A garden oasis and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River

Plant of the Week: Holmskioldia sanguinea ‘Bronze’ (Parasol Flower cultivar)

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

This plant goes by several common names—parasol flower, Chinese hat plant, cup-and-saucer flower—all them alluding to the strange shape of its flowers. A narrow trumpet, formed by the tightly arranged petals, is backed by a wide, circular disk of fused sepals (the scales which covered the flower bud before it opened). This structure is called a calyx.close-up

Native to the tropical foothills of the Himalayas, it is a woody shrub with a semi-climbing habit and capable of growing to a height of ten feet. It can be kept much smaller when constrained in a flower pot, as can be seen in our Palm House, the central section of the Marco Stufano Conservatory.the-plant-and-the-setting

The normal flower color is bright red—hence the specific epithet of sanguinea (“color of blood”)—but this cultivar, Holmskioldia sanguinea ‘Bronze’, has pinkish-orange-colored flowers. The genus is named for the eighteenth-century Danish botanist Johan Theodor Holmskiold.

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