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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wild Poinsettia, Fire-on-the-Mountain


Euphorbia cyathophora is a summer blooming native annual that has disappeared for the winter in my garden. Why, you may be asking, am I sharing this plant right now when it's no longer in bloom! Call it a counter balance to the ubiquitous Christmas poinsettia, Euphorbia pulcherrima, seen at every grocery store with the container wrapped in a garish foil and the petals too often sprinkled with glitter!

Believe me when I say that if Fire-on-the Mountain were blooming right now, I would pot it up and use it for my holiday decorations.

I am serious! It's a lovely over looked native!
I love this simple plant
I first met Wild Poinsettia when I was a kid living in Tampa Fl. It was growing in a weedy patch of uncultivated sandy soil on the side of our house, the red marked leaves caught my attention and must have made a lasting impression, because that memory came bubbling to the surface when I saw it growing in my friend Doris' garden a dozen years ago. She loves it, too, and generously shared seedlings with me. It's never made a grand statement like other plants, just pops up here and there surprising me every time when I see the fire red petals (bracts).

It's the innermost parts of each bract that turn a vibrant red from midsummer to frost. That's how it got its many names~dwarf poinsettia, fire on the mountain, fire-on-the-mountain, Mexican fire plant, painted leaf, painted poinsettia, painted spurge, painted-leaf, painted-leaf spurge, poinsettia, summer poinsettia, wild poinsettia. To me it's either Fire on the Mountain or Wild Poinsettia!

If you garden for wildlife, you'll love that small insects, butterflies and sphinx moths are attracted to the yellow pollen found in the clusters of small flowers (known as 'cyanthia') and that the Sphinx moths forage on the foliage!

source: Paul Rebmann UTK Herbarium*
I think you'll like them, too and maybe wish like I have been, that they were the Christmas poinsettia!

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.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Blooms and Foliage December 2014


Today, there's not a bloom to be found at Clay and Limestone, the way too early Arctic cold front flash froze everything except two stalwart plants, Hamamelis virginiana and Symphyotrichum praealtum. They put on quite a nice show until just last week, so I felt fine sharing them for my Bloom Day post!
Willowleaf aster
What's left to make a gardener smile on a winter's day?
Ostrya virginica
 Trees that hold their leaves all winter!

Foliage that twists and curls.
 Grasses that accent evergreens.
 Ex-aster's seed heads.
 Amsonia hubrichtii beginning to curl
Fluffy Goldenrod ready to spread its progeny out into the world!


Copper tubing, cobalt containers and golden panicums!
Hypericum frondosum
Hyper-colored Hypericum frondosum!

I hope your garden is making you smile!

xoxogail


Now make this garden blogger smile and pop over to May Dreams Gardens, where our delightful hostess, Carol, has set up the Mr Linky magic carpet ride to take you to more Bloom Day posts than you can imagine and to Pam's Foliage Follow-up on Digging....because blooms aren't alone in making a garden beautiful.

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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