Oxalis in Motion

Oxalis asinia

Oxalis asinia

Oxalis species have wonderful variety in both flowers and foliage.  There are more than 800 species altogether, most from South Africa.  One of the characteristics that I’ve seen in most of the varieties that I’ve grown is a strong responsiveness to light.  Both flowers and leaves can be responsive to light, but the unfolding and refolding of the flowers is particularly lovely to watch.  Rather than just opening and closing they actually twist at the same time so that when closed they take on the aspect of a very tight cylinder.

Oxalis asinia wrapped

Oxalis asinia wrapped

To illustrate the process I made a time-lapse video of Oxalis purpurea ‘Skar’ over a 4 hour period one morning in the dining room.

The flowers come to life as they greet the sun each day.  Notice the untwisting.

Here are some of the other Oxalis that we are enjoying right now.

Oxalis pardalis

Oxalis pardalis

 

Oxalis cathera

Oxalis cathera

 

Oxalis purpea 'Lavender & White'

Oxalis purpea ‘Lavender & White’

 

Oxalis polyphylla var. heptaphylla

Oxalis polyphylla var. heptaphylla

If you are interested in Oxalis I suggest a visit to Telos Rare Bulbs.  Diana Chapman, the proprietor, has an exquisite collection of Oxalis (among many other bulbs).

Another south african that is fully open right now is Polyxena ensifolia.

Polyxena ensifolia

Polyxena ensifolia

So many buds packed into a very tight space.

One other item to mention today is the arrival of Daubyena stylosa.  When we were visitng the Brooklyn Botanic Garden last Thanksgiving I noticed a marvelous Daubyena Stylosa plant in full flower.  It was the first I had ever seen of that species.  However I had just that august planted a few seedlings that I had obtained from a Pacific Bulb Society exchange.  And now the first flowers have arrived on one of those seedlings.

Daubenya stylosa

Daubenya stylosa

 

One comment on “Oxalis in Motion

  1. diversifolius

    It is quite mesmerizing to watch the opening of Oxalis! Unrelated, one year we got fascinated by the Datura gigantic trumpets that have the same twirling ‘style’.
    Polyxena is new for me and extremely cute; well, all of these one cannot attempt to grow without a greenhouse…