Sunday, June 30, 2013

Spigelia marilandica

If my introduction to this plant had been based on an image of the whole plant, I might not have taken a keen interest in it. But that introduction came from a familiarity with the image in Audubon's Birds of America. And that image gave me a very peculiar impression of this plant.  Audubon used this image twice: first in plate 89  of the Henslow's Sparrow and then later in plate 246 of the Savannah Sparrow. The Savannah sparrow image is a close copy of the Henslow's Sparrow image, probably copied by Audubon's assistant Joseph Mason.

Years passed before I saw the real thing, and I'm happy to say that it's been in my garden now for decades.

There is a Central American member of the genus, Spigelia splendens, for which a Google search turns up no modern photographs. The paintings shown make the hand holding my hybridist's brush itchy.

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