Remembrances on a blustery winter’s night

While I have a certain fascination with Latin plant names, I find it equally intriguing to discover the origins of a plant’s common name(s).

The plant in this picture is called a gas plant, Dictamnus Albus ‘purpureus’ since it can supposedly be lit on a calm and hot summer’s night. The plant is rumoured to give off a volatile oil which bursts into flame when a lit match is placed underneath the seed pods or above the flowers, depending on the gardening source consulted.

For the past two summers, I have tried lighting the flowers and the seed pods on various warm summer evenings. Much to my disappointment, nothing has ever happened. True, the neighbours have sometimes come to peer over the fence to see what all the flickering light was about, but the gas plant stubbornly refused to burst into flame. Hope really does spring eternal, doesn’t it, because this coming summer, I am determined to get at least one flicker of a flame.

What I truly love about this plant though is its incredible hardiness and trouble-free nature. Although it takes a few years before flowering, it is well worth the wait. The flowers are breathtakingly lovely and the seed pods in the winter resemble furry versions of star anise.

I really needed to write about a plant that I love tonight – as the snow continues to pile up against the house, I have a bad case of cabin fever coming on. Ah, to warm summer nights and carefree evenings spent lolling about in the back garden.

3 thoughts on “Remembrances on a blustery winter’s night

  1. What a beautiful flower. I wonder if it would grow here or if it would sulk in our summer heat? I was just thinking about you wondering if it was still very snowy where you are. Don’t worry, breakup is coming.

  2. I have a feeling it would not be a happy plant where you live – at least not from what I’ve read on various websites. And yes, it is snowing as we speak. We have more snow at this point than we know what to do with. The back alley is near impassable. I really wish I could be sitting in the middle of your labyrinth!!!

  3. Great work!!!!!!!!!Always knew that creativity oozes from you!!!Wonderful,wonderful, wonderful!

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