Monday, February 06, 2012


So... here's the story on this plant...

About 5 weeks ago... this plant appeared at the flea market.  It was a cutting that was sitting on the shelf behind the register one Saturday when I showed up for work.  It wasn't anything that I worried too much about,  such things happen... people share little plant cuttings.  It looks a bit like one of the Moses-in-a-cradle things.  It was still there, sitting on the shelf, wrapped in a dry paper towel when I left.

It was still there the next week, and the next... finally, on the third week I finally yelled out, "DOES THIS BELONG SOMEWHERE?"

I mean really.  There comes a point.

Finally, it became established that someone had brought up a cutting for another dealer who didn't want it, and kept 'accidentally' forgetting to take it home.  Finally, I took the thing home and stuck it in a jar of water.  Poor thing. 

But, I can't say I particularly wanted it either. 

But even after setting in the flea market for 3 weeks... it looked only slightly wilted, so I stuck it in an old jelly jar I had sitting around with some water.  It perked up after a couple of days.  Then it grew roots. 

Then, I had a little bag of decorative spagnum moss.  One of the bargain stores locally had these little bags of the stuff they were selling for halloween decor, and after the holiday they put them on 80% clearance... I got about a dozen of the small bags for 20 cents each.  I soaked it in rain water, wrapped it around the roots and jammed the whole mess in this vintage McCoy violet pot that was sitting here.  It's doing just fine. 

Now, here's the rub.  Anybody out there know the species?  I mean, I know what it is... it's one of the plants that I saw on front porches all over when I was growing up.  It's kinda attractive... but not pretty.  I guess you'd call it semi-stoloniferous.  It makes clumps of leaves, and occasionally sends out long stalks from 6 to 8 inches long with a rosette of leaves at the end, which may or may not send out stalks of their own.  In extremely stong light, it will develop little half moons of reddish purple towards the base of the leaves. 

Leaves are thick... shorter than most of the plants called Moses-in-the-cradle and more succulent... and they don't develop red undersides like those other Moses plants either.  And from all reports, the blasted thing is near impossible to kill. 

I'm not really THAT worried about it... I just like to know what I'm growing for some reason. 

Now, before you start... yeah... it would probably do better with real dirt.  Most of them I remember growing up were in an old coffee can filled with dirt from the yard and they just kept plugging along, although I know of a couple which grew in old vases filled with water and nothing else.

anyway... any ideas are appreciated.

UPDATE:  Thanks to Mr. S at Plants are the Strangest People... this plant has been accurately ID'd as Callisia fragrans... not only is it a classic Pass-a-long plant, native to Mexico, it's also a very powerful medicinal that's been studied and used in Russia for years.  Common names vary, but the most popular seems to be Basket Plant. 


  1. Callisia fragrans.

    Related to Moses-in-the-cradle (same family), but different. In bright light, the center of the plant will flush purple. They produce plantlets on runners, similar to spider plants, but since the plants are coarser, the effect is not as nice.

    They'll occasionally produce small, white, fragrant flowers on long stalks; my description of the fragrance when it happened to me was "hyacinths that are very far away."

  2. ok... that looks like it. And a little research tells me that it's been used as a heavy duty medicinal. Not going to start munching leaves, but it's interesting...

  3. You're a good man for being a plant rescuer.

  4. Thank God for Mr. S!!! My first thought was a Hosta...I just have a feeling a lot of plants I see look Hosta-like. Oh...I'm glad you took it home...I think it must be so happy now...and maybe you too!!! :)

  5. Yep... claudes home for wayward plants has reopened its doors. Blast it.