Monday, February 6, 2012

Eye of the Pheasant (Adonis)

Almost a year ago I blogged for Denver Botanic Gardens on Adonis amurensis, one of only a handful of plants that will bloom in the depths of winter. I recall the first time I saw this species was at my mentor's house (Paul Maslin), well over forty years ago, blooming during a January thaw. A small clump in the Rock Alpine Garden just managed to pop a few flowers last week, maintaining, its unsullied reputation as harbinger...

This is one of my champion clumps at home: I have not been on the famous spring bank at Winterthur in early spring, but apparently they have hundreds if not thousands of these that bloom there in March (weather dependent of course)...that I would like to see! I blather on quite a bit about this in my other blog, which you should reference (it is hypertext in the first sentence of this blog), but for now, all I wish do ask is why pheasant's eye? that seems to be the only common name attached to this genus...

Perhaps this is the reason: I have seen pictures of some gallinoid birds with bright red eyes. Maybe this annual Adonis anuus is the source of the fanciful common name. Strange to think those hoary yellow perennials (that can live for decades) share a genus with a handful of evanescent annual species. Each year I am nervous at how many of these return on my big xeriscape: even though their flowers are the fraction of the size of their winter cousin's, the color makes up for size. Now all I need is a real pheasant or two, and life would be perfect!


  1. Panayoti, I wanted to give a little shout-out to you & your blog by passing along the Liebster Blog Award, but do not feel any obligation to participate. But if you want to, that would be wonderful! I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your plant-filled voice out here in blogland. I am working on the post now and it should be up in a few minutes.

    Your flower floozy friend,

  2. Panayoti,
    The one Adonis we have to get a hold of somehow is A aleppica (A palaestina), it apparantly is an annual with LARGE red flowers. Seems from photos on the net there are both narrow and wide petaled forms, the wide petaled ones look especially promising.

  3. Hear Hear to both of you: I've been in the Alps for most of the last week: snowy and glorious!

    Back to Cyberlife soon...


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