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Plants that look like something else

11 years ago

I love to use plants that are somewhat unexpected in the garden, and lead people to guess they are something else entirely. Often times this similar appearance between different genera results in Latin species names recognizing the similarities, such as with this photo. The foliage looks for all the world as if it were some exotic fuzzy orange colored Blechnum fern frond, but instead it is in the Protea family. I had first seen it on a garden tour down in Ojai, California years ago that had been planted out by the Australian nurserywoman Jo O'Connell. I never expected it to be readily available in the trade, but wait 12 years, and all good things will come true! Banksia blechnifolia with fuzzy new leaves that later turn a more subdued pale olive green. A ground cover type Banksia that also has stems that creep along the ground similar to a subtropical Rabbit's Foot Fern, Phlebodium aureum. Combined here with a South African annual from Annie's Annuals Nursery for a shot of complementary hot colors, for a raised planter off a third story balcony here in the Berkeley hills. I planted this out in late October, and it was this colorful all winter and into May/June the following year. An example of horticultural humor for amusing visiting garden afficionados who like to stump each other. (Although when you see the bloom, as it appears in this same Flickr set, there is no confusion it is a Banksia!)

Here is a link that might be useful: Would you guess correctly what this really is?

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