BLUE WAXWEED CLAMMY CUPHEA TARWEED





(Parsonia petiolata; Cuphea viscosissima of Gray) Loosestrife

family



Flowers - Purplish pink, about 1/4 in. across, on short peduncles

from leaf axils, solitary or clustered. Calyx sticky, tubular,

12-ribbed, with 6 primary teeth, oblique at mouth, extending into

a rounded swelling on upper side at base; 6 unequal, wrinkled

petals, on short claws; 11 or 12 stamens inserted on calyx

throat; pistil with 2-lobed stigma. Stem: 6 to 20 in. high,

branched, very sticky-hairy. Leaves: Opposite, on slender

petioles, lance-shaped, rounded at base, harsh to the touch.

Preferred Habitat - Dry soil, waste places, fields, roadsides.

Flowering Season - July-October.

Distribution - Rhode Island to Georgia, westward to Louisiana,

Kansas, and Illinois.



A first cousin of the familiar Mexican cigar plant, or

fire-cracker plant (Cuphea platycentra), whose abundant little

vermilion tubes, with black-edged lower lip tipped with white,

brighten the borders of so many Northern flower-beds. Kyphos, the

Greek for curved, from which cuphea was derived, has reference to

the peculiar, swollen little seedpod. From a slit on one side of

the clammy cuphea's capsule the placenta, set with tiny flattened

seeds, sticks out like a handle. Probably the flower has already

fertilized itself in the bud, although, from the fact that the

plant has taken such pains to punish crawling insect foes by

coating itself with sticky hairs, one might imagine it was wholly

dependent upon winged insects to transfer its pollen. What an

unworthy relative of the purple loosestrife, whose elaborate

scheme to insure cross-fertilization is one of the botanical

wonders!





BLUE VERVAIN WILD HYSSOP SIMPLER'S JOY BLUEEYED MARY INNOCENCE BROADLEAVED COLLINSIA facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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