March 22
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Plant Genus of the family Moraceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Argyranthemum Often treated as perennials, the 24 members of this genus from the Canary Islands and Madeira are evergreen shrubs that under suitable conditions may develop quite thick, woody stems, though usually living less than 10 years. Belonging to the huge daisy family, Argyranthemum was formerly often merged with the genus Chrysanthemum. They are popular in gardens and as cut flowers in the form of numerous cultivars, most with ?double? or ?semi-double? flowerheads in shades from white through pink to rose-purple (less commonly yellow), appearing over a long season. Cultivars are conventionally classified under Argyranthemum frutescens, but are probably of hybrid origin, with species such as A. foeniculaceum and A. maderense present in their parentage. All are shrubs that branch low but generally above ground into brittle stems with rather crowded leaves clustered at their tips; the leaves vary from coarsely toothed to deeply dissected into many narrow lobes, and have a slightly aromatic, bitter smell when bruised. The long-stalked flowerheads are borne in loose groups of 2 to 5 terminating the branches. In the original ?single? forms each head consists of a ring of blunt-tipped ray florets (?petals?) around an ?eye? of tiny yellowish disc florets. In the ?doubles? the disc florets are replaced by ray florets; in another large group of cultivars the disc florets are elongated and colored, giving rise to an anemone-form or ?semi-double? flowerhead. CULTIVATION: All are marginally frost hardy and in cold climates need to be brought under shelter in winter. For permanent outdoor use they prefer a temperate climate with a distinct cool winter. Cutting-grown plants can be raised to flowering size in 6 months, so they can be treated as annuals. Soil should be very well drained and not too rich, and a sunny position is essential. Young plants can be shaped by pinching out growing tips; pruning lanky old plants should be done with caution, as they often die if cut back hard. Propagate from tip cuttings at any time of year, preferably in autumn for a spring and summer display.
Artocarpus This pantropical genus of around 50 species of evergreen and deciduous trees includes several commercially important fruits, notably breadfruit and jackfruit. The leaves are large with bracts (stipules) at the base of the stalks and may be simple or lobed. There are separate male and female flowers; the males borne in small catkins, the females in large heads. The flowers are tiny but the starchy white-fleshed fruit that follows is conspicuous and in some cases very large indeed. CULTIVATION: These trees require constantly warm moist conditions. They prefer well-drained humus-rich soil and will fruit more reliably and heavily if fed well. Plant in full sun or partial shade with shelter from strong winds. Propagate the species from seed and the cultivars from cuttings or aerial layers.
Broussonetia Closely related to mulberry (Morus), Broussonetia consists of 8 species of deciduous trees and shrubs with milky sap, all from tropical and eastern Asia, apart from one species endemic to Madagascar. Like mulberries they have broad, more or less heart-shaped leaves with toothed edges and often deeply lobed as well?lobed and unlobed leaves are frequently present on the same plant. Small male and female flowers are borne on separate trees as the new leaves unfold, the males in long catkins, the females in globular heads. Broussonetia species are wind-pollinated and the anthers of male flowers expel their pollen explosively, visible as tiny spurts of white dust emitted randomly along the catkins. The fleshy fruits are small but, again as in mulberries, aggregated on the fruiting head, which in Broussonetia is globular. Although not often grown as ornamentals they have a variety of uses, notably the fiber from the inner bark being used for making paper and cloth. CULTIVATION: Only the more cold-hardy species from East Asia are known in cultivation. Although moderately frost tolerant, they prefer a climate with a hot, humid summer such as that of the eastern USA. They adapt also to much warmer climates in the tropics and subtropics, and to inner-urban pollution. Heavy pruning or lopping is followed by vigorous resprouting. Propagation is readily effected by cuttings of short shoots taken in summer with a heel (the best means if a particular sex is desired), or seed can be used if obtainable.
Ficus Nearly every gardener has come across members of this genus in one form or another?majestic park and forest trees in warmer climates; tough glossy-leaved indoor plants such as the rubber tree; or the edible fig of Mediterranean climates. What connects these to form the genus Ficus of over 750 species, scattered through all continents and many islands, is the unique structure of the fig itself. Although appearing to be a single fruit, it is in fact a most peculiar kind of inflorescence (flower-bearing structure). Figs belong to the mulberry family (Moraceae), and most other members of this family have small greenish flowers borne on a fleshy spike, the whole developing in the fruiting stage into a cluster of tightly packed fruitlets. In Ficus the whole arrangement is turned inside-out, with the spike hollowed out and almost completely closed over at the top and the tiny flowers and developing fruitlets lining the inside. This structure has co-evolved with a group of small insects, the fig-wasps, which spend most of their life cycle inside the fig. The fig-wasp larvae feed on the sterile ?fodder? or ?gall? flowers, the fertile flowers being less attractive as food. When the adult wasp develops it escapes from the fig through a briefly open apical pore; it crawls over the fertile flowers, cross-pollinating them, before escaping and soon depositing its eggs through the skin of another, younger fig. Each wasp species is adapted to one or few fig species and is found only in that fig?s native region. Cultivated exotic figs, lacking the appropriate wasp, hardly ever produce fertile seed. Fig species show almost endless variation. A small minority are climbers or creepers rooting from the stems like ivy, but the rest range in size from large shrubs to very large trees. Many figs of tropical forests display the ?strangler? growth habit, starting as seedlings high on tree trunks and quickly sending roots to the ground, the roots then fusing and encircling the host tree which is eventually strangled. Some of these also develop ?curtains? of aerial roots or even the ?banyan? growth form in which aerial roots from lower boughs thicken to form extra trunks, sometimes extending over large areas. Two constant features of Ficus are milky sap, and the large stipule enclosing the tip of each twig and leaving a ring-like scar when it falls. Leaves vary from tiny to huge?over 3 ft (1 m) long in some tropical species?and their shape is equally variable. Many species shed their leaves in the tropical dry season. The ?fruits? (figs) likewise vary greatly in size, color and surface features. Nearly all are edible to birds or mammals, thereby aiding dispersal of their seeds, but relatively few species bear figs that humans find tasty. CULTIVATION: No fig species come from regions with severe frost and winter snow. The most frost hardy is probably the edible fig (Ficus carica) which can cope with occasional frosts down to about 21?F (?6?C). It is grown against heat-storing brick walls in northern France. Many other species tolerate light frosts if protected when small, especially those from regions such as southern Africa, Australia or China. Figs are vigorous growers and most species will quickly outgrow a small garden; many warm-climate gardeners have come to regret planting out their treasured rubber plant or weeping fig against the house wall when it got too big for its pot. Root growth can be rampant, heaving paths and retaining walls and invading drains, though not all species are equally troublesome in this respect. The larger figs come into their own in parks and avenues, impressing with their huge shady canopies and massive sculptured trunks. Propagation can be achieved from seed if this is obtainable (sow on the surface of a moist open medium), but cuttings are the more usual method with bottom heat an aid to rooting. Cuttings of species with thick branches and large leaves can be difficult or impossible to root, and these species are usually air-layered. The edible fig is the most easily propagated species, from leafless winter cuttings or by ground-layering of low branches.
Maclura Notable for their spiny branches, dye-bearing flowers and interesting fruits, this genus of some 12 species of evergreen or deciduous shrubs, trees and climbers occurs in the warm-temperate to tropical regions around the world. They usually have simple, pointed, ovate leaves, sometimes with downy undersides. There are separate male and female trees. Male and female flowers are similar yellow to green shades but the female flowers occur in larger clusters. The fruits are usually globose, often heavily textured, maturing to yellow or orange. CULTIVATION: Frost hardiness varies with the species, as does drought tolerance. Most are easily grown in any moist well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Brighter positions usually result in more fruit, shade promotes foliage; thus male trees are best planted with a little shade, and females in the sun. Prune in winter after the fruit falls or in spring if winter frost damage is likely. Propagate from seed or from summer half-hardened or winter hardwood cuttings.
Morus There are about 12 species of deciduous trees and shrubs in this genus. It is a member of the wider mulberry family which includes fig and rubber trees and breadfruit. Most species are from Asia with a few being found in parts of North America and central Africa. The leaves are arranged alternately and are generally heart-shaped with serrated margins. Inconspicuous male and female flowers are borne on separate catkins and are followed by fruits resembling raspberries. CULTIVATION: The black mulberry (Morus nigra) has long been cultivated for its fruits, while the leaves of the white mulberry (M. alba) provide fodder for silkworms. In cool climates fruit production will require a very warm sheltered site or wall protection. Mulberries will grow in any reasonably fertile well-drained soil. Pruning should be done in winter and be kept to a minimum as the sap bleeds freely. Propagation is usually from cuttings taken in spring or autumn, although large pieces of branch (truncheons) up to 5 ft (1.5 m) long can be planted 20 in (50 cm) into the ground.

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