Description of the shaker plant, recommendations for planting breezes and caring for it in the garden, breeding rules, difficulties in growing, facts to note for flora lovers, species and varieties.
Shaker (Briza) is often found in botanical sources under the name corresponding to the Latin transliteration - Briza. The plant belongs to the numerous Gramineae or Poaceae families. The genus of shakers has united about twenty species, but according to information provided by The Plant List database for 2013, this number reaches 22 units.
The natural area in which the shakes grow includes the European and West Asian regions, as well as the northern regions of the African continent and South America. On the territory of the Mediterranean, the breeze acts as an ephemeral, that is, a plant with a short growing season. There are species that grow as invasive flora on the lands of the North American continent. In nature, breezes are preferred to onions and forest glades, and they are also comfortable in thickets of tall bushes.
|Family name||Cereals or Bluegrass|
|Vegetation time||Perennial or annual|
|How does it multiply||Generative method (by seeds) or vegetatively (by dividing the bush)|
|When to plant outdoors||Late spring|
|Landing rules||5-10 cm are left between the seedlings|
|What kind of soil is suitable||Light, sandy or loamy|
|Soil acidity values, pH||Any within 4, 0-8, 0 (optimal - 7, 0)|
|Illumination level||A place with good lighting, but a semi-shady location may be suitable|
|Humidity level||Recommended soil moisture in severe drought|
|Special care rules||Pruning and sheltering recommended in the first winter|
|How high does it reach||0.15–0.8 m|
|Flowering period||From May or June throughout the month|
|Type of inflorescences or flowers||Spikelet panicle inflorescences|
|Color of flowers||Pale green at first, later brownish beige or purplish brown|
|The timing of fruit ripening||In August|
|Decorative period||Spring Summer|
|Application in landscape design||When decorating curbs or rocky gardens, as a ground cover or planted next to shrubs. Can be used as dried flower|
|USDA zone||3 or more|
The genus got its name in Latin "Briza" thanks to the Roman physician Galen, who lived in the II-III century AD. It was in his writings that this plant was first mentioned, as a culture related to cereals, according to some sources, to rye. On Russian lands, this interesting representative of the flora is referred to as "cuckoo's tears" or "Mary's tears", all because the inflorescences have outlines similar to whitish tears. It is called "Shaker" because of the way the inflorescences react to any breath of breeze.
The genus combines plants with a perennial or one-year growing cycle, winter crops. The vegetative form of the shake is herbaceous. Plants are characterized by the presence of shortened creeping and fibrous rhizomes or may be deprived of them. Rhizomes give rise to several stems at once. The stems can reach a height of 15–80 cm and look like thin straws with a bare surface. The stems grow straight or geniculate, both singly and in the lower part, they can have branching. Their color is pleasant green.
The outlines of the shaker's leaf plates are linear, usually they are characterized by a flat surface.The width of the leaves is 0.3–0.8 cm, their length can vary from 4–20 cm. There is a sharp point at the top of the leaf plate, and the edge is often rough.
During flowering, the waggon forms a spectacular inflorescence with a panicle shape. A spreading panicle is composed of numerous spikelets (their number varies from 20 to 50), which include a large number of flowers. The size of the inflorescence is relatively large, its length reaches approximately 4–10 cm (in some specimens it is 18 cm). The general shape of the inflorescence of the shaker is pyramidal. The spikelets themselves are only half a centimeter long. They grow drooping, rounded, triangular, broadly elliptical or ovoid, with a slight flattening on the sides of the spikelets.
There are 5–20 flowers in a spikelet of a shaker. At first, their color is pale green, but gradually it changes to a brownish-golden or purple-brown hue. Both the flowers and the scales of the spikelet have convex outlines, but in the lower part of the spikelet, the floral scales at the base are devoid of awns and have a heart-shaped shape. The flower has from one to three stamens. The spikelet is located on a thin elongated stem. Blossoming in the waggon begins in May or June and ends in mid-summer.
After pollination, which occurs with the help of the wind, by the breeze at the end of August, the fruit ripens in the form of a caryopsis, wrapped in membranous scales. Its size reaches 2 mm. Seeds in caryopsis are small, there are 200-300 of them.
Despite the large number of species in the genus, only five of them are used for ornamental gardening. The shaker is an unpretentious plant and, with simple care, can become an adornment of any flower garden, as well as delight with the view of spectacular
"Tears" in bouquets of dried flowers.
Tips for planting and caring for shaker outdoors
- Landing place shake it is recommended to select an open and well-lit, as this will promote lush flowering. However, the plant will perfectly tolerate partial shade, as in nature it often grows in shrub thickets. Do not plant breezes in places where moisture from precipitation or melting snow accumulates.
- Shaker soil light and well aerated is selected, the best choice would be a sandy substrate or loam, it will be a guarantee that moisture will not stagnate. At the same time, the acidity of the substrate can vary within the range of pH 4, 0-8, 0. However, the most successful growth and flowering will be in the breeze, planted in neutral soil with neutral acidity (pH = 7, 0).
- Watering when caring for a shaker, it is recommended to carry out only when dry and hot weather lasts for a long time. In this case, it is important that the soil is not flooded, as this can lead to rotting of the root system. In hot weather, it is recommended to water once a week. You can even use cold and unsettled water. Some gardeners use a garden hose connected to the water supply, but a sprinkler attachment is placed on the hose so that the strong jet does not damage the panicle buds from the spikelets.
- Fertilizers when growing, it is not worth demolishing the shakes, since in nature the plant has enough of those trace elements that come even from sandy soil.
- Winter hardiness. A plant such as breeze is characterized by high resistance to frost. However, in the first year of life for perennial species, it is recommended to provide shelter, which can be spruce branches or dry foliage.
- Collecting shaker inflorescences it can be carried out from the beginning of flowering until it ends. It is curious that the panicles plucked at different times have different shades. For drying, panicles are collected from the stems with inflorescences or they are laid out in a thin layer on clean paper or linen, but if there is an attic or a dry room, the stems are connected in a bunch and hung down with "tears" to the ceiling.
- Blank shake tubers are held for their medicinal properties. The roots are dug up and cleaned of soil, rinsing under running water. Better to take the roots of a young breeze. To use such parts of the plant for medicinal purposes, they are placed in boiling water for 4-5 minutes before use. After that, it is recommended to dry them, then the roots are cut and strung on a harsh thread. For final drying such "beads" from the roots of the shaker are hung in a shaded and dry place. This will eliminate bitterness and unpleasant odors from them. The roots of the quagmire contain a large amount of mineral salts and protein elements, as well as starch, essential oil and sucrose.
- General advice on care. When July comes, it is recommended for the shaker grown on the site to cut the flowering stems. This is done due to the fact that with the arrival of autumn, new leaf plates are formed near the breeze, which do not lose their green color throughout the entire winter period. If the winter turned out to be snowless, then they serve as a decoration of the site.
- The use of a shaker in landscape design. Such a plant will look good on a mixed crop lawn, often called a "Moorish lawn". It is customary to plant breezes in stone gardens and rock gardens, to plant next to shrubs. The shaker is used to decorate mixborders or in single plantings. For florists, the breeze takes a special place, since when dried, the delicate beauty of its inflorescences is not lost, and will look good in any bouquet of dry plants.
Read also about planting a lunaria and caring for a plant in your backyard.
Shaker breeding rules
Usually the breeze is propagated by seeds or by dividing a heavily overgrown bush.
- Reproduction of the shaker by seeds. It is recommended to sow the harvested or purchased seed material immediately on the prepared area. Sowing is carried out in the spring, when the soil warms up enough (in April or May). The seed breeze must be shallow and watering should be done after it. It is better to use a watering can with a sprinkler attachment so as not to wash the sown seeds out of the soil. After a week or a little more, the first shoots can be seen above the soil surface. To get a hundred shaker bushes, you should use 0.5 grams of seeds. As they grow, they will need to be thinned out. When executed, it is left between shoots 5-10 cm, but these indicators directly depend on the type or variety of shaker. Usually this method is suitable for growing annual representatives of the genus. Some gardeners sow seeds in breezes in the fall, before the cold snap.
- Reproduction of the shaker by dividing the bush. This method is most suitable for perennial bushes of "cuckoo tears". To do this, it is recommended to choose the time in spring or with the arrival of the first autumn days, when the flowering has completely stopped. Such a bush is simply cut with a sharpened shovel and removed from the ground with a garden pitchfork. You can do this operation in a different sequence (remove the bush by digging it around the perimeter and cut it into pieces with a shovel in one motion). Then the delenki are transferred to a prepared place in the garden, planted and watered abundantly. Usually, these parts of the shaker take root very quickly and successfully.
See also tips for breeding lupine.
Difficulty growing a shaker in the garden
You can delight gardeners with the fact that the breeze is absolutely not afraid of either pests or diseases inherent in most "garden dwellers". However, problems begin with constant waterlogging of the soil, and then this leads to decay of the root system. The plant cannot be saved, since it dies quickly.
Read also about possible difficulties in growing fescue
Tips for gardeners about the shaker plant
There are types of breezes that are suitable as livestock feed.Such species of shake as large (Briza maxima), medium (Briza media) and small (Briza minor) are usually used as an ornamental crop in gardens. Their dried inflorescences are the perfect complement to any bouquet of dried flowers.
The roots, foliage, and spikelet inflorescences of the average shaker were used in folk medicine for the manufacture of decoctions or tinctures that helped not only people, but also animals. Such a medicine was prescribed by doctors to patients suffering from weakness and pain in the heart, as well as with problems of the nervous system. Medicines based on the breeze help to get rid of pulmonary tuberculosis, eliminate diseases associated with the kidneys and bladder, relieve inflammation of the ovaries. If a person suffers from shuddering in a dream, urinary incontinence or frequent colds, then healers are recommended to him a tincture of the leaves of the spikelets of the shaker. The same remedy could have cured malaria, diathesis, and eczema in children. They removed swelling of the legs and tumors with the help of decoctions from the breeze, whooping cough was cured.
If we talk about the cultural cultivation of the shake, then it began in the 18th century. At the same time, there is a legend among the people that the name "cuckoo's tears" came from the legend that on the feast of Christ's Ascension, the cuckoo, bending over the plant, shed tears. On close inspection, small specks can be seen on the inflorescences, which is why the breeze is also popularly called "spotted orchis".
Description of species and varieties of shaker
High shaker (Briza elatior)may occur under the name Briza australis. In nature, it grows in clearings or edges in forests or meadows, in shrub thickets located from the lower to the subalpine belt in the mountains of the Crimea, the Caucasus and southern Europe. It can also grow in Western Asia. It is a perennial, the height of the stems of which varies within 0, 4–1 m. Rhizomes are creeping, shortened. The leaves are 3–6 mm wide.
When flowering, which occurs in high wagons in late spring or June, panicle inflorescences adorn the tops of the stems. The length of the inflorescences is measured 5-15 cm. Their outlines are not very spreading, the branches have a strong roughness. The inflorescences are formed by spikelets, which reach 4–8 mm in length. Each spikelet has five to 15 flowers. In the upper part of the spikelets, the flower scales have a pinkish-purple hue, more or less saturated. The border of the scales is whitish, membranous. Spikelets are attached to long, thin legs. It is used because of its decorative effect in deadwood bouquets. It is grown as a lawn crop. On the territory of Russia, it can be grown from taiga to the very south.
Markovic's Shaker (Briza marcowiczii)has the greatest distribution in nature in the Caucasus, namely the meadow zone of the alpine and subalpine belt. It is a perennial plant, reaching a height of 15-30 cm. Rhizomes are characterized by a shortened and creeping shape. The leaf plates are thin, their width is no more than 2–4 mm. Flowering occurs in the summer. The branches of the formed panicle inflorescences grow sprawling and are characterized by smoothness.
The inflorescences of Markovich's shake is in the range of 3–6 cm in length. The inflorescences are formed by spikelets, which reach 3-5 mm in length. A spikelet can contain 5–8 flowers. Their color is variegated, since the apical scales have a black-purple tone, and the membranous kayomka is whitish. This species is good both for planting on lawns and rock gardens, and for collecting and drying in bouquets of dried flowers. Distribution in Russia from the south to the taiga zone itself.
Large shaker (Briza maxima)The habitat of this species covers the Mediterranean lands and southern regions of Africa. There, preference is given to slopes of stony and fine-grained soil, shrub thickets and glades in woodlands. It is a winter annual plant, the stems of which branch out quite strongly from their base.The height of such plants reaches 20–60 cm. The leaves are thin, with a width of no more than 5–7 mm. The flowering process begins in May or with the arrival of summer, but sometimes even until September.
When blooming in the large waggon, the formation of panicle inflorescences does not exceed 3–8 cm in length. The panicles are racemose, but they are composed of 3–8 spikelets crowning thin and elongated legs. The outlines of the spikelets themselves are also characterized by spreading to a greater or lesser extent. In length, spikelets reach 1–2, 5 cm. 5–20 flowers can be counted in them. The color of the latter is brownish-green or pinkish-purple tones may be present. Spikelets are slightly glossy.
The large shaker is the most decorative representative of the genus, which has long been cultivated in Western Europe, decorating lawns and borders. Looks especially good in dry bouquets. The highest decorative effect will be achieved when planting in an open and sunny area. It is successfully grown on the Latvian lands and in the Amur region, in the Lower Volga region, and also not uncommon in Batumi.
Medium shaker (Briza media)The distribution area falls on the European regions (north and central part), and the plant is also found on the Russian lands of the non-black earth. Nature prefers meadows in river floodplains, glades in forests and ditches, or grows near roads. Perennial, the stems of which are in the range of 0, 2–0, 8 cm in height. Rhizomes are creeping and rather short. Leaves do not exceed 2–4 mm in width. It begins to bloom with the arrival of spring until the end of summer.
When flowering, the middle waggon forms panicles-inflorescences, the length of which is in the range of 5–12 cm. The inflorescences have wide-spreading outlines, the twigs have a slight roughness on the surface. In inflorescences, spikelets are 4–6 mm in size, 5–10 flowers with variegated color are collected in them. The color of the flowers is pinkish-purple, along the edge of the scale there is a light-colored webbed rim.
Just like other types, it is used in the formation of dry bouquets and for planting on lawns.
Today, the following varieties are successful, characterized by high decorativeness:
- Golden Bee or Golden bee, represented by compact outlines, the stems of plants do not exceed 45 cm, the spikelets have a golden hue.
- Russells characterized by a variegated color of the leaves, the height indicators vary in the range of 0.6–1 m. The leaf plates have a silvery-whitish border. At first, the spikelets have a green color, and with the arrival of autumn they acquire a golden color.
Little shaker (Briza minor)may be called A graceful shaker. It prefers to grow in nature on lawns and clearings in woodlands, and it is also not uncommon on sandy and pebble river valleys or on the sea coast. It is mainly found on European lands near the Atlantic Ocean, in the Mediterranean, there is information about growth in the regions of Talysh and Abkhazia. It is a winter plant. The height of its stems can reach from 15 cm to half a meter. Branching into many stems is present at the base. Leaves do not grow more than 3–8 mm wide.
The small quagmire blooms from the end of spring days or with the arrival of June. Formed panicle inflorescences can measure 6-15 cm. They have wide-spreading outlines, branched branches grow at the inflorescences spread out, they are formed by a large number of spikelets. The size of the latter reaches 2–4 mm. The spikelet has 2–4 pairs of flowers, painted in a light greenish tone.
The small shaker is popular in the Western European regions, since it is usually included in bouquets of dried flowers. In Russia, it is recommended to grow this species from regions with forests to southern lands.