H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Pratia Repens - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Pratia Repens Described.
Pratia Repens - Syn. Lobelia Pratiana; Creeping Pratia; sometimes called Lobelia Repens; Nat. Ord. Lobeliaceæ.
In October this small creeper is a very pretty object on rockwork, when the earlier bloom has become changed into oval fruit-pods. These berry-like capsules are large for so small a plant, and of a bright and pleasing colour. These, together with the few flowers that linger, backed up, as they are, with a dense bed of foliage, interlaced with its numerous filiform stems, present this subject in its most interesting and, perhaps, its prettiest form.
The flowers may be called white, but they have a violet tint, and are over half-an-inch in length. The calyx is adnate in relation to the ovarium, limb very short, but free and five-toothed; the corolla is funnel-shaped, but split at the back, causing it to appear one-sided. The solitary flowers are produced on rather long stems from the axils of the leaves. As they fade the calyces become fleshy and much enlarged, and resemble the fruit of the hawthorn when ripe. The leaves are distantly arranged on the creeping stems, ½in. long, oval, roundly toothed and undulated, fleshy, somewhat glaucous and petiolate. The habit of the plant is to root as it creeps, and the thread-like stems intersect each other in a pleasing way. They are to be seen distinctly, as the leaves are not only small, but distant, and seem to rest on a lattice-work of stems. This species comes from the Falkland Islands, and is of recent introduction.
It is herbaceous and perennial, and proves hardy in this climate if planted on a well-drained soil of a vegetable character. It not only enjoys such a position as the slope of rockwork, but, when so placed, it may be seen to advantage. It should be free from shade, or the fruit will not colour well. It will therefore be seen that this is a rock plant, so far as its decorative qualities are concerned. It may, however, be grown well on flat beds of peat soil, where its fruit will mature finely, but it cannot be so well seen. It is self-propagating. Transplantings should be made in spring, or tufts may be placed in pots, during the autumn, and put in cold frames, as then they would not suffer displacement by frosts.
Flowering period, June to frosts.
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