Edithcolea grandis is named after Miss Edith Cole (1859-1940). She travelled with Mr and Mrs Lort Phillips on a botanical expedition in 1895. Edithcole makes an attractive plant. It is drought resistant and, when not in flower, is rather an insignificant plant. The flowers are amazing, even described as a Persian carpet, and it seems the more TLC the plant gets the less it flowers. The pity is that they smell so awful which attracts flies and insects for pollination.
Eichornia crassipes or Water hyacinth is an aquatic plant from the Amazon Basin and that is where is should have remained. It can grow into a substantial plant reaching 1 meter high. It thrives with its feathery free hanging roots in the water and the large leaves above. The lavender flowers are quite beautiful, resembling over-grown Hyacinths. Sadly this where the beauty stops, as it is so invasive it can double its population in two weeks and it is said to be one of the fastest growing plants known to man. Eichhornia crassipes has caused huge problems worldwide; including Lake Victoria, after it was introduced in the 1980s. When the plant gets established it has a dramatic impact on the area; blocking the water flow, preventing the sun from reaching the ‘native’ aquatic plants, and eventually starving the water of oxygen killing the fish, turtles and other water creatures and becoming a ‘maternity ward’ for mosquitoes, snails and other bad pond creatures.
In defense of Eichornia crassipes, in the garden it is beautiful in any pond, when it becomes overgrown it is easy to add to the compost heap.
Industrially it is used for waste water treatment. The roots naturally absorb pollutants including lead and mercury. The plant is also said to be edible and rich in carotene.
Blue Dune Grass
Lymus arenarius, Blue Dune Grass, is native to Central and Northern Europe and the coldest shores of North America. During the 17th c., under William III, the Scottish Parliament passed a law protecting Leymus arenarius, then in the 18th c. in the reign of George I, the British Parliament expanded the law to protect the plants on English coasts, declaring the cutting or possession of the grass to be a penal offence.
It is a stunning clump forming perennial grass with blue leaves. It grows in full sun and on the seaward side of the house. It is not fussy about soil but does better in a pot and must not be over watered. No dudus are interested in this foreigner.
Epipremnum aureum is native to the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is a hemiepiphyt that begins life with small heart shaped leaves. The plant likes to climb and once it is able to do this, adhering to the trees with its aerial roots, the leaves become huge, even reaching up to 3 feet across. Epipremnum aureum requires no extra care and in fact it is difficult to kill! In Northern Australia; Sri Lanka and other countries it is causing ecological problems.
The USDA for Florida, Exotic Pest Control Council list 1999, names it as an invasive species. All parts of this plant are toxic to humans, cats and dogs.
Episcia is a genus of 10 species that are found in the tropical regions of Central and South America. They are related to African Violets and are grown for their highly attractive, coloured foliage, and vivid flower colours.
Episcia can be a difficult plant to grow. They hate the sun and being over watered – it will look unhappy if it is under watered but will die if over watered. They are easy to propagate – the plant sends out stolons (like strawberry runners) which can be cut and the young plants planted in a new pot.
I had this plant named as a Pseuderanthemum. I am not the only person who has made this error and it is listed in places as ‘Purple False Eranthemum!
It is one of my favourite garden plants as the colour of the leaves is quite magic in the right place. It is a fairly tough though maybe not as tough as the Pseuderanthemums. It needs to grow in shade and is fairly drought resistant but needs water from time to time. Prune to keep in shape and use the off-cuts to make cuttings. The plant can be attacked by mealy bug when they can’t find something preferable but it is easy to prune the affected branches off.
Eucharis amazonica contains 15 – 20 species in the family and is native to Central and South America. It is a bulbous plant with large broad dark green and spectacularly showy leaves resembling Hostas, (which sadly will not grow at the coast).
These are best grown in pots as they like to be pot bound but they ‘pout’ if disturbed, so only re-pot when absolutely necessary. Rich, well-draining potting soil mixture is best, with the tip of the bulb neck slightly above the soil surface. This should be kept moist and fertilized every month to encourage flowers. Watch out for the amaryllis caterpillar.
Eulophia petersii, the Razor Orchid, grows in the arid areas of Northern Kenya and other parts of Africa. It is one of the most desert-adapted orchids and, in spite of being an orchid, it behaves much like a succulent, storing water in its pseudo-bulbs, thick rigid leaves, and an ample system of fleshy roots.
It grows very well at the coast, being happiest in open ground, but can manage pots. If grown in pots, they should be strong enough to accommodate the big root system. Use a coarse, well-drained mixture as Eulophia petersii don’t like ‘wet roots’. Under water and the plant looks unhappy; over water and the plant is dead!
Eulophia petersii is happiest in full sun and, to ensure flowering, give the plant a rest by withholding water. Re-pot and divide if necessary after the resting period. Three-bulb divisions is the best to make for a normal-sized new growth and usually it will flower the next year.
Euphorbia cotinifolia is native to Mexico and South America. It is a tree but best treated as a shrub. The colour of the foliage is a garnet red. It is easy to grow, not fussy about the soil conditions, and fairly drought tolerant. Give it plenty of sun to turn the leaves their wonderful shade of red – the less sun the less the colour. Propagation – cuttings root very easily. The sap is poisonous.