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Author Topic: Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours  (Read 7231 times)

Alan_b

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Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours
« on: June 21, 2012, 08:12:33 PM »
Jupiter's Beard, Centranthus ruber, is a plant I have always knows as Valerian but there is another plant of the same name and it's official (Valeriana officianalis).  So I think the plant I am interested in is more correctly called Red Valerian (sometimes Red Spur Valerian) which would be fine  except that it comes in dark red, pink and white.  It's a great plant, likes full sun but is very drought tolerant so it tends to sow itself into crevices where nothing else would grow - making it an ideal plant for a rock garden if you have large rocks.   I think because it is widely naturalized and grows in inhospitable spots without the need for care, it is often overlooked.  The only downside I can think of is that it has an unpleasant scent so it's no good as a cut flower; outside in a garden there isn't a problem.

About a year ago I took a train from London to Penzance.  In Devon and Cornwall you see lots of Jupiter's Beard naturalised and looking out of the train window I started to wonder if there really were just the three colours.  Since then I have been trying to research the more obscure forms but so far I have not succeeded in actually obtaining any.  My interest was re-kindled by another visit to Cornwall as the plant was growing in many of the walls around where we stayed.

The common forms have flowers which are either dark red, or pink, or white.  I think the photo (below) shows two different shades of the pink form, but my wife disagrees.

There is reference here to a very rare pale pink form http://michaelpeverett.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/centranthus-ruber-red-valerian.html and there was a cultivar called "First Blush" http://www.cgf.net/plants.aspx?id=8&hid=6&genus=CENTRANTHUS which is described as "soft lilac" but this has been abandoned; I'm not sure if it was the same or different.

There is an unobtainable cultivar called "Swanage" which has variegated leaves and a few others whose special features I have yet to determine.

I would be interested to hear from anyone who:
  • Grows an unusual cultivar
  • Has seen an unusual variety
  • Knows of a nursery that actually sells any of the more obscure cultivars

         
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emma T

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Re: Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2012, 02:59:39 PM »
I only grow the red, white and dark pinkish. A lot of people wanted seeds from the white one i grow here. If you want any seeds just ask. If a pale pink one turns up i will let you know  :)

I have never seen the variegated form.
Emma Thick Glasshouse horticulturalist And Galanthophile, keeper of 2 snowdrop crushing French bulldogs. I have small hands , makes my snowdrops look big :D

David Nicholson

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Re: Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2012, 09:15:00 PM »
Alan, maybe this Nursery would be worth a look

http://www.herbnursery.co.uk/
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Alan_b

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Re: Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2012, 07:20:15 AM »
Thanks for responding, Emma.  In my experience the white form is the least common amongst naturalized plants.  But even there there is a bit of a mystery.  According to the RHS Encyclopaedia of Perennials the variety that might think from the name was white, "Albus", is "off white with a pinkish tinge, shorter" but "Snowcloud" (which I think probably originates as the marketing name of the white seed strain sold by Thomson and Morgan) is pure white.  The RHS Plant Finder also lists "Albus Purus" or "Alba Pura" which I presume is also pure white.  Personally, I have never noticed any difference between white forms and have not found the off-white one.  Also, T&M suggests "Snowcloud" makes a good cut flower - does this mean it lacks the normal unpleasant scent?  Emma, If you would like to try an experiment, put some of your white ones inside in a vase and then see if you have to take them outside again because of the unpleasant smell.

David, I drew a blank with the plant list from The Herb Nursery, just red and white forms.     
« Last Edit: June 23, 2012, 09:43:08 AM by Alan_b »
Almost in Scotland.

emma T

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Re: Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2012, 03:32:59 PM »
will do
Emma Thick Glasshouse horticulturalist And Galanthophile, keeper of 2 snowdrop crushing French bulldogs. I have small hands , makes my snowdrops look big :D

Alan_b

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Re: Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2012, 11:57:28 AM »
Thanks, Emma.  If anyone else would like to join in the experiment of seeing if they can use Jupiter's Beard/Red Valerian as a cut flower I would be very interested to know the results.  If the internet is to be believed many people do this.  The scent/smell is not hugely strong and perhaps you can get away with a single stem as part of an arrangement but a vase full is quite unpleasant, in my experience.
Almost in Scotland.

loes

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Re: Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2012, 09:11:30 PM »
I used to have the red and the white form in my front garden.
Last witer all the white ones have died and only a few reds are present.
I have never put my nose in these flowers to smell them,scared to get too relaxed I gess.
I will get a few flowers inside to check the smell.
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Alan_b

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Re: Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2012, 06:36:55 AM »
That's an interesting observation, Loes.  Perhaps the tendency of these plants to grow in walls and crevices is partially down to the fact that this offers a warmer micro-climate for the fleshy roots where they are better-able to withstand cold weather in winter?

I've noticed that the Wikipedia entry on Centranthus Ruber agrees with me saying: "They have a strong and somewhat rank scent".
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emma T

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Re: Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2012, 10:28:36 AM »
I have one in the house, i have not noticed a rank smell  :-\ 
Emma Thick Glasshouse horticulturalist And Galanthophile, keeper of 2 snowdrop crushing French bulldogs. I have small hands , makes my snowdrops look big :D

emma T

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Re: Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2012, 12:41:22 PM »
put a vase full in the bosses house for 3 days, all three colours......no noticeable smell was reported at all. Chucked flowers out today as they had gone over, not because of any smell.
Emma Thick Glasshouse horticulturalist And Galanthophile, keeper of 2 snowdrop crushing French bulldogs. I have small hands , makes my snowdrops look big :D

Alan_b

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Re: Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2012, 08:08:39 AM »
Thanks, Emma; that was a bit of a risk you took with your boss.  Either there are "scented" and unscented forms or something else strange is happening.   
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emma T

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Re: Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2012, 09:25:04 AM »
 ;D   smell is subjective, just thought id see what happened.

The white has no sent to it at all.

 The pink and the red have a very faint sickly sweet smell to them. Nothing that i can detect, that i would describe as rank   .

I still have a pink one in my house 3 days in. I shall keep you posted and let you know what happens .


Emma Thick Glasshouse horticulturalist And Galanthophile, keeper of 2 snowdrop crushing French bulldogs. I have small hands , makes my snowdrops look big :D

Alan_b

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Re: Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2012, 12:37:22 PM »
I went right out into my garden to try one of my white ones.  I put my nose right up against it and took a big sniff.  It definitely has a scent and the scent definitely has unpleasant overtones, dog pee, mouse droppings?  I don't know exactly, but not something you want inside your house.

But I agree that smell can be very subjective.  There is a Salvia that bears the common name of Housemaid's Armpits that I personally don't find smells too unpleasant, outdoors at least. 
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Alan_b

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Re: Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2012, 07:21:34 AM »
Curiouser and curiouser.  After a few hours indoors the unpleasant smell from my white Centranthus ruber became much stronger; "pig poo" is how my wife described it (although I paraphrase slightly).  We had to take the vase outside, as happened with our previous experience with the red form.  Perhaps it has an adverse reaction with the hard water we have in this area?
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emma T

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Re: Jupiter's Beard in unusual colours
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2012, 09:16:11 AM »
thats very weird ! how much did you have in the house ? maybe i should try a bigger bunch and see what happens .

Can you take a photo of the bunch and i will try and replicate it here and see what happens ? lets make a proper test  :)

I am not getting any smell from mine at all  :-\
Emma Thick Glasshouse horticulturalist And Galanthophile, keeper of 2 snowdrop crushing French bulldogs. I have small hands , makes my snowdrops look big :D

 


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