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Mystery Plants: Spanish lavender and White Wings

by Janet Carson April 24, 2022 at 7:55 p.m.
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Spanish lavender – Lavandula stoechas is a popular plant this season. While it has been around for a long time, it is showing up with more frequency at garden centers now.  The true English lavender

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can be a bit finicky in our hot, humid climate, but Spain can be hot and humid too.  This plant will get to be three feet by three feet at maturity and will persist as an evergreen except in the coldest of winters.  It needs a very well-drained soil—particularly in the winter time, and does best in full sun in poor soils.  While it blooms the best in the spring,

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it can have sporadic blooms off and on all summer. 

White Wings.

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There is some confusion as to the name of this tropical plant in the coffee or Rubiaceae family.  Some call it Schizomussaenda Henryi which is what the person who sent it to me named it for the mystery plant challenge.  Another guessed Mussaenda phillipica, and I have a friend in South Arkansas who has what I identified as Mussaenda lutea and saw for the first-time last fall in Eudora at her garden.  

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There is also the name Pseudomussaenda flava.  But I think we should go by the common name – white wing!  It is a tropical plant from Africa and Asia that is sold at a few online tropical sites.  The true flower is the small orange or yellow bloom with the large white bract or leaf-like sepal

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which is the showiest and gives it the common name. 


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