Here's a Dicentra I bet you don't grow!

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Kelaidis
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Joined: 2010-02-03
Here's a Dicentra I bet you don't grow!

I photographed this in June (I think) on the high slopes of Mt. Eddy near the CA OR line: it's Dicentra pauciflora, that also goes by D. nevadensis and is scattered pretty widely from the Siskiyous through the Sierra. It blooms very early, and must be a lot rarer than Dicentra uniflora, which gets all the press. I have a hunch it's a stinker to grow!

Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15

Thou doest not loose Thy bet!I do grow Dicentras, it is one of my favorite genuses (do you say that in plural?) The common spectabilis, formosa and eximea of course, but also cucullaria and macrantha.  I have no proper place for the typically rock garden types like peregrina which I hope to grow. D. pauciflora I have never heard of!

Trond Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Kelaidis
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Joined: 2010-02-03

That's exactly why I posted the picture: I had never seen a picture of it myself. I don't know anyone who's grown it successfully. I know it is allied to D. peregrina, although not as flashy.

Dicentra uniflora is the other tiny westerner that looks very strange: Google Image it and you'll see what I mean. It is basically a dryland plant and very hard to grow.

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15

I would love to grow them, but alas dryland plants don't like it here!

Trond Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Boland
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Joined: 2009-09-25

Trond, we are in the same boat...drylanders are next to impossible here too!..and yes, Panayoti, that is a new Dicentra to me too.

Todd Boland St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada Zone 5b 1800 mm precipitation per year

Hendrix
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Joined: 2010-12-24

Here are two photos of Dicentra uniflora (Steershead) I took on May 19, 2009 at about 9,000 feet in central Utah.  It is a tiny species, about 2 inches tall in bloom, very easily overlooked in its preferred habitat in this location -- moist, dense, dark coniferous forest. 

In much of this area, the snowpack was still one to two feet deep at this time of year.  In fact, we didn't intend to camp in the snow (since we had left our own snow country at 10,000 feet in the Colorado Rocky Mountains for a spring retreat) but, unfortunately, the denizens of the lower-elevation, snow-free areas were juniper trees (Juniperus sp.) and sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), both of which are hay-fever inducers in my husband, Klaus.  After only two nights, he was miserable so uphill we went until we were in lodgepole pine/Engelmann spruce forest where neither of those two "culprits" were in residence.

We accidentally discoverd Dicentra uniflora after a trail we were following ended abruptly on a steep, forested hillside.  Using his GPS, Klaus was navigating cross-country back to our camp when this small, white flower caught his eye.  Only one was in bloom.  There is very little foliage associated with any individual plant.  The leaves are deeply dissected like other Dicentras and are quite grayish-green.  Once I was able to associate that foliage with Dicentra uniflora, I was surprised to find it growing throughout our campsite -- even in dry, compacted, dirt roadways!  Unfortunately, none of those plants was in flower.

This was an exciting find for Klaus who wasn't familiar with this species but, especially, for me since I had been hoping to see it in life ever since I saw a photo of it in a wildflower guide for Yellowstone National Park that I purchased 35 years ago!!

Jane Hendrix
Mountain View Experimental Gardens
Peak 7-Breckenridge, Colorado USA.
Elev: 10,000 feet
Zone 4
http://www.picturetrail.com/hendrix & http://www.picturetrail.com/snowtrekker7

 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

What a beautiful study in form, and what detailed photography!

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

I have never seen this plant in person, but hope to one day.  The flower shape is indeed remarkably like that of a steers head.  Jane, is this something to intend on trying to grow back in your Breckenridge, CO garden?

Mark McDonough Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5 antennaria at aol.com  

Hendrix
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Joined: 2010-12-24

Mark,

I would love to try it if I could acquire some seeds.  It should do well since the plant in the photos was growing in an ecosystem and elevation nearly identical to ours.

Jane Hendrix
Mountain View Experimental Gardens
Peak 7-Breckenridge, Colorado USA.
Elev: 10,000 feet
Zone 4
http://www.picturetrail.com/hendrix & http://www.picturetrail.com/snowtrekker7

 

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