Friday, January 23, 2015

Lion's Tail

Leonotis leonurus
A massive, fast growing, shrubby perennial, reaching up to 9 x 6 feet, that is native to South Africa.
The narrow leaves, up to 4 inches in length, are downy, mid-green.
The bright orange flowers, up to 2 inches long, are borne in whorls along the stems during autumn.
Hardy zones 9 to 10 ( tolerating 14 F with deep winter mulch ) in full sun on fertile, well drained soil. Propagation is from cutting or seed sown during spring.

* photos taken on Oct 22 2013 in Towson, MD

* photos taken on Oct 21 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC


'Albiflora'
Also called 'Snow Tiger'. White flowers, otherwise identical.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Spring Beauty

Claytonia virginica
Reaches up to 6 inches, and is native to rich woods and bottomlands in eastern North America ( from Minnesota to Nova Scotia; south to northeast Texas to central Georgia ).
The fleshy, linear leaves, up to 5.5 x 0.8 inches in size, are bright green.
The pink flowers, up to 0.8 inches wide, are borne during spring.
Hardy zones 3 to 8, requires summer shade even though dormant. It prefers light, humus-rich, well drained soil.

* photos taken by Jennifer Anderson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* photo taken by Clarence A. Rechenthin @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Georgia Calamint

Clinopodium georgianum
An upright, semi-evergreen shrubby perennial, reaching up to 2 x 2 feet, that is native to the southeastern U.S. ( from Louisiana to central Alabama to North Carolina; south to far northern Florida ). Originally somewhat common on sandy longleaf pine flatlands, it has been ravaged by habitat loss. Currently endangered in North Carolina and Florida.
The aromatic, rounded leaves are bright green.
The very abundant, bright pink flowers are borne late summer into early autumn.
Hardy zones 6 to 9 in full sun on sandy, well drained soil. Drought tolerant and deer resistant. Cut back hard after flowering.

* photo taken on Oct 23 2014 @ U.S. Botanic Garden, Wash., DC

Corn Lily

Clintonia

Clintonia andrewsiana
A clumping perennial, reaching up to 20 inches in height, that is native to moist coniferous forests from southwest Oregon to central California.
The leaves, up to 10 x 5 inches in size,
The deep red flowers are borne during late spring.
They are followed by bluish-black berries up to 0.5 inches long.
Hardy zones 7b to 9 in partial shade on moist, humus-rich soil. It thrives in maritime climates.

Clintonia borealis ( Corn Lily )
A rhizomatous perennial, reaching up to 16 inches in height, that is native to cool, moist forests of northeastern North America ( from Manitoba to Newfoundland; south to Minnesota to northern Indiana to North Carolina...not on the Atlantic Coastal Plain south of New York City ).
The 2 to 5 smooth-edged, elliptical or oblong leaves, up to 15 x 5.5 ( rarely over 12 x 3 ) inches in size, are glossy deep green.
The hanging greenish-yellow flowers, up to 0.6 inches long, are borne 3 to 8 atop an erect stem during late spring.
They are followed by rounded, bright blue berries up to 0.4 inches wide.
Hardy zones 4 to 7 in partial to full shade on light, humus-rich soil.

Clintonia umbellulata ( Speckled Wood-Lily )
A rhizomatous, dense, clumping perennial, reaching up to 16 inches in height, that is native to moist forest and swamps in eastern North America ( from central Ohio to western New York; south to eastern Tennessee to northern Georgia ).
The oblong leaves, up to 12 x 4 inches in size, are glossy bright green.
The fragrant flowers, up to 0.5 inches long, are borne on dense umbels during late spring.
They are followed by black berries.
Hardy zones 4 to 8 in partial to full shade on moist, fertile, acidic, humus-rich, well drained soil. Propagation is from division or seed during autumn.

* photo taken by Mark A. Garland @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database


Clintonia uniflora
A rhizomatous perennial, reaching up to that is native to western North America ( from coastal southern Alaska to Alberta; south to northern California to Idaho to western Montana ).
The leaves, up to 6 x 2.5 inches in size,
The flowers, up to 0.8 inches in length, are borne during late spring.
Hardy zones 7 to 9 in partial shade on moist, humus-rich, well drained soil.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Great Lakes Wheat Grass

Agropyron psammophilum ( Great Lakes Wheat Grass )
Also called Elymus lanceolatus subsp psammophilus. A very attractive, rhizomatous, fast spreading, perennial grass, reaching up to 3 feet in height, that is native to sheltered sand dunes along Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. One the Canadian side, it is found from Manitoulin Island south to Grand Bend. In its natural habitat, it is important for dune stabilization. It is endangered in the wild and is rarely found in cultivation. It has good forage value for livestock.
Prefers soil PH 6.5 +. It is drought tolerant and moderately salt tolerant.

* photo taken on Aug 30 2013 in Grand Bend, Ontario

Monday, January 5, 2015

Muehlenbeckia

Muehlenbeckia

Muehlenbeckia axillaris
A moderate growing, semi-evergreen groundcover shrub, reaching only 6 inches in height.
The small, oval leaves are deep green. The leaves are evergreen into zone 6.
Hardy zones 6 to 9 in full sun to partial shade on well drained soil. It is drought tolerant. Very heat and humidity tolerant, it thrives in the southeastern U.S. Tolerates light foot traffic. It is easily propagated from layering as the stems naturally self layer.

* photos taken @ Smithsonian Inst, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photos taken on Oct 21 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC

Money Plant

Lunaria

Lunaria annua ( Money Plant )
A biennial, reaching up to 3.3 feet in height, that is native to southern Europe.
The broad, toothed leaves, up to 4 x 2.5 inches in size, are mid-green.
The fragrant, pink to purple flowers are borne during late spring.
They are followed by papery, flat, oval, seed pods, up to 2 inches wide, that are great for use in floral arrangements.
Hardy zones 4 + in full sun to part shade on just about any well drained soil. Sow seeds very early in spring.

* photos taken on May 7 2014 @ London Town Gardens, Edgewater, MD


'Alba'
White flowers.

Lunaria redidiva
A perennial, up to 4.5 feet in height, that is native to mountain woodlands that is a widespread native in much of Europe, across northern Asia to Siberia.
The toothed, cordate-triangular leaves are mid-green.
The fragrant, very pale lilac flowers are borne late spring into early summer.
Hardy zones 6 to 8 in full sun to partial shade on moist, fertile, well drained soil. Propagation is from ssed sown during spring.

Purple Loosetrife

Lythrum

Lythrum salicaria ( Purple Loosetrife )
A perennial, reaching up to 4 feet, that is native to Europe. It is invasive in the Midwest and northeastern U.S. and should not be planted in those regions.
The lance-shaped leaves are downy green.
The flowers are borne on upright racemes mid-summer into early autumn.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 in full sun on moist to wet soil. Deadhead after blooming to prevent invasive seeding. Propagation is from division during early spring.

* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, DC

* photos taken on Aug 1 2013 @ Stratford, Ontario


'Blush'
Pale blush-pink flowers; otherwise identical to species.

'Robert'
Bright pink flowers, otherwise identical to species.

Lythrum virgatum
A clumping perennial, reaching up to 3 feet, that is native to temperate Eurasia.
The lance-shaped leaves are mid-green.
The flowers are borne on upright racemes all summer long.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 in full sun on moist to wet soil. Deadhead after blooming to prevent invasive seeding. Propagation is from division during early spring.

Spring Starflower

Ipheion uniflorum

A bulbous perennial, reaching up to 2 x 2 feet.
The grassy foliage appears during autumn and persists until late spring or early summer after blooming to go dormant.
The flowers, up to 1 inch across, are bluish-white. They are borne during early spring.
Hardy zones 5 to 9 in full sun to partial shade on acidic well drained soil. Spring Starflower thrives in deciduous woodland conditions. The bulbs should be planted 3 inches deep and 6 inches apart. Divide clumps of bulbs during early spring if propagation is desired.

'Rolf Fiedler'
Deep blue flowers.

Oak Fern

Gymnocarpium dryopteris
A rhizomatous perennial, reaching up to 1 foot in height, that is a widespread native to temperate regions of Eurasia and North America ( from Alaska to Newfoundland & Labrador; south to Oregon to Montana to South Dakota to northern Iowa to central Ohio to Maryland ).
The deciduous, broad-triangular fronds, up to 10 inches in length, are bright green.
Hardy zones 5 to 7 in partial to full shade on moist, cool, humus-rich, acidic soil.

Spider Lily

Hymenocallis

Hymenocallis occidentalis ( Northern Spiderlily )
A long-lived perennial, reaching up to 2 feet in height, that is native to bottomland forests in the southeastern U.S. ( from southeast Missouri to southern Indiana to North Carolina; south to Louisiana to northern Florida ). The narrow leaves are up to 12 inches in length.
Hardy zones 7 to 10 ( 5 and 6 and tolerating as low as -20 F on protected sites with deep winter mulch ) in partial shade on moist, well drained soil. It is tolerant of flooding.

* photo taken by Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA SCS. 1989. Midwest wetland flora

Hylomecon

Hylomecon vernalis
A rhizomatous perennial, reaching up to 1.3 x 1.5 feet in size, that is native to coniferous forests in far eastern Russia, northeastern China, northern Korea and Japan.
The pinnate leaves, up to 6 x 6 inches in size, are composed of toothed, ovate leaflets. The foliage is bright green.
The yellow flowers are borne over a 3 week period during late spring.
Hardy zones 4 to 7 ( 3 on protected sites ) in partial to full shade on just about any moist, humus-rich, well drained soil.
Propagation is from seed or division.

Hylomecon japonicum
Nearly identical.

Hops

Humulus

Humulus japonicus ( Japonicus Hop )
A vigorous prickly stemmed perennial vine, reaching up to 12 feet in height.
The toothed and palmately-lobed leaves are up to 6 inches in length.
The creamy-white flowers appear during late summer.

* photos taken by Mark A. Garland @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database


'Variegata'
Less vigorous which may be a good thing for many gardeners.
Its deep green foliage is heavily and boldly splashed in white. It looks great on fence or trellis where it has climbing support. Humulus lupulus ( European Hop )
A very fast growing ( often invasive ) and spreading, herbaceous perennial vine, reaching up to 20 feet in height. It is native to most of Europe to central Asia. The stems die back to the thick rootstock during winter.
The foliage resembles that of Grapes.
The male and female flowers occure on separate plants. The female plants only produce hops. Hardy zones 3 + in full sun to partial shade on deep, fertile soil. Cut to ground after autumn frosts. Propagation is from root division after fall frost or early spring.

* photo of unknown internet source


'Aureus' ( Golden Hop )
Attractive golden-yellow foliage. It is a male form that does not produce hops.

* photo of unknown internet source

Hardy Amaryllis

Hippeastrum x johnsonii
Just like Hostas, the clumps gradually increase in size.
The hybrid between Hippeastrum reginae ( Peru ) & H vittatum of Brazil.
The attractive leaves, up to 2.5 feet in length, are glossy deep green though may have a bronze cast in full sun.
The intense scarlet-red ( with white stripes ) flowers, up to 5 inches in length, are borne 4 to 6 on stems up to 20 inches high during late spring. A single bulb may produce up to 4 flowering stems.
Hardy zones 6 to 10 in full sun to partial shade. They look great in mass plantings, planted about 12 inches apart. Saint Joseph Lily is very hardy and will often survive for decades on their own. Propagation is from dividing clumps during autumn or very early spring before growth begins. St Joseph Lily does not normally produce viable seed.

* photos of unknown internet source

Downy Rattlesnake Plaintain

Goodyera pubescens
A perennial, reaching up to 1.5 feet, that is native to either moist or dry woodlands in eastern North America.
The leaves, up to 2.3 x 1 inch in size, are mid-green with white veins and a broad white midrib. The foliage remains attractive through winter.
The white flowers are borne early to late summer.
It thrives in partial shade on well drained soil.

Glaucidium palmatum

A perennial, reaching up to 2 x 2 feet, native to mountain forest in Japan, that is a member of the buttercup family.
The 7 to 11 lobed leaves are up to 14 inches across.
The light lavender ( rarely white or purple ) flowers, up to 3 inches wide, are borne atop stems up to 2.3 feet high, during late spring.
Hardy zones 5 to 7. Thriving in shade on moist, cool, humus-rich soil, it is tolerant of dry shade. It spends most of its first year developing a deep root system while little seems to be happening above ground. The wait is well with it. It does not enjoy root disturbance or division and is usually grown from seed.

Galax

Galax urceolata
A rhizomatous, evergreen perennial that is native to the southern Appalatian Mountains ( from eastern Kentucky to far north-central West Virginia to southeast Virginia; south to central Alabama to central Georgia to central South Carolina ). It is slow to establish, usually taking 2 or more years to show significant growth.
The toothed, rounded leaves are up to 6 ( rarely over 4 ) inches wide. The foliage is bright green at first, turning to deep green, then finally to deep red during winter.
The white flowers are borne on spires up to 16 inches high during early summer over a period lasting around 3 weeks.
Hardy zones 5 to 8 in partial to full shade on moist, cool, very acidic, well drained soil. It will scorch badly with afternoon sun.

Summer Hyacinth

Galtonia candicans
The fragrant, white, bell-shaped flowers are borne on stems up to 4 feet high, during mid-summer and lasting about 2 weeks. Up to 30 flowers may be borne per stem. They look best planted in groups. Summer Hyacinth is native to South Africa.
The lance-shaped leaves are grayish-green.
Hardy zones 6 to 10 ( mulch heavily during winter in 6 & 7 ) in full sun on fertile, very well drained soil. It likes regular moisture while actively growing during spring and summer, and drier conditions or no supplemental watering after. Pick their permanent site carefully as they do not like root disturbance or transplanting.

Escallonia

Escallonia

* photos taken on May 2 2014 in Columbia, MD

Myrtle

Myrtus

Myrtus communis
A very attractive, large evergreen shrub, reaching up to 12 feet, that is native to the Middle East, east to Afghanistan. It is popular in southern Europe and in California. It is dense, upright and pyramidal when young, older plants become more rounded. It makes an excellent hedge. Some records include: largest on record - 38 x 37 feet with a trunk diameter of 1 foot.
The oppositely-arranged, ovate leaves, up to 2 inches in length, are glossy deep green.
The 5-petalled, fragrant, white ( pink in bud ) flowers, up to 0.6 inches across, are borne during late spring and early summer.
The ovoid fruits, are followed by deep purple berries, up to 0.5 inches in length. The attractive bark is smooth and brown.
Hardy zones 9 to 10 ( some clones hardy in zone 8 ) in full sun to partial shade on very well drained soil.

'Tarentina' ( Tarentum Common Myrtle )
A dwarf shrub, reaching up to 3 x 3 feet in 10 years. Regular Myrtus communis is moderate growing and much larger.
The closely-spaced, very small leaves, up to 0.8 inches, are green.
Hardy zones 7 to 10 in full sun to partial shade on just about any well drained soil. Mature plants should be watered deeply once monthly. Propagation is from cuttings ( or seed for the species ). Spider Mites of scale may sometimes bother myrtle, but generally it is pest free.

'Variegata'
Foliage is boldly margined creamy-white.

Myrtus ugni

* video found on Youtube

Skunk Cabbage

Lystichiton

Lystichiton americanus ( Yellow Skunk Cabbage )
A deep-rooted, long-lived perennial, reaching up to 3 x 3 feet, that is native to swampy woodlands in the western U.S. ( from Alaska to Montana; south to northwest California ). It is useful for the edges of ponds and lakes.
The leathery large, oblong leaves, up to 5 feet tall, are glossy deep green.
The very small green flowers, borne during early spring, are surrounded by a large yellow spathe up to 8 inches long.
Hardy zones 5 to 9 in full shade on wet soil.

Lystichiton camtschatiiensis
A deep-rooted, long-lived perennial, reaching up to 3 x 3 feet, that is native to northeast Asia ( from eastern Siberia to Kamchatka; south to Japan ). It is useful for the edges of ponds and lakes.
The leathery large leaves are glossy deep green.
The very small green flowers, borne during early spring, are surrounded by a large white spathe.
Hardy zones 5 to 9 in full shade on wet soil.

Sweet Potato Vine

Ipomoea batatas
Hardy zones 9 to 12

* photos taken on Aug 1 2013 in Stratford, Ontario

* photo taken on Aug 25 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC


Ipomoea pandurata ( Wild Potato Vine )
A herbaceous perennial vine, reaching up to 17 feet in length, that originates from a very large, deep root system. It is native to meadows and open woods in eastern North America ( from southeast Nebraska to northern Illinois to southern Michigan to Rochester, New York to Massachusetts; south to central Texas to central Florida ). The large root resembles a yam and may weigh up to 20 pounds.
The deeply-cordate, ovate leaves are up to 6 x 3.2 inches in size.
The white ( often centered purple ) flowers, up to 3 inches wide, are borne late spring into early autumn.
The roots can be dug during summer and boiled or bakes like that of Sweet Potato. The tough outer skin needs to be peeled before eating. Seasoned and buttered it can be quite delicious.
Hardy zones 6 to 9 in full sun to partial shade on well drained soil.

Horehound

Marrubium

Marrubium rotundifolium ( Silver Edged Horehound )
A mat-forming perennial, reaching up to 10 inches x 1.5 feet, that is native to dry high mountains in Turkey.
The foliage has upturned margins and is green above, woolly white beneath.
Hardy zones 4 to 9 in full sun. Drought tolerant. Rabbit resistant.

Marrubium vulgara ( Horehound )
A very fast growing to invasive perennial, reaching a maximum size of 3 feet x 20 inches, that is native to northern Eurasia.
The aromatic leaves, up to 2 inches in length, are woolly, gray-green.
The foliage is used as a herb for flavoring. Tea can be made from the leaves and mixed with honey.
Hardy zones 3 to 9 in full sun.

Indian Cucumber

Medeola virginiana
An attractive perennial, reaching up to 3.5 ( usually under 1.5 ) feet, that is native to moist rich woodland in eastern North America ( from Minnesota to Nova Scotia; south to Arkansas to northern Florida ). Older plants may spread to form small colonies. The rhizome can be eaten. It is great for woodland gardens.
The stems bear a whorl of 5 to 10 halfway up, then another 3 leaves at the top. The lance-shaped or elliptical leaves, up to 6 ( rarely over 4 ) inches in length, are glossy bright green.
The yellowish flowers are borne late spring into early summer.
They are followed by a rounded, deep purple or black berry up to 0.3 inches wide. Hardy zones 4 to 8 in partial to full shade on fertile, moist, well drained soil.
Propagaton is from seed or root division while dormant.

* photos taken by Mark A. Garland @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Melianthus

Melianthus

Overgrown of ragged plants can be cut to groundlevel.
It is not prone to pests or disease.

* photos taken on Aug 15 2014 @ Rawlings Conservatory, Baltimore, MD


Melianthus major
A perennial, reaching up to 4 feet, or in very mild climates a shrub, reaching up to 10 x 10 feet. It is native to southern Cape Province in South Africa. It is among the most attractive of foliage plants.
The pinnate leaves, up to 12 inches in length, are blue-green.
The flowers are deep red.
Hardy north to zone 7 if the roots are protected with a deep mulch during winter.

'Antonow's Blue'
Reaches up to 8 x 8 feet, with intensely powdery-blue foliage.

Lemon Balm

Melissa officinalis
A rhizomatous, dense spreading perennial reaching up to 2 feet in height, it may become invasive on some sites if not contained. It is native from southern Europe to the Caucasus.
The tender young leaves can be added to cooked food and salads.
The toothed, ovate or triangular leaves are up to 2.8 inches in length. They can be used to make a very good lemon flavored tea. Lemon Balm can be used as an insect repellent to repel mosquitos and blackflies.
The flowers are borne early summer to early autumn.
Hardy zones 4 to 9 in full sun to partial shade on just about any moist, fertile, well drained.
Propagation is from seed which often occurs naturally, as well as from root division.

* USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Black Cotton

Gossypium herbaceum 'Black Form

* photos taken on Oct 21 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC