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Moltkia petraea (Tratt.) Griseb.

Modern name

Moltkia petraea (Tratt.) Griseb.


Echium petraeum Tratt.; Lithospermum petraeum (Tratt.) DC.

A small semi-evergreen, bushy shrub 1 to 2 ft high; stems erect, and covered with grey hairs pointing upwards. Leaves alternate, narrow-linear, 12 to 112 in. long, about 18 in. wide, covered like the stems with appressed, forward-pointing hairs on both surfaces. Flowers produced during June, in small crowded clusters terminating the young shoots, the whole inflorescence 1 to 112 in. across. Corolla pinkish purple in bud, becoming violet-blue on opening, tubular, 13 in. long, with five short, erect, rounded lobes. Stamens longer than the corolla-lobes. Bot. Mag., t. 5942.

Native of Dalmatia, Albania, etc.; first introduced about 1840, and treated as a cool greenhouse plant. It was afterwards lost to cultivation, but was reintroduced by Messrs Backhouse of York thirty years later. It is not a robust plant and is certainly not adapted for shrubberies, but on a well-drained ledge in the rock garden at Kew it has lived for thirty years. Probably damp is more detrimental to its welfare than cold. Certainly no little shrub of its type deserves better care; it lasts in flower a good while, and no prettier or more dainty plant exists when every twig is crowned by the brilliantly coloured blossoms. The flowers have much the same arrangement as in the common borage; they are closely set, and open successively on the upper side of a stalk which becomes decurved. Summer cuttings take root readily. It needs a light, well-drained soil and a sunny position. Out of flower it has much the appearance of lavender.



Other species in the genus