Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dipcadi from Namibia

I grew this interesting bulbous plant from seeds collected by Karen Peterson, a journalist I met when I worked at the New York Botanic Garden. She collected a variety of seeds (after I gave her a short primer in how to collect seeds) while travelling around Africa, and gave them to me when she got back. Not being a botanist nor horticulturalist Karen couldn't be expected to identify everything she got, though she did try, and she wrote descriptions of what the seeds were as best as she could. Many were not viable, being too immature, but a few turned out to be both viable and interesting. Pictured above is what grew out from seeds collected near Windhoek, Namibia. The leaves in the pic are a bit chewed up from slugs, but in more sun and when better protected from predators they are a nice grey green color. The tall flower stalks rise up to 2 feet plus, displaying dainty but odd, narrow petalled greenish flowers. The flowers are wonderfully fragrant at night, and they open wider as night falls, closing up a bit the next morning. I treat it as a summer growing bulb, though I have no idea of what it does in nature, but it does seem adaptable. Cross pollination last year, when the pot flowered in fall in my classroom, produced numerous flattened black seeds which now sit in the fridge as insurance should I lose it or want to propagate more of them. This Dipcadi is not likely to become a common garden feature, but it is just the kind of plant that sophisticated plant nerds would have the good taste to appreciate!

1 comment:

Chuck Powell said...

Congratulations on growing a Dipcadi. i've been looking for them and have only found one species. I'm happy to know there are others in the US. Congratulations.