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Author Topic: Cerinthe major purpurascens  (Read 1466 times)

Offline Cindi

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Cerinthe major purpurascens
« on: April 26, 2007, 10:59:08 AM »
Known by many names:
Cerinthe major purpurascens
Blue Shrimp Plant
Blue Wax Flower

A member of the borage family, annual, self-seeds.

I am growing cerinthe this year for the bees.  In my research of bee plants this is another one that is favoured by bees.  It is beautiful.  Beautiful blue drooping flowers, similar to those of borage, self-seeds, loves the sunshine, can be grown in dry soil, but loves rich humus soil.

Google this plant.  You will read about it.  It is easy to start and is astounding with an electric blue.  It can grow quite tall, about 2 feet, so it needs lots of room.  BUT.....like borage, because the flowers droop, if it rains the nectars are held within the flowers, they are not rained upon.  AND, we have rainy weather here fairly often in the growing season.

This is a little diddy that I copied from some text defining Cerinthe:
"Artful gardeners are always on the lookout for wonderful new plants to enliven beds and borders. Indoors or out, arranging colorful combinations is greatly simplified when we use quantities of long bloomers, plants whose good looks hold for months on end. A recent returnee to the garden scene, Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens', is exactly the sort of tireless worker we need. Commonly called honeywort, this borage relative offers handsome foliage and stunningly colorful bracts that long outlast its small flowers.

Like its kitchen cousin, honeywort's flowers are tubular bells of intense blue or purple, delicately scalloped and lined in cream. The bells are clustered in twos and threes, each group nesting inside brilliantly blue bracts like overlapping fish scales. The true leaves are rounded like grapefruit spoons, lustrously grey_blue in color and as fleshy in texture as a succulent. The new growth is strikingly stippled with creamy stripes and flecks which fade to a subtle marbling as the leaves mature.

Although grown in European pleasure gardens since the middle ages, Cerinthe has no known medicinal uses. According to his famous book, 'The Herbal', its ornamental qualities earned honeywort a place in John Gerard's garden in the late 1500's. Gerard liked to sip honey_flavored nectar from the tiny flowers, and noted that the leaves have the taste of "new wax" or fresh honeycomb as well. Since his day, however, honeywort fell from favor. It has never been a traditional border plant, for no prominent Victorian or Edwardian gardener mentions it. Indeed, it was unavailable in the seed trade until the recent reintroduction of a well_colored European garden selection."

The seedlings I started about a month ago and let me tell you the foliage of this plant is simply stunning.  I can't wait until the plants take hold in the garden, so pretty and succulent looking isn't the word for it. 

Have a beautiful day, great day, full of good health.  Cindi
There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service