It might be a
fun thing to make animal name tags for your plants.
There are any number so named by our ancestors as they saw the
resemblance in some way. Also, the Latin scientific names are quite often
descriptive in several ways.
Have you ever
had a FOXTAIL FERN (Asparagus
densiformis meyeri)? It is not as common as Asparagus
sprengeri, neither of which is really a fern but are related to LILIES.
The long fox tail is about 15 inches long, two inches wide shaped of
course like a fox tail. They are not winter hardy here but make nice north
window plants where the temps are above 55 degrees F.
If the soil dries out completely the foliage will droop. Plant a
new plant deep in your pot as the thick roots will spread not only out but
a tail 15 inches long, extending from all sides, the plant gets to
be very large. They can be
divided in early spring. Spider
mites like these plants but do not use a spray other than water or you may
lose your plant.
There is a FOXTAIL
LILY, also called DESERT CANDLE.
You can find them in bulb catalogs but it certainly doesn’t look like a
bulb but a heavy, fibrous, star shaped root that can be broken very
easily. The directions that
come along say to plant immediately. They
are hardy, but tend to come up too early so needs a mulch to keep the
ground cold as long as possible. They
need to be planted in a very good drainage such as sand under and around.
The flower stalk may get as tall as 6 feet (BIG
There is a KANGAROO
PAW (Anigozanthos sp), a KANGAROO
VINE, and a KANGAROO THORN.
I have never had the thorn (shrub) or the vine but the paws are fun,
coming in red or yellow. The
blooms are hairy and finger like while the leaves are long and thin.
It turned out to be rather fussy as it doesn’t like full sun,
doesn’t like water over a pH of 6.9, or an alkaline fertilizer, but
needs a weak solution of an acid one.
Spider mites enjoy having it around but mine got too big so I let
it freeze. Every fall I have
this sad decision to make-how many plants can I crowd inside and which
ones are going to be left out in the cold?
All of us have
met up with CATTAILS, out in the ditches and shallow ponds. The brown tails were
soaked in oil and used for torches in pioneer days.
When the tails are young, I have been told they can be eaten.
The CATTAILS that are
hanging plants are not quite as common. There are two, one with very short
fuzzy bright red tails about six inches long (Acalpha
hispaniolae) that will bloom all summer if kept damp and in partial
hispida, also know as CHENILLE
PLANT, has tails that may reach as much as 20 inches long resembling
bottle brushes, as well as cat tails.
Both plants like high humidity and constantly moist soil.
After a year or so they become rather scraggly but can be restarted
from tip cuttings in spring or cutting the entire plant down almost to the
pot. COPPER LEAF, also known as
JACOBS COAT, BEEFSTEAK PLANT, or
LILIES (Tricyrtis formosana)
are a late fall bloomer for the shade.
They will bloom early fall if you can keep the rabbits away.
I don’t always remember to put the chicken wire around until I
see the damage. They will bloom on later growth but the plants are much
shorter. Non-damaged plants get 2 to 3 feet tall with 18 inch width. The
blooms are only 2 to 3 inches wide and it is impossible to describe the
shape as they go in so many directions. They are natives of the damp
the backdoor, under a REDBUD tree is a TURTLEHEAD
(Chelone obliqua), a native of
the damp woods and swamps of southern
Out by the dog
pen in light shade is the GOATSBEARD
(Aruncus dioicus) who also likes wet summers.
The plant gets about 4 feet high of broad, fern like foliage with a
featherly plume of tiny white blossoms (the beard) rising another 2 feet
above. In a cool, wet spring the beards are quite dramatic and will last
for 1-2 weeks. Some of my books say to plant it next to a pond or stream.
Also, think of how pretty that white beard will look in a vase with
a few red flowers!!!
This is just
part of my zoo. I also have SPIDER
PLANTS, OXEYE DAISIES, DOG
FENNEL, WORM WOOD, SNAKE ROOT, BEARS
BRITCHES, ZEBRA GRASS, and FOXGLOVE.
Our ancestors must have had a good time naming their plants. However, we
must be careful in using these common names with people from other parts
of our great country and from other countries, or they will be confused as
to what plant we are talking about. This is also true when ordering
plants. A scientific name in these situations is always best.