Saturday, May 17, 2014

My favorite plant this week: Dorycinium hirsutum

My favorite plant this week, Dorycinium hirsutum, isn't flashy like last week's selection but as it performs exceptionally well under hot, dry conditions, it's one I value highly.  I acquired my first plant early in 2011 because I liked the soft gray, fuzzy foliage and, based on the label, I thought it might do well in my dry garden.  It grew, spread, and flowered with little attention and sparse irrigation.  I was so impressed that I picked up 2 more this past January.

One of the newer acquisitions, not yet in bloom

My oldest Dorycinium hirsutum, currently in bloom



It's said to grow 1-2 feet (30-60 cm) tall and 2-3 (60 cm-1 meter) wide.  My 3 year-old plant is somewhat shorter, yet nearly the projected breadth.  It's currently covered in flowers, which the bees love.  It's common name, Hairy Canary Clover, can be attributed to the clover-like white and pink flowers it produces.

Here's a closer look at the flowers



It's native to Portugal and other areas within the Northern Mediterranean region.  Despite its name it isn't indigenous to the Canary Islands, although apparently other varieties of Dorycinium hail from those islands.  Reports of its hardiness vary.  San Marcos Growers contends that it's cold hardy to 15-20F (-9 to -6.7C).  As my plants haven't been exposed to temperatures anywhere near those levels, I can't offer any personal testimonials as to its cold hardiness; however, I can tell you that the plant sailed through 2 heatwaves just this month, as well as extreme heat spells in 2011, 2012 and 2013 without any noticeable ill effects.  All 3 of my plants are in an area with no automated irrigation.  I provide water somewhat haphazardly, approximately every 4-6 weeks in the absence of rain (of which we've had very little this year).

After flowering, the plant produces a multitude of brown seedpods, which are easy to harvest.  I tried sowing some last fall in the dry garden with no luck; however, in researching the plant for this post, I discovered that the seeds can take up to one year to germinate so maybe I'll get a plant out of them yet.

This heat and drought tolerant plant is my contribution this week to Loree's favorite plant meme at danger garden.  Please visit her there to see her favorite this week.


14 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It's a great drought tolerant groundcover, Emily!

      Delete
  2. "Hairy Canary Clover"...what a common name, I love it! I too am attracted to soft gray, fuzzy foliage and bummed that this one appears to be outside of my hardiness zone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Although the Latin name doesn't always come quickly to mind, I can't forget that common name.

      Delete
  3. I don't think I've ever seen that amount of bloom on any I've grown. That's impressive. Currently not in this year's garden, more's the pity. Such a good plant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has performed very well for me, Denise - it can handle benign neglect.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for this post; you may have identified a plant I bought at a plant sale a while ago where the rather stupid owner hadn't writen a label for me as I had requested. If it is the same plant mine did make seedlings under it but were quite difficult to move when I found them. I'm not usually very successful with seeds that need a long time to germinate; I get fed up and through away the contents of the seed tray.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope the plant does well for you, Christina. I'm not holding my breath waiting for the seeds to germinate either.

      Delete
  5. Hairy Canary Clover? I would love this plant for that name alone! I think it would turn into one of my favorite "pet" plants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it funny how a plant name can intrigue you? And it is a pet-able plant - the foliage is soft.

      Delete
  6. I know this plant and I have grown it, but I have never seen it looking as good as yours. It is clearly very happy with its position.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's always great to find a plant that likes where it's put, especially when that place is inhospitable to most everything else, Chloris.

      Delete
  7. Hmm, I don’t think I would call this plants cute, but perhaps interesting? It looks hard and spiny, is it? Or is it perhaps lovely and soft to touch? You never know just from a photo! I have no experience with desert plants, obviously, although it can get cold over here, but usually just barely below freezing. We can also have summers with temperatures almost up to 100F here in London -but I think this plants would find my garden too shady and too wet :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, it's soft to the touch, Helene. Yes, I expect your garden would be both too shady and too wet for it but, as my garden has lots of sun and too little water, it's a good match for me.

      Delete

I enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions. However, with apologies to bona-fide commentators, due to a significant increase in spam, I've eliminated the option to post comments anonymously.