Saturday, June 17, 2017

acantholimon halophylum

At Casa Coniglio, I grew Acantholimon hohenackeri, which performed very nicely on essentially no irrigation. Here at The Modern House, I'm trying Acantholimon halophylum, which I purchased from Agua Fria Nursery in Santa Fe. A. halophylum is supposed to have white flowers that bloom in midsummer rather than pink flowers that bloom in late spring or early summer, at least according to the tag. Other than that, I have been unable to find information on this plant. Planted in 2015 in the sand fill that passes for soil here at The Modern House, my two plants have grown from single tufts to tight uniform mounds of attractive very prickly foliage. No bloom in 2016. This year, flower spikes formed early, in March/April, but flowers did not appear until just a few days ago.

This is a Dr. Seuss plant, with a hemispherical mound of foliage, and numerous spindly flower stems poking out of the mound.

Flowers are much smaller than A. hohenackeri and my plants have pale pink flowers rather than white as was indicated on the label. A. hohenackeri had a much more impressive floral display.  The bracts on A. halophylum have almost more of an impact than the flowers. Although it is not in full bloom, I can't imagine that it will have much more impact when it is. I'll post again if I'm wrong. It's a pleasing plant, but certainly not a showstopping one. It a plant for those that love exotic looking small plants to view up close. I suppose it is also for those who find amusement in touching a plant that appears rather cuddly, only to be shocked by a stab (or multiple stabs) in the finger. I'm not a glutton for pain, but I find myself doing it repeatedly and intentionally with this plant. For some reason that I cannot fathom, it makes me laugh.

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