With a long weekend approaching, take a tent or book yourself some accommodation on the Mull of Galloway. Logan Botanic Garden grows a wealth of more unusual plants. Of special interest is Michelia yunnanensis, a member of the Magnoliaceae native to China.
At Edinburgh, we grow plants introduced through Kunming Institute of Botany in the Temperate House. These plants are much smaller and this is a good illustration of the climatic difference between the east coast and more sheltered areas on the west coast of Scotland. Several plants can be seen at Logan, in the Castle Woodland and within the Walled Garden. These are multi-stemmed plants growing to 2.7 metres and regularly producing fertile seed which is being grown on.
Michelia yunnanensis is an evergreen with thick, glossy leathery leaves and a slight covering of brown indumentum on the reverse, set alternately in a spiral on the stem.
The flowers are borne singly and sit solitary in the leaf axils on a short, brown felted stalk. These are prized for their scent in China where street sellers tempt young girls to buy them as button holes for evening wear.
The flowers are Initially enclosed in a brown felted protective bract. This peels apart in two halves to reveal the tightly packed white petals and expands to reveal the mass of anthers and prominent green gynoecium. This female part of the floral structure is thrusted out prominently on a short stalk. The reflexed parts that cover it ensure its place in the family Magnoliaceae, resembling a Magnolia seed pod in miniature.