Monday, May 27, 2013

American Columbo Blooms...In Tiger Way Gardens

(May 19, 2013)

I wanted to share some pictures of the American Columbo, aka Frasera caroliniensis. When Mr. Fix-it and I purchased our land a friend of ours (the Saint) noted a neat plant growing on it. I posted about that neat plant here. You can see this majestic native wildflower as it comes up on the other post. Today's post is the progression from bloom and back. The above flower is a perfect flower. This means it has both female and male parts and is self fertile. Many seeds will be set from this plant as it dies. Yes, the plant will die because American Columbo is a monocarp; which means it blooms once then dies. But don't worry, there are tons of nearby plants waiting to take its place. No one knows for sure just how many years it takes for an American Columbo to bloom but various estimates say between seven and fifteen years. I plan to try to research it a bit by marking new plants and cataloging them.
(May 19, 2013)

The above flower is but one of many. You must also look from below to see the flowers as they hang down from a very tall plant. These two are over four feet tall. According to my wildflower book Wildflowers Of Tennessee, The Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians, American Columbo is one of the tallest wildflowers in Tennessee.
(May 19, 2013)

I began recording the bloom process on May 2 and finished it up on May 22. So within a period of less than three weeks this native wildflower set buds and then progressed through its bloom. The plants are still blooming now and still look good. I hope to record American Columbo as it slowly fades away and then I will also post a picture of the cool seedheads. They are quite distinctive!


(May 15, 2013)

I was a bit worried about what pH our soil would be since all of this American Columbo was growing on our land. I have read where American Columbo grows in lime glades and calcareous soils. I had to look up calcareous and found it is a soil that is usually high in pH. According to our recent soil test our soil pH is actually quite low at 5.3! The soil is not limey though it is formed from limestone. I will easily be able to grow blue hydrangeas and blueberries but will have to add lime if I wish to have a good vegetable garden. Most vegetables will want a pH a that is higher. But it appears American Columbo is quite happy in an acid soil.

(May 15, 2013)
Here the buds are just forming. That is a lot of flower buds!


(May 2, 2013)
Prior to the buds getting really big they look like the above two pictures. They had me avidly watching this particular plant quite closely because I was very excited to see the bloom. The pictures on the Internet and even my pictures don't really replace seeing the flower and plant in bloom. It is quite a unique plant....

in the garden.... 

Happy Memorial Day to you all. Take time to remember your soldiers. Today I remember my uncle who lost his life last April due to Agent Orange. 
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. What an interesting flower.

    Have a nice day today and a great week.

    I am sorry for the loss of your uncle.


  2. I have seen this plant in the past just never saw the blooms. It is quite pretty.

  3. Hi fun to find so many different/new plants on your property!! You have so much land, there's probably so many more waiting to be discovered! This one is really pretty!

  4. Tina that is one spectacular!!! I love how it looks in all it stages.

  5. Quite a pretty find.

  6. It was neat to be there the day this plant was discovered at Tiger Way! And then again, to see it blooming in May! How exciting to find new plants and natives at that...

  7. Thanks for introducing me to a neat wildflower, Tina. How exciting to know, too, you can grow blueberries and blue hydrangeas here!

  8. Tina, that's exciting that you have columbo on your property. I've seen the plant in western NC (but not in bloom) ... wonder if it's also on my husband's home place near you. It seems to be pretty rare in this part of the eastern US. The intricate flowers remind me of passion vine blooms -- very distinctive and complex. I bet you'll continue to find lots of interesting plants on your property. I'm sorry about your uncle. I thought about my dad a lot over the week-end, especially when I saw some of those sweet interviews with WWII veterans.

  9. It seems you have a real treasure here. The Saint is a good spotter. ;) I will look forward to any updates that you post.