A garden oasis and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River

Plant of the Week: Spigelia marilandica (Indian Pink)

Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Horticultural Interpreter. 

The Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica) is not exactly pink. Bright red flowers with dazzling yellow is closer to the mark, and it is a magnet for hummingbirds.

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Although native to the southeastern US, its closest relatives are mostly tropical in origin, including the sinister strychnine tree (Strychnos nux-vomica). Even if the Indian pink is not quite as toxic as its fearsome cousin, it should be treated with respect.

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It begins its colorful display in early summer just as many spring-bloomers are finishing up, and often blooms again, periodically, over several months. Spot it in a couple of places in the Shade Border, at the edge of the lawn.

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