Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dandelions and Friends

Taraxacum pseudoroseum

Taraxacum faeroense (T. rubrifolium)

T. faeroense group

T. faeroense

Taraxacum sp. grey leaf

Taraxacum albidum

Cicerbita (Lactuca) plumieri

C. plumieri
I've written before about dandelions, and there are lots of well behaved, picky even, members of this genus for discriminating gardeners to play with.  Taraxacum pseudoroseum is becoming better established in cultivation thanks to the NARGS seedlist here in the USA and the seedlists of the AGS and SRGS in the UK.  Its the only pink, or at least pinkish, dandelion I have come across so far.  It is nearly impossible to distinguish from T. officinale, the ubiquitous lawn weed, in foliage so one has to remember where it is planted so it does not get weeded out.  T. albidum is a bit more course growing, especially if not in full sun, but it is also remarkably similar to its weedy cousin, save for the white flowers. Both T. pseudoroseum and T. albidum produce plentiful seed, but neither self sows very strongly in my gardens.  If you need more plants, they are easy to start from seeds in pots to be planted outdoors in spring.  T. faeroense, also known as T. rubrifolium, comes from the Faeroe Islands and may be endemic to there from what I have been able to find out.  My seed came from Plant World Seeds in the UK, and I really love the adpressed rosettes of dark purple foliage which stay purple even in warm weather. The foliage provides a nice foil for the bright yellow early spring flowers, and this plant could never become a weed as it is so small and does not make numerous seedheads.  I think it would look better against white gravel as opposed to dark soil, this would show the leaves better.  T. sp grey leaf is something I got from one of the Czech seed collectors, I think it comes from Turkey and it is a very shy bloomer.  The distinctive grey leaves appear very early and may die off in late summer and the flowers, when they do appear, are light yellow.  It is a rather finicky plant, disliking competition and needing a well drained sunny site.
Cicerbita plumieri also came from Plant World Seeds as Lactuca plumieri.  It is native to Europe and is basically a blue flowering tall perennial lettuce.  One plant has bloomed so far, and it is self fertile, already yielding many more seeds than what I received in the original packet.  It looks like it will bloom for several more weeks as new buds mature.  I rather like it, and I understand that it can get taller still than my three to four foot plants in the slope garden at school in unamended rocky soil. 

1 comment:

Denise said...

Hi Ernie,
Thanks for the ID on my Rubus rolfei "Emerald Carpet." You're my go to guy who can always come through with a plant name
I'll have to look again to see the leaf color on a dandelion that I have, but the inflorescence looks just like, T. faeroense. I photographed it because it was so different than all the other Dandelions in my garden.

You're the best!