While today’s cold wind and rain are whipping the flowers that remain out in the garden, I thought I’d share pictures of a favorite, and unusual, houseplant of mine that bloomed indoors this week: Sansevieria kirkia var. pulchella.
Sorry, it doesn’t have a common name, but as a Sanseveria it is related to the plants commonly known as mother-in-law’s tongue and snake plant. (I have something of a collection of them, but won’t go into detail here, because someone may try to cart me away to the loony bin if I mention another plant collection.) Sansevieria kirkia var. pulchella is native to southeastern tropical Africa. It is as tough and undemanding a houseplant as you can find.
It’s really hard to catch the full effect of the flowers in a picture. The individual tubes measure 7 inches from the base to the tip of the pistil. A bit of a search on the internet yielded pictures of other gardener’s plants that are producing much more spectacular flowers than mine did. Still, I’m thrilled.
The flowers are composed of many 7-inch-long tubes that are maybe 1/8 inch wide. Watching the tubes open is an experience in and of itself. They split at the tip into lobes that roll up to reveal spidery stamens and a pistil. Alas, each flower only opens for about 24 hours before wilting, but all the flowers in an umbel don’t open on the same day, which helps spread out the show a little bit.
Like most sanseverias, this one is quite drought tolerant and bears tough, leathery, evergreen leaves. Unlike many, the leaves are primarily horizontal. Since individual leaves can reach 2 feet in length, it’s easy to end up with a really handsome clump that spans 4 feet. (It takes planning to get mine into the house every fall!)
As I finish this post, sloppy wet snowflakes are pounding my office windows. It’s nice to have started the winter season with flowers in the house already!