Pentstemon

[From Greek words, signifying five and a stamen., because of the conspicuous imperfect' fifth stamen.]

Beautiful, herbaceous plants, peculiarly American, abounding in the "West and South-west of our vast country, and in Mexico. The flowers of all the species are more or less bell-shaped, racemes or spikes. The colors are scar-let, purple, blue, lilac, and parti-colored. Some of the species are hardy and stand our winters with a little protection, while others are half-hardy and require the protection of frames.

Pentstemon Murrayanus. Murray's Pentstemon

A perennial plant, a native of Texas, about three feet high, producing spikes of numerous flowers, of a rich shining scarlet color; each flower is an inch and one-half long, or upwards. It is a most splendid flowering plant. A single spike has been known to produce upwards of fifty blossoms. This is an English description; here it is half-hardy.

P. Cobaea. Cobaea-Flowered Pentstemon

This is a very showy perennial species, producing panicled spikes of numerous pale-blue flowers, which have a most showy appearance. The flower-stems rise about two feet high; half-hardy.

P. Richardsoni. Richardson's Pentstemon

A hardy perennial from Oregon, which grows to the height of eighteen inches; flowers in July and August, of a pinkish-purple color. It does not admit of division of the root, and should be increased by cuttings, which readily strike root about mid-summer. Most of the species must be treated in the same way, or raised from seeds.

P. Speciesas. Showy Pentstemon

This beautiful species is a native of the north-west coast of America, A hardy perennial, but requiring a protection of leaves, and can be propagated by the division of the roots. The flowers are disposed in a long, terminal, loose, racemose panicle, with the branches in distant pairs, and bearing from seven to eleven blossoms of a beautiful pale-blue color.

P. Pubescens - Downy Pentstemon

Produces its purplish-blue flowers about June; the pubescent (downy) leaves are lanceolate, oblong, sessile, and serrulate; the flowers, with the sterile filament bearded above the middle, in a thin panicle; one foot and one-half high. A smooth variety is P. laevigatum, which is very similar, but with paler flowers.

P. Campanulatus

This species is known under several names, such as P. pulchellus, P. atropurpureas, P. roseus, etc. It has large bell-shaped, pale-purple flowers, and long lanceolate, smooth serrate leaves; one foot high. It flowered finely though the last autumnal months, in our collection, although it was from seed the same season.

P. Caerulcus

P. caerulcus, is one of the finest of the genus, a native of the South, with beautiful blue flowers. Stem smooth; radical leaves linear, entire; cauline ones lance-linear, en-tire, all sessile; sterile filament short, bearded above; divisions of the calyx lanceolate, acute, glabrous.

P. Barbatus. Bearded Pentstemon

This is sometimes called Chelone barbata. It is a half-hardy perennial from Mexico; a splendid plant, with flower-stems three feet high, covered with a profusion of scarlet-orange flowers; from July to September. It will be necessary to cover it well with pine boughs, or straw, in the winter, or it may be destroyed by the frost. The safest way is, to place the plants in a cold frame for the winter.

When seeds can be obtained, there will be no trouble in raising a supply of plants. It is said to be difficult, or even impossible, to raise the seeds in heat. We are inclined to believe there is some truth in the remark, as we succeeded in raising only a few plants in a moderate hot-bed, while those sown in the open ground in May, produced an abundance. As the seeds are very small, they should only be pressed into the soil, or very slightly covered. The young plants should be sheltered from the mid-day sun. Most of the species are easily propagated from cuttings or layers, which readily take root. A mixture of peat and loam is the best soil for them.

Perilla. Perilla Nankinensis. Purple-Leaved Perilla

An annual, growing from two to two and one-half feet high; stems branching, well covered with an ample foliage of a dark-purple, almost black. Leaves petioled, opposite, oval, with pointed ends, the sides dented, smooth and glossy on both surfaces, sometimes slightly crisped and exhaling, when rubbed, an odor like cinnamon. The flowers are at the axils of the larger leaves, bilabiate, rose or pale-purple, small, but very numerous and producing but little effect. The principal merit of this plant consists in the strange color of the foliage, which contrasts in a remarkable manner with that of most cultivated plants; its fine habit, its robust terperament, and its being an annual, make it very appropriate for masses in the borders of a flower-garden. Seeds scattered on the ground in autumn will vegetate in the spring, and produce an abundance of plants; or the seed may be sown in a mild hot-bed or cold frame in April, and transplanted to the garden in June.