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Oklahoma mysteries revealed

February 8, 2021 at 8:34 a.m.

Mystery plants for the week of February 8, 2021.

Everyone thought that plants from other countries were something out of our range of knowledge, but this week we had some stumpers pretty close to home in Oklahoma. One more reason that garden travel is so fun, we get to experience so many new plants, and some old favorites.

Heptacodium miconiodies– Seven Son’s Flower was known by many of you. This deciduous small tree or large shrub in the honeysuckle family, is at its best in the fall when the plant is covered with white fragrant flowers.

After the flowers fade, the remaining pink to red calyx persists.

The plant is native to China and it is a cane producing plant which can sucker, so control it if it begins to spread. It does best in full sun, but will tolerate light shade. It does not want to get overly dry in the summer. Hummingbirds and butterflies love this plant.

Euphorbia cotinifolia -tropical smokebush or Mexican spurge

is used as an annual for us in the garden. I really thought people would guess smoketree, since I think it looks like a young smoketree plant. The species name cotinifolia refers to cotinus (smoketree) like leaves. Native to Mexico where it is evergreen, it will grow 10 feet tall or more. As a tropical annual for us, it will only get about 4 to 5 feet tall in one season.

The leaves begin bright red and age to a deeper burgundy. You could overwinter it indoors—it is related to poinsettias.

Stevia rebaudiana is the name of this herb used as a natural sweetener.

Native to Brazil, this plant is not winter hardy in Arkansas, (nor Oklahoma), but it can be grown as an annual herb. The leaves are reported 200-300 times sweeter than cane sugar with no calories.

I buy stevia sugar substitute in packets, but you could grow your own—using the leaves fresh, dried, or dried and blended into a powder.

Wooly morning glory vine – Argyreia nervosa was growing at the Tulsa county extension office.

We did not see an open bloom, but the spent flowers were what is on this picture.

It is a vigorous annual vine native to India. It has large downy leaves can grow up to 12 feet tall in one season. It has pale pink clusters of flowers in September and October.

Many of these unusual plants that we saw in many of the gardens came from Bustani Plant Farms, which we also toured.

Bustani Plant Farms is owned by my good friend Steve Owens in Stillwater, Oklahoma. They do not ship, but they are taking orders online now, and you can drive over and pick them up. They are open from April 15- June 5 this year, Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. I see a trip this spring in my future!

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