Mark Fillan and I had already named a very good clone of the evergreen, shrubby Euphorbia x pasteurii after a good friend of ours, John Phillips. He was one of the first to grow this hybrid of E. mellifera and E. stygiana in the UK, initially under the erroneous name E. stygiana. He had, however, realised its hybrid status before it was officially recognised and named by the Oxford Botanic Garden.
During a visit here by Roy Lancaster a couple of years ago I showed him another, rather exceptional, very wide spreading clone and I was told that I really must name it. Dutifully I followed my orders and gave it the title ‘Phrampton Phatty’.
Larger in both leaves and flowers than either parent, ‘Phrampton Phatty’ combines the full form of E. mellifera with the broad spread of E. stygiana. The plant in the photo is currently approximately 2m tall by 3.5m wide and still growing strongly (the photo above was taken a month ago). I planted it in late 2004.
This would be a good time to comment on the muddle and confusion going on in the trade at present concerning the name E. stygiana. As I mentioned at the beginning, E. x pasteurii entered the UK incorrectly identified as E. stygiana. Material was distributed to gardeners and nurserymen and the name has unfortunately stuck, with some. At least one well known nursery seems very resistant to change, even though I have informed them of their mistake. Watch out if you’re keen on obtaining the true E. stygiana (gorgeous as it is), you may well end up with a clone of E. x pasteurii, unless of course you come to me for the real thing. You might, while you’re here, if you have the room, want to pick yourself up a ‘Phrampton Phatty’ too 🙂
This impressive Chilean and Argentinian endemic fern has been rather a holy grail plant for many fern fanciers for quite some time. Well now it’s here, but it still remains rare and in short supply, though I still have some good sized plants available in 10lt pots.
This has, until very recently, been confused with the well known and widely grown Blechnum chilense, even by English fern buffs on the ground in Chile, though heaven knows why. I have recently had the chance to study plants of both species in the wild and the differences could not be clearer. Firstly, if you are lucky enough to see them, really old plants of B. magellanicum form stout trunks to about 1.2m high, rendering them quite cycad-like, unlike B. chilense which never remotely reaches such proportions. More important features, considering one may be comparing younger plants, are that B. magellanicum has very shiny fronds as opposed to the always dull surfaced B. chilense. The pinnae on B. magellanicum lack a stalk and the new fronds don’t display the rather striking pinky colouring often seen on B. chilense.
I believe this is the first time this, the most southerly of Mexico’s Beschorneria’s, has been offered for sale in the UK. B. albiflora is most unique in the genus in that each rosette of the plant forms a distinct trunk, sometimes up to 3m long. The generally rather green leaves are produced abundantly, giving a lush effect.
The long-branched inflorescence can be up to 3m in length and is mainly pale pink with distinctive, contrasting, whitish-green buds, which turn pink as they open.
This is probably the least hardy of all the Beschorneria species, so it’ll need winter protection in most areas of the UK, though mild Cornish or central London sites should suit it well. Coastal Ireland would no doubt be perfect and I’m sure other mild enclaves where it would thrive could be found. I’ll grow mine in a pot and drag it under cover for the winter months.