Spigelia marilandica - Indian Pink
Spigelia mariclandica, Indian Pink, is native to west Kentucky. Infrequent in southern Kentucky (Wharton and Barbour, 1971) it is found as a roadside plant on a variety of soil types. Over it’s range, Florida into east Texas, southeast Oklahoma, southwest Indiana, northwest Georgia, and east South Carolina it is common (Duncan and Duncan, 1999). The red tubular flowers with five folded lobes showing the yellow interior color are stunning; “stop people dead in their tracks” (Armitage 1997). An average of 13 (8-17 on 68 stems on a five year old division) of the 2 inch (5 cm) upright flowers are found on a one-sided cyme. The glossy ovate, opposite, sessile leaves add to the attractive appearance of the plant. West Kentucky plants grow 18-24 inches (46-61 cm) tall in sun or shade landscape environments. The bloom period starts in late May and continues through June, occasionally scattered blooms will occur in the fall. Rick Darke (2002) says they will re-bloom heavily if cut back after June flowering. Individual plants in the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center Botanic Garden, Princeton, KY are now seven years old and show signs of indefinite longevity. Spigelia marilandica is known to attract hummingbirds (Cullina, 2000; Glick, 2002) adding this characteristic to the beauty of the flowers, the size of the plant, it’s environmental and pest tolerances and longevity in the landscape indicate Spigelia mariclandica is an plant that should be more widely used in landscapes, in particular, Kentucky landscapes. A quick search of catalogs and nursery calls indicate the plant is much more available than in the past thanks to tissue culture propagation. For Spigelia marilandica propagation information and references see http://www.ca.uky.edu/HLA/Dunwell/Spigeliaprop.html Since first written in 2011 several cultivars have become available. 'Wisley Jester' of which images and descriptions look and sound as the species. S. marilandica 'Little Redhead' appears on Plant Delights web page and is tighter and smaller than the species but is not for sale, niether is Plant Delights other compact plant, Spigelia marilandica 'Ragin Cajun', Tony Avent’s Orange-red dwarf selection.