This week’s Six on Saturday includes a couple of native species, an unusual vegetable, a cute little bulb from South Africa, a classic Victorian hybrid, and a greenhouse orchid that is really very nasty.
1. Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis
This is not an orchid for growing on your windowsill or decorating your table at a dinner party. If you think that the flowers of Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis look a bit like rotting meat covered with yellowish maggots, I can assure you that they smell exactly the way they look. B. phalaenopsis is pollinated by flies looking for a place to lay their eggs, but if the fly is fooled by the ersatz carrion, the maggots will starve.
2. Canna ‘Ehemannii’
C. ‘Ehemannii’ is an old Victorian hybrid of C. iridiflora crossed with (probably) C. indica, and it has inherited its drooping inflorescence from C. iridiflora. Several modern C. iridiflora hybrids, including Canna ‘Orange Crush’ failed to survive the winter in my garden, but this plant, which I received from Bittster of Sorta Like Suburbia fame, has survived two winters so far. I’m glad, because I adore the intense magenta color that is so very different than any other canna in my garden.
3. Sabatia species
This pretty little native wildflower often shows up at the edge of my lawn (i.e. the patch of weeds and moss that survive being mowed). I think it is Sabatia angularis (rosepink), a widespread annual, but I am not certain.
4. Eucomis vandermerwei
E. vandermerwei, from South Africa, is one of the smallest of the pineapple lilies. Along with E. zambesiaca, it seems to be resistant to the wilting exhibited by many other Eucomis in hot sunlight, making it a good choice for a North Carolina garden.
5. Allium cernuum (nodding onion)
The nodding onion has a very wide native range, spanning the United States from Atlantic to Pacific. In North Carolina its distribution is spotty, and although it has been reported from this county, my plants were purchased from the North Carolina Botanical Garden. Leaves and flowers are edible but strong tasting. I prefer to eat garlic chives.
6. Melothria scabra (Mexican sour gherkin, cucamelon)
First fruit from from a plant that we bought on a whim from a veggie seedling rack this spring. The plant looks almost identical to the weedy Melothria pendula but its fruit are better tasting. I could probably have left these to get a bit bigger, but then I’d risk losing them to the tree rats.
The Propagator is the host of Six on Saturday. Head over there to see his Six and find links to the blogs of other participants.