Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wildflower Wednesday: Goat's Rue, A Fabulous Fabaceae

Isn't this a cool flower!

It's Tephrosia virginiana also known as Goat's Rue and it's our Wildflower Wednesday star of the month. It's blooming in my garden and the fuchsia pink, creamy white and yellow blooms that resemble sweet peas are striking against the silvery stems and leaves.
hairy stems and buds
I am delighted and surprised that it is blooming in my garden. It is said to prefer sandy, loamy, acidic soil and as you all know that is no where near a good description of the soil at Clay and Limestone! It's been  growing nicely for the last two years on the rocky edge of the Susan's Garden and the asphalt driveway. A taprooted plant, it's anchored itself firmly into the ground, so I must be doing something right to make this beauty happy!
pale yellow to cream standards and fuchsia pink wings
It's only about a foot tall now and in order for me to look into the face of the pretty flowers I have to sit on the driveway! I don't mind at all. I am just so happy it's happy here.
the telltale pinnate leaves of a pea family member
Traditionally, the plant had been used to treat many ailments such as tuberculosis, rheumatism, and bladder troubles, but since it contains rotenone which is now known to be toxic (especially to fish and insects) it is no longer used as a homeopathic medicine.

Be not afraid of this pretty! Goat's Rue is a pollinator attractive plant! The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract leaf-cutting bees (Megachile spp., Hoplitis spp.) and possibly other long-tongued bees. The caterpillars of the skipper, Thorybes bathyllus (Southern Cloudywing), feed on the foliage of Goat's Rue and other species in the Bean family. (source)


THE PARTICULARS

Family: Fabaceae, the third largest plant family.  An easy family to id if you remember these key words~ "banner, wings, and keel" and pea-like pods, often with pinnate leave.
source

Flowering: May sometimes into June
Habitat: Rocky open woods, glades, prairies. Mesic soil, acidic ph.
Origin-Native to Eastern U.S. and Canada
Hardiness zones- 3a to 9b
Size- 1 to 2 feet with a tap root that makes it difficult to move.
Flower- Pea-like with pale yellow to cream standards and fuchsia pink wings.
Wildlife value- Food for birds, bees visit for pollen and nectar, butterflies and skippers for nectar.
Garden use: Wildflower gardens and natural gardens.


My dear friends, you have to give this cutie pie a try...You can get seeds from Prairie Moon Nursery, please follow their instructions because establishing this plant from seed might be difficult~You will need inoculum and they provide it free.  Also available from Everwild Farms I can't divide it to share~It has that tap-root.

xoxogail

Wildflower Wednesday is about sharing wildflowers and other native plants no matter where one gardens~the UK, tropical Florida, Europe, Australia, Africa, South America, India or the coldest reaches of Canada. It doesn't matter if we sometimes share the same plants. How they grow and thrive in your garden is what matters most.

I hope you join the celebration..It's always the fourth Wednesday of the month!



Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Almost Wordless Wednesday

The garden this morning

xoxogail


Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

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