Thursday, December 4, 2008

Red Hot Pokers


These showy flowers, Kniphofia, defy the seasons and brighten up the darkening days of December. They are native to Africa, but have been growing in Mendocino county for at least a century. Like the spuria irises I mentioned before, they were planted around some of the hotels and farmsteads. I remember when my grandfather had wrought iron fireplace tools, and if you left the "poker" stuck in the fire and coals, it would turn this orange-red color. His house was on the site of an old stagecoach hotel, and one of these grew below a nearby redwood.

14 comments:

Jules said...

I can hear them sizzling - what a wonderful colour!!!!

humanobserver said...

Beautiful....

MurciaDailyPhoto and www.asthes.tk said...

I did not know that the origin of this plant were African. Here in Murcia, and at least in surrounding provinces is a very common plant. I remember when I was a kid, that one of my grandmothers had several such plants in her yard.

Bibi said...

I know these pokers, and remember the real ones, too!

Susie of Arabia said...

I remember seeing these gorgeous flowers when we were driving through the Mendocino area years ago. They are so colorful and unusual.

Hilda said...

I've never seen this flower before — very interesting. The color's lovely!

Babzy said...

flowers so bright in december ...i envy you ;)

Petrea said...

My next door neighbor has one of these. We can see it from the bathroom window. I had no idea it wasn't a California native. You're full of good info!

Halcyon said...

Those are beautiful! I wonder if they would grow in Mississippi. :)

Laurie said...

Wow, that is one pretty flower. I wish I had your botanical knowledge, E. It's amazing!

Ernie Branscomb said...

My Great Grandmother had those in her yard in Laytonville. The house accross from me in Benbow has a large beautiful patch that is now in full flame.

I've seen them in yellow also.

USelaine said...

Thank you everyone. 8^) These plants grow really well here, and in similar Mediterranean (and South African?) climates. I imagine it's not so happy in the humidity of Mississippi and the Philippines, but maybe nobody ever tried!

Thanks for chiming in, Ernie. It makes you wonder who was the first to bring them up into our area.

Ming the Merciless said...

What an interesting name!! Pretty flowers though.

I don't believe I've seen them here in NYC. Probably too cold for it to grow.

Tash said...

They are blooming now? I photographed some in May down here. Fascinating.