Rare and Unusual Roundleaf Star Creeper

The Star Creeper Lobelia nummularia is a herbaceous perennial ground-cover, native to Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Demure, white to pale purple flowers with pointed lips bloom in June and July on this small trailing herb. Large, purple-red berries follow that stand up curiously and ornamental on delicate vines. Small, toothed, and rounded light green leaves line the trailing branches and cascade if given a chance. Growing 3-4" tall in light shade and moist conditions.

The relatively large purple fruits are very ornamental and fruits and young shoots were wild collected, eaten cooked by local people. Has medicinal properties. Hardy to 15F.  Rare, unusual, different. 

Seed and Plant Sources:

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The unusual Waratah from Australia

Waratah is the Aboriginal word for the NSW Waratah Telopea speciosissima.

Telopea is from the Greek telepos meaning "seen from afar". It is a spectacular slender, erect shrub, to 6' tall and about 3' across. It has stiff, wedge-shaped and usually coarsely toothed, dark green, leathery leaves to 6" long.
The large, bright crimson flower heads consist of many small flowers densely packed into conical or peaked dome-shaped heads to 6" across, and surrounded by a collar of large red, smooth bracts. The ‘flower’ is in fact a conflorescence that comprises, depending on the species, as many as 240 individual flowers.
It flowers during spring, October to November. Makes an excellent long lasting cut flower. Hardy to 25 F. Needs well drained soil.

Plant and Seed Sources: 

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Wonderful Perfume Flower Bush Fagraea Ceilanica

Fagraea ceilanica, the perfume flower bush, is classified under the Loganiaceae family. This evergreen plant can be pruned back to maintain it as a manageable small shrub but if it is left alone, it can grow into a small tree with a height of about 10ft. When not in flower, the perfume flower tree still makes a very attractive shrub because it has very attractive foliage.
The perfume flower tree is said to be a plant that can be grown in large containers. It has average water needs and hence its roots should be kept moist and not allowed to dry out. Like most other flowering shrubs, to ensure that a perfume flower plant grows healthily and blooms, each specimen should be grown in an area with at least filtered sunshine (semi-shade), although it can tolerate full, direct sunshine outdoors.  Sought after by collectors. 

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Grow some Tasty Asian Water Chestnut Eleocharis dulcis in the Backyard

Off we go, starting our own water chestnuts again. In case you ever had them in stir fry, the fresh bulbs are 100 times better than the canned. Delicious. Plus, I know in what water they are growing  (clean water) ;)

Eleocharis dulcis is tropical Asian aquatic sedge having an edible corm and cylindrical leaves. The succulent corm of this plant ist used in Asian cooking.  

This is NOT to be confused with the aquatic invasive European water chestnut (Trapa natans)!

Asian water chestnuts (Eleocharis dulcis) and European water chestnuts (Trapa natans) are two unrelated water plants that carry the same name.
The Asian water chestnut resembles a small muddy tulip bulb and is sweet and crunchy; the European water chestnut resembles a tiny horned bull’s head and is quite starchy. 

Americans are most familiar with the Chinese water chestnut. Chinese water chestnuts grow underwater in mud, have brown or black scale-like leaves, and are round, though somewhat flattened. They are the roots of an aquatic plant that grows in freshwater ponds, marshes, lakes, and slow-moving rivers and streams in Japan, Taiwan, China, Thailand, and Australia. They are difficult to harvest, explaining their generally high price. Chinese water chestnuts have mildly sweet, crisp, white flesh and are excellent raw on skewers with dip/

The European water chestnut or water caltrop has seed capsules with four spikes and is named after the caltrop, a vicious medieval weapon with four iron points. This hard-shelled ebony black fruit has two prominent, down curved horns resembling a bull’s head and a woody, sculptured surface that looks like a face or a bat. It grows abundantly in Indonesia, Southeast Asia, southern China, Japan, Italy, and tropical America. Its Chinese name, ling ko, means “spiritual horn.”

Storage: Store water chestnuts, unwashed and unpeeled, in a loosely closed paper or plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper for up to 2 weeks. Keep water caltrops in a cool, dry place.

To Grow: Easy to grow in a tub filled with dirt about 4" high . Water to 2" above soil level. Consider appropriate spacing as each corm produces quickly about 8-10 new corms. The closer they sit the harder it is to separate them.

To Buy: 
  1. Tricker Aquatics: Water Chestnuts
  2. COTW Rare Seeds: Fresh Asian Water Chestnuts 

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Grape Smelling Purple Texas Mountain Laurel

Also known as Grape Soda or Cool Aid Tree due to it's grapelicious fragrance. Indigenous to Texas, New Mexico and Mexico, this large shrub or small tree is evergreen, thornless and long-lived. Glossy dark green compound leaves provide a lush look for desert gardens. Showy clusters of purple wisteria-like flowers perfume the air in the spring. The thick seed pods contain orange-red seeds. Plant in full sun to part shade and in well-drained soils. Temperatures as low as 25F and as high as 120F. Native Indians used to make stunning jewelry from the bright red seeds.

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Droping and Weeping Showy Coast Silk Tassel Bush Garrya elliptica

 Garrya elliptica (Coast silk-tassel) is an evergreen shrub native to the coastal ranges of California and southern Oregon, south to Los Angeles County. It reaches a height of 7–15 ft.
Garrya elliptica is appealing as an ornamental plant with a neat growing habit. It is low-maintenance plant that thrives in a range of locations, but is typically seen growing against a wall, or as a windbreak in coastal areas.
It is very much sought after for its wavy, leathery leaves and luxuriant growth, and of course the pretty dangling whitish catkins. Produces purple berries, small (0.25 - 0.50 inches). Full sun to partial shade, zones 8 - 10.
This is a rare shrub with a long winded germination process; start seeds in late summer or fall.

Other Names: silk-tassel bush, wavyleaf silktassel, rare shrub, rare seeds, rare ornamental.

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Richea Pineapple Heath - Fascinating and Unusual Flower

Richea dracophylla is a tall, erect shrub 4-12 feet high but often smaller. The leaf bases sheath the stem and the leaves are arranged spirally up the stem. The leaves are about 1 foot long and taper to a sharp, red point.
Dense flowering spikes appear at the end of the few branches. The petals of the small flowers form a pointed cap which falls off when the flower opens
and a mature flower spike appears bristly due to the prominent stamens and lack of petals. Flowering is early to late summer. Very unusual, protect from high winds. Zone 7+.

Other Names: Pineapple Heath, Dragon Heath, Cystanthe dracophylla, Dragon Leaf

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The Exotic Peruvian Sweety Drop Pepper aka Biquinho Pimenta De Bico

If you love the flavor of hot chili peppers, but have problems with their spicy "heat," then a variety of heirloom chili pepper from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais might just be the solution to your problems.
Pimenta De Bico, also known as "Little Beak" or Chupetinha peppers, are mildly hot, small, round and a brilliant scarlet-red with a small beak-shaped protuberance hanging from the end.
The highly productive plant makes a beautiful ornamental plant, and many of these plants grace Brazilian gardens and yards. 

Works well for Chili Pepper Bonsai ( Bonchi )

The incredible rich flavor of these small chilies are perfect served as a "red Hersheys kiss"garnish or as an appetizer with cheese, drink decoration or can be used to make chutney and perk up almost any soup, stew or braised dish.

Other Names: Biquinho, Chupetinha, Little Beak, Rubber Nipple, Peruvian Sweety Drop pepper, Teardrop pepper, Pimenta de Bico ou Biquinho, Biquinho Iracema, Brazilian pimenta,
Biquinho Iracema

Seed Source
Plant Source

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Blue Nasturtium Tropaeolum azureum

Wow. The stunning and rare blue climbing nasturtium has thin twining stems which produce many dazzling cobalt blue flowers from the leaf axils of delicate, attractively-lobed leaves.
One of the fabulous perennial plants of dry places in Chile, it dies down to deep resting tubers in winter when it must be kept as dry and protected as possible. Quickly develops a

Perennial, USDA zone 9-11. The plant does not tolerate snow, but can tolerate occasional freezing spells. Requires well-drained slightly humid soil, neutral pH, high luminosity and full sun.

Other Names: Soldadillo azul, Pajarito azul

 Seed Source: Blue Nasturtium Seeds

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Rare Chilean Nasturtium Tropaeolum tricolor

Tropaeolum tricolor, Soldadito is a winter growing plant found in Chile and Bolivia, with very delicate looking
shoots appearing usually around October. The shoots twine around any support and grow to a height of around 3 Ft.
As the leaves open they are a lovely fresh green and very fragile looking, unlike the common nasturtium.
It is however the flowers that are the main interest of the plant. As the specific name implies,
they have three colors being red and blackish violet with a yellow lip, a combination that sounds like a
miss-match but on these dainty flowers is very appealing.
The long-lasting flowers appear in generous profusion and always make me think of a school of tropical fish.

After flowering the plant then goes dormant for the summer. USDA Hardiness Zone 8.
The plant tolerates low temperatures 18F and can tolerate occasional snow cover for up to a couple of weeks per year. Excellent in a container.

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Showy Flowering Shrub - Rare Blue Abutilon

Abutilon vitifolium is a large, handsome ornamental flowering plant from the mallow family. Native to Chile is was first introduced to western garden in 1836. It is an evergreen species and can almost be considered hardy in the cooler temperate climates of northern Europe. However if extended periods of cold are experienced then Abutilon vitifolium is known to drop its leaves. When grown under favorable conditions you can expect it to reach an overall height of almost up to 9 foot.
Stalked, axillary clusters of blooms are produced from May until October, can vary in color from pale to deep mauve. The saucer-shaped flowers open flat when mature and measure approximately 2 - 3 1/2 inches. They produce an abundance of fertile seed, and this normally produce seedlings true to parent forms.

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An Elephant headed Wildflower!

Pedicularis groenlandica is a showy flowering plant in the broomrape family which is known by the common names elephant's head and elephanthead lousewort. This erect plant can grow to a height of 31". Its sharply-toothed fernlike leaves are located low on the stout stem. The stem is topped with a large inflorescence of bright pink to purple or white flowers. Each flower has a long, pointed beak which curves upward, superficially resembling the trunk of an elephant, and the lateral lobes of the flower resemble an elephant's ears. Like other louseworts and related broomrape genera, this is a root parasite which obtains nutrients from the roots of other plants by piercing them with haustoria. This plant is found in the high mountain ranges of western North America, particularly the Cascades and High Sierra, much of Canada and Greenland. It grows in wet environments such as riverbanks. It is said to have medicinal values and is used for skeletal muscle pain. A very cool flower. Very hard to find.

Seeds found here

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Iochroma fuchsioides Red Mini Angles Trumpet

This beautiful and rare and  perennial gem from South America is a relative of the Angel Trumpets (Brugmansia) with smaller leaves and more refined flowers. Lower-growing than other Iochromas, it forms a bushy, spreading plant that is often covered in clusters of fiery red, long tubular flowers that flare 5/6" wide at the tips. Iochroma fuchsioides is absolutely dazzling and breathtaking in full bloom! Hardy from zone 8 onwards. 4 feet tall and wide. Full sun to part shade. Average garden soil. Moderate water needs. Lovely! 

  • Seeds found here
  • Plants found here (none - please provide a source if you have one)

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Rare Fried Egg Poppy Romneya

These tall, branching, deciduous, extraordinary member of the poppy family, has gray-green foliage up to 5 inches long with 3-5 lobes and a waxy texture. One of the tallest members of the poppy family, this species also boasts the largest blooms in the genus which closely resemble fried eggs. In summer, many four-inch, delicate, crepe-like blooms are formed at the tops of tall stems each bearing six white crinkled petals and fluffy centers comprised of many yellow stamens. Blooms have a faint citrus scent most noticeable when in full bloom. Mature height is 3-8 feet with an indefinite spread.

Perennial in zones 7-11. Performs best in full sun with a light, sandy soil that is fertile but well-drained. Spread can be difficult to control in ideal soil as plants spread by underground rhizomes

Romneya’s natural habitat is quite diverse and plants will adapt to a wide range of conditions. Plants resent transplanting and therefore careful consideration should be given when choosing a permanent location. Plants require weekly watering while getting established, but are highly drought tolerant after their second year of growth. Cut back hard in fall to encourage uniformity and keep plants tidy. Blooms are attractive to honey bees and other pollinators. Idea for use as a specimen planting, low privacy screening or for the back of mixed beds and borders.

Smoke treatments are beneficial in promoting germination. -
In their natural habitat these seeds only germinate after bush fires due to heat and the toxins in the smoke attacking and helping to break down the protective seed coat. A good seed supplier will provide smoke primer or you can smoke the seeds yourself.


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Red Angels Trumpet Floripondio

Brugmansia sanguinea, the Red Angel's Trumpet is a small, 4 to 12 feet tall, perennial shrubby tree native to Peru and the Andes. Brugmansia is a fast grower. It is closely related to Datura, belonging to the same nightshade family, solanaceae. Brugmansia may be grown in containers or in the garden.

The plant is commonly grown as an ornamental for its flowers. The most spectacular flower display of the genus. The flowers are 8 to 10 inches long, trumpet shaped, pendulous, brilliant orange-red at the mouth with yellow veins, and fading to yellow at the base, not fragrant. It makes an extraordinary display in late Spring through Summer, but can bloom for most of the year. They are borne in abundance, up to 40 at a time. The stem is erect and branching. Plants require minimal pruning, simply removed old flower heads, although plants can be cut back to base during Spring to rejuvenate every few years. It requires cool Summer and cooler nights to bloom.

Leaves are 7 inch long, ovate, shining green on the upper side. The fruit is top-shaped, spineless, 3.5 inches long. All plant parts are highly poisonous and should never be injested.

Hardiness zones 9-11, (-5°C/25°F, 4°C/40°F) in Winter. Reputedly the hardiest of the Brugmansias, it will stand short frosts, but generally does best in areas where the temperature rarely drops below 32°F. Provide a minimum Winter temperature of 7°C and reduce watering over the Winter. In cold Winter areas plants can be brought indoors.
Seeds available here:

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The Giant Viper Echium "Tower of Jewels"

Echium wildpretii and Echium pininana

I've never seen anything like this. Looks like this huge (also called) "Tower of Jewels" grows this size in within 2 years. How gratifying is that? :) I got seeds for the blue/purple variety Echium pininana Pride of Tenerife, the color other being red to pink.
Some other Echiums are white and maroon red.

This evergreen plant can be found as a garden ornamental but is intolerant of low temperatures. As for most Echium it is favored by bee-keepers for its high nectar and pollen content.

Wildpretii is an interesting plant that produces a basal dense rosette of narrow hairy silvery leaves during the first year and in the third year produces an erect inflorescence between 3-9 foot tall. The plant blooms from late spring to early summer. The plant dies after fruiting, leaving lots of seeds.

This amazing plant can grow up to 10 feet tall, but 6 feet is more usual. It doesn't grow much in its first year, but concentrates on sending down a very thick tap root. The next year it grows a lot and may bloom under optimal conditions.
 The narrow silvery Grey leaves have a stiff texture. You can expect flowers in year two or three, and these are impressive and worth the wait. The wildpretii flowers from March to May in the lower regions or August in the mountains. From the center of the Tower of Jewels rosette, grows a stately inflorescence with thousands of blue flowers, which forms a thick column, sometimes up to 1 foot thick. 
Suitable for xeriscaping. It is an excellent plant for; seaside garden, shrub borders and containers.

  • Plant Source Link (none available, please let me know if you have a source)
  • Seed Source Link

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Pendulous Tropical Conifer Podocarpus

Podocarpus henkelii (Henkel's yellowwood) is a South African species of conifer in the Podocarpaceae family. It is grown as an ornamental specimen in gardens for its strikingly neat, attractive form and its elegant, drooping foliage. It is a protected tree in South Africa and officially South Africa's national tree.
An attractive ornamental tree, this is one of the most recognizable of the yellowwoods. It can easily be distinguished from its
close relatives by its long, slender, 7" drooping leaves. It has a straight, well-formed trunk and naturally assumes a pyramid-shape as it grows, eventually becoming very tall. It is highly recommended in the exterior landscape yet may become a stunning indoor specimen when kept pruned to size. 

It is fairly easy to cultivate, tough once established, and incredibly long-lived. It can also be pruned if necessary, to change its shape. However, although it is mildly frost and drought resistant, it is healthiest (and grows fastest) when planted in deep, moist soils. Zones 9-11. Bonsai suitable.
Seeds should be planted promptly in a moist, semi-shade position. The fleshy fruit that surrounds the seed must be removed as this inhibits germination. 

Other Names: African conifer, Henkel-se-Geelhout, Umsonti  

     - Plant Source Link
     - Seed Source Link


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