Posts Tagged ‘north american native plant’


The sunny yellow flowers of the cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum) look beautiful against a bright blue sky. The sky is the usual backdrop you see when admiring the flowers of this eastern North American native because they top long 8 foot tall stems!

The large leaves that climb the stalks are fused in pairs with the leaf opposite. They embrace the interesting square stalk, giving the impression of the plant stalk perforating the leaves, and form a little cup that captures rain water, thus giving the plant its common name.


I’ve been a bit negligent about providing support for the heavy stalks, and the stems have splayed out from the centre.


The result is a ring of sky-high yellow flowers that dip and swing in a swaying circle.


When I walk by the circle of tall flowers, I am always reminded of a painting by Matisse titled Dance. (Photo Wikipedia)


Recently, while I was sitting in the garden reading, I was tickled to spot this goldfinch taking advantage of the water-capturing quality of the leaves that gives the plant its name. The photo is a bit soft-focus because it was shot through screening.


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I planted two darmeras beside our little pond two summers ago. Last year, neither produced flowers, and I thought perhaps they weren’t happy with their location. I was very pleased, therefore, to see flower stalks emerge this spring. Darmera is one of a few perennials that produce flowers before their leaves appear. The flowerhead, or cymes, of five-petalled flowers, above, was photographed on May 9th. Since then, the flowers have finished blooming and the large darmera leaves have emerged and outpaced the flower stalks.


Darmeras like damp soil, but will grow in drier conditions. Although these plants are beside the pond, they don’t benefit from the water there as the pond was constructed with a liner. The location is partly shaded though, so they are protected from the sun during the hottest part of the day.

Darmeras are native to western North America, where they grow along woodland steams. They are sometimes called Indian Rhubarb, and are also known as Umbrella Plants, for their large, rounded leaves. The leaves can reportedly reach a size of 24 inches across, but those of my young plants are, so far, about a modest 8 inches across.


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