Archive for April, 2012

“A dancing plant?? Yeah, right …”

“It really dances! Google and see if you don’t believe me.”

So I did. And there it was; sufficient evidence on the net to silence this doubting Thomas.

But I had no idea where to get Desmodium Gyrans seeds – until a friend asked if I wanted any. Now’s my chance to see some action!

I planted all five seeds … three germinated but only one survived.

As soon as I thought it was big enough to respond, I clapped, whistled and sang. We even played some music. But not a single leaf budged! What could be wrong?

Once again, I googled.

Apparently, my technique was off; the leaves respond more readily to soft high pitched sounds.

So I tried using a higher pitch. This time the tiny leaves moved!

The movements were sporadic and jerky so I wonder if the plant was traumatized instead.

My own video wasn’t great so here’s one I found on YouTube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVBTqh37TGM

Perhaps I should try some classical music on my own plant next.

I’m really enjoying the uniqueness of the Desmodium Gyrans. Its leaves are quite pretty and it’s certainty a conversation piece and a hit with the kids.


Care and propagation : partial shade to full sun; garden soil; water moderately; propagate using seeds

Read Full Post »

I’ve been fooled by a plant for years.

I always thought that the Ploiarium Alternifolium was a small potted plant since ours has always been less than 18 inches tall. And we’ve had it for a very long time.

Then I find out that it’s called Cicada Tree and I wonder why.

A quick Google search tells me that it is indeed a tree with the potential to reach great heights.

And why ‘Cicada’? I hope this means that the insect has an affinity with the plant since that means I may, one day, get to hear the cicada sing. So far, there hasn’t been a ghost of a cicada.

Our Ploiarium Alternifolium tends to be overlooked due to its diminutive size but it is attractive.

Its leaves are a glossy green.

The buds are plump and tipped with a blush of pink.

Its flowers remind me vaguely of sweet cherry blossoms and are delicately fragrant.

Even the seed capsules are lovely with their deeply ridged structure.

I love it.

Yet, strangely, it’s not commonly sold at garden centres. It should be, given the ease of care and I’ve never seen any pests on it either.

Lately I’ve been on the lookout for beetles. We’ve had visits from big black rhinocerous beetles and shiny green ones, too, but there are still no cicadas.

If anyone tells me that there’s a cicada sitting on our Ploiarium Alternifolium right now, I’d have to be a cynic and say nay. It’s the first of April after all.   🙂



Care and propagation: Partial shade to full sun; not fussy about soil; water generously. Propagate using seeds.

Read Full Post »