Thursday, June 05, 2008

Jeffrey's Shooting Star

Dodecatheons are lovely, but they look so exotic and seem so fragile; perhaps partly because they shrivel up as if they were dying in the heat of summer, when in fact they are just going dormant, but also because most of them are from the western part of the country, often from cool, wet alpine meadows. It is therefore surprising to me when I realize that we have five of the fourteen species in our garden; meadia, dentatum, pulchellum, jeffreyi, and alpinum. We also have several selected and named clones of meadia. I should mention that alpinum is at this point only a guest, as we just added it this spting, so it has yet to see one of our winters. The only dodecatheon we've struck out on so far is clevelandii.
Above is Dodecatheon jeffreyi (Jeffrey's shooting star), native to California, up through the Pacific and mountain northwest to Alaska. When its flowers first open, they are perfectly vertical, looking like little darts falling to earth; they then gradually raise up to almost horizontal. It is a lovely thing.
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I hope it makes it through the winter for you. It's very pretty! :-)
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