(Bittergourd, Bittermelon, Foo Gwa Bittermelon)
A tropical perennial vine that may be grown as a summer annual, bittermelon offers showy foliage and edible cucumber-like fruits with warty skin. Selection 'Foo Gwa' produces foot-long, slender fruits, not swelling in the middle. Numerous therapeutic and medicinal compounds exist in the plant tissues. The fruits are harvested when green and cooked. If left to fully ripen on the vine, the fruits turn golden orange and split open to reveal red-coated black seeds. Birds relish the fruits and spread...
(Shrubby Horsemint, South Texas Beebalm)
Few monardas are as visually interesting and tough as this dryland Texas endemic. Shrubby horsemint has fine, silvery grey foliage that becomes punctuated by tiers of white or pink flowers in the moist spring. It is a semi-woody, short-lived shrubby perennial that can really take the heat and extended drought of southern Texas. In the wild, this fragrant mint inhabits open grasslands and scrubby roadsides where the soils are very deep and sandy. Unlike many other eastern Monarda, it forms...
(Oceanside Horsemint, Seaside Beebalm )
A shrubby wildflower endemic to Texas, oceanside horsemint has fragrant, coarsely toothed foliage and tiered showy flowers that bloom late in the season. A semi-woody perennial, it is native only to coastal counties around Corpus Christi, Texas where it grows in deep, sandy, oceanside soils. Unlike other Monarda, this species does not spread via rhizomes. Instead it forms neat clumps that stay put.
The aromatic green to grey-green leaves of this unusual Monarda are elongated,...
Forest & Kim Starr
Swiss cheese plant is a lush tropical vine with large, glossy leaves, some with holes, the reason for its common name. The youngest leaves are a bright green and usually entire (no lobes). As the leaves grow they develop narrow, elongated, deeply cut lobes or rounded holes. Once established, this vine, native from southern Mexico to Panama, blooms in the warm season with typical aroid flowers that have a hooded, felt-like spathe shielding a creamy, finger-like spadix. After the flower matures, the...
J. M. Garg
(Cowitch, Velvet Bean)
An annual vine with pretty wine-purple flowers and tremendous medicinal properties, the velvet bean offers fast-growing garden beauty. Native to tropical Asia, from Pakistan to Indonesia and the Philippines, velvet bean is a commercial field crop in these regions because of its use as a drug for treatment of Parkinson's disease. All across India, various parts of the plant provide traditional remedies for a wide range of ailments. The beans, when roasted and ground up, make a coffee-like beverage,...
James H. Schutte
(Pink Muhly Grass)
The fluffy pink plumes of pink muhly grass are garden cotton candy for the eye. This clump-forming, warm season grass is native to the eastern United States, Mexico, and West Indies. In the wild, it can be found in open sites with sharply drained, sandy or gravelly soils. It is also common to prairies and coastal plains.
Through summer, this tidy grass produces clumps of fine-textured, deep green blades. Panicles of wispy pink, grassy flowers are produced in late summer to early fall. These...
(Pink Muhly Grass, Texas Muhly Grass)
Pink muhly grass is a clumping, warm season perennial native to the eastern United States, Mexico, and the West Indies. This selection, ‘Regal Mist,’ has long, narrow blades and tall, stiff flower stems that produce a cloud of deep, rosy-pink bloom in the late summer.
Muhly grass needs very little care, and tolerates a wide range of conditions, from wet to dry sites, acidic to alkaline soil, salt spray, and poor soil conditions. It is drought tolerant, but limiting water can also limit the mature...
JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University
(Muhly Grass, White Muhly Grass)
White muhly grass is a clumping, warm-season perennial native to the eastern United States, Mexico, and the West Indies. This fine-textured grass blooms in late summer with a cloud of ivory flowers on upright flower stems.
Muhly grass needs very little care, and tolerates a wide range of conditions, from wet to dry sites, acidic to alkaline soil, salt spray, and poor soil conditions. It is drought tolerant, but limiting water can also limit the mature vigor and size of the plant. The spectacular...
Very drought tolerant, bull grass has fine, bluish, gray-green leaf blades that arch into a mound and wispy purple flowers in autumn. A clump-forming perennial grass, it is native to the oak woodlands of the extreme southwestern United States and adjacent northern Mexico.
As the fresh foliage emerges in spring it is long and narrowly linear, colored a lush blue-green. As summer progresses, the leaves can become more gray-green. In early fall, flower stems rise high above the foliage and at their...
Bringing a graceful, mounding mass of fine, blue-green foliage to the garden, blue muhly grass is a resilient and beautiful perennial. Native to the dry prairies and rocky hillsides of Texas and northern Mexico, it is semi-evergreen, becoming fully dried only in the coldest reaches of its hardiness range in winter. The long, fine leaf blades of blue muhly grass are grayish blue-green and form a tight clump, weeping downward at their tips. In early fall tall, lavender-blue stems rise high above the...