Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Plant profile: Lampranthus spectabilis

One tends to think of groundcover as a bit boring really. I mean, it’s main job is just covering dirt – preventing weeds from getting a hold, doing a sort of menial job. And when you think of ice plants you usually picture that stuff that grows rampantly at the side of freeways – kind of a crass plant that nobody cares about.

Well have I got news for you. This ice plant is different.
Latin name: Lampranthus spectabilis ("lamp-RAN-thuss spek-TAB-ill-uss")
Common name: Trailing Ice Plant
Originally from: South Africa (Cape)
Blooms: When the sun comes out the plant is covered in little magenta flowers.
Light: Full sun please!
Water: Rain is plenty.
Where to find in P. Garden: Around the base of the Agaves at the front arch, and along the cactus wall.

The name is derived from the Greek words, lampros (bright) and anthos (flower), referring to the large showy flowers. I find this apt. Wear sunglasses, because as you can see from the pics these plants are covered in red-pink flowers so bright your eyes will bleed. And I mean covered – you can hardly see anything but flowers!

Catch ‘em now – later in the year they’ll flower occasionally but right now they’re utterly bonkers.

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