Summer days & Symplocarpus

This week I had a quick walk in the woods to check on few things. This is a sunny and a bit blurry image from the place where Symplocarpus grows:

Summer day - Utricularia

The yellow flowers belong to a carnivorous plant named Utricularia

In the same day I went hiking, I also checked the moist seed bags and, look what I found!

Symplocarpus foetidus seedlings

Symplocarpus foetidus seedlings

I always keep a small sample of seeds from species I collected for the first time, to see how the germination goes. I found a source saying that skunk cabbage seeds may germinate in late November, so I kept checking on them throughout the late fall, winter, early spring…. Then, as the season started I got busy with other things.

By the way they look, germination started somewhere in late May – they got potted up in a big pot with muddy soil; ready to find a good home :)

Not much else is flowering in the woods right now; it is green and quiet after the spring exuberance; some fruits are ripening. Ceanothus americanus blooming in a shady spot (New Jearsey tea) was a welcomed sight.

Ceanothus americanus

Ceanothus americanus

Unfortunately, it is not much cultivated despite its multiple qualities: pollinator plant, larval host for butterflies; with wildlife and medicinal values. It also tolerates a good amount of shade and poor soil conditions.



Catch me if you can!

It is well known that over millions of years plants have evolved and adapted their seeds dispersal strategies to ensure that their progeny reaches new places where hopefully they will be able to germinate, thrive, and continue the cycle of life.

Yet, every time I witness their ingenious ways of doing so, I wonder and cannot help but express my admiration: explosive capsules, seeds with ‘wings’ and other flying ‘apparatuses’, floating devices, ‘bait’ for ants, rewards for animals, and so on…

A couple of days ago, I captured by chance a Stylophorum diphyllum capsule already opened, with the seeds rolling down:

Stylophorum diphyllum seeds

Stylophorum diphyllum – split capsule

Distracted by the Arisaemas showing up, I almost missed the Helelborus ‘Cherry Blossom’! It’s not enough that the follicles are opening without warning, they also do it gradually.

Helleborus 'Cherry Blossom'

Helleborus ‘Cherry Blossom’

Then, in the woods I managed to collect a few Thalictrum thalictroides seeds (formerly Anemonella); they are still green when ripe, but only a small touch and in an instant the achene cluster will disintegrate between your fingers.

Thalictrum thalictroides seeds

Thalictrum thalictroides cluster of ‘seeds’

There are many other notorious ‘seed defectors’ like: Corydalis, Epimedium, Anemone quinquefolia, Hepatica, Spigelia, Viola spp.…to name just a few.

Catch them if you can :)


Hot Corydalis

It was hot today (felt like 38C!) and I noticed the delicate Rock harlequin (Capnoides sempervirens) flowering. I must say, the colours are just perfect to describe such a fiery day!

Capnoides sempervirens

Capnoides sempervirens

It was sown successively from late winter to spring and older seedlings are the first to start flowering now; a few are still growing up. The key to success with this biennial Corydalis (and also some of the perennials) is to plant it in different spots of the garden and, fingers crossed it will reseed and take care of itself afterwards.

If someone noticed, I call it first Corydalis and then I wrote it as Capnoides. Corydalis spp. used to bear the same name. And then, as it happens, few names have changed. I always hesitate: should I write the older name or the ‘new’ one. Many people will always call them Corydalis (and so do I, privately ;)

To resolve the situation, I made a new category for the seeds shop – Corydalis & all, where they can live happily together…


I am working at the new seeds collections and…relax, no seeds pictures :) I only want to show two plants that were gifted to me and are looking good.

Corydalis ‘Kingfisher’, which was planted in the fall; one of the few blue Corydalis cv. available here (a cross between C. flexuosa x cachmeriana).  The violet shades on the buds are a great bonus.

Corydalis 'Kingfisher'

Corydalis ‘Kingfisher’

And, still in the pot, a baby Astilboides tabularis with its umbrella leaf. Yes, it is a baby – don’t get fooled, it will get big!

Astilboides tabularis

Astilboides tabularis

Thank you!

Back to the seeds…