The magic trick – Paris quadrifolia

Herb Paris, True lover’s Knot, Devil-in-a-bush

Renown of being hard to germinate because it requires several warm/cold cycles to break dormancy, Paris is often avoided by many people when it comes to growing it from seeds. A couple of days ago, during a check-up of the moist stored seeds, I had a big surprise. Almost all the garden collected seeds (in late summer) were already germinated! These seeds were cleaned and placed in moist vermiculite right away – an advantage of the garden collecting. Seeds that I collected in the wild and couldn’t place right away in moist storage look good but still haven’t decided to germinate.

Unless a magic trick is involved (not unusual at this time of year), cleaning the seeds after the berries are ripen and putting them right away in a bag with slightly moist vermiculite, which is the same as sowing them fresh, works very well for Paris quadrifolia.

Paris quadrifolia germinated seeds

Paris quadrifolia germinated seeds

Paris quadrifolia is a Trillium relative from moist deciduous forests of Europe and W. Asia, with a symmetric ‘constitution’ (Paris from Latin pars – equal). The four whorled leaves are topped up in early spring by a solitary, interesting flower with thread-like petals and a crown of golden stamens, followed by a deep blue berry (poisonous).

Paris quadrifolia

Paris quadrifolia

In medieval times this particular symmetry had Paris quadrifolia considered the ‘herb of equality’ and it was used in marriage rituals and as a guard against witches. It was also associated with medicine in medieval English tradition, being mentioned in Gerard’s Herbal as an antidote to toxic substances like arsenic and mercury.

According to other herbalists of the time, the black berries were also used as a remedy for those who had lost their minds through bewitchment, or as an antidote for mental confusion due to supernatural causes :) (today it remains employed only in homeopathy).

In conclusion, for now we are safe from witches and if in the future we are to get confused, we shall use a few Paris berries…(need “ to be administered in unequal numbers” :)))

Pulsatilla aurea seeds

Very brief – Pulsatilla aurea

Pulsatilla aurea seeds

Fall is a busy season; not just for planting and seed collecting but also for sowing – many species will germinate best if sown ASAP, including the recalcitrant ones. So, very brief I cannot abstain to post more seeds – of Pulsatilla aurea, straight from their mother-land (Caucasus that is).

And to see the flowers, a virtual ‘alpine tour’ on Panayotis Kelaidis website would be most enjoyable – link here (and more ideas for the wish list ;)


I’m working on the seed shop/list, so all I have for now is seeds and seed images (lots of them ;)
At least when it comes to the latter, the carnivorous plants are quite harmless.

And just an image for the colour – don’t they look nice together?

Drosera linearis with Pinguicula vulgaris

Drosera linearis and Pinguicula vulgaris

Unbridled enthusiasm – Gentiana purpurea

There is no secret that I suffer from Gentiano-philia. Like with other rare diseases, the factors involved and the treatment are unknown. Any Gentiana, under any form and colour (seeds, plants, pictures…) will provoke a wave of unbridled enthusiasm that sweeps me over (the edge of rationality). Getting Gentiana purpurea seeds was no short of such happening! My grateful thanks to the seeds/images donor ;)

Gentiana purpurea

Gentiana purpurea

Gentiana purpurea can be considered the ‘little sister’ of Gentiana lutea. The deep red, or better said wine coloured flowers, are making me dream of the day when the two of them will grow in our garden. And more than that, what if a hybrid of them will arise? What then???

What’s in a name – Arisaema triphyllum ssp. pusillum

Thanksgiving weekend wasn’t just fun but also collecting seeds (same thing actually :) Last spring, at the edge of a swamp we found a bunch of short Jacks flowering at least 2 weeks earlier than the ‘typical’ A. triphyllum (ssp. triphyllum) plants growing in the same area in the woods. Erythronium and Hepatica were in full flowering at that time.

Arisaema triphyllum ssp. pusillum

Arisaema triphyllum ssp. pusillum

With the leaves just developing, the flowers were very noticeable – most of them green and one plant with an inside-purple spathe, with narrow flange; the spathe tube not corrugated. Also the spathe didn’t have the usual flopping down aspect but a more perky attitude; spadix green, cylindrical. The foliage, as much as I noticed, was green below and moderately gibbous (with small swellings on the undersides).

Arisaema triphyllum ssp. pusillum2

Arisaema triphyllum ssp. pusillum#2

I described here, at my best, A. triphyllum ssp. pusillum. It may be only 98% true to the name but it’s more than 100% :) a Jack-in-the-pulpit than should be grown in a wet area of the garden: the edge of the pond, along a stream… Arisaema and wildflowers connoisseurs know well that Arisaema triphyllum is highly variable and has a few subspecies that are recognized or not by different authorities. All 3 A. triphyllum ssp. can hybridize being difficult to identify accurately.

I don’t know if the very early flowering character is characteristic to A.triphyllum ssp. pusillum or only to this population, but it’s a big bonus! I was particularly attracted by the reddish one because of the ‘looking-up’ aspect not often seen in A. triphyllum and the very long spathe tube (maybe a hybrid?).

Who knows what other interesting form will arise from these seeds?

Thanksgiving colours

Thanksgiving was celebrated this year with glorious reds, yellows and oranges in many shades: foliage, fruits and even a few flowers. The forest was at its glowing best!

Sassafras albidum

Sassafras albidum

Click on the thumbnails images to open the gallery:

Very distracting but I also managed to collect some seeds…


Fall means harvest but not only of fruits and seeds. Because of lack of space for pots, unwillingly, last spring I kept some T. erectum seeds in their Ziploc storage bag. I said, I’ll see how it goes…I like to experiment and I didn’t want to lose one season. We need Trilliums for our new garden!

For weeks on end I forgot about them, but once in a while I added just a drop of water to the mix. Now it’s time to harvest :) They will be planted into pots to get established until the winter arrives. Coming spring, the first leaves will be ready to emerge.

Trillium erectum seedling

Trillium erectum seedling: rhizomes and first roots formed in slightly moist vermiculite/bags. Not that I recommend the method, but if one momentarily lacks the space for pots, why not?

Necessity is for sure the mother of invention. This is what I am aiming for; it seems I need to do some work on Erythronium, Sanguinaria and so on…

Trillium erectum in wild habitat

Trillium erectum in wild habitat