Weird Plants

It lives!

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Emergence of the aroid Pinellia tripartita, or ‘Dragon Tails.’ New shoots emerge almost a crime-tape yellow, maturing to a lurid yellow-green.
The aroids seem to have weird covered, having in common, whether small or gigantic, jack-in-the-pulpit flowers. Amorphophallus, etc.

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I was given this plant by the owner of a small nursery who didn’t know its name and didn’t particularly care for it. At all. Something about these plants either attracts or repels, no in between. It was gifted to the nursery from a customer, who described it as “interesting,” then passed on by the nursery owner to me. Weird is usually not my forte. At least I don’t consciously strive to turn my garden into a horticultural Old Curiousity Shop, though I’m willing to admit it may occasionally appear as such. (Every so often I’m startled that a plant I truly love is deemed ugly, for example, by friend or family.)

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But although this pinellia is indeed odd at first glance, it’s also subtly beautiful, and is a strong green presence into fall. A unique, extremely exotic presence. The flowers are insignificant, unless you can find the variety ‘Atropurpurea,’ with maroon spathes. It has proven to be a tough plant in zone 10, but not invasive as some pinellias are known to be. Grown in deep shade at the base of the creeping fig-covered wall, where it gets little supplemental summer irrigation. A lush, interesting character. The trifoliate, heavily cut leaves have a half-an-angelica quality and similar body to them. Definitely one of the eccentrics in the garden, this woodlander from Japan.

Edited to add photo taken 3/12/11:

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2 Responses to Weird Plants

  1. Laguna Dirt says:

    great name and great weirdness!

  2. I love this plant. I think there is a golden form out there somewhere. It is odd and wonderful. I forgot I had a pot of it stashed away, but your post reminded me to bring it out again!

    Thanks!

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