Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Binomen Art - Azara microphylla
It’s hard to imagine the intoxicating smell of Azara microphylla, especially on a warm (early) spring night, unless you have experienced it. We wrote about A. microphylla several years ago and the same plant is still going strong. This year, the fragrance was the strongest at the end of March. The tree, at about 25 feet in height, doesn’t look as scraggly as it has in past years.
According to CRC/Quattrocchi, the genus Azara honors the Spanish diplomat José Nicolás de Azara (1731 - 1804). Oddly, Wikipedia (Tanti-occhi?) says that his brother Félix Manuel de Azara (1742 - 1821) was a noted naturalist and, in particular, spent many years in South America where Azara is native. It could be that this plant was named for José but naming this plant for Félix makes more sense. The species epithet microphylla meaning small leaf is for the smallish leaves of this plant. (Azara is a munipality in the Autonomous Community of Aragon.)
We spelled out the genus name with the pliable twigs (first A), fresh leaves (Z and R), dead leaves (second A), and flower parts (third A). The species epithet is spelled out with green leaves - can you spot the misspelling? We were trying to work fast because the wind is not your friend in these impromptu spellings.