Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Torquay's mystery plant

I mentioned in my last post that not many of the plants in the Palm House at Torre Abbey in Torquay had labels. Of course the one I fell in love with was one of those without identification.

Trouble is, I want it. I really want it.

Any ideas?

It was the sight of those exquisite flowers which first caught my attention. I've never seen flowers weeping before.

Now those of you with a delicate disposition had better look away, as I'm about to show you quite the most eye-popping and frankly embarrassing seed capsules I've ever seen.

In case you wanted a closer gawp at those...

You can look again now. Here's a more calming photo of the leaves.

It was about 5ft high or so, and multi-stemmed - a sort of loose clump, I suppose. I am deeply smitten, so if anyone out there knows what it is and can introduce me, I will be eternally grateful.


Rob said...

From Africa, so warm temperatures required.

The Constant Gardener said...

That's it! Thanks Rob! The pics on the Wikipedia entry aren't that convincing but then I looked here:
and if you scroll down to the bottom, there it is.

Plus a wierd fact - those seedheads are filled with a silky down. It's too short for weaving, but they used it to fill lifejackets in World War II. Betcha didn't know that.

Anyway - now I just have to find someone who will sell it to me...

Rob said...

Interesting stuff! Bet they had a giggle when they were harvesting the silky down.

Please inform us when you find a plant, my lifejacket looks like it could do with a bit of extra filling!

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