Ruellia amoena/graecizans/brevifolia - thanks
Thanks to all who responded to my off-topic query a month or so back on
the odd, whitish, crystalline appearing material which forms on the leaves
of this plant. (Belated thanks - times lately have been "interesting", as
in the proverbial curse - but better late, to quote another proverb.)
Derek, thanks for the nomenclatural update - I had seen both amoena and
graecizans, but never brevifolia. I'd grumble about the apparently
tireless legions of taxonomists working just to confuse the rest of us
again, but I like all the taxonomists on this list, and it's probably a
perfectly good change if I knew enough to judge.
Scott, your suggestion of cystoliths - basically calcium carbonate
crystals - seems likely and is much appreciated. They do appear to be
soluble in dilute acids. I've not had time to devise a quick qualitative
analysis I can do at home to confirm or deny, though it shouldn't be hard;
worst case, I'll take a sample and borrow my wife's lab for a bit. If you
locate any good references on the subject, I'd appreciate a pointer ...
The form I have is the one with the red/purple leaf backs (as opposed to
all green). I really do like it despite it's seed-spitting.
For the several people who asked about seeds, I'm trying, and actually
managing, to collect a few, but it's slow. The seed capsules, which
contain only a couple of seeds each, and never ripen together, are not
well localized for wrapping. I settled on enclosing entire shoots of the
plant in "veggie bags", the plastic bag variant which had tiny holes for
air exchange. ("Had", because we can't find them in stores any more. A
shame, they were great. I keep recycling the ones I have left. Does anyone
know of something similar out there?)
I've got a few seedlings of another ruellia, new to me but apparently a
near-weed in warmer regions - R. tuberosa. In my climate, of course, no
danger of it being a weed. Anyone know anything about it? Is it really
tuberous? If so, does that imply a dormancy?
-- Steve Marak