H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Origanum Pulchellum - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Origanum Pulchellum Described.
Origanum Pulchellum - Beautiful Marjoram; Nat. Ord. Labiatæ.
This is indeed a well-named species or variety, whichever it may be; little seems to be known of its origin, but that it is distinct and beautiful is beyond doubt. It shines most as a rock plant; its long and bending stems, which are somewhat procumbent, have as much rigidity about them as to prevent their having a weak appearance; the tips, moreover, are erect, showing off to advantage the handsome imbricate bracts, bespangled as they are with numerous rosy-purple blossoms. The long and elegant panicles of bracteæ, together with the pleasing arrangement thereof, are the main features of this subject.
The rosy flowers are very small, and have the appearance of being packed between the bracteoles; still, their gaping forms are distinctly traceable, but the pretty lipped calyxes are quite hidden; the bract leaves are roundly-oval, acute, cupped, and touched with a nutty-brown tint on the outer sides; the spikes have many minor ones, being as fine as a thread, covered with short soft hairs, and of a brown colour; the leaves are ¾in. long, oval, entire, and downy. The plant or shrub grows 18in. high. As already hinted, the habit is procumbent, the older flower stems being woody; not only is it a bright object for rockwork, but it is in its finest form when most other flowers are past. The branches are useful in a cut state; the slender spikelets, with their pale green and brown tinted bracts, are very pretty by gas light, and they keep well for a long time in water.
The Marjorams are fond of a dry situation, and this is no exception to that rule. Rockwork or raised beds of sandy loam suits it to perfection, provided the aspect is sunny. It will, therefore, be seen that there is nothing special about its culture, neither is there in its propagation; cuttings may be taken in summer, or the rooted shoots may be divided at almost any time.
It flowers from September to the time of severe frosts, and is in its greatest beauty in October.
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