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. Hi, I so enjoy your photography. Mystery flower A looks like the Petasites japonicus (common name Colt’s Foot) I have growing in my garden. The plant flowers, in early spring (USDA Hardy zone 4), before the true leaves emerge. Once done flowering, large round leaves (up to 4 feet across) emerge. Here is a link to information about the Petasites japonicus:
    It would be interesting to revisit the plant to see what emerges when it is done blooming!
    mystery plant B Maybe wild heliotrope? Phacelia crenulata var. ambigua

    1. Thank so much Diane. I’ve updated the post now to reflect the names. You’re right about Mystery A. I had a feeling it might turn out to be a very large plant – it’s amazing how much the plant changes after flowering. Frogend_Dweller, below, identified Mystery B as Nicandra physalodes.

  2. I don’t know the names of either of your mysteries. The green one is very interesting, both in colour and construction.

    1. It is – I like green flowers, but this one really was a puzzle. They have both been identified now so I’ve updated the pictures with the real names.

    1. It’s not wonderfully scented, but it is photogenic. If it was an Instagram star, it would be posting clips on how best to arrange your petals.

  3. lovely flowers. No clue about the mystery A one however. I was happy to see the Trillium. We finally have some spring weather here and soon the woods will be full of trilliums.

    1. Diane identified Mystery A as Petasites japonicus. I’m a big fan of trilliums but have never seen a wood full. A friend, Greg Grant, has a wood full of rare ones in Texas, but when I was invited in, I was so scared of snakes and biting insects, I chickened out after venturing down the path just a little. I do regret it now.

      1. The Trillium is the official provincial flower here in Ontario. I don’t know about whether our woods have rare one but we do not have poisonous snakes or spiders. When i ride my horse in the forest trails we might see a deer but nothing too threatening.

  4. That Amaryllis is gorgeous. The rose — wildeve — remind me of our peonies except the petals on the peonies look like they’ve been trimmed with pinking shears. 🙂

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