24 September 2010

Plumbago auriculata

Plumbago auriculata is a perennial, evergreen fast growing shrub which is native to South Africa.  It has beautiful pale blue flowers.  It likes to be in the full sun.  You will find that the flowering will be reduced in the partial shade.  It only requires a little watering once it is established and is considered moderately drought tolerant.

Figure 1: Plumbago auriculata

Here is a short extract from this website http://www.plantanswers.com/plumbago_best.htm which explains the origins of the name Plumbago.  "The name Plumbago is derived from plumbum meaning lead - referring to it being a supposed cure for lead poisoning. Auriculata means ear shaped and refers to the leaf base. Plumbago auriculata was known as P. capensis, which was the name given by the botanist, Thunberg in 1794. However, the plant had already been named auriculata by Lamarck in 1786 in what was known as the East Indies where it had been taken as a garden plant! The Dutch East India Company trade routes included the Cape and this was most likely how the plant reached the East Indies. It is also known as Skyflower because of its sky-blue color." 

We tend to think of Plumbago auriculata as being pale sky blue but it does come in other colours as well.  A Plumbago with white flowers is called "Plumbago auriculata var. alba".  Here is a photograph I took a couple of days ago.

Figure 2: Plumbago auriculata var. alba

Figure 3: Plumbago auriculata

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