We Love A Good Mystery

Dictamnus
Dictamnus albus ‘Purpureus’. Photo © Phil Scriven 2014

by Jennifer Nash

Phil brought–in a cutting for identification, from his Grandma’s garden. He tells us she purchased the plant at a sale a few years back. Now fully established, she protects it from family marauders. The aroma is what her grandchildren are coveting for their gardens.

I have to say, Joel and I we were puzzled. We had our suspicions, but needed to delve into our library of plant identification books for confirmation. Before we could crack a single book, Phil called to say that a more detailed internet search revealed the name of the specimen. Mystery solved!

Let me introduce you to a Gas Plant – no, not the recent Ontario scandal – Dictamnus albus ‘Purpureus’. Also known as burning bush, false dittany, white dittany and Fraxinella. The whole plant is covered in a volatile oil that is supposedly flammable in the heat of summer. I wonder if the new Liberal majority should investigate burning Dictamnus to light our homes?

In the past, I have ordered the seed, and unsuccessfully made attempts to germinate gas plant. In the seed catalogue the flowers were white though. After examining and smelling Phil’s cutting, I’m on the hunt for the same seed strain as Phil’s Grandma’s. Well worth trying to propagate this perennial, again.

One thought on “We Love A Good Mystery”

  1. I don’t know if I could have identified it with the pic, but probably could have in person. We always had “gas plants” growing in our garden on Glebeholme. I remember it either gives of the smell in the evening or when you rub it. I know I was fascinated by it.

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