A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

The Montbretia
Friday, June 05, 2015


Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

In Vancouver the crocosmia (once romantically called a montbretia) has become a vile weed. It was introduced to our city during the height of the gardening boom in the early 90s. I have two kinds Crocosmia ‘Lucifer” and ‘Jenny Bloom’. No matter what you call them they are red or orange in colour. Rosemary pulls them by the bushel but they keep coming back. If you read the second paragraph below from Wikipedia you will find out why it is a weed.

I love the plant because before it is about to bloom or when it is in semi bloom the inflorescence reminds me of one of those crested dinosaurs.

Once a crocosmia is kept in its place it is a cheerful addition to the garden in the month of June/July.

Crocosmia (/krɵˈkɒzmiə/; J. E. Planchon, 1851) (montbretia) is a small genus of flowering plants in the iris family, Iridaceae. It is native to the grasslands of southern and eastern Africa, ranging from South Africa to Sudan. One species is endemic to Madagascar.

They can be evergreen or deciduous perennials that grow from basal underground corms. The alternate leaves are cauline and ensiform (sword shaped). The blades are parallel-veined. The margin is entire. The corms are unusual in forming vertical chains with the youngest at the top and oldest and largest buried most deeply in the soil. The roots of the lowermost corm in a chain are contractile roots and drag the corm deeper into the ground where conditions allow. The chains of corms are fragile and easily separated, a quality that has enabled some species to become invasive and difficult to control in the garden.



     

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