Garden Photo of the Day

Two mystery plants at Longwood Gardens

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Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

I fell in love with two plants I’d never seen before when I was at Longwood Gardens last week. Unfortunately, neither was labeled. Sure, I could email Longwood to beg for IDs, but I thought I’d ask our loyal GPOD readers first! After all, those Longwood gardeners are super busy watering at the moment. It’s hot down there!

Click to enlarge
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

The first is an intriguingly architectural succulent in the student exhibition gardens. The second, in a container in the idea garden, looks vaguely like an oxalis, but I don’t think that’s quite it. Whatever it is, it’s a stripey masterpiece!

Click to enlarge
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais


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  1. flutersmom 08/10/2011

    They are simply stunning! I really hope you can ID/source them - I would definitely love to add them to my garden!

  2. erasmuse 08/10/2011

    Not sure what the first one is but the second is Christia Obcordata or Butterfly Leaf Plant. Very aptly named and beautiful!

  3. Deanneart 08/10/2011

    Wonderful and different plants. Sorry but I can't help with the ID on the succulent. What a beauty!

  4. JulieBW 08/10/2011

    I found a story about this plant at this link:

    Botanical name is Christia obcordata. It is an annual for most of us, but a perennial in its native Philippines.

  5. pattyspencer 08/10/2011

    I love those! Too bad I'll never find them in my local nursery! Thanks for sharing!!

  6. Happily_Gardening 08/10/2011

    Is the first plant a Portulaca Molokiniensis or perhaps a relative of?
    Gosh it sure is unique and beautiful...would love to add that to my succulent garden.

  7. sheilaschultz 08/10/2011

    Butterfly Leaf Plant... what a perfect name for a very cool plant, and I'm crazy about the succulent. Once I get a source, I can definitely see these plants in my containers!

  8. MichelleGervais 08/10/2011

    Happily_Gardening, I think you've got it! Portulaca molokiniensis seems like a good match. But WOW, I cannot find a source for it online... I'm rarely stumped for a source, darnit!

    Butterfly leaf plant is giving me just as much trouble... I think I've lost my plant sourcing mojo! :-(

  9. Happily_Gardening 08/11/2011

    Hi All,

    It appears plant can be bought online, please see first link below...

    Here's quick detail on Portulaca molokiniensis 'Ihi - Succulent shrub 1' tall & wide w/upright stems of rounded lvs & yellow flwrs. Sun/light shade. Well drained soil. Occasioanl summer H20. Hardy to 25F.

    Below links offer info/details about plant...

  10. tomsculpture 08/11/2011

    I see it was ID'ed but I thought it was a type of protea.
    those are available in Valley Center in San Diego County, Ca
    check out these water thrifty plants at:

  11. ZeroTalent 08/11/2011

    I've seen both of these plants at Longwood, too! Not sure about the 1st one, but the 2nd one looks like a variety of purple oxalis (sp.?) - maybe variegated oxalis? I wish they had name tags on EVERYTHING - a huge job, but then I could easily buy one of everything :-)

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