Thursday, August 26, 2010

Golden Stars, Crocosmia aurea

I really love this plant, its easy to grow, and my stock originates from seeds straight from South Africa, which I received many years ago from Martin Kunhardt, of the farm Wahroonga near Merrivale in Natal. For some years I grew them in pots, and although I was successful in growing them outdoors at the New York Botanical Garden when I worked there, I didn't start planting lots of them out until I grew many more from seeds off the original plants. Now I have thriving populations of them at home, and in one corner of the wall garden at school, and now a few on the open slope area as well. They form strings of corms, some of which can remain dormant for a year or so, though cutting them apart seems to encourage them to grow. Since it spreads by stolons, colonies can form over time. Crocosmia aurea is a forest plant in South Africa, but takes sun or part shade in New York, and is not as tall as the better known commercially available hardy hybrids like "Lucifer". The nodding flowers are also larger, and a most unusual vibrant orange yellow color, sometimes with faint markings on the lower side of the flower. Even the seed pods are colorful, they turn orangish when ripe, then split to reveal shiny black seeds with a bright orange covering.

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