An odd but desirable plant, Morina Longifolia looks for all the world like some kind of thistle - so don't weed it out absent-mindedly! - until (once well established) it pokes up its spikes of tubular waxy white flowers that darken to pink when fertilised. Beauty and the beast. Likes the sun. Any reasonable soil but dislikes wet conditions in winter. 3 feet. 2 litre pot.
It can be quite interesting to watch people's reactions to Morina Longifolia (when not in flower) on seeing it on display. Then they read the label, see a picture ..... and buy one!
The genus Morina is a small one, with only a handful of species within it, and Morina Longifolia the only one you are likely to come across in your average garden. It’s a native of the Himalayan region, so it’s got a head for heights and tolerance of cold conditions: the only thing it doesn’t really like is winter wet, so if you have soil that is very moisture retentive, you might like to add a bit of grit when planting. The genus takes its name from the French botanist and nurseryman Rene Morin, the author of what is alleged by some to be the first ever plant catalogue in 1621, though he was probably beaten to that accolade by Dutch nurseryman Emmanuel Sweerts whose Florilegium dates back to 1612. Longifolia isn’t hard to figure out, and yes, the leaves are long and slender for the most part.
They also have the distinction of exuding a citrusy scent when crushed, though squeezing the prickly leaves should be done with some degree of care! The flowers are pretty clever, too, and the colour change from white pink to red when fertilised is in fact an ingenious mechanism to suggest to visiting insects where they should concentrate their attentions. For more about Morina Longifolia and how to grow it, take a look at this article.
The video below showcases Morina Longifolia growing in the wild in the Valley of Flowers, a high-altitude Himalayan valley and national park in India.
Morina Longifolia is a hardy evergreen perennial plant with thistle-like leaves and spikes of tubular white and pink flowers in summer suitable for full sun.
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