Jun. 20th, 2016

lblanchard: (swannfountain)
[This is an occasional series of postings inspired by Abigail Rorer, Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. Rorer's book includes prints of fourteen plants Farrer considered worthless-- an interesting hybrid of botanically accurate and...different. You can see her work, including all fourteen mimpish squinnies, here: http://www.theloneoakpress.com/prints/newer.html ]

I was leafing through E.H.M. Cox, The Plant Introductions of Reginald Farrer, yesterday, and a familiar name caught my eye. Here's the entry for Belamcanda punctata Moench. Hey, I know that plant, says I -- it's the blackberry lily. A little googling reassured me that there's only one species in this genus and I have photographed it in the wilds of Virginia my very own self!

From the book:

        "Very Moracoid in appearance." F. 758
        This difficult Iris-like plant was raised at Highdown and flowered. It has red flowers and is
        more attractive as a curiosity than as a garden plant. It is difficult to keep alive.

Not in the Blue Ridge, it isn't. It has naturalized there, and I photographed it a couple years ago in an unmown meadow at the entrance to the Fox Hollow Trail. Behold my photos!

Also, it has now been reclassified based on molecular DNA evidence, and this "Iris-like plant" is now named Iris domestica. It was more widely known as Belamcanda chinensis before that, and is a plant of many names: Other synonyms are Epidendrum domesticum L., Vanilla domestica (L.) Druce, Gemmingia chinensis (L.) Kuntze, Ixia chinensis L., Morea chinensis, and Pardanthus chinensis Ker Gawl.

Clearly, Reginald Farrer thought it had virtue as a garden plant -- otherwise, he would not have collected the seed on his Kansu expedition and sent it home. On the strength of that, I pronounce it not mimpish and not a squinny.


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