Monday, October 5, 2009

Really Big Seed Pods: Tecoma stans, Pride of Barbados, and Stachytarpheta

Seed pods are ripening in the parts of the Garden that I call 'Fiesta.' Tropical plants in bright colors have interesting seed cases, easy to gather.

Pods on Pride of Barbados were eagerly awaited. The few seeds I collected last year sprouted this spring and were tiny, mimosa-like sprouts when the cat walked on them when the dog chased her. The cat thinks the greenhouse is a cattery, and the dog thinks it is a gymnasium with obstacles. Not every pod holds seeds, but I'm hopeful of enough seeds to make a row of these beauties.

Porterweed, or Stachytarpheta has long spikes of blossoms. The blossoms open a few at a time, until the last at the top are gone. There are seeds smaller than a caraway seed all up and down the spike.

They call it Esperanza in Texas. It is sold here as Tecoma stans. Great armloads of yellow bells in clusters leave behind bunches of pods that resemble green beans, filled with little flat seeds with a bit of white fluff.

Cassia alata, which we call Candlesticks has large three-sided pods filled with irregularly round seeds hardly bigger than a bb. Seed pods are prolific while the plants are still blooming.


  1. Wow, look at those huge seed heads/pods! Do you leave some up all winter? I just got a used book, I think called, Seedheads, encouraging people to keep them for winter interest. It seems you have a few cold nights there, don't you? I was surprised last winter how cold you said it was at some point.

    Last time I was here, I said I liked the changes you made to your blog, but I'm thinking you may have made some more. It's really looking great!

  2. I think I have some Pride of Barbados seeds, if you need them. You are going to have plenty Esperanza and Candlestick seeds. LOL

  3. I liked your post! I'm not familiar with these plants, which probably shows that I'm a novice gardener! Those are huge seed heads. The blooms on all of your plants look lovely:-)

  4. Those long pods are so graceful and beautiful. Hope you get your seeds. The plant must be wonderful to see in person.

  5. I love your Tecoma stans. I have 3 in my backyard. They are still blooming, but slowing down a little in response to the lower temperatures. Thank you for sharing your seed pod photos.

  6. I just love those gorgeous yellow blooms. What a beauty.

  7. I have Tecoma stans grown from seeds, only about 2' tall.

    I also have the Pride of Barbados with seed pods hanging off it. I also grew that from seed.

    The butterflies love Porterweed and so do I. It's hardy, self seeds so that I have to dig up babies and transplant them.

    I had a candlestick growing, but it croaked a couple of years back. Butterflies loved that also.

    Nice post with great pics Nell.


  8. I did a couple of searches after reading your post to see what the flowers look like. These are beautiful – things I wouldn't get to see here outside a conservatory (or on a blog!). How great that they also make handsome seed pods, and that you can propagate them that way.

    We often forget that with a little patience, care and space we can make our own plants, without relying on the nursery. You've reminded me that I'd better get out there and get my geranium cuttings before the frost nips them.

  9. Hello..I just found your blog...I've only scanned over some postings, but I know I'll be visiting often! Now I do have a question about seeds. For the first time this summer, I have saved seeds from a white marigold I grew, zinnias and purple coneflower. Is there a certain amt of time to wait before sowing the seeds? Since I'm in Central Florida, I can grow most things year round, or should I wait for spring? I appreciate any advise you can offer!

  10. I really like the cassia...The candle stick blooms are wonderful. It's rewarding to collect seeds and see them grow~~I leave the seed heads on most plants until mid winter when the birds have finished them off! gail

  11. I have not seen it mentioned, but esperanza is great as a cut flower. It lasts a long time in a vase inside, and cheers up any room!

  12. You are right that cassia alata is really something else-most handsome and bold. It is a beautiful yellow and just wonderful. I wonder if it would grow here? I need to look it up.

  13. I have just identified what I thought was a weed tree (it may still be haahaa) in our yard as the Cassia Alata (Candlesticks). I have seeds for days! if anyone wants some, feel free to message your address to me via Google+ and I'll send you some :-) I live in Zone 9/10 (can't keep up with the global climate changes) and it seems quite happy (happier than me) in the tropical environment.

  14. That's a generous offer on the seeds but I doubt anybody except you and I will see these last comments, on a five-year old post.

    I'm glad you were able to find an ID for your plant.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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