Anchusa Italica - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Anchusa Italica Described.
Anchusa Italica - Italian Alkanet; Nat. Ord. Boraginaceæ.
A hardy herbaceous perennial of first-class merit
for gardens where there is plenty of room; amongst shrubs it will not only prove
worthy of the situation, but, being a ceaseless bloomer, its tall and leafy stems
decked with brilliant flowers may always be relied upon for cutting purposes;
and let me add, as, perhaps, many have never tried this fine but common flower
in a large vase, the stems, if cut to the length of 18in., and loosely placed
in an old-fashioned vase, without any other flowers, are more than ornamental
- they are fine.
Its main features are seen in its bold leafy stems, furnished with large,
dark blue, forget-me-not-like flowers, nearly all their length. The little white
eyes of the blossoms are very telling. The flowers are held well
out from the large leaves of the main stem by smaller ones (from 1in. to 8in.
long), at the ends of which the buds and flowers are clustered, backed by a pair
of small leaflets, like wings. Just before the buds open they are of a bright
rose colour, and when the flowers fade the leafy calyx completely hides the withered
parts, and other blooms take their places between the wing-like pair of leaflets;
so the succession of bloom is kept up through the whole summer. The leaves of
the root are very large when fully grown during summer—over a foot long—those
of the stems are much less; all are lance-shaped and pointed, plain at the edges,
very hairy, and of a dark green colour. The stems are numerous, upright, and,
as before hinted, branched; also, like the leaves, they are covered with stiff
hairs, a characteristic common to the order. Well-established plants will grow
to the height of 3ft. to 5ft.
Flowering period, May to September.
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