Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Sometimes I take plant descriptions too literally. I have learned that “drought-tolerant” doesn’t mean the plant will necessarily look great during a drought, and it doesn’t mean the plant won’t need at least a little bit of supplemental water during a drought.
But occasionally I run across a plant that seems to truly thrive on neglect. Rosemary, which I love and have lots of, is fairly notorious for loving to be ignored. I’ve never given my rosemary supplemental water or food, and I only cut it back when it gets in my way.
My mysterious spidery flower receives even less attention than my ignored rosemary, and yet it sends up three days’ worth of these exotic blooms every July. My neighbor found these left over from one of her catering jobs and gave them to me several years ago. Neither of us knew what they were.
More recently, I thought it might be a spider flower (Cleome hassleriana), but mine doesn’t really look like the images I’ve found online. Oddly, the only other place I’ve ever seen these (although they were twice as big) was in northeastern Australia, near the Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it! Anyone recognize this tropical beauty? Edited 7:15 p.m.--Thanks to comments from Laura and Eoin: it's a Spider Lily-Hymenocallis "Tropical Giant"!