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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring in the Kitchen - Second Installment


Remember that I hinted at two more events to come in my kitchen? Here is the next one!

Commelinaceae, pussy ears

This plant has had little tiny, tight buds for a month. I was beginning to think that they would never open. Let's talk about this plant for a minute. It is in the family Commelinaceae, which means that it's a spiderwort of some kind. There are large garden varieties for outside. An easy-to-spot feature of these is their 3-petaled flowers and leaves (on most of the species) that seem to grow out of the leaf axils above them.

There are a couple of semi-succulent species that are house plants. One common one is Cyanotis somaliensis, often called Pussy Ears or Furry Kittens. That sounds like it could be this plant. But the growth habit isn't quite right, and the flower stamens aren't quite right either. Neither is it Cyanotis kewensis, Teddy Bear Vine, for all the same reasons. So this is some related, but different species. I got this plant for free from a commercial greenhouse. The owner was sick and tired of the way it trailed all over and said I could have it! That was four years ago, and it has never bloomed before now, so this is totally cool.

Did the bud open? Yes!

Commelinaceae, pussy ears

I gave a talk today on spring wildflowers in Michigan to the local garden club. They seemed to like it, but I came home very tired. Well, tomorrow is another day!

See Springtime In and Near My Kitchen for the first installment of the kitchen plants
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Solomon said...

The pink flowered plant is a tradescantia.

askcherlock said...

House flowers have given me harmony within our home while I await spring. They are such a great addition. Now our challenge is to find plants for the yard which are deer-proof. The deer visit us dailey and have dined well, eating a fortune spent on landscaping. It seems there are very few flowering plants they will not eat, other than the May Night. Any suggestions?

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Hi Solomon- maybe.... there are four common Genera in the family Commelinaceae, Commelina, Cyanotis, Tradescantia, Zebrina (dayflowers, spiderworts and wandering jew). I think this is a Cyanotis because of the dark color on the underside of leaves and the hairiness. But the stamens aren't feathered, so maybe not... I can't find a key that really gives me the difference in the genera.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

HI Cherlock- daffodils are pretty safe, they are supposedly poisonous, although I have one friend whose deer even eat them! They have left my tansy alone, but who wants nothing but that! Oh... they haven't eaten my daylilies and I have quite a few of them now.

rainfield61 said...

The picture looks so unreal. It should be a paintwork instead. Just beautiful...

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Those hairy leaves do lend it the softness of a painting, don't they!

Ratty said...

I like the way the fuzz makes them look like they are glowing.

Sharkbytes said...

It was that ethereal quality that attracted me to it in the greenhouse. Although the leaves at the tips are still green, it becomes white and the hairs get longer. It was in a window, and just seemed so bright!

betchai said...

wow, the flower look so unreal, the fuzziness makes it really look out of this world, so beautiful. hmmm, you must really be very good in plants that you grow those exotic ones.

Sharkbytes said...

bethcai- oh yes, I'm just a wonderful keeper of houseplants (huge guffaw from anyone nearby who is listening, as my nose begins to grow). Plants in my kitchen need to be TOUGH COOKIES. So... exotic, maybe, fussy, no. But I'm glad you like it!

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