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October 25, 2011

Spooky, sinister and scary plants

- by Debra Anchors

While some plants are merely pretty, others are downright ghastly. Sinister names communicate an unorthodox beauty, while dark-hued flowers evoke tales of evil. In particular, the pursuit of black petals and foliage has captured the imagination of hybridizers for generations, despite the knowledge that in nature black is actually deep purple, red, blue or a combination of all three. Scour your garden centers for perennials on sale that you can plant yet this fall.

Creepy connotations aside, “black” flowers, seed heads and bulbs lend drama to the garden; some add a truly outlandish touch: The black voodoo lily presents a complete flower head up to three feet long; the plant’s putrid odor attracts pollinating beetles. For gardeners devoted to the art of darkness, it’s always Halloween.

Count on these bizarre beauties to add a touch of mystery to beds and borders –

Black dragon
(Coleus blumei)

Black Prince Pansy 
(Viola x wittrockiana)

Devil in a Bush 
(Nigella damascena) 
Also named love-in-a-mist

Devil Lily
(Lilium lancifolium)
Also named Kentan or Tiger Lily

Devil’s Backbone 
(Kalanchoe daigremontiana)
Also named Mother of millions

Devil’s Darning Needle 
(Clematis Virginiana)
Also named Old Man's Beard or Virgin's Bower

Midnight Oil 
(Hemerocallis, Daylily)

Mourning Widow 
(Geranium phaeum)
Also named Cranesbill

Queen of the Night 
(Tulipa Darwin)
Also named Black Tulip or Cottage Tulip

Voodoo Lily
(Amorphophallus konjac)
Also named Devil’s Tongue

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  1. So often these plants/blossoms add such a delightful touch of drama and intrigue to a garden. So unique looking they add an unexpected visual novelty...even aside from their spooky names!

  2. The names are half the fun, aren't they? Nice Halloween post!

  3. Great photo but are the Amorphophallus and the Sauromatum venosum the same plant. they look the same?? My Sauromatum has spotted leaves and stem, is that the difference.?


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