Tiarella Cordifolia - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Tiarella Cordifolia Described.
Tiarella Cordifolia -
Nat. Ord. Saxifragaceæ.
The illustration, together with the order given to which it belongs,
will convey a fair idea of the style and habit of the plant, but its exquisite
flowers must be seen to be appreciated, and hardly could they appear to more
advantage than in a growing state, the rich foliage forming their most natural
and effective ground. This hardy herbaceous perennial has been known to English
gardens for 150 years, and was introduced from North America, where it grows
in glorious masses, but common as it is in its native country, and long as it
has been grown in this, I scarcely know a flower respecting which so many have
been in error as regards the true species. I have had all sorts of things sent
to me under the name, and, after all, it is easy to be wrong with it unless the
amateur has either closely noted its distinctions or grown it for a year
at least. Heucheras are similar in habit and shape of foliage, and are often
confounded with it, though otherwise very distinct. Tellima grandiflora, when
in its young state, is very like it, but the strong crowns should be noted—they
are twice the strength of T. cordifolia, and develop foliage more than double
its size, whilst the flowers are on stems 3ft. high, nearly green, and might
easily be taken for seed pods.
The Mitellas, however, are much more puzzling, the distinctions being finer
and mostly of a botanical character. Still, in May and June, when all are in flower, the identification of our subject is not difficult, more especially
if the other species of the same order are near for comparison.
T. cordifolia grows to the height of 9in. to 12in.; the flowers are composed
of a calyx (five-parted) and five petals, which are entire, evenly set in the calyx. The ten stamens are prominent; each flower has a stout pedicel, which
holds out the pretty white blossom in a nearly horizontal way. There is nothing of a bell-shape character about the flower, as in its nearest relative the
Mitella. The flower stem is erect and round, being evenly furnished with flowers, for a length of 4in. to 6in.; the flowers are very lasting. The leaves are
heart-shaped, acutely lobed, denticulate, slightly wrinkled, hairy on both sides, and more or less spotted or splashed with brown spots on the main ribs; the
leaf stalks are long, and carry the foliage gracefully. The whole plant has a neat habit, and, when in vigorous health, sends out surface creepers.
It enjoys moist quarters and slight shade, though it is grown as seen in the
drawing in an exposed part. The soil is good, but otherwise there is nothing
special about its culture. If this little spring flower can be made more known,
it will be sure to be more widely cultivated; for covering the bare parts of
lawn shrubberies it would form a pleasing subject, and might be mixed with the
scarlet ourisia and the finer sorts of myosotis; these would make an excellent
blend, all flowering together, and lasting for a long time, besides being suitable
otherwise for such shady positions. When increase is desired strong plants may
be divided at any time, soon after flowering being the best; if the season be
dry, the young stock should be shaded by a leafy branch and kept well watered.
Flowering period, May and June.
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