Category Archives: South African Plants

Anisodontea capensis ‘El Rayo’: A Closer Look at Jimi’s Beautiful Obsession and the Growing Conditions in South Africa

This is from the catalog of Andre Brian a nursery in France as once again this particular variety is not very common in the trade here.

Another Choice Plant From Jimi Blake’s NPA Seattle Study Weekend Presentation

‘El Rayo’, in english is, ‘Lightning’!  One should expect something pretty spectacular, flashy even, with this plant…or not.  ‘El Rayo’ in Portland is a taqueria!…in Portland, ME that is.  I would hope that the name of either doesn’t over sell their product!  Does anybody know? About the tacos I mean?  Gardeners should always be wary of cultivar names.  While they serve as identifiers of a particular, and allegedly unique form or clone, and sometimes as a helpful and memorable descriptor, they can too often tread across the line into misleading hyperbole!  Names are often assigned to a plant that have been in the trade for some time under other names.  These ‘new’ and unique names are then ‘trademarked’, legally protected, as the nursery heavily markets the plant.  The gardening public then comes to recognize and associate this protected name with the plant and begin to ask for it by that name.  Unlicensed growers cannot supply the plant by that name and so some nursery producers carve out a larger share of the market.   After experience we may come to recognize these marketing ploys…or not.  Oft times a little celebration or indulgence is called for. Continue reading

Advertisements

A Closer Look at Jimi’s Beautiful Obsession, A Review of Chosen Plants From his Presentation, Part 3 Asteraceae

In this installment of Jimi’s plants, I decided to look at a group of his favorites from the Aster family, one of the largest plant families, in terms of number of species, in the world and the most recently evolved…bear in mind that ‘recent’ in evolutionary terms can still be millions of years ago.  All of us are familiar with the classic aster or sunflower form of inflorescence that occurs on many, but far from all, of these species.  We’ve all grown many of these in our gardens and recognize many species as local and regional natives.  As ‘common’ as many of us may view this family to be, it contains a great many species with both beautiful and unique characteristics for use in our gardens.

Inulanthera dregeana (calva subsumed)

IInula magnifica which grows to 6’+.

Continue reading

Eucomis: Pineapple Lilies– Exotic Looks/Common Tastes

This posting was first published in the HPSO Bulletin Spring 2010 and is here revised

Eucomis bicolor

Eucomis bicolor

South Africa is one of the most botanically rich regions of the world. Within its boundaries is the Cape Floristic Region (with 0.08% of the world’s land and 3% of all plant species), containing some 8,700 species, two-thirds of which are endemic, existing nowhere else in the world. It is one of only six such regions in the world. By comparison, the Boreal Floristic Region includes all of North America, Europe, and the northern portions of Asia and Africa, and is thus considerably larger. Each region has a distinctive “suite” of plants with particular families that are endemic to them. One would feel a familiarity when exploring anywhere within one’s own region. Outside it, you might feel the world was populated with the alien plants of other star systems. For example, forests are not to be found in the Cape (though nonnative species have been introduced and have spread); instead, these areas are characterized by heaths, proteas, and restios. Included in the region are 2,700 species of bulbs in 15 different families. These include gladioli, freesias, amaryllis, agapanthus, and many others, most of which would be unrecognizable to the average temperate area gardener. One such genus of bulbs is Eucomis. Continue reading