Saturday, October 19, 2013

Lampranthus spectabilis

Lampranthus spectabilis syn Mesembryanthemum roseum (Aizoaceae)
Sometimes called 'Ice-plants' or in Australia 'Pigface', the former common name gives a better reference to the origin of the word Lampranthus, it being from the Greek lampros ,meaning shining and anthos , flower. The flowers really do glisten like ice in the sun and though their flowering season is really for only a few weeks of spring they certainly make an impact during the brief display. This species grows to about 40 cm high and spreads to about 60 to 90 cm. Its natural habit is to sprawl which makes it good to use as a spillover at the edge of raised garden beds or in containers with other mixed succulents or annual flowers. These are popular plants to use in coastal landscapes as they stand up to salty winds and dry spells, though they are equally at home away from the coast as they tolerate a few degrees of frost. Shearing back after flowering helps to make the plant more compact otherwise it can look a bit open and straggly over time.

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