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Dionysia odora

Guest photographers: Dieter Zschummel

 Botanical Description
Forming rounded dense cushions, sometimes somewhat flatter, up to 50cm across in the wild but considerably less in cultivation. Leaves oblong to obovate, oval or spathulate, 3.5-4.5mm long, 1-2mm wide, margins crenate to dentate, noticably hairy giving a greyish appearance. Flowers solitary, corolla palish yellow, 7-12mm in diameter, tube 10-20mm long, divided into obovate or suborbicular, entire lobes. Although attempts were made to introduce it into cultivation in 1959, these failed and only one succesful attempt has been made since, in 1995 from Kuh-e Parrou in Kermanshah Province, Iran. Other attempts to introduce it, JZZ05-90 from the same mountain, JZZ05-102 from Noah Kuh near the Iraqi border and DRZ09-01 from the Bimar mountains were unsuccesful. It's distribution however is considerable, having initially been discovered in NE Iraq and being known from several sites in NW Iran and more doubtfully in SE Turkey. This distribution is somewhat north of the area covered by most recent expeditions and presumably accounts for the scarcity of new material. Both pin and thrum eyed plants resulted from the sole succesful collection (KMZ9511), the thrum-eyed form having noticably smaller flowers than the pin-eyed. A further collection was JJMZ04-115 from Vargonbad near Kerend although it is unclear whther this introduction was succesful. Seed has been set in cultivation and a few of these appear to be true; hybrids with what is thought to be D. tapetodes are noticably greener and less hairy in foliage and deeper yellow in flower colour. The wild form is still not widely grown. A new 2016 introduction is CIA35, again from near Kerend.

Reference: ALPINE GARDEN SOCIETY PLANT ENCYCLOPAEDIA

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