Sunday, June 1, 2008


Just a self-indulgent look at two plants.

Euphorbia bupleurifolia, the pineapple or pine cone euphorbia. My favorite plant.
I love its bizarre form and how the leaves and flowers seem to shoot out the top. It's from the southern cape region of South Africa, and is apparently endangered. I bought mine at an Arcata Farmer's Market (in CA) five (?) years ago for $10, and haven't seen it for sale anywhere else or I would buy a few more. I'd like to at least acquire one female plant, since mine is male, and supposedly it's relatively easy to raise from seed. Has anyone out there seen these for sale?

I'm mentioning the plant now because there has been a new development: a little side branch is appearing.

I will miss its old simple form, but am curious to see what it will look like. (To see an incredibly cool specimen of this species click here.)

The second plant I have obsessed over before. Trifolium wormskioldii, the Springbank clover. This is how the story goes. I saw some flowerless clover growing near the shore of Big Lagoon on a canoe trip. I took a piece because the leaves had a "native" look--they didn't look like red or white clover. I put the piece in a pot waited a year and had a pot full of the stuff. Transplanted some into the garden. Last year it bloomed and it's identity was confirmed.

Turns out it was an important vegetable for the native peoples of the northwest. I propagated it more and more (piece of cake--just pull off piece with nodes and insert in soil). It's spread beautifully. Last year there were maybe 5 flowers, this year there are dozens.

(Sorry the picture's so dark.) The propagation continues as we have a lot of wet clay that needs cover, and I have to say, it's my favorite plant in the garden right now. I hope to introduce this plant to our local chapter of the California Native Plant Society. It'd be good for sales. Tips I will humbly offer: put it in a sunny, moist place and cut it to the ground in winter if you want to maintain a tidier patch. C'est tout.


Ellen said...

That Euphorbia is wild, I'll definitely look for it. Do you grow it indoors? Drought tolerant? High light?

Gardener of La Mancha said...

I've always had it indoors near whatever window has the most light. It is drought tolerant, but may lose its leaves if left too dry. I let it go somewhat dormant during the winter and give it more water in the summer.

Kimber said...

I never knew your favorite plant... how strange for it to not have come up.
Interesting post.
See you at Arts Alive?

Gardener of La Mancha said...

You betcha, Kimber.

chuck b. said...

Native clovers are hot right now. I'm sure the CNPS people will love it. Looks like great edging too--call it a native alternative to creeping thyme.