Saturday, October 20, 2012

Asclepias physocarpa

Garden visitors often pass by some of the most beautiful plants without so much as a little comment, but when they get to this one they almost always stop and ask at least "what is that?" What it is is a milkweed from southern Africa. But it's rarely the plant they are asking about: it's those swollen hairy pods which decorate the plant at this time of year which catch the eye.

Old names for the plant listed by Wikipedia are balloon plant, balloon cotton-bush and swan plant. I've never heard it called any of those names, but the name I know is the one Wikipedia, perhaps prudishly, omits: who was the wit who coined the hilariously appropriate name "family jewels plant" for this one?

Ok, quit staring and let's move on...

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