Anyone grow Lotus jacobaeus (Black-flowered Lotus)?

mark4321_gwOctober 28, 2012

Here's another obscure plant, with very little information online. I'm mostly finding mentions in peoples' blogs and descriptions of the plant that are several hundred years old.

So if anyone has any information or experiences growing or propagating the plant I am curious.

Lotus jacobaeus is from the Cape Verde Islands off the West Coast of Africa, 15 degrees North of the Equator, and is thus a tropical plant. To me it "looks" like a Mediterranean-clmate plant. Apparently the rainfall in that area is highly seasonal, mostly August-October.

I've seen the plant for a while, growing at Annie's Annuals. They finally started selling small ones. Here's their display plant:

I was surprised that they were selling rooted cuttings and not seedlings. My impression is that the plant is shy about setting seeds, and I could not find out whether it's self-fertile. Any insight on this would be appreciated.

This plant in a 4 inch pot was $9.95 (they are a little more online):

I'm already looking to see if I can take a cutting. It looks like one taken soon would be nowhere near the thickness of the cutting that this plant came from.

Here's one of the source with info on the plant. The Botanical Magazine, Vol. 3, by William Curtis:

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/17672/17672-h/17672-h.htm

"This species of Lotus has been called black-flower'd, not that the flowers are absolutely black, for they are of a very rich brown inclined to purple, but because they appear so at a little distance; the light colour of the foliage contributes not a little to this appearance.

"It grows naturally in the Island of St. James; is too tender to live abroad in England, so the plants must be kept in pots, and in the winter placed in a warm airy glass cafe, but in the summer they should be placed abroad in a sheltered situation. It may be easily propagated by cuttings during the summer season, and also by seeds, but the plants which have been two or three times propagated by cuttings, seldom are fruitful." Miller's Gard. Dict.

It continues to flower during the whole of the summer; as it is very apt to die off without any apparent cause, care should be taken to have a succession of plants from seeds, if possible."

I'm very curious about this statement that "the plants which have been two or three times propagated by cuttings, seldom are fruitful." What does that mean? Rooted cuttings die, or don't bloom, or don't set seed, or don't thrive? Any guesses? If this is indeed a problem, I'm looking for advice on how to get seeds from a reluctant plant. I'm not sure how one would manually self-pollinate such a flower, but surely there's a way.

Seeds of Lotus jacobaeus are sold by www.rareplants.de for � 4,99, which works out to $6.45.

http://www.rareplants.de/shop/product.asp?P_ID=9688

I suspect my main problem growing this plant will be finding a spot with enough sun.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lotus jacobaeus at Annie's Annuals

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bahia(SF Bay Area)

It is very vigorous as a container plant in a part sun deck in my own backyard. It hasn't really stopped blooming over the whole year now that I've had it. Mine was a gift from Annie herself, who thought I would really appreciate this plant, and boy was she correct. At her nursery it does equally well in full all-day sun as a container plant or in the ground. I haven't noticed any seed on my plant, but then again, I haven't really been looking. It may be self-infertile, or lack the insect that pollinates it here in California. Some plants like the equally rare Deppea splendens needs a second clone to actually create fertile seed.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 1:48AM
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