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Plantidote of the Day 2011-06-30

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dombeya

Dombeya burgessiae

Dombeya

Natives of South Africa, dombeyas are big-leaved evergreen shrubs/trees that can reach 15 to 30 feet in height and a similar width. The leaves on some varieties are covered in tiny fibers, giving them the feel of velvet. This particular plant has bell-shaped flowers that dangle from the ends of branches, but other varieties' blossoms -- like pink ball dombeya -- look more like hydrangeas.

Dombeyas are stunning in real life -- this photo doesn't really convey this plant's size (about 5 feet high and 8 feet wide) and you only get a hint of the copper-tinged stems and foliage. If you want to see for yourself, they're considered easy to grow. Dombeyas need some sun, good soil, water and most prefer a mild climate. But the burgessiae variety shown here can actually survive frost and even drought. So now there's a dombeya for everyone!

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Readers, please send twig (twig4now@gmail.com) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chanterelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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