Upas is a tree in the mulberry and fig family. Umbrella Bamboo and Palm are distinctive plants, while Ursinia and Upright Brome add to diverse flora. Umbrella Indian Rhubarb and Unita Cactus boast unique traits. Ulat kambal is known for medicinal use, Urn is a striking ornamental, and Upas is a toxic tree. Umbrella Sedge is a popular aquatic plant.
Upas (Antiaris toxicaria)
This is a tree in the mulberry and fig family, Moraceae. It’s the only species currently recognized in the genus Antiaris. The tree is native to tropical Asia, Africa, and the Philippine Islands. The tree is very large, with a height that can reach 40 m. Its wood is white and light.
The branches grow horizontally and irregularly. The tree is very famous for its highly toxic latex, which was used to poison arrowheads (Gr. toxicon: arrow poison). In various ethnic groups of the Philippines, Borneo, Sulawesi and Malaysia the concentrated sap of Antiaris toxicaria is known as upas, apo, or ipoh, among other names.
Umbrella sedge (Cyperus alternifolius)
This is a grass-like plant in the very large genus Cyperus of the sedge family Cyperaceae. The plant is native to West Africa, Madagascar and the Arabian Peninsula, but widely distributed throughout the world.
It’s frequently cultivated as an ornamental plant worldwide. It’s planted in gardens in the ground, pots, in ponds, and as a houseplant. It’s not hardy, and requires protection when temperatures fall below 5 °C (41 °F). It’s propagated by dividing the roots and requires copious amounts of water.
Ulat kambal (Abroma augustum)
Also known as Devil’s Cotton, this is an Indian medicinal plant. It has beneficial effects in uterine disorders, dysmenorrhea, arthritic pain, rheumatism, and diabetes. It also relieves headache associated with sinusitis. The roots and root bark are the important medicinal parts of Abroma Augusta.
The roots are used in Ayurvedic medicines and Indian traditional remedies due to their uterine tonic, uterine stimulant, anodyne, and emmenagogue actions. In rare cases, leaves and stems are also used for demulcent purposes.
Urn (Aechmea fasciata)
Commonly called the silver vase or urn plant, this species of flowering plant is in the Bromeliaceae family. It’s native to Brazil and is often grown as a houseplant in temperate areas. The plant grows slowly, reaching 30–90 cm (12–35 in) in height, with a spread of up to 60 cm (24 in).
It has elliptic–oval-shaped leaves 45–90 cm (18–35 in) long and arranged in a basal rosette pattern. Aechmea fasciata requires partial shade and a well-drained, but moisture-retentive soil. It can also be grown epiphytically, as with moss around its roots and wired to rough bark.
Umbrella Indian Rhubarb Plant (Darmera peltata)
This is the only species within the genus Darmera in the family Saxifragaceae. It’s a slowly spreading rhizomatous perennial native to mountain streamsides in woodland in the western United States (southwestern Oregon to northwestern California), growing to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) tall by 1 m (3 ft 3 in) wide. The flowers emerge before the leaves, with rounded cymes of numerous five-petalled white to bright pink flowers (measuring up to 1.5 cm across each) borne on flower stems up to 2m long.
The leaves are peltate, rounded, deeply lobed, coarsely toothed, conspicuously veined and dark green, also on stems up to 2m in height. The leaves turn red in autumn. In gardens, Darmera peltata flourishes in pond margins and bog gardens, where it forms an imposing umbrella-like clump.
Unita Cactus (Sclerocactus wetlandicus)
Also known as Uinta Basin hookless cactus, this is a rare species of cactus endemic to Utah in the United States, where it is known only from the Uinta Basin. It’s a barrel-shaped cactus that ranges from 4 to 18 centimeters (cm) (1.5 to 7 inches (in.)) tall, with exceptional plants up to 30 cm (12 in.) tall. The stems have typically 12 to 15 ribs that extend from the ground to the tip of the plant.
Along the ribs are areoles (small, cushion-like areas) with hooked spines radiating out. The funnel-shaped flowers usually have pink to violet tepals (petal-like flower parts not differentiated into petals and sepals) with yellow stamens (the male reproductive organ of the flower), and are 2 to 5 cm (0.8 to 2 in.) long and 2 to 5 cm (0.8 to 2 in.) in diameter.
Ursinia is a genus of African plants in the chamomile tribe within the daisy family. The genus is named in honor of German scholar Johannes Heinrich Ursinus (1608–1667). This genus consists of annual or perennial herbs and shrubs. The leaves are usually alternate with toothed margins.
The flowers are borne in round flower heads. They are usually medium-sized or large, but may also rarely be small. Most species have long floral stems. There are many rows of bracts. These get shorter towards the outside. The florets of the flowerheads are not all of the same sex. There is only one row of ray (outer) florets. The corolla is strap-shaped. The blades of the petals may have three small teeth at the end. The disc florets are bisexual, although those at the center may be sterile.
The achenes (small, dry fruits that contain a single seed) have five to ten ridges and are narrower towards the base. The base may be surrounded by long hairs. This species is currently known from Africa with 65 species in South Africa (mostly in coastal regions) and one species from the Ethiopian Empire.
Upright Brome (Bromus erectus)
Commonly known as erect brome or meadow brome, this is a dense, coarse, tufted perennial grass. It can grow to 120 centimeters (47 inches). Like many brome grasses, the plant is hairy. The specific epithet erectus is Latin, meaning “erect”2. The diploid number of the grass is 56. Bromus erectus is a perennial, tufted grass with basal tufts of cespitose leaves that is nonrhizomatous.
The culms grow between 0.6–1.2 m (2 ft 0 in – 3 ft 11 in) in height. The internodes are typically glabrous. The flattened cauline leaves have pubescent or glabrous sheaths. The leaf blades are 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in) long and 2–6 mm (0.079–0.236 in) wide.
Umbrella Bamboo (Fargesia murielae)
This is an elegant, evergreen, clump-forming bamboo with tall and slender, rich yellow-green canes that gently arch under the weight of the foliage. The leaves are bright green on the upper surface, and gray-green beneath. It’s a long-cultivated species native to China.
The plant is fast-growing, cold-tolerant, and non-invasive, making it one of the best bamboos for use as a tall hedge or screen. It grows up to 10-15 ft. tall and 3-5 ft. wide.
Umbrella Palm (Cyperus alternifolius)
Often referred to as umbrella papyrus or umbrella sedge, this perennial is native to Madagascar, the Arabian Peninsula, and East Africa. It’s notable for its thirst and can grow in waterlogged soil.
The plant has stiff long stems and narrow leaves that radiate outward from the top, like spokes or ribs. It’s a tropical plant that is hardy to Zone 7 and can grow to almost six feet in height. It’s often used as an ornamental plant in ponds or as a houseplant.