Lily Lion Heart

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Hymenocallis harrisiana

This New World genus in the family ( Amaryllidaceae) comprises some 70 to 80 species. The native habitats range from the south-eastern United States across Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Mexico where the genus is prolific. The majority of the species occur in Central America and dip down into South America (Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil).  H. harrisiana comes from Mexico. The strap shaped leaves are glaucous. The flowers have a small scented white corona which look spider-like and airy. Each flower lasts only one night and the fragrance intensifies in the evening. They have a delicate stigma and the anthers protrude out and dangle in the breeze. The blooming period is short lived, however I get a second flush of bloom. This post is for you Anna. Enjoy!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Milky Milkweeds (Asclepiads)

On my recent botanical trip ( Jan. 2012) to Eastern Cape, South Africa we came across 4 species of a beautiful Genus called Pachycarpus (Asclepiadaceae). Pachy- thick Carpus- fruit, refers to the thick-skinned fruits.This Genus and the species that we encountered made such an impression on me that I was tinkering with the idea of doing of post, so here it is. These plants for me were one of the most fascinating and unique of my trip. The trip focus was bulbous plants, however many earthly and odd delights were found. South Africa holds a great deal of fascination for me, and always has, mostly due to the fact that it has such great bio-diversity, comprising very unique flora and fauna representing many different biomes.

Pachycarpus makes up some 37 species and are found throughout much of sub-saharan Africa in grasslands or open woodland. They have stout annual stems arising from a tuberous rootstock. The species found below grow in the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal in grasslands.

P. concolor

P. reflectens

P. grandiflorus

P. grandiflorus 'yellow form'

P. campanulatus

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Dazzling Delosperma

Delosperma congestum ( my garden)

Delosperma daveyi ( in my trough)

Delosperma crassuloides (Gaikaskop, SA.Amatola Mtns. from my trip Jan/2012)

Delosperma lavisiae growing in Basalt 2500M (Naudes Nek , SA Drakensburg Mtns from my trip Jan/2012)

Delosperma sp. with Crassula setulosa set in background Drakensburg Mtns. SA

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Matthiola anchoniifolia

There are some beautiful and strange Turkish endemics and Matthiola anchoniifolia is one of them. First thoughts are that they must have fragrance like the familiar annual garden cultivars and rather unexciting flowers. Well indeed they do have a lovely scent BUT are certainly exciting and unique in my opinion. This plant is far under-rated as a trough plant. They are perennial and form tufts of linear crinkly- edged leaves, covered with white tomentum, giving it an aqua-green hue. It flowers in early May and the floral display is understated,but nevertheless very alluring. Four thin petals unfurl like chocolate dusty-pink petifours. The flowers are held close to the stem in a short raceme; and do fade to a pale cocoa colour.  They are long lasting and are set off beautifully against the backdrop of tufa. They are under 15cm with flowers and grow amongst rocks in the mountains of Turkey above 1500m. They enjoy full sun, lean soil and are very much at home in a trough. On bent knees the scent is worth it!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Gorgeous Gentiana

Those that know me know that Gentiana is one of my favourite genera. Who can resist that indescribable azure blue colour. They like few other genera i.e. Meconopsis, Tecophilaea, Eritrichium, have a very unique blue in the plant kingdom. I grow the spring blooming European species and the fall blooming more challenging and pernickety Chinese species.
For the layman the trumpet gentian, apart from edelweiss, is the archetypal alpine flower.
Spring flowering gentians are divided into two groups, the acaulis group and verna group.
The pan below is of G. angustifolia and dinarica. Both are lime loving and enjoy full sun. Flowers are a dreamy deep royal blue with olive green longitudinal throats and are 2-3 " long.

G. angustifolia- comes from the south-western Alps and also in the Jura and Pyrenees
G. dinarica- comes from the Balkans

Gentiana verna- is found in the Alps, Balkans and Pyrenees. Deep azure-blue flowers. Lime tolerant.

Sources are:
Gentians- Fritz Kohlein- published by Timber Press- no longer available, however used copies are.
Flowers of Western China- Christopher Grey-Wilson and Phillip Cribb.