Sunday Sundries

Dyschoriste linearis, Snake Herb

I'm becoming quite fond of this little groundcover, which is well suited to hot and dry areas such as the streetside bed where it's planted. It's been in that spot for a while now and has survived one or two floodings without complaint. The flowers are small but the markings wow me big time. I do wish I knew how it got that common name ... I haven't been able to turn up anything definitive. In a 2005 post on her blog Lifescapes, author Susan Wittig Albert speculates that it could have been used to treat snakebite or it could have attracted snakes. I most fervently hope that it is NOT the latter! If it is, then I'll hope that the serpentine visitors are of the beneficial type.

That reminds me, I'm quite proud of myself for the quiet dignity and grace* with which I handled a recent episode with a small grass snake that I uncovered while weeding the rose bed. I did not shriek or dance about, although I may have recoiled and uttered a small "eek!" After verifying that it was indeed a grass snake, I carefully picked him up by the tail and carried him over to the neighbor's yard to relocate him. This neighbor has moved and put his house up for sale, so the snake should be able to reside there unmolested, safe from being inadvertently harmed by my shovel or Cobrahead.

A tropical visitor hitched a ride in this pot which my buddy Otahal brought me. He thought the Aloe, which is a low growing form of A. saponaria (I think), would be a nice addition to the expanded beds out front. He tells me the plant is a hummingbird magnet at his garden in Smithville and I'm always happy to have more plants to draw them to my corner of Katy. I don't know why I haven't planted it yet ... let's just say I'm still cogitating over the best spot for it. While I've been cogitating, a handsome Colacasia emerged from the pot and is going to overwhelm it soon if I don't get busy. What's more, it sent out another plant from one of the drainage holes.

And as you can see from this picture, when I moved the pot, that smaller plant had already made a spot for itself in the garden! It will probably be moved ... if this Colocasia is anything like the other one I have, it will soon overwhelm that spot. I need to ask Otahal if he remembers which one it is. I had to pull the Taro from the bog because they were overwhelming it so but I see it coming up again so I must have missed some pieces. I'd go out and remedy that right now but the skies have turned dark, thunder is rumbling and I believe it would be prudent to conclude this post! Later, y'all!

*If you recognized the phrase, then you should consider buying tickets to see the Broadway Across America production of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN now touring the country. We saw it Saturday night and I recommend it highly.


I wonder if you Elephant Ear is Black Magic. If so, it may not get as big as some of the other types. It's always nice to get a free plant--especially nice when the Aloe was free from a friend too!

I am very impressed with the restraint you showed with your calm response to finding the grass snake. I guess we will have to add snake handler to your list of talents!

Love that Snake Herb. Anything with that gorgeous blue bloom has my vote. The fact that it can take our heat and thrive in our clay and limestone soil is a bonus! I wonder if it has any herbal qualities?
Rebecca said…
I am trying to remain silent but I can’t stop giggling at the wayward Colacasia that popped up with the Aloe. The little one peaking out the drainage hole was funny indeed but the next photo of it planted in the garden was hilarious. It is like a little Colacasia “dropping”. Thank you for sharing, it is always and adventure out there and you never know who is going to “drop” in and “sit-a-spell”.
Cindy, MCOK said…
MG, I don't think it's Black Magic, based on the pictures I've seen. I need to ask Otahal. None of my Google searches turned up anything definitive on the Snake Herb.

Rebecca, I love these unexpected surprises ... especially when they're good ones!
Cindy, MCOK said…
From Susan:
Hi Cindy,

Perhaps the snake herb got its name because the inside of the bloom looks like the south end of a rattlesnake heading north. LOL Pretty blue flower anyway.
SusieQ the Bexar Footer - -

That cracked me up, Susie!