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What Is It?

unknown flower

So this Spring I decided to provide the ferals with cat beds plant a few flowers to add some interest to the front of the house and get the roses my Mother decided I needed into the ground.

In a long planter I planted Mexican heather [cuphea hyssopifolia] in the center with marigolds in front and behind it. The marigolds died from some sort of fungus and I pulled them up. Then, from the front of the heather I noticed a small reddish vine tipped with a red flower appear.

In the weeks that followed more the vines came out to produce what you see in the picture. They grow along the ground until they are ready to bloom, and then they shoot up. The flowers are about 1¼ inches [3 cm] across with multiple buds on the tips and they close at night, reopening in the day. They look like primroses, but the rest of the plant doesn’t. I assume it was a stray seed from the nursery where the heather was grown, and probably non-native. I don’t plan to do anything with it much, but I’d like to know what it is.

4 comments

1 hipparchia { 08.15.12 at 7:32 pm }

one of the many portulaca species, perhaps? maybe a portulaca oleracea? http://toptropicals.com/catalog/uid/portulaca_oleracea.htm

2 Bryan { 08.15.12 at 8:18 pm }

I think you’re right. I have portulaca grandiflora doubles growing between the roses and that is the normal variety in nurseries around here. What threw me was the non-succulent looking leaves of some of the varieties of the oleracea.

It’s a fast moving sucker and filled up a third of that planter in no time. They really like the sun on the East side of the house.

3 hipparchia { 08.15.12 at 10:44 pm }

my first thought was moss roses! followed by wait, they’re not quite right… so i typed ‘moss rose’ into ye olde search engine and discovered that moss roses are just the tip of the iceberg.

i hear ya on the cat beds. mine too, although several of them aren’t really cats, they’re really small fur-covered earth-moving machines who excavate just exactly the right size and shape cat beds whenever i foolishly try to provide them with homegrown catnip and cat grass.

4 Bryan { 08.16.12 at 12:15 am }

Somecat slept in the heather last night, but it is resilient and the little purple flowers are still appearing. It would be nice if they would stay in the back where nothing is growing. I may dump some rye grass seed in there for them to eat and sleep on.

None of them seem interested in catnip, so I stopped growing it.