Withering Heights

From winter through spring, you’ll find Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) flowering in The Huntington’s Herb and Shakespeare Gardens. It’s a wonderful biennial we treat as an annual, bolting with a tall raceme (a one-stemmed inflorescence with stalked flowers) that continues to produce flowers at its apex until some point of exhaustion. The tubular flowers are perfect […]

What are the Chances?

Growing up, I understood that when two people (especially family members) behaved…, or responded the same to eventualities, they’d be branded as two peas in a pod.  But science and experience tell us that old saw is misguided. Beyond having been produced in the same fruit (the pod), and appearing similar, peas in a pod […]

An Island Belle

Fairly recently, in 1976, a team of collectors discovered a previously undescribed plant in the Campanula family, on the island of Mauritius.  One of the team, Ian Richardson, named it as Wahlenbergia mauritiana in 1979.  But another team member, Mats Thulin concluded the species is sufficiently distinct to merit its own genus, for which he […]


Students don’t have to travel far to find exotic plants for study.  Common garden plants showcase wonderful specializations that students can enjoy discovering.  Ask them to examine pots of Begonias (which, as children, we called Gebonias), common in gardens and readily available at most garden centers.    When they do closely examine Begonias, students will […]