Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Name that Plant


One is constantly surprised by what a plant might throw up in one's face. For example, I had no idea what this plant was when I first encountered it over ten years ago.

Later I surmised that my plant was a kelanchoe. Much, much later on, with more information, I concluded it to be K. delagoensis, aka Chandelier Plant, or Mother of Millions, or Mother of Thousands.

I had first discovered its spindly stem crawling out of a cracked seam from the rotting wooden windowsill in my previous studio; there was no dirt, unless one counts dust. I kept a watchful eye over it, though I never took any active caring steps with it. Yet through thick and thin, mostly thin, (and it remained skinny,) my studio companion weathered the years with me. When the time came for me to leave that studio, I understood my unofficial mascot was accompanying me. So, carefully I dislodged the plant from its place in the sun and brought it home - in time, to be potted up and reside in the new greenhouse.

And how did it do in its new abode? See for yourself. Above is a picture of my particular kelanchoe, prayerful, if a bit fangy, in its first year of life in potted soil.

But beware: do not - I repeat - do not let it loose. Those coiners of common names for plants do not jest, all those epithets: mother of thousands, mother of millions. They mean it: really I'd say mother of trillions, mother of gazillions - for once one of those cute wee little clinging babies hits pay dirt, each has no qualm at all about growing up to become...

A MONSTER!


And yet, and yet...
Look again, see what grows on top. One has to, yet again, hand it to the plant-namers:

CHANDELIER PLANT...

2 comments:

Mia Wolff said...

I didn't know that you had nourished a floral monster. Its a pretty good story---I can see the paperback cover with the elegant but disheveled artist peering into her studio window's alien womb.....strange colors emanate from the paintings and the creature's nursery, whirling about the rectangle and pouring onto the floor of the bookstore...

www.wholelifegardening.com said...

The flower alone makes me tempted to try one, but I can imagine that it might move in with the plants in neighboring pots....

I just discovered a new Kalanchoe myself and blogged about it. "Magic Bells" - if we crossed that one with K. delagoensis, do you think we'd get "Magic Millions"?