Thursday, September 18, 2008

100 Species Challenge

1. Strawberry
2. Black-eyed Susan
3. Rose of Sharon, Althea

4. Potentilla

Growing up we saw Potentilla fruticosa with yellow flowers. A few years ago while planting a white garden we found the cultivar "Abbotswood" which has white flowers:

It's become our potentilla of choice whenever we plant potentillas. And we like to plant them, since they bloom all summer long, and are generally a reliable plant.

When we lived in New Hampshire a nursery worker commented that they treated them as a perennial up there, figuring on total dieback in the winter and revival in the spring. I don't know if that's really true -- perhaps just that person's view on things. Around here we have the delicate outline of the branches all winter long.

I had forgotten that potentillas are also known as shrubby cinquefoil, which strikes me as a case where the common name is more complicated than the Latin. I vaguely remember hearing them called Tundra Rose, but Widdy? Really? The Wikipedia article I linked claims they're called that. Umm, yeah, and sometimes we call them "potentates" just to be silly, but I don't think I'd be writing up an article claiming that name. So I looked up "widdy" (following the rabbit trail), and discovered it is a rope made from flexible twigs such as birch; also, a hangman's noose. Hmmm, okay, potentilla branches are thin and flexible; if I squint I can see it.

I may start using that name, just because I think it's a fun word to say. Widdy widdy widdy.

More info about the 100 Species Challenge here; link in the sidebar to all of my 100 Species Posts so far.


kitten said...

Hopefully I'll have more time tomorrow to check it out!

kitten said...

Ps. Lovely flowers! Never heard of them.

Tara said...

I wondered where you went! Well, glad you posted it... I'll be sure to add it to my bookmarks.