About 22 plants are vying for plant of the day today. I’m working on the display garden for the 2009 Yard, Garden and Patio show and have been all over collecting sweet little plants out of grower’s greenhouses. I believe I heard my dear colleague exclaim ‘Now that’s a cutie-patootie!’ over a dozen times today. She likened our mission to picking out puppies.
I’ll just have to mete out the favorites over the next few days, but to give you a taste:
Selaginellaceae, The Spikemoss family
I would like to propose calling it Copper Spikemoss because I don’t know of any common names other than ‘Gemmiferous Spikemoss’ which is obviously most uncommon. (I do not believe I am obliged to consult the ICBN in order to tinker with common names.)
Firstly, it’s the biggest spikemoss I’ve ever seen, by about 200%. It’s a bright copper color, soft ferny texture. It’s evergreen, hardy to zone 6/7. It prefers part shade and regular watering until established and reputedly dislikes crowding. Grows to about 8″ by 12″.
Apparently it is kind of crazy in that it has one of the smallest genomes (100 mega base pairs – thanks Wikipedia!) of any known plant. It’s more closely related to Lycopodium and mosses than to other plants. It’s ancient.