The Poached Egg Flower (Limnanthes douglasii)

Limnanthes douglasiiLimnanthes douglasii (The Poached Egg Flower) is particularly attractive to hoverflies

Plant Profile of Limnanthes douglasii; The Poached Egg Flower.

If you are looking for good value in a plant, you can’t beat the attributes that the Poached Egg Flower has to offer. Flowering in early summer, Limnanthes douglasii can offer double value for us gardeners.

There can’t be many of us who would not prefer to use organic means of pest and disease control on our plots wherever possible. The Poached Egg Flower is one plant that we can use to fight one of the most prolific garden pests.

Limnanthes douglasii is a particularly attractive to hoverflies, and the main food source for hoverflies is Aphid, more commonly referred to as Greenfly or Blackfly. So, if you pack your garden with the Poached Egg Flower, you also will fill it with hoverflies, who will in turn feast on the aphid and then you begin to wave goodbye to the aphid population that can be a real problem in the garden. They suck plant sap, stunt growth and spread nasty viruses. So it is a good idea to try interplanting amongst particularly susceptible plants in the border or crops in the vegetable plot.

Limnanthes douglasii flowers for long periods throughout the summer. The numerous flowers have yellow centres with white margins; hence the common name. The 5 petalled flowers last all summer long and are saucer shaped. The Poached Egg Flower is a hardy annual plant, it grows to a maximum height of about 20cm. As with many annuals, the primary objective for the Poached Egg Flower is to produce as many flowers as possible. It therefore produces lots of seed; being an annual, it only has a year to live and therefore wants to leave as many offspring as possible to continue the family line.

Poached Egg Flowers were introduced into this country from California, native to this part of Western USA it inhabits marshy habitats, hence the primary cultivation requirement being reliably moist soil. The Genus name is a direct Latin reference to the nature of the habitats where Limnanthes can be found growing in the wild. The species name; douglasii is a tribute to the plant collector; Douglas.

In ideal conditions; reliably moist soil and full sun, the fern-like, divided, pale green foliage is smothered with blooms. The flowers have a sweet fragrance and are particularly attractive to bees; hence the other common name; ‘bees’ butter’.

If the underlying soil is reliably moist, Poached Egg Flowers are a good planting idea for a sunny rockery. They are also an excellent plant for spilling over a path and softening other low-level hard landscaping features with their spreading habit.

The most economical method to obtain Poached Egg Flowers is to sow seed direct where you want them to grow.

So, if you would like to reduce the aphid population in your garden and would welcome an added splash of ground level yellow and white colours buy a packet of seed and enjoy your poached eggs.

 
 

Article written by on 19 May 2007 and Filed under Annuals.