Environment matters

It’s amazing to me how plants adapt to varying conditions. I think of one little pink weed, a prairie native, that can grow like a tiny alpine flower or a good-sized bush. It would grow just a few inches tall with eensy-weensie magenta flowers if it was in the lawn where it got mowed, or where the soil was very poor and dry. In rich moist soil it became a five-foot tall monster covered in great masses of bloom. Alas, it died out from my yard a few years ago, and I miss it.

Here’s another example. In full sun, the leaves of this plant have a bluish cast and are quite stiff, almost leathery.

In shade, the leaves are much more green, and very flexible, like grass.

The difference is even more striking than these photos can show. I’m pretty good at identifying plants in my garden, but for quite a while I didn’t think the plants growing in the shade were actually the same as the ones growing in sun. This, even though I sort of remembered planting the shade clump last fall.

Here’s a close up of these guys almost ready to bloom. I looked them up once, but can’t remember their name. It’s “tri” something, referring to the three-petaled flowers.

Update: No, it’s not “tri” something…see comments. 🙂

What’s your name?

2 thoughts on “Environment matters

  1. Hi Denise, I just found your page, love it!
    Don’t know if you have discovered the name of this plant yet. I have 3 varieties of it, a blue and a purple that I like very much, they are well behaved. And then there is a pink variety that spreads like wildfire and is very hard to irradicate when it has become established. It is called spiderwort (tradescantia).
    Hope you are having awonderful summer. Hope to see you soon.

  2. Hi Jane! Thanks to you, I found this: Named for John Tradescant, the royal gardener of King Charles I of England. In 1637 his son brought the plant from North America back to England where it became a favorite as a garden exotic; the species name attests to its origin in the colony of Virginia.
    I have to remember to avoid that pink pest you mentioned. I have enough of those!

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