Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Hairy Balls Plant aka Gomphocarpus physocarpus
I happened by the Stan Hywet spring plant sale in May and couldn't resist buying a plant labeled 'Hairy Balls'. I'd seen huge specimens growing around one of the buildings the previous year, and it's one of those plants that just stops you in your tracks and makes you say "What is THAT?"
Plus it's pretty funny to see a bunch of adult women giggling and fighting over the last of the Hairy Balls (myself included).
Mine isn't quite as big as the ones at Stan Hywet, but it has finally produced a couple of the namesake seed pods. The flowers themselves are quite tiny and delicate.
The plant is a form of a milkweed which is a butterfly/caterpillar favorite for feeding. I've read that you can start them from seed, but I think Stan Hywet starts them from cuttings.
In any event, it's pretty and it's fun to watch it progress in the garden. And it makes me laugh.