Yesterday I spent quite some time into the darkness of the garage, doing archaeological plant-digging in containers. I was looking after various creatures that like to spend the winter dry and need to be unearthed by late April and be brought back to life (if possible).
A large earth octopus almost jumped out of a pot! Luckily it proved out to be a gentle one. I checked its legs one by one, all seemed to be fine; eyes wide open and smiling. It was carefully placed in fresh, rich potting mix as it likes it, free to swim and have fun.
I’ll wait with the water until it starts growing a bit (it’s an earth octopus with rhizomatous fleshy tentacles after all). Somewhere in mid-summer a strange phenomenon will happen: the earth octopus will bloom!
Roscoea auriculata it is a hardy ginger from Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan, where it grows in grasslands at 2400-2700 m altitude. As the name suggests, it has consistently auriculate (eared) leaves on the pseudostem. The height can be variable 20-40 cm and the flowers are large, in various shades of purple to deep violet or even white. It can be mistaken with R. purpurea but it flowers a bit earlier and the flowers have usually white upper staminodes and a strongly down-facing labellum.
There were also a few baby octopuses (not completely developed, some have only 2-3 tentacles), all fine looking and ready to start earth swimming. Roscoeas are very pleasant plants to grow from seeds; it will take 3+ years for the first flowers to appear.