Monday, April 06, 2009

The Black Champ

Lots of plants are said to have "black" leaves. Ranunculus ficaria 'Brambling' comes about as close to the true thing as you could hope for, with its small leaves a tortiseshell mixture of black, maroon, green, and silver. Every catalog describes the colors of 'Brambling's' leaves differently (which I always think means you have a special plant on your hands)... and then it blooms with sunshine bright yellow flowers.

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lovely, but you should warn your readers to avoid ranunculus ficaria, the species. It is extremely invasive and chokes out other plants

Laura... the last time I posted about Ranunculus ficaria (last spring), I went on and on about the invasive problem; I think I titled the piece "Don't Try This At Home". Brambling, maybe because of the crazy pigmentation, so far hasn't shown any inclination to spread at all, so I didn't add my usual warning. Actually the ficarias don't really show too much inclination to spread here in Iowa; maybe three of the varieties I have do seed a bit (I know in wetter New England they have escaped into the wild and are a real problem). I guess the double flowerers are safe.
That foliage definitely is striking, but I'm not sure about "black" in the garden ... guess I'm more of a bronzy foliage kind of guy (think Ligularia desdemona). But it's an interesting look and I'll look forward to seeing what the blooms are like. We have never ventured into Ranunculus land because of fears of invasiveness, so good to know this is a less aggressive one!
how hardy is it?
IVG... for now I'll say it's less aggressive; maybe I just can't see the seedlings 'cause they're so dark?

flowergirl1... you can't kill it with a rock. We're 5a, and I'm sure it would survive a lot colder than here.
I will have to try it!
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