Friday, February 27, 2009

Spade Flower

Hybanthus stellarioides (H. enneaspermus var stellaroides)
It doesn’t look much like a violet, does it?
But this little perennial, with its bright orange flowers, is quite closely related to violets.
It is a delicate-looking little plant which loves to grow amongst grasses in redsoils (as well as sandstone and granite soils). It is easy to establish in the kind of garden that has a rough patch of rarely-mown grass, as it self-seeds fairly easily. (It also finds its way into outdoor pots, where it thrives because of the bit of extra watering.)
It is an unassuming plant whose only enemy is the over-zealous gardener who, failing to recognise it without its flowers (which are produced over a long period in summer) and weeds it out by mistake.

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