Fringe cups; Tellima grandiflora

I found this little plant when I was looking for Pick-a-back plant, which is odd because they are fairly closely related, both are in the Saxifrage family, in fact at first I thought that was what I had found but soon realised when I took a close look at the flowers. You can  see the leaves at the base of the photograph and they are quite similar to the Pick-a-back plant.

I sometimes visit Slimbridge, especially when my grandson Fred is staying with us, it is one of his favourite places, also now the toll on the Severn Bridge has been removed it reduces the cost a little. Not only does it have all the interesting birdlife, and some brightly coloured poison dart frogs but some good flowers.  I have photographed several ‘wildflowers’  during my visits there. These include Fringe cups which they have growing in their ‘BBC rain garden’. Also whilst there I have photographed Winter Aconites, Green Hellebore, Loddon Lilly and Solomons Seal. None of them obviously truly wild but  they are there and nice to see. Not that I think it matters that much where I photograph them as this is a plant that is native to North America and owes it presence in our countryside to its use by gardeners. There are several cultivars and it is use is fairly common because of its preference for wet shady places, not so popular with most garden flowers. Then of course as with so many plants it has ‘escaped’ and established itself in the countryside.

The flowers of Fringe cups are arranged on a spike, in a way that is reminiscent of Agrinomy When you look closely at the individual flowers, they have five petals and each is highly fringed, quite unusual. The Pick-a-back plant has a similar leaf shape and the flowers are again on a spike but the individual flowers are quite different, looking somewhat like a spider. Often the flowers of Fringe cups can develop a pink or even reddish colour. In the photograph they are all a greenish yellow colour. When they show elements of pink or red it is normally the flowers at the bottom of the spike which exhibit it most.

The specimens at Slimbridge did show this tendency to pink, they also showed another characteristic, not shown by the one in my first photograph which is for the flower spike to curl over at the top.


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