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A garden enthusiast who loves to travel and capture the beauty of places and freeze the memories of her travels in photographs, as well as document her experiences in verse...thankful for the simple pleasures in life.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pedilanthus Bracteatus!

No, the title is not a magic spell you chant when you wave your wand. It was a yell of joy, ( somewhat akin to "Eureka!") I made when I discovered the name of that strange flowering plant I have in my garden. Some of you may remember that I posted this poser 'Flower or Bird?' in last year's posting of Wordless Wednesday (December 10).






There it was...just a picture without any description of what this plant was. It was totally unfair of course to my readers who had no idea what this quaint-looking plant with its birdlike flowers was. In my defence, I have to say that it would have been even more unfair to have written a lengthy description of this plant's profile, as it was a WORDLESS Wednesday posting after all! Besides, when I posted these pictures, I didn't have a clue what this plant was...there, I admit it.

However, today is a Thursday and we are allowed to have WORDS.

This unusual plant is also known as Tall Slipper Plant. It is categorized as a succulent and classified under the genus "Euphorbia" (Spurges). It is also recognized as Euphorbia bracteata. The country of origin is Mexico.
It is an evergreen and drought-resistant as well. In fact when my plant was still young, I kept it under the shade and drenched it regularly. It began to look sickly and limp. After taking the advice of the nursery guy, I put it under full sun, and it has since been nursed back to health. However, it has been raining quite a bit during the monsoon season in December, and my poor Pedilanthus is again feeling under the weather.

 

My plant is now about 3 feet tall, but if transplanted onto the ground, it can grow to a height of a basketball player! I'll keep it in its pot as I love how the colours of the plant and the pot blend so perfectly. The bracts start off as green but will slowly turn terracotta pink. A pair of bracts will cup a green flower which is definitely birdlike in form. The Chinese name for the flowers is Xiao Niao Hua which literally translated means Little Bird Flower. The flowers will turn yellow as they age and dry up. The fruit that results has the shape of a Chinese lantern.The ripe, dried-up fruit holds 3-4 seeds which can be used for propagation.
The plant is said to be poisonous, so just be careful when you handle it.

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for the info for this plant... my sis-in-law has this plant in her house and I was wondering what plant it was... I think the bird-like flowers are really cute...

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  2. @ Lrong - As Chinese New Year draws nearer, this plant is getting more expensive at the garden nurseries as the demand for it is greater. You know how it is, plants that symbolize good fortune will be displayed in Chinese homes for prosperity and good fortune.

    @ Malar -Yes, it is lovely. I've been told there is another variety with flowers that resemble gold fish. Haven't seen it, have you?

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  3. Wow! What a cool plant! I wish they grew in the States.

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  4. @ Casa Mariposa - Yes, real cool, Nature is always surprising us ...flowers that look like birds, what next?
    Rosie

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  5. Beautiful plant-I also love how it looks in the container! Great post-thanks for the info!

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  6. Thanks Rebecca, I've just become your follower. Loved the sunflowers in your latest post.
    Rosie

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  7. HI...I've been looking for this flower...could you help me to find it?

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  8. I have found this flower plant but can anyone tell me what type of fertilizer is best for it and does it do well under direct sunlight?

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  9. Yes, you can plant it under direct sunlight. Any fertilizer that encourages flowering will do.

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  10. Hi, I have several plants in my garden and share your enthusiasm. I purchased mine at Serra Gardens in Fallbrook, CA. Serragardens.com I believe they'll ship. Thanks for the fertilizer comment Rosie I was wondering what to use.

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  11. hi i have this plant at home too, but to my agony ever since i brought it home from the nursery it has failed to flower, or to produce terracotta pink leaves, instead when i groom or cut the ends it will have a dried up stalks on tips.. would love to have tips from you!

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  12. Hi, My plant now has some seeds you mentioned each dried up pod has 3 to 4 seeds. Do I have to wait for the pods to dry first then cut them to plant or? Could you tell me what the right process is please? Thank you!!

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  13. Hello there i've finally seen seeds on my plant, very excited!! What do i do now if i'd like to propogate from seed? Do I wait for the seeds to dry and then cut and plant in soil? or can I cut the seed pods straight away and plant it? YOu mention each pod contains a few seeds, do i need to open the pod and separate the seed?
    Sorry for the many questions new at this. Thank you soo much!!!

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