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.
(old Greek name, supposed to indicate foliage like the ash: hence Fraxinella, diminutive of the Latin Fraxinus, an ash). Rutaceae. Gas-Plant. Burning-Bush. Fraxinella. Dittany. A hardy perennial herb.
Stout plants woody at the base: leaves alternate, odd-pinnate, the leaflets ovate, serrulate and pellucid-punctate: flowers showy, white or rose, on bracted pedicels; petals 5, the lower one declined; disk thickish, annular; stamens 10, declined; ovary deeply 5-lobed, 5-celled, hispid, becoming a hard 5-divided caps., each division or separate part being 2-3-seeded. - One variable species, native from S. Eu. to N. China.
This genus includes an old garden favorite which has a strong smell of lemon, and which will give a flash of light on sultry still summer evenings when a lighted match is held under the flower-cluster and near the main stem. It is one of the most permanent and beautiful features of the hardy herbaceous border. Instances are known in which it has outlived father, son and grandson in the same spot. It thrives in the sun.
The gas plant makes a sturdy, bold, upright growth, and a clump 3 feet high and as much in thickness makes a brave sight when in flower. A strong, rather heavy soil, moderately rich, is best for these plants They are not fastidious as to situation, succeeding as well in partial shade as when fully exposed to the sun, and drought will not affect them when once fairly established. Old strong clumps are good subjects as isolated specimens on a lawn, and a large patch, planted in the border, is not only effective while in full flower, but the dark, persistent foliage is ornamental throughout the season. It is not advisable to disturb the plants very often, as they improve with age, producing taller flower-stems and more of them as they grow older. They are excellent for cutting, especially the white variety. Propagation is accomplished with difficulty by division, but easily by seeds, which are sown in the open ground in fall as soon as ripe, and covered an inch or so. They will germinate the next spring, and, when two years old, the seedlings may be removed to their permanent positions, where they will flower the following year. (J. B. Keller.)
Linn. (D. Fraxinella, Pers. Fraxinella alba, Gaertn. F. Dictamnus, Moench). A vigorous, symmetrical, hardy herb, with glossy leathery foliage surmounted by long showy terminal racemes of good-sized fragrant flowers: leaves alternate, odd-pinnate; leaflets ovate, serrulate, dotted with oil-glands: flowers white. G.C. III. 34:409. Gn. 35:458; 68, p. 73; 75, p. 381. G. 13:25. A.F. 5:328. Gng. 5:321. variety purpureus, Hort., has large dark-colored flowers variety rubra, Hort., has rosy purple flowers, the veins deeper colored. variety giganteus, Hort. (D. giganteus, Hort.). Plant large. variety caucasicus (D. caucasicus, Hort.), is a giant form with racemes twice the length of those of the common kind and standing well above the foliage. R.B. 32, p. 253. Perhaps the same as variety giganteus.
L. H. B.†