RE: [gardeners] Mystery plant

Terry King (
Wed, 25 Apr 2001 21:22:59 -0700


Could it be Zauschneria (aka Epilobium) or Kniphofia.


-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Margaret
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2001 10:15 AM
To: Gardens@LSV.UKY.EDU
Subject: [gardeners] Mystery plant

A few years ago, some gardening friends and I visited a truly expert
gardener (he also grafts fruit trees successfully, so he ranks a few
notches up) at his home. He has espaliered fruit trees and grafted several
varieties of fruit on each tree that really act as a fence between his
place and his neighbors.  He broke off a dried herbaceous seed stalk and
gave it to us, saying it was great for hummingbirds.  One friend said "Is
it a ____________?" and he answered yes.  In the car I asked her what she
had identified as the plant behind the stalk and she couldn't remember.
Another friend said "name some plants and I'll tell you what it
was."  (sheesh!) and the third friend didn't hear the identification.

I said I wasn't planting anything that I didn't have ID on. So the third
friend took the seed stalk and planted seeds.  It's a biennial, forming a
low rosette of what looks like grey-green eryngium leaves the first year,
then the second year it sends up a red stalk of blossoms similar to
eremerus, that hummingbirds fight over.  It freely self-seeds, so the
friend who grew it and noticed the hummingbird activity, brought me some
volunteer plants and even planted them for me.  I telephoned the expert
gardener (English is his second language, and his grasp is only fair), and
he thought I was talking about Butterfly bush.  sigh.  Does anyone have any
ideas?  Thanks very much, Margaret L