Umbilicus Chrysanthus - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Umbilicus Chrysanthus Described.
Umbilicus Chrysanthus -
Nat. Ord. Crassulaceæ.
This is a very pretty and distinct subject, and never fails to flower very
late in the year. It is a plant having the appearance of being tender, and is
not often seen growing fully exposed in the garden; it is, however, perfectly
hardy, enduring any amount of cold; it suffers more from wet. It is also evergreen.
Its soft dull or greyish-green rosettes are in marked contrast with the rigid
and shining sempervivums, in the company of which it is frequently placed. It
is an alpine subject, and comes from the mountains of Asiatic Turkey, being also
found more west. Not only is it interesting, but its pretty form and habit are
qualities which render it very useful in a garden, more especially for dry parts,
such as old walls and rockwork.
It grows 6in. high, the older rosettes elongate
and form leafy flower stalks, which are topped by drooping panicles of flowers,
somewhat bell shaped; each flower is ¾in. long, of a yellowish white colour;
the petals are finely pointed, and well supported by a fleshy calyx; the bloom
is slowly developed and very enduring, even when the worst weather prevails.
The leaves are arranged in flat rosette form (the rosettes from 1in. to 2in.
across), lower leaves spathulate, those near the centre more oval.
All are fleshy, covered with short hairs, and somewhat clammy to the touch.
Its habit is neat, and it adorns such situations as otherwise suit it, viz., banks or risen beds, and such other positions as have already been named.
Its culture is easy, but it ought to have the compost it most enjoys—peat
and grit—and it should be sheltered from the strong winds, otherwise its
top-heavy flower stalks will be laid prostrate. When it once finds a happy home
it increases fast; the thick stalks are procumbent and emit roots. These may
either be left to form large specimens or be taken off during the growing season
for stock. Excessive wet is its greatest enemy. For such subjects, the wire and
glass shelters are not only a remedy, but very handy.
Flowering period, summer, until stopped by frosts.
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