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The name Balloonplant is an allusion to the swelling bladder-like pods which are full of seeds. During the summer, umbels of creamy or greenish-white flowers are produced; these are followed by interesting globular seed pods which are inflated and covered with soft bristles. The flowers are small, with white hoods and about 1/2 inch across. The capsule is a pale green, and in shape an inflated sphere. It is covered with rough hairs. It reaches three inches in diameter. This plant grows to 6 feet tall with a spread of about 2 feet. It has lance-shaped, medium green, hairy leaves. Flowers are a nectar source for many butterflies and leaves are a food source for monarch butterfly larvae (caterpillars). It is also popular in traditional medicine to cure various ailments.
A small, unusual and rewarding, standard, rounded, evergreen shrub with fragrant white flowers that are produced in small clusters at the ends of the branches.
The stem is quite straight and slender. The leaves are opposite, leathery, shiny dark green above and paler beneath.
The heavily scented yellowish white flowers are in compact, terminal clusters at the ends of the branches and appear throughout the year. Fruit is paired, woody capsules that are held erect on the twigs, splitting open on the plant and releasing a number of papery-winged seeds. The wood is light yellow-brown, heavy and hard and is used for engraving and for fine inlay work.
It is found in evergreen forest and in scrub forest on cliff edges and is seldom far from the coast. It is endemic to Eastern Cape.
Gonioma comes from the Greek word gonia, meaning angle because of the fruit that protrudes at right-angles to the stalk; kamassi is derived from the Khoisan name for this species.
Insects are attracted to the fragrance of this plant. The milky latex contained by the leaves fools an animal into quickly feeling full. If the grazer persists, the latex makes it feel sick and dizzy. The seed capsules split lengthways on ripening to release papery-winged seed, thus dispersing the seed.
This is a lovely shade tree for small gardens. It is ideal for tall hedges.
Gonioma kamassi is grown from seed. Seed is sown in a well-drained medium of fine sifted soil with river sand. Seed trays are placed in a warm position to optimize germination. Requires a sunny or semi shade, sheltered position and will perform well when mulched thickly with good compost, watered regularly and fed with a high nitrogen, organic or chemical fertilizer. It only really thrives in a warm, well-watered situation.
Grevillea robusta, also known as Silky Oak, is an Australian native tree typically growing between 10 and 20 feet in height. A popular choice for gardens and landscapes, Grevillea robusta is known for its ornamental foliage and yellow-to-orange flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Despite being hardy and drought-tolerant, this small tree should be watered on a regular basis to ensure healthy growth. Grevillea robusta is suitable for USDA Zones 8-10.
Where planting in colder climates, Grevillea robusta should be located in a shaded area where the sun will not be too intense. When growing in a pot, the plant needs to be watered frequently during the summer and allowed to dry out slightly in winter.
One thing to keep in mind when handling Grevillea robusta is the plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction. Wear gloves and long sleeves when pruning or handling the foliage.
Overall, Grevillea robusta is a great addition to any garden that adds beauty and wildlife attractions. With its fern-like foliage, evergreen look and yellow-orange flowers, this small tree is sure to brighten up any space.
Hydrocotyle umbellata, native to North America, makes an attractive and low-growing addition to any landscape or pond. This small plant typically grows 2-5 ft in height and features a groundcover reach of 2 ft. The umbrella shaped leaves, which are medium to dark green in color and reach up to 1-inch in length, give the plant a particularly beautiful look and texture.
This plant thrives in full sun or semi-shade environments and is ideal for both bog and aquatic zones. It is hardy in USDA Zones 5-10 and can survive in colder climates as long as proper care is given. To ensure the best growing conditions, it is important to keep the soil consistently moist.
Hydrocotyle umbellata produces small white and off-white flowers in the late summer and early fall. Pollinating insects, including butterflies and bees, are attracted to the blooms. While the foliage is non-irritating and safe to touch, the plant can produce a mild nausea if ingested.
In colder climates, it is important to give Hydrocotyle umbellata special care when growing it in a pot. The soil should be kept moist and the roots should not be allowed to become waterlogged. For best results, move the pot indoors for the winter. It is also important to shelter the plant from strong winds and frost. By following the proper care guidelines, this plant can be enjoyed for many years to come.
This interesting genus originates from the temperate to subtropical regions of East Asia and the Americas. It contains about 40 frost-hardy evergreen shrubs and small trees, grown for their handsome foliage and fragrant flowers. In older publications you may see the Illicium genus placed in the Magnoliaceae family. This is no longer correct as they are now placed in their own family Illiciaceae.
Star-anise (I. verum) from China and Vietnam is the source of a culinary spice and reportedly has medicinal uses. Illicium verum has a foliage and stems with a delightful anise odor that reminds of root beer with hints of licorice. The other species are toxic and are not a substitute for the culinary spice and flavorings obtained from Illicium verum, although they also have pleasant anise smell. Prefers partial shade or partial sun; soil should be moist.
See article about Illicium verum - Star Anise