Flowers: Familiar And Less So

Trillium flower with three leaves and three petals
White trillium with a delicate, pink, central stripe

Wild Daffodil has piqued my curiosity today with her mystery flower, which I cannot identify, and reminded me of a couple of mystery plants of my own. So I decided to share a few well-loved flowers as bait for flower lovers, then throw some less-well-known ones in to see if anyone can help either of us out by letting us know what they are.

It’s not often I see a British flower growing outdoors that is a completely new species to me, mainly because I’m one of nature’s flower stalkers. Just like any butterfly or bee worth their salt (or perhaps that should be worth their nectar), there’s few flowers that don’t capture my attention. The trouble is, I don’t always know what they are, or even whether they are flowers at all. This green mound for example.

Leafy green flower emerging from the ground
Petasites japonicus, identified by Diane (Mystery A)

I assume it is a flower, but I somehow doubt this is all there is to it. Either a spike will emerge, gradually lifting the bud-like flowers aloft, or more leaves will sprout out… surely? But then, I often think we demand too much from our plants, wanting them to repeat flower, or produce more flowers, or larger or more brightly coloured ones. Thinking of it that way, this demure greenness will more than suffice.

Pink and white amaryllis flowers in front of a purple clematis
Amaryllis with clematis

It was nice to see this plant combination in flower outdoors in Mississippi last year. In Northern England, amaryllis is grown inside rather than outside. You’ll see hundreds of bulbs packaged as gifts for Christmas, then they disappear inside homes up and down the land. A few will appear weeks later, displaying their glory on sunny windowsills, but I always imagine that, as with many boxed plants, far too many are forgotten in all the seasonal kerfuffle  and left to shrivel in their packs.

Flowers with elongated, twisted yellow petals
Uvularia grandiflora, gracefully tumbling over a hellebore that has gone to seed

Other plants you only ever seem to see outdoors, in a shade garden or on the margins of woodland. I am confident this is an uvularia, though it was not labelled, and am guessing it’s a grandiflora. The nodding yellow flowers with their long, twisted petals barely raise themselves from the ground and the foliage has a droopy character too. But I always love to see it.

Fully double rose with many pink petals
Rosa ‘Wildeve’ is one of my favourite English roses

I’m going to sneak in another rose picture at this juncture, simply because I can’t believe I haven’t shared it before now, then end on another mystery.

Purple flower with white centre and deep purple star
Nicandra physalodes, identified by Frogend_Dweller (Mystery B)

I remember this plant being quite tall and broad – more like a shrub than a perennial. The saucer-like flowers had a malva-ish look. I don’t know why the leaves are speckled. A tableware design could well be inspired by this flower: a lavender outer ring on a white background, with a deep purple star, and a smaller, creamy-yellow one offset at a jaunty angle around a central dot.

I’m sharing these as part of Cee’s Flower of the Day (a lilac), as Wild Daffodil did. Please join in!

45 Replies to “Flowers: Familiar And Less So”

  1. A wonderful selection and some are new to me. The Mystery B is one I saw growing as a climber outside my Mum’s Care Home – I gathered some seeds and grew it in a pot. I’m glad to know its name at last!

    1. I was pleased that they were both identified – thanks for prompting me to ask. I had thought I took the picture of Mystery B in a garden in NE England, but looking back through my files, it looks like it was at Arley Hall. If so that means I have another plant mystery to solve, unless it was the same plant in both places.

  2. As to the mysteries, I am clueless; I can but admire. As one who has lived mostly in the ungracious climate of the Midwest, I find great mystery in an amaryllis that grows outdoors — wow! Of course the rose is always mysterious: how does such beauty come to be? It’s stunning!

    1. It seems remarkable to me too (about the amaryllis). Happily for me, both plants have been identified. You’ll like to know I heard another rose susurrus as I was reading comments – a very full rose in a nearby jar sighed away some of its petals. You wouldn’t think you could hear it. I always find it a magical moment.

    1. I wish! I’ve still not mastered the art of photographing dahlias, desire all the inspiration from you! I think you meant to put flowers – thank you! 🙂

    1. It’s a beautiful rose – the mix of light and shade, the soft, glowing colour and the fulness of the rosette.

  3. I had Nicandra, or as it is sometimes known, ‘shoo-fly’ plant grow in my garden for years. It self-seeded liberally, but I weeded it out, and haven’t seen it for years. I would’ve kept it, but as you said it grows into a very large shrubby plant.

  4. I confess – I killed my Amaryllis by forgetting about it. It just seems like way too much work. I love English roses. It looks similar to a peony.

    1. Where they will grow outside it seems they are very easy and bulk up quite quickly too. I have seen a row of them in flower, planted along a white picket fence to create a low hedge effect – it was very eye catching.

      1. What a great idea. As I am going to kill it any way, worth the shot to see if it will survive a Canadian winter.

        1. That’s probably a big ask – it was in Jackson, MS where I saw the hedge. But if it was on its way out in any case…

  5. That trillium is rad! That is one flower I will never understand the allure of, at least for the natives. They look nothing like yours. They are actually quite puny, and bloom very briefly.

    1. You’d have marvelled to see me recently then in Birmingham, dashing from one plant to another, and pointing out any I found to my patient sweetheart, even though they were past their best, on the puny side and mostly just greenish leaves.

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