Sunday, December 4, 2011

Colletia paradoxa ..... Jet-Plane plant

 Anchor Plant

                Awickedly interesting, spreading, deciduous, nearly leafless shrub from Uruguay, western Argentina and southern Brazil that grows slowly to 6 to 9 feet tall with oppositely arranged flattened 2 inch wide triangular spine tipped gray-green photosynthetic stems, called cladodes, that resemble a ships anchor and small creamy white lightly fragrant flowers, said to smell like almonds, at the stem joints in late summeror autumn.

 New growth has small leaves that are present only briefly. 
Plant in ful lsun in a light to medium well-drained soil where it is drought tolerant. Can tolerate temperatures down to at least 20° F and some claim to as low as 0° Fso long as the soil is kept dry. Prune occasionally to keep dense or contain size. 
Though it is best to plant this plant well away from pathway where onmight find it dangerous, it is an unusually attractive and impressive barrier plant that nothing would dare go through. 
The genus name honors French botanistPhilibert Collet (1643-1718). 
This species is synonymous with Colletia cruciata. Other common names include Crucifixion Thorn,  Thorn of the Cross and Jet-Plane Plant.