29 September 2013

Plumbago auriculata

Plumbago auriculata 'Royal cape' - this is the variety with deep blue flowers
Plumbago auriculata - this is the variety with pale blue flowers
P. auriculata is a hardy and versatile plant, the most common variety is the one with delicate pale blue flowers.  There is also a white variety known as
(P. auriculata var. alba) and a deep blue variety (P. auriculata 'Royal cape').  It is a rampant climber and grows best in full sun to partial shade.  Originally native to South Africa, this plant is widespread throughout Tunis and much of Tunisia.
Plumbago is a genus of 10-20 species of flowering plants in the family Plumbaginaceae, native to warm temperate to tropical regions of the world. Common names include plumbago and leadwort (names which are also shared by the genus Ceratostigma). The generic name, derived from the Latin words plumbum ("lead") and agere ("to resemble"), was first used by Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79) for a plant known as (molybdaina) to Pedanius Dioscorides (ca. 40-90). This may have referred to its lead-blue flower colour, the ability of the sap to create lead-coloured stains on skin, or Pliny's belief that the plant was a cure for lead poisoning The specific epithet auriculata means "with ears", referring to the shape of the leaves.

(Admittedly, this blog post is not much different in content to the previous blog post I had written about Plumbago auriculata back on the 23rd September 2010.  The reason why I chose to re-visit the same subject matter is because since then I have a different camera and I thought I would be able to get better images). 
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