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By AndrewR


I was reading a book yesterday while waiting for a meeting to start. It was ‘In The Land of the Blue Poppies’ by Frank Kingdom-Ward. Frank was a plant hunter, and wrote the book after his first solo expedition to western China and southeast Tibet just before the First World War. Although there are lots of descriptions of the terrain and local people, mentions of plants are relatively few and far between. So when I came across mentions of a few, I thought it might be worth looking them up on the Internet.

The first was ajuga ovalifolia, a relative of our native bugle. It looked interesting, so I searched for a supplier. Nothing in the UK, but there was a small nursery in Sweden selling it. What else had they got? That’s when serendipity took a big step.

The star plant from my trip to Chile in 2010 was ourisia poeppigii, with brilliant scarlet flowers, that we found growing beside fast-flowing streams. But extensive searches failed to find either it or the closely related ourisia ruelloides for sale. Until today.

My newly found nursery in Sweden is selling plants of ourisia ruelloides. It should arrive at ‘Devonia’ in April or May!

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Great! What a good blog. We all love a happily ever after tale Andrew.

3 Feb, 2015


Linda - it will be "happily ever after" if I can manage to keep the ourisia alive. I'm sure there must be a good reason why it is not in cultivation.

3 Feb, 2015


A proper plant hunter...its great waiting for plants to arrive

4 Feb, 2015


Lovely photo, hope you succeed. ......

4 Feb, 2015


Did you bring back a soil sample Andrew ? It needs to be in its native type soil. I think Kew Gardens would help you with this.

5 Feb, 2015


Diane - I think it's more a case of a permanently cool, humid atmosphere that is the main requirement. One Chilean website claims it is one of the first casualties when river levels drop due to damming, etc. But I will ask at Kew next time I visit.

5 Feb, 2015


Not being bossy Andrew, but I think the scientists at Kew
would prefer a letter. Gives them time to think about it.

Also the soil in Denmark may be different and suit this
plant better and thats the secret.

5 Feb, 2015


Diane - I sent an enquiry to the RHS and have received a reply:

Ourisia ruelloides is a rare plant in cultivation and we do not have much information on this plant. It does indeed need to grow in reliably moist, fertile, humus-rich soil in partial shade and forms rhizomatous evergreen rosettes of bright green foliage and produces red tubular flowers during late spring and summer.

So not much I didn't already know!

10 Feb, 2015

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