Thursday, April 11, 2013

lyreleaf Jewelflower

Name - Lyreleaf Jewelflower (Streptanthus Carinatus)

Kid friendly? - According to, all members of the brassicaceae family (which jewelflowers belong to) are edible, even if some don't taste very good. Other sources claim that only most of the brassicaceae family are edible. Jewelflowers are never listed as edible in any source I've found, so I wouldn't recommend tasting them. I have not found confirmation on whether jewelflowers are toxic, but based on their family and what information exists on members of that family, I would take this as a 'tentatively not poisonous' for right now.
Garden friendly? - This flower, as you might imagine from the name, is very pretty, very unique looking. I would definitely like it in my garden! Not sure about whether it discourages other plants, but it's worth looking at. Home to caterpillars.
Look alike's? - There are various Jewelflowers, but I could not find any other varieties listed in our desert.
Bloomed in: March 2013, with a late snow and early heat. Supposedly also blooms in late winter. Pods and seeds were formed on the stalk, with flowers already gone, by early April.
This flower is a native annual of the Sonoran Desert and New Mexico Deserts, and is a member of the Brassicaceae family, as I mentioned above. This is also called the mustard family, or in other words, this plant is in the same family as the London Rocket! It looks awesome, if small bloomed. Seriously, here's a picture of one in my yard.

Lovely, yeah?

Even the leaves are kind of pretty

Seeds for these grow in pods along the stalk. 

They were collected from the same arroyos that I found the Esteve's Pincushion seeds in by simply collecting the dried pods that contained them, which were still on the stalk. Then I made sure they were completely dried, stored them in a ziploc bag for a few months. They were planted the same way I planted the Esteve's pincushion: seeds mixed with a little dirt, sprinkled over rock covered ground, and left alone since then. So, obviously, this flower will reseed itself without too much effort.

These grew right next to the Pincushion flower, on rock with just a little scattered shade from noon until dusk. This is an area that gets a little more rainfall funneled into it than the rest of my yard, but not much. I figured that coming from an arroyo, it might need that. While they can grow up to 3 feet in good conditions, mine were between 1-2 feet, closer to one. 

According to The Butterfly Gardener's Handbook, this plant will play host to Sara and Desert Orangetip caterpillars, and the Desert Marble caterpillars, but what butterflies might be attracted to it was unknown.

For more information and pictures, check it out:

Since this is in the mustard family, these sites have information that might apply:

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