Friday, March 2, 2012

Plant profile: Dendromecon rigida

Latin name: Dendromecon rigida (pronounced "den-dro-ME-con RIJ-id-ah")
Common name: Bush Poppy, Tree Poppy
Originally from: the foothills of the California Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada, and the chaparral and woodlands of southern California and northern Baja California Peninsula
Blooms: Bright yellow flowers cover the plant in spring but it flowers almost all year round.
Light: Full sun.
Water: Drought tolerant - rain is plenty.
Where to find in P. Garden: On the Mariposa Center Garden, actually.

Ah bush poppy. Evergreen, ever flowering and ever annoyingly hard to transplant. We've bought several for the Mariposa Center Garden and all but one has perished. It's the one that succeeded that makes me buy more...

Normally such a delicate little thing would be left to die and brushed under the rug, but the remaining shrub is a standout. A California native that's almost always in bloom, with a thick, tidy form, nice waxy foliage and no desire for water, it's the perfect plant for your xeric garden. You just can't move them. Ever. Or water them in the summer. Got it?

This plant is considered a "fire follower" in that it only germinates after a fire. If you want to try sowing some seeds, they say the best thing to do is burn them first! The plant is a bit short-lived: up to 10 years. but the seeds will survive in the soil for 5 to 10 times as long as the average plant lives.

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