Dreaming of a Chainsaw

Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica) is most often encountered in woodlands where it performs in an entirely satisfactory manner. The same can be said for its performance in a shaded home garden. Yet, I can’t help but think that, if only it could operate a chainsaw, it would create a full-sun spot for itself. In full sun, Indian pink’s floral display transforms from satisfactory to absolutely amazing as seen in the photo. The plants in the photo are growing here at JLBG in a location where they are in full sun all day long, sailing through our long hot summer in zone 7b (now zone 8a). Not only does Indian pink thrive in the full range of light levels, from shade through full sun, it is equally adaptable to soil moisture levels from dry-ish through boggy. In light of its adaptability I have to think that most any garden has a spot for Indian pink. It’s also low maintenance, requiring only that it be cut down after fall’s killing frosts. It also gets better every year, producing more stems and flowers with each passing year. It’s well behaved, forming a stay-put clump. And there is nothing that looks quite like it with its clear red floral tubes whose tips fold back creating a five petaled yellow star. Oh, and hummingbirds love it.

Spigelia marilandica

Indian pink’s generic names, Spigelia, might sound like something one would find on an Italian restaurant menu but it commemorates Adrian van der Spiegel (1578-1625), a professor of anatomy at Padua. Marilandica means “of Maryland” which is a bit of an odd name for this species which occurs in the entire Southeast and most of the Midwest US.

3 thoughts on “Dreaming of a Chainsaw”

  1. Mary Ann Holt

    TY for the story. When I saw it at JLBG in full sun, I went home and moved my recently purchased young plant to mostly sun.

  2. Mine has spread around the garden in a wonderful way. I could have stopped it, but it makes a stunning show in both sun and shade, so I let it go where it wants to go.

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