Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday: The Rare Alabama Croton

Look carefully to see the scales on the green leaves

I am jumping up and down with excitement, Croton alabamensis now resides at Clay and Limestone.  If you ever wanted a plant, couldn't find one and then had a kind and dear friend dig a seedling from his garden and give it to you, then you know exactly how I feel.

I am singing my happy song and dancing my happy dance. After years of searching for this rare shrub that is endemic to a few counties in Alabama, one county in Middle Tennessee (Coffee) and three counties in faraway Texas (Croton alabamensis var. texensis/Texabama croton).  I now have one of my very own.  

Thank you Paul for your generosity. (follow link to check out his great photos)

glistening silver scales reflect sunlight helping it to survive the extremely dry conditions of its habitat. 
Alabama Croton is the bees knees.

  • it's not deterred by dry, poor, limey soil
  • it easily braves hot summers like we've been having the past few years,
  • it will grow in decent garden soil  that is well draining,
  • it grows in the full sun, but can appreciate a semi-shady location, 
  • it's native to Middle Tennessee, 
  • it's locally sourced, and 
  • it has year round interest.

A plant like that you've got to have~right? Absolutely. I thought you would agree.
Alabama Croton has formed a thicket in Paul's garden
Alabama Croton is a semi-evergreen, thicket forming shrub which can easily grow between six to ten feet tall and forms a lose rounded shaped shrub at maturity. It produces very few leaves, but, the ones it has are noted for their oval-shape and glistening silver scales and stunning autumn color.  In milder winters the leaves hang on and flutter green and orange until spring.

Even the flowers have scales  Source: E. A Smith

Of course, if it lives in my garden it must flower and provide for pollinators!  It does! Mature shrubs produce 2" panicles of pale yellow blooms in the late spring, which are highly attractive to bees and butterflies.


Now that I've gotten you excited about my new find, you may be wondering where ever you can find them. Middle Tennessee gardeners contact Terri Barnes at GroWild, Alabama gardeners try contacting  your local Native Plant Society and Texas gardeners go to Hill Country Natives.

xoxogail 

Welcome garden bloggers, it's the first Wildflower Wednesday for 2013!

Wildflower Wednesday is about sharing wildflowers/natives no matter where you garden~the UK, tropical Florida, Europe, Australia, Africa, South America, India or the coldest reaches of Canada. It doesn't matter if we sometimes show 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.

26 comments:

  1. Love your new find...there is something about a new native that brings a special light to the garden.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your excitement is coming into my little space here and making me feel happy for you and your gardens.

    FlowerLady

    ReplyDelete
  3. wonderful pics! my flower isn´t from now, because there is nothing now :) but wild and from last summer :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have not heard of this plant. It must be a Southern beauty. Love those blooms. HWW.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It is lovely, Gail! What a sweet friend Paul is to share it with you!
    xoxoxo
    Frances

    ReplyDelete
  6. How exciting for a gardener to finally find the plant they've been searching for!! Gardening brings so much joy!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. How happy you sound that you've been given such a special gift ;) It has an interesting flower, too! Natives are so cool, I agree!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm so glad you got it. Aren't friends the loveliest flowers of all?~~Dee

    ReplyDelete
  9. Luck you! It is always incredibly exciting to finally get a plant that you have been wanting and even better that it came from a friend!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Heidi/ IN Woodland GardenJanuary 23, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    How exciting!!!! I can't wait to see more blogs about it as it thrives in your garden.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Gail, so happy to share! I shouldn't be the only one loving on this wonderful plant. It is truly the most durable plant I have ever grown. Plant some native blue asters with this to contrast with the fall colors of the orange and silver colored leaves.....and you have a wonderful display!

    ReplyDelete
  12. What an interesting plant - silver underneath and such good fall colour. And the fact that the treasure is from a good friend - there's nothing better. I've got several little patches of different plants from fellow gardeners - I always remember the day I got the plant, and the person who gave it to me.

    B.
    p.s. Verbesina looks like a very garden-worthy plant - the map shows it grows on the other side of Lake Ontario - don't know why it wouldn't here? Next best thing to growing the plant, is doing the seed hunt to find the source!

    ReplyDelete
  13. How wonderful, lucky you. I have a lovely image of you doing yoru happy dance

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congratulations, I can understand your excitement. Will you be posting video of the happy dance?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have heard of this but not seen it. Have you heard of anyone container growing these? I have a source but would need to pot grow it for a year.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Give it a try...I grow all manner of plants in containers (magnolias, Maples, prairies)..some of these guys stay in containers for years until they're big enough to sell.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh my, i always forget about this Wildflower Wednesday, i always think it is the last week of the month. I wonder how i can keep up with it, as even my own celfone i forget putting in my bag, LOL. On your side, congratulations for getting what you wished for. Your area doesn't seem to have the deep winters like most bloggers have! I love also the color of that last one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gail, i am sorry i inadvertently clicked the wrong link of the "sad goats", please just remove it, thank you so much. I hurriedly composed a post to join here again, as i love wildflowers too!

      Delete
  18. Gail, that is exciting! I can't wait to read more about this as grows in your garden and lures in pollinators from near and far. I've just posted my contribution to Wildflower Wednesday... cows and violets...

    ReplyDelete
  19. Nifty plant--especially the autumn color! I'm hoping to get a wildflower post up tomorrow... a little late for Wednesday, but I'll link in if the linky is still active. I'm moving around in slow-motion lately. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your patience, Gail. I posted today, although my link doesn't appear to be sticking. Here's the URL: http://bit.ly/Vm1k0M.

      Delete
  20. I remember my mother nurturing a little croton for its technicoloured leaves.

    ReplyDelete
  21. What a pretty plant! And even more special that a friend shared with you.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Gail,
    I've never heard of that plant. It is a cool looking thing. I do know that excitement. A number of years ago, I had gotten some plants, and put some in a flower bed at church. For some reason, I ended up with only one Fremont's clematis, and it was at church. I was unable to get the seeds to germinate, and our local arboretum quit selling it for awhile, I'm thinking, because they were having germination problems, too. They finally had more last summer, and I scooped several up. I hope they all come up this spring. I finally put up a short post for WW.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh lucky you! The JC Raulston Arb has one and I love that plant.

    ReplyDelete

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails