Friday, 5 November 2010

Senecio seminiveus

Senecio seminiveus

Visiting my parents earlier in the week it was nice to find a good display of flowers on a plant of Senecio seminiveus, a low-growing shrubby ragwort from the Drakensberg of South Africa. It was raised from seed collected in 1996 by Panayoti Kelaidis and Jim Archibald at Naude's Nek in the Eastern Cape mountains - one of the most wonderful botanical localities I've ever been to - and distributed through the North American Rock Garden Society's seed exchange that year. Panayoti says (in a recent e-mail) that it remains very compact for him (in Denver, Colorado), and is an excellent rock garden plant - one of his 'faves'. I have seen it as a low, mat-forming plant high in the Drakensberg, but I wouldn't call it compact here. The wiry stems trail about a bit, and form a loose mound, but seldom exceed 30 cm in height. The finely divided greyish-hairy foliage is pleasant, and the bright yellow flowers are welcome late in the season. The narrow leaves coming through it belong to Gladiolus papilio - the ordinary dingy-flowered invasive clone. (It is not a favourite!)

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