Caucasian Pennycress

Thanks to Alison Tindale for reminding me yesterday about a wonderful spring edimental that I’d almost forgotten, Pachyphragma macrophyllum (although Thlaspi macrophyllum seems to be the officially accepted name). This is a creeping perennial woodlander related to the annual weed Thlaspi arvense (Pennycress). Its wild range is the Caucasus region including Black Sea Forests of NE Turkey and is sometimes known as the Caucasian Pennycress (as Alison noted, it would make a good companion to Hablitzia, both inhabiting deciduous woods in the Caucasus). Although this species has been cultivated in the UK since 1822 for its large white spring flowers, it is not commonly grown. It has however naturalized a few places in the UK including (follow the link) a woodland in north Somerset: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/91477183 , almost as beautiful as a ramsons (Allium ursinum) wood in spring! The flowers are like ramsons edible. It flowers very early, from March in the south and late April at the north (i.e., my garden). I had it for about 6 years between 2003 and 2009, but it went missing in action winter 2009-10…. I remember using the flowers but not the leaves, maybe a bit strong? Ken Fern in pfaf.org says “’t would be worthwhile trying out the leaves of this species for edibility. They are almost certainly not poisonous»!!!
See my pictures of this great plant in my garden and various botanical gardens.
Now to find some seed…
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In my garden, 1st May
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In my garden, 26th April
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In my garden, late April 2005
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21st April in the Oxford Botanical Garden
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Reflowering in the Oxford Botanical Garden on 3rd October 2013
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15th October in Edinburgh Botanics
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Kew Gardens, July 2015

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Edibles & ornamental plants

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