower of Alaska.

There were two large beds of Myosotis alpestris in the Botanical Garden, mixed with daffodils, which have by now faded. There were also forget-me-nots in the Exposition Park, in front of the entrance to the Botanical Garden.

Silene pendula L. (nodding catchfly)
Nodding catchfly
Nodding catchfly
© Mira at Wizzley

I love the color of the nodding catchfly (Silene pendula L.). (Its other common name is dropping catchfly.) This flower is native to Southeastern Europe (Italy), and naturalized in several countries in Europe, British Columbia in Canada, several states in the US, along with Argentina and Uruguay in South America, as well as South Africa and New Zealand. The USDA Plants Database shows its distribution in the US in Oregon, Wyoming, Michigan, and Maine.

The nodding catchfly likes light and well-drained soil. This flower seems to be another favorite for garden walls and hanging baskets. Silene pendula is related to Silene armeria, known as simply catchfly, or Sweet William catchfly, or, hear this, none-so-pretty. Indeed.

The name catchfly has to do with the plant's sticky stem and flowers. As for the word Silene, it's the feminine form of Silenus. Silenus had many incarnations in Greek mythology. It ultimately came to designate a faithful companion of Dionysus.

Lithospermum prostratum (Loisel.) Griseb. (creeping gromwell)
Creeping gromwell
Creeping gromwell
© Mira at Wizzley

According to Wikipedia, wildflowers in the genus Lithospermum can be found pretty much everywhere except Australasia. (I tried to verify this information but could only find one other page that seemed to have reproduced the same bit from Wikipedia.)

Lithosperm wildflowers are collectively known as gromwells or stoneseeds. I see many species are distributed in the US. The USDA Plant Database lists the species that you can find in the US. Lithospermum prostratum, the gromwell with dropping flower heads, is not among them.

As a side note, if you're wondering, as I was, not knowing much about botany, what those L. and Loisel. and Griseb mean, well, it appears that besides the two Latin words for genus and species, which we're all familiar with, botanists also use L. for Linnaeus (or any other name or abbreviation) to indicate that Linnaeus or another authority named the plant. If there's a name in parenthesis and one after that, as in Lithospermum prostratum (Loisel.) Griseb., then that's to say that the species was first named by the authority (biologist) given in parenthesis (with his name sometimes abbreviated), and later renamed and reclassified by the authority given last.

I hope you have enjoyed my little tour! As a bonus, here are two photos of lilac blooms. Lilac is my favorite flower. Looking closely now at these wildflowers I have briefly presented, I can see there's some resemblance!

Lilac Blossoms in the Botanical Gardens of Iasi, May 2013
Lilac in Bloom
Lilac in Bloom
© Mira at Wizzley
Lilac in Bloom
Lilac in Bloom
© Mira at Wizzley

These photos

were made with my old Canon camera, 350D

My camera is sold in the US as the Digital Rebel XT. It's a 2005 camera that has some drawbacks (low ISO by today's standards, and it doesn't shoot film), but this DSLR is a top semi-professional camera that you can get used on Amazon for the bargain price of $220. Do note that mine did stop working after some 10,000 shots (which I heard was common with some cameras -- haven't looked into that statement yet), and I had to have it repaired, but it was well worth it.

I only have the lens that came with it (18-55mm, 35mm equivalence of 29-88mm), which served me well for what I needed to do with this camera. This digital camera has 8MP. The best thing about it is that it shoots great RAW photos, with superb whites, something that a point-and-shoot Canon camera like S110, which is otherwise rather fast and shoots Full HD video, doesn't match by any measure.

If you want to use a telephoto lens and to shoot film, then I recommend the Canon SX40 HS. I haven't tried it myself but it has great reviews, and I intend to buy it. It shoots 1920x1080 Full HD and 1280x720 HD video at 30 frames per second. It also has a 35x optical zoom! I have another camera with this kind of zoom, and it's fun to use if the camera has high sensitivity (ISO) and, for certain situations, a tripod as well. This Canon sells now for about $320 on Amazon.

Canon SX40 HS. 12.1MP. 35x Optical Zoom. Full HD Video. About $320 New
Canon SX40 HS 12.1MP Digital Camera with 35x Wide Angle O...
Canon Digital Rebel XT. 8MP. DSLR. 29-88mm lens. (35mm-equivalent). Great RAW files. About $220 used.
Canon Digital Rebel XT 8MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 1...
Updated: 05/09/2013, Mira
 
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Mira on 10/05/2013

Thank you for your visit, Derdriu! I love chestnut trees, too. And I think wildflowers are some of the most amazing simple pleasures, just as they must have been for others centuries ago. I didn't understand when I was younger why writers of the 19th century and earlier spent so much time mentioning and describing every single flower they could think of. Now I do. We have lost their familiarity with nature (well, some of us) but now prize nature for how precious it has become, the refuge and unadulterated beauty it offers, and so on.

Glad you came back to Wizzley!

DerdriuMarriner on 10/05/2013

Mira, I love that the entrance to Iasi's Botanical Garden includes chestnut trees. There is a Chinese chestnut outside the living room window so I can see and hear the chestnuts when they fall. They have been falling all last month, and there's still more to go. Also I enjoy all the information on wildflowers. It always is such a treat to see the blue flowered plants featured. Blue phlox, blue star, and gromwell are among my favorites. Also I appreciate the picture taking tips at the end. Thank you for beautifying Cyberland.

Mira on 06/25/2013

Thank you, Yvette. I should probably go visit the Botanical Gardens here in Bucharest, too, sometime soon. :)

Guest on 06/25/2013

A beautiful page. I love to sit in gardens, it really relaxes me. Thanks for sharing.

Mira on 06/09/2013

They do. I also love their colors and the way they grow :)

ologsinquito on 06/08/2013

We have lilacs in North America too. They smell wonderful.

Mira on 05/10/2013

Thank you, Belinda! As we drove through the city of Iasi there were many gardens with lilacs. The whole city is beautiful.

belinda342 on 05/09/2013

I look forward to May each year, just for that wonderful aroma of lilacs in the air. Your photos are gorgeous! Thanks for showing us this beautiful garden.

Mira on 05/09/2013

I never thought much about it, but you're right, many say flowers, especially blue ones, relax people. It might be the colors, it might be the smells -- or both. There used to be a whole lavender field in the middle of one park here in Bucharest many years ago. Talk about a calming effect! :)

EliasZanetti on 05/09/2013

Flowers and gardens in general, have such a calming effect. And to think that I'm just looking at your pictures. Perhaps I should go for a walk now :)


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