Welcome to the Somerset Group of the Hardy Plant Society

The UK Hardy Plant Society (HPS) was formed in 1957 to foster interest in hardy herbaceous plants on the widest possible scale. The aims of the society are to give its members information about the wealth of both well and little known plants, and to ensure that all worthy plants remain in cultivation and have the widest possible distribution.  In the Somerset Local Group, we provide information and activities at a local level for Hardy Plant Society members to promote the aims of the society.
This is accomplished by organising a programme of meetings, visits and publishing a local newsletter.  (Please see the Programme of Events page for full details of forthcoming events.)
Membership of the local group is open to anyone who is member of the Hardy Plant Society nationally. You can find details of how to join on the Membership page.
This website is maintained by the HPS Somerset Group.

Our next event: 
Saturday, 18 October 2014

Lecture:  Duncan Coombs – “Climbers & Wall Shrubs”

West Monkton Village Hall, 10:30am for 11:00am

Plant of the Month
Rostrinucula dependens

Photos: Stuart Senior, 24 September 2014

From a distance you might think "ah! a buddleja of some description" but you'd be wrong.  Rostrinucula dependens is a member of the Mint family, Lamiaceae, and therefore more closely related to salvias than to buddlejas.

It is a suckering, deciduous shrub bearing copious purple flowers in long, pendulous, persistent bracteate verticillasters (the characteristic mint family inflorescence, having pairs of axillary cymes arising from opposite leaves or bracts and forming false whorls).  The tiny whiskered blooms open gradually, travelling slowly down the spike over a period of two months.  Although a mint, Rostrinucula has little discernable fragrance, and while it has no English common name, the translated Latin is extremely descriptive: Rostr- = beak, -inus- = having, -culus = small; dependens = hanging.

It is a native of Shaanxi, China, south to Yunnan, and was introduced as recently as 1985.  It is a dieback perennial and typically grows into a 3' x 3' shrub, although it can reach 6' x 6' in milder climates.  It thrives in partial sun or high shade and the caramel peeling bark provides winter interest.  A rare and unusual plant.

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