Thursday, August 20, 2009

Strobilanthes wallichii has been flowering for over a month in the middle of China Valley

And I've been photographing it for much of that period with very limited success. Part of the problem is me and part of the problem is that this is a plant that's best appreciated in its small parts. It's an open perennial upright to something under a meter. It just doesn't work especially well as an element in the landscape, but it has beautiful flowers and cool leaves. The flowers are over 3 cm long and much more purple than I was able to capture. They practically glow in the morning sunlight. I got the leaf pretty well with its intricate incised veining.

I find the common name Kashmir Acanthus or Kandali Plant in Wikipedia along with the curious notation that it blooms only every 12 years, an occasion for the Kandali Festival. Oh, that Wikipedia. I'm pretty sure it flowers every year in China Valley but I'll let you know for sure next July. It is in the Acanthus Family which is almost exclusively tropical. Not this one, though. I did put a Justicia carnosa, Brazilian Plume, in the Beltsville Library courtyard on the advice of a good plantsman who swears that it has been root hardy for him in USDA Zone 7. I would almost bet money against it but it's well established, I'll much heavily, and it's in a warm sheltered courtyard. We shall see!

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