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Ajuga, Akebia, Alangium and Albizia. A-Z of Plant genera

Updated on January 4, 2016

Ajuga reptans

Taken in Germany
Taken in Germany | Source


In this series A-Z of plant genera we review the species that occur in a particular genus,along with descriptions,images and any horticultural significance with tips on their requirements. The flora in this series occur in all parts of the world ,they are diverse in size and form from the tiniest growth to the tallest trees.

Here in this article we look at the genera Ajuga , Akebia, Alangium and Albizia, we commence with the genus Ajuga.

Ajuga australis

Taken in Queensland Australia.
Taken in Queensland Australia. | Source

Ajuga genevensis

Taken in Germany
Taken in Germany | Source

The genus Ajuga

Ajuga, often referred to as Bugle or Bugleweed, is a genus of flowering ,annual and perennial ,herbaceous plants in the mint family Lamiaceae within the order Laminales. They are native to Europe,some native to Asia,Africa and two species in south-eastern Australia. They grow up to twenty inches tall and have leaves arranged opposite to each other.

Ajuga australis,referred to as Austral bugle isa flowering plant native to Australia {image above}

Ajuga chamaepitys referred to as the yellow bugle or ground pine is found in Europe ,the eastern part of the Mediterranean and north Africa.

Ajuga genevensis known commonly by the name of 'upright bugle' ia another native to Europe. { Image right }

Ajuga reptans,the common bugle is native to Europe and found with its varieties as a cultivar. This species has been dealt with in detail in my hub 'Call of the Bugle-another beneficial herb', here at Hub pages and thus is omitted here.

Ajuga Purple' Bronze Beauty'.


Ajuga purple 'bronze beauty' close up of flowers


Ajuga the Cultivars.

The cultivars a a group of annuals and perennials,some of which are evergreen and excellent plants for the use of ground cover. They are fully hardy tolerating sun or shade and any type of soil. However, they grow more vigorously in moist conditions. They may be by division in spring.

Ajuga pyramidalis,the Pyramidal bugle,is a semi evergreen perennial growing to the height of six inches with a spread of eighteen inches. They form a creeping carpet of oblong to spoon-shaped deep, green leaves,above which rise spikes of whorled,two-lipped blue flowers during the spring. Variety 'metallic crispa', has crisp curled leaves with a metallic bronze lustre and dark blue flowers.

Ajuga reptans variety 'Atropurpurea' is an evergreen, ground covering perennial spreading freely by runners, with small rosettes of glossy, deep, bronze -purple foliage. During the spring short spikes of blue flowers appear. Height -six inches with a spread up to three feet. They like full sun and moist but not wet situations, they are completely frost hardy.

Ajuga reptans variety 'Jungle beauty', is a species which is semi-evergreen and a mat-forming perennial up to fifteen inches high and a spread of about two feet. it has large oval, toothed dark green leaves, sometimes suffused with purple and during the spring produces spikes of whorled two lipped flowers.

Ajuga reptans variety 'Multiclor' or 'rainbow',is an evergreen perennial with dark green leaves marked with pink and cream,which make excellent ground cover especially where established. During the spring spikes of small blue flowers occur. height five inches with a spread of eighteen inches or so.

Akebia trifoliata

Taken in Japan
Taken in Japan | Source

Akebia quintata

Taken in France at the Jardin Botanique Lyon
Taken in France at the Jardin Botanique Lyon | Source

Akebia quintata fruits

Taken at the Jardine Botanico Madrid Spain
Taken at the Jardine Botanico Madrid Spain | Source

Akebia x pentaphylla

Taken in Japan
Taken in Japan | Source

The genus Akebia

The genus Akebia consists of just five species of flowering plants belonging to the family Lardizabalaceae, in the order of plants known as the Ranunculales { Buttercup family}. It is genus name that derives from a Latinized Japanese word. Their native setting is in the countries of Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan.

The cultivars are a group of deciduous or semi-evergreen shrubs ,woody-stemmed, twining, climbing species, grown for their foliage and flowers. Individual plants rarely produce fruits, therefore cross pollination between two individual plants is required for the fruit {seed capsules} to form. They are frost hardy. These plants prefer full sun and any good well-drained soil. They will tolerate an east or north facing aspect. However, they dislike disturbance. They may be propagated by way of seeds sown in the autumn or spring. They may also be propagated by semi ripe cuttings in summer or by layering in the Autumn and winter.

Akebia x pentaphyla is,in the main, a deciduous, woody-stemmed,twining climber,reaching the height / length of thirty feet or more. The mid-green leaves are bronze tinted when young and have three to five oval leaflets. Droopimg racemes of small three petalled, purple flowers { larger female at the base of the plant and smaller male flowers at the apex.}, occur in spring.

Akebia quintata, is also a woody-stemmed ,climbing, semi-evergreen in mild winters or warm regions, with leaves consisting of five leaflets. The vanilla scented,brownish-purple flowers appear in late spring followed by sausage-shaped, purplish coloured fruits . The height /length is thirty feet or more. They need to planted in a sunny well drained position. They are frost hardy down to minus five degrees C { 23 F . This species has naturalized in the eastern United States from Georgia to Michigan and to Massachusetts. In New Zealand, this species is considered to be a pest invasive , and has been banned fron sale,commercial propagation and distribution.

Akebia trifoliata,is a deciduous , woody stemmed twining climber up to thirty feet or more,with mat-green coloured leaves with bronze tints when young. They have three oval leaflets and drooping racemes of three petalled purple flowers which occur in spring,followed by sausage-shaped fruits {seed capsules}.

In the wild where they grow in China, Japan and Korea there are three sub-species recognized. Other native species include Akebia chingshuiensis, native to Taiwan. Akebia longeracemosa,native to China and Taiwan.

Alangium platanifolium

Real Jardine Botanico  at Madrid Spain
Real Jardine Botanico at Madrid Spain | Source

Alangium chinense. Foliage and flowers

Jardine Botanique de Strasbourg France
Jardine Botanique de Strasbourg France | Source

Alangium ebenaceum

Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve
Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve | Source

The genus Alangium

The genus Alangium consists of about forty species,however, this is another genus of which there are disputes between botanical authorities as to which are true species and which may be classed as sub-species. They are small trees and shrubs belonging to the family Cornaceae {Dogwood family} within the Order Cornales.

They are native to Africa , Madagascar, southern and eastern Asia, tropical Australia, the western Pacific Islands and New Caledonia. However, most species are native to Tropical and sub-tropical regions of east and southern Asia. In former times they were once much far widespread than they are today with recorded fossil finds from England and western North America.

Alangium chinense, is found, as its specific name suggests ,in China,where it is traditionally used in herbal medicine. It is a medium to large sized tree ten to twenty five metres tall,with grey bark and purplish brown,pubescent to glabrous young shoots. The leaves are ovate to broadly oval with an oblique base. The blade of the leaf is two and a half to six inches long and one and a half to six inches broad. The margins are entire or palmately lobed. The talks are from half to three quarters of an inch long.

The flowers have six petals and are sweet scented and occur between May and July. The distribution of this species apart from China includes Pakistan, Northern India, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. It has also been cultivated in some countries.

Alangium circulare,is a species with rounded foliage and grows up to fifty feet tall. It is endemic to Borneo,confined to Sarawak, Because of its limited range the species is classed as being Vulnerable.

Alangium longiflorum {large flowers ], is another species native to Borneo and the Philippines,where it occurs from sea-level up to one thousand two hundred metres {4,000 feet }. This species is also classed as being a Vulnerable species.

The cultivars are grown for their flowers and foliage. They require full sun and any type of fertile well drained soil. Alangium platanifolium is a deciduous ,upright tree-like shrub up to ten feet with a spread of about six feet. The foliage is maple-like, three lobed and of a mid-green colour. The white flowers are fragrant and tubular and appear from early to mid-summer.

Albizia inudata

Growing in Argentina
Growing in Argentina | Source

Albizia julibrissin


The brush like flowers of Albizia julibrissin


Albizia amara


The genus Albizia

The genus Albizia, is a genus of about one hundred and fifty species of generally fast growing trees and shrubs whaich are tropical or sub-tropical growers. They belong to the family Fabaceae {Bean family },within the order of plants known as the Fabales. The plants are native to Asia,Africa Madagascar, America and Australia.

They are often commonly referred to as Silk Plants, Silk trees or Sireses. The genus is named after an Italian Nobleman, Filippo degli Albizzi,and the plants in some books may be found under that spelling Albizzias.

The cultivars are a group of deciduous or semi-evergreen trees and shrubs grown for their feathery foliage and and unusual heads of flowers ,they resemble bottle brushes. They are half hardy species. It is recommended that they are grown against a south or west -facing wall. In cold areas do not plant until late spring. They require full sun and a well drained soil.

The species Albizia julibrissin, Often referred to as the Persian silk tree, may be grown for its foliage. It is a deciduous,spreading tree attaining the height of thirty feet or so with a similar spread . The large leaves are light to mid green and divided into many leaflets. {20-30}. During late summer and the autumn, clusters of brush-like ,clear pink flowers appear. Plant or place in full sun in a well drained soil. They are half hardy down to naught degree C {32 F }. It is a species that has been widely planted in parks and gardens.

Albizia distachya, sometimes found under Albizia lopantha}, and sometimes found under the genus Paraserianthes, is a native to Australia. It is a fast growing deciduous tree up to thirty feet with a similar spread. It produces fern-like ,dark green leaves comprising of many leaflets. The flowers are creamy yellow in loose spikes which occur in spring and summer. It requires full sun and well drained soil and the same temperature requirements of the previous species.

Albizia amara, is species encountered in southern and Eastern Africa,is also found in India and Sri Lanka,and is classed as a medium sized tree with a grey scaly bark. The foliage of this species consists of of between fifteen and thirty five relatively small leaflets. The leaves tend to thin out during February and March and are renewed again in April. The flowers which occur in May are yellowish white, 'powdery'-looking with very long stamens and a golden coloured pollen. The resulting fruits {seed capsules} are about eight inches long and ripen during October to November.

These trees do not like shade, but they are drought tolerant in their native regions.

Some of the native species which have been introduced elsewhere are considered to be invasive in such places as Hawaii, and other Pacific Islands. The large branches often damaging the infra-structure such as houses and power lines.

Albizia procera fruits {seed capsules}. This species is referred to as the Doon Siris.



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    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 2 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Deb, thank you too for your loyal follow and for your appreciated comments. Have a great New Year. Best wishes to you.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Fruiting buttercup family? I never would have guessed that. All amazingly good material.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 2 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      hello Devika, Happy New Year to you. Your comments are always encouraging and appreciated. Best wishes to you.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi D.A.L A Happy New Year to you. Nature has its beauty and you have a great way in sharing it. Always informative and a learning lesson.