Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Cleome foliosa from Kunene Namibia

This is a wonderful yellow cleome with large bright yellow flowers.  I got the seed from Karen Petersen years ago when she collected seeds in Africa back in the early 90's after I gave her some quick lessons on how to collect seeds from plants.  This was, of course, well before the advent of paperwork now required to bring in seeds from other countries.  Some of the seeds were harvested a bit too early, and not all were of indigenous plants, but there were some great finds among them.  This is probably one of the best, it was labelled as coming from Kunene, which is a region in Nambia.  I have identified it as Cleome foliosa based on internet research. I have grown a couple of generations from my refrigerated seed and although they got off to a late start this year (I think I sowed the seed in the container in July) they did flower in late August and September when the weather was quite warm.   It comes from arid habitats so it figures that it would do best at the end of summer when we had a prolonged warm and dry spell.  The flowers are quite showy and open for a long period.  In fact in order to get more seeds I had to bring the entire (very heavy) container inside when frost threatened and kept it near a four tubed t5 light fixture under which I grow a lot of high light requiring plants like pelargonium species.  The cleomes leaned into the light but eventually died off as it got cooler in the basement as fall went on.  Nonetheless I was successful in getting the thin long pods to mature enough to yield many seeds for another generation of plants.  The seeds are rather small for a cleome but they have the same round shape shared by other species in the genus. My educated guess is that the next growing season will start early and be warmer than usual, so if I am correct I can start them early and if weather conditions are favorable get a lot more flowers and seeds from them than I did this year.  Another African cleome, C. hirta, resows abundantly for me so I have no need to plant any more of them, hopefully I can persuade C.  foliosa to do the same after next year.  Until then I collect all the seeds they produce to ensure I have enough to grow more plants (and maintain a seed store) so that I can afford to let them shed some seed directly into the ground to see if they can become resowing annuals here in NY.  If they don't resow, it is little trouble to collect seed and store it so I can enjoy those big golden flowers again.

1 comment:

kushka53 said...

So thrilled to see this, Ernie! Thank you for growing and posting it!!