Uinta Cactus Flowers
Sclerocactus wetlandicus, or the Uinta Basin hookless cactus, only comes from the Uinta Basin in Utah, within the US.
It is a very rare plant and is classed as vulnerable, and has been on the protected species list since 1979.
It’s a fairly petite plant, getting between 4 and 25cm high.
It produces barrel-shaped leaves in a silvery green, featuring spines which may be black, beige, or white.
It produces flowers which can reach 5cm tall and wide, in shades of pink. These are followed by cylindrical red fruits.
Known as gorse, furze, or whin, Ulex europaceus comes from the pea family, Fabaceae, and grows naturally in Western Europe and the British Isles.
It is capable of reaching 10 feet tall as a hardy shrub, withstanding temperatures as low as -4°F (or -20°C).
It has small yellow flowers that grow in clusters, appearing between the leaves. Curiously, these flowers smell like coconuts.
The seeds fall in warm, dry conditions, and can remain viable for as long as 30 years after separating from the shrub.
This plant is also suitable for land that sees a lot of fires. While it will burn, it’s capable of regrowing from the tough roots without any problems.
As an ornamental plant, it is very versatile. You can use it as a ground cover to suppress weeds, as a hedging border plant, and to establish boundaries.
It grows well in sunny areas with plenty of space, allowing the plant to spread.
Because of the plant’s large taproot and vigorous roots, the plant is classed as invasive in many parts of the world, so you need to check with your local authority before you plant it.
In some parts, it’s considered a fire hazard, and causes damage to many native plants, and pests such as the gorse spider mite have been introduced in these locations to help control the spread of gorse.
Part of the same genus, Ulex gallii is a dwarf type of gorse, also known as western gorse or dwarf furze.
It comes from the Atlantic coastlines of Western Europe, happily growing in exposed areas in acidic soil.
AS you might guess, this is a much more compact version of gorse, typically reaching 50cm tall, but some plants can reach 7 feet tall.
It makes a great ground cover, producing bright yellow flowers in summer, though these aren’t produced as abundantly as those on Ulex europaeus.
Dwarf Umbrella Tree
Schefflera arboricola, also known as the dwarf umbrella tree, comes from the Araliaceae plant family, and can be found growing in Taiwan and China.
This lovely evergreen shrub can reach a lofty 9 meters tall, but it’s also an enterprising plant, able to grow as an epiphyte like orchids do, living on the surface of other plants.
The foliage is thick and leathery, featuring a glossy sheen, either in a solid green, or featuring green and yellow variegation.
It really comes into its own during summer, when it produces petite umbel flowers through to the first few weeks of fall.
These blooms can be yellow or even green, and appear in clusters. Once the flowers have finished, they are closely followed by orange or red fruits.
This plant is often grown as a houseplant, as it will tolerate very little attention, and less than ideal conditions.
In high levels of humidity, this plant will grow aerial roots, adding to its unusual appearance.
You can grow it as an ornamental garden plant in places that don’t see a lot of frost.
This plant is not suitable for households or gardens which have pets or children, as the plant is poisonous.
Cyperus alternifolius, commonly known as umbrella sedge, or the umbrella palm, is a species of grass-like flowering plant, belonging to the Cyperaceae family.
It has a distinctive shape to its leaves, looking like naked umbrella spokes, with leaves up to 10 cm wide.
It comes from parts of the Arabian Peninsula, Madagascar, and Africa, grown both as an ornamental garden plant and as a houseplant.
It can be propagated easily using cuttings, and is tolerant of low light levels, making it perfect for indoor use.
When grown outdoors, it requires full sun, a sheltered position, and damp soil.
It’s a tender perennial, so if you live somewhere colder, you’ll need to bring it indoors for winter.
It helps that this plant is a popular foliage houseplant, and is easy to care for, requiring as much light as possible and moist soil.
A member of the Arctostaphylos genus, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is a sub shrub found growing in tough, cold parts of the world.
It’s also known as the bearberry plant.
It grows best in poor soil, with lots of sand or rocks to improve drainage, especially good for rockeries.
It will tolerate direct sunlight, or dappled shade, and has a mat-forming growth habit, which forms very slowly.
This plant won’t grow in clay, but it will do well in loamy soil.