Thursday, May 20, 2010
A New Family In The Garden
For several years, in early May, a local garden club has held a plant sale at the home of one of their members, just off a busy road that I drive up and down many times during the week, especially on the weekends.
Every year, I see their sign advertising the plant sale but always on the day of the sale, I seem too busy and rushed and hurried to stop and look.
But this year, I made myself slow down, for just a few minutes, and stopped in to see what they had for sale. I browsed the tables of daylilies and irises, checked out the daisies and hostas, and then my eyes landed on a tiny groundcover of a plant with pretty snapdragon-ish flowers labeled Mazus.
It seemed vaguely familiar, so I purchased it and took it home. In the rainy days since then, it has been in its pot, on my front porch, waiting with all the other plants for an evening without rain, an evening when the grass doesn’t need to be cut, for me to plant it.
It is a groundcover, clearly, and so it must be approached with caution, for its very nature is to cover the ground, and anything else that might grow in its path. Ground-cover.
It was quite easy to do an online search for Mazus and find out that my new little plant’s full name is Mazus reptans. Though one site did indicate it was in the Snapdragon family, Scrophulariaceae, it appears that once again, through the use of phylogenetics, botanist have moved Mazus out of the Scrophulariaceae family and into the Phrymaceae family.
At one time, Phrymaceae only contained one genus, Phryma, which has just one species, leptostachya, that goes by the common name of Lopseed, giving the whole family the nickname of the Lopseed family. However, many sources still show Lopseed as being in the Verbenaceae family. I guess they haven’t caught up with botantists who use phylogenetics to move plants all around to different families and make up new plant families as they go.
Holy Linnaeus! I sure don’t remember plant taxonomy being quite this taxing when I studied it in college. But I do remember it being this fun, sort of.
As soon as it stops raining and the ground isn’t quite so saturated, I’m going to plant my one and only plant from the Phrymaceae family, my new Mazus reptans, someplace in the back to see how it does.
I just hope it doesn’t turn on me and become a menace to the garden!