This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(compounded of Greek words referring to the division of the stamens into two series). Commelinaceae. Tropical perennial herbs, with handsome foliage, often beautifully variegated, and rich blue flowers borne in thyrse-like panicles.
Stems simple or branched, erect or partially scandent, the leaves sheathing at the nodes: leaves entire, sessile or petiolate, mostly long: sepals 3, distinct, ovate or oblong, green or colored, not equal; petals 3, distinct, wider than the sepals; stamens 6 or 5; ovary sessile, 3-celled: fruit an ovate-3-angled 3valved caps., few-seeded. - About 30 species in the American tropics.
The dichorisandras are usually handled as warmhouse subjects, although some of them may be plunged in the open ground south of Philadelphia. D. thyrsiflora is a satisfactory plant of unusual and interesting appearance, which requires little attention when once well established, and may be relied upon to flower regularly year after year. It needs careful repotting every year at first until a good-sized pot (say 8-inch) is well filled with roots. It then throws up a strong shoot each year about 5 or 6 feet high, unbranched, and with perhaps 8 or 9 leaves near the top. The handsome thyrse of blue flowers gives a color that is rare in the greenhouse. This plant may be the only representative of its interesting order in a private collection. It is willing to be crowded into the background, where its bare stem is hidden, and where the light may be poorest. The stem dies down in the winter time, when water should be gradually withdrawn. Water should be given liberally during the growing season. Of the foliage plants of this genus, D. mosaica is commonest.
It is dwarfer, and does not flower so regularly. (Robert Shore.)
Simple or nearly so, stout, 3-6 ft.: distinguished by its large leaves, which are lanceolate, narrowed into a distinct petiole, glabrous, 6-10 in. long, 2 in. wide, green on both sides: stem about 3 ft. high, scarcely branched, robust, glabrous: racemes subpanicled, pubescent; petals dark or light blue; sepals glabrous, blue or somewhat herbaceous. Brazil. B.R. 682. L.B.C. 12:1196. P.M. 3:127. G. 27:569. J.H. 111.43:262.
(D. musaica, Koch & Lind.). stem erect, simple, stout, spotted: distinguished by its large, broadly elliptical leaves, which are roundish at the base, sessile, glabrous, about 6 in. long, 3-4 in. wide, with a short, sharp, rather abrupt point: stem unbranched, robust, spotted: raceme short, densely thyrsoid; sepals white or greenish. Gt. 1868:593. F.S. 16:1711. - Its chief beauty is the mosaic appearance of the foliage, due to numberless short transverse whitish lines, which do not pass by the longitudinal veins of the If. The under side of the leaves is a rich purplish color. variety gigantea, Hort., a large form, has been offered.
Variety undata, Miller (D. undata, C. Koch & Lind.). Foliage without any mosaic appearance, the variegation being entirely longitudinal. Each parallel vein lies in the middle of a long, whitish band extending the full length of the If. F.S. 17:1763. G.W. 3, p. 159.
Fig. 1259. Dicentra Cucullaria. - Dutchman's Breeches.
Stemless: leaves in a rosette, almost sessile, narrowly oblong, wavy, acutish, short-cuneate at the base, sparsely pilose on both sides: panicles terminal, sessile, much shorter than the leaves Brazil. I.H. 41:19. Handsomely variegated with countless short longitudinal lines. - D. albo-margindta, Lind. stem 3-4 ft.: leaves lanceolate, acuminate, attenuate to base, glabrous: raceme peduncled, 2 in. long, dense; petals dark blue, white at base; sepals white. Brazil. G.W. 4, p. 307. - D. angustifolia, Lind. & Rod. stem purple, spotted green: leaves oblong-lanceolate, sessile, glabrous, roundish at the base, acute, about 6 in. long, 2 in. wide at the middle, purple below, marked above with short transverse white lines. Ecuador. I.H. 39:158. - D. leucophthalmos. Hook., differs in having radical infloresence, its flowers lying flat on the ground. Leaves elliptic, acuminate, green on both sides: flowers blue, with a white eye; stamens 6. Brazil. B.M. 4733. J.F. 4:428. - D. ovalifolia, Presl. Leaves oval, sessile, acuminate, glabrous, the upper ones oblong-lanceolate: panicle wide-branching. Nicaragua to Colombia. - D. oxypetala, look., is instantly recognized by its acute petals, which are purple. Leaves green on both sides.
Brazil. B.M. 2721. - D. picta, Lodd., has narrower petals than usual, with a white spot at the base, but is told from all others here described by the irregular blotches of purple on the upper side of the leaves The purple is the same color as that on the under surface. Brazil (?). B.M 4760. L.B.C. 17:1667. - D. Regina, Hort. = Tradescantia Reginae, Lind. & Rod., introduced about 20 years ago by a firm of Continental Eu. -D. Saundersii, Hook., differs from all others here described in the extreme density of its head-like infloresence Leaves green on both sides, lanceolate: sepals white, tinged blue. Brazil. B.M. 6165. - D. Siebertii, Hort. A little-known plant with white midrib and margins; probably a form of D. ovalifolia. - D. thysiana=Palisota.
Wilhelm Miller. L. H. B.†