The cabbage family in Belgium:
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The Brassicaceae are widespread in Belgium, both as crops such as cabbage (Brassica oleracea) and as weeds such as shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). They are very versatile plants: searocket (Cakile maritima) is found on sandy beaches with full exposure to salt; some are found in woodland, such as perennial honesty (Lunaria rediviva); others by rivers, such as yellowcress (Rorippa palustris). Practically every habitat has one or more members of the Brassicaceae associated with it!
In Belgium, all Brassicaceae are herbaceous, they have four petals and four sepals in a cross-shaped disposition which justifies the alternative name of the family, Cruciferae (“cross bearers”). The fruit may be one of a wide variety of pods, but almost always opens by splitting in two.
Many caterpillars feed on Brassicaceae species, including the orange tip (Anthocharis cardamines), which typically feeds on lady's smock (Cardamine pratensis).
The Belgian Herbarium:
The Botanic Garden Meise holds the largest herbarium collection of Belgian plant specimens. Each of these herbarium specimens has a label with valuable information such as the plant’s identification, and when, where, and who collected the plant. These specimens can be used in many domains of research, such as conservation, evolution, ecology and systematics. These data help us to better understand the plants of Belgium, their history and that of people who collected them. There are about 200,000 specimens in the Belgian Herbarium of the Botanic Garden Meise and we want to document them all! These data will then be made available online at www.botanicalcollections.be.
Belgium, Brassicaceae, Herbae, Hortus Botanicus Meise, Botanica.