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Here's a plant that could make you...well.... vomit!! It's cousin, Porteranthus stiputatus will anyway.
What am I talking about?? Ipecac, That stuff your mother gave you by the spoonful to make you vomit after you ate something you shouldn't have or had a stomach ache. So what does this have to do with gardening??? Ipecac is made from the roots of Porteranthus.
In any event, this is a very cool and very easy to grow native plant.
Around here, you can find Porternathus trifoliatus growing wild on steep roadbanks in part sunlight to medium shade. It attains an almost shrublike stature, although it is definitely a herbaceous perennial. Formerly know as Gillenia trifoliata, it will be a wonderful addition to your mid border area, as it reaches a height of 24" - 36". I've pushed the limits from full sun to full shade and it "keeps on tickin". I think it's happiest in medium shade, as the foliage really gets dark and lustrous.
In mid June around here, it's absolutely covered with 1" - 2" whispy white flowers that persist for weeks.
Easily propagated from cuttings or seeds, you'll be able to establish a dramatic colony in short order.
As for its cousin Porteranthus stiputatus, the leaves have these little appendages on the basal ends called stipules. You can read more about this species. A very detailed description of Porteranthus trifoliatus and the plants natural history, including a comprehensive compilation of its uses by Native Americans.
There is rumor of a deep pink colored selection, supposedly selected by Dr. Dick Lighty, Director Emmeritus of the Mount Cuba Center for the Study of Piedment Plants in Greenville, DE. I haven't confirmed that yet, so stay tuned.
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Barry Glick, Sunshine Farm and Gardens
696 Glicks Rd, Renick, WV 24966, USA
Phone: (304) 497-2208
Last modified February 24, 2009