Monday, September 20, 2010

Eriospermum paradoxum

Cool nights and shorter days mean that winter-growing succulent plants are becoming active. Here is a pot of Eriospermum paradoxum, a tuberous plant from South Africa, blooming in cultivation in Connecticut. The flowers have a very strong fragrance, reminiscent of narcissus. After the flowers are finished, the tubers produce small leaves with a branched outgrowth that resembles a miniature Christmas tree. The leaves last until April or so, gathering weak winter sun to fuel the growth of the subterranean tubers, which will survive the summer heat in a dormant state before flowering again next autumn.