Berkheya purpurea

Purple Poker

by Andrew Keys on January 17, 2012

Come January, I’m always curious to find what plants I miss, and I’m perplexed to find that I miss this plant this year. Its name is Berkheya purpurea, it’s not much on common names, but it sure is a spiky thing. Even the stems of its flowers are extravagantly flocked with this weird bunting of ruffly, spiky… Leafiness? I’m no botanist, and would rather daydream about those gobsmackingly clear lavender flowers than look it up. (I’m sure someone will pipe in.)

Berkheya bloomed great in 2010, but disapproved of a period of blasting sun that coincided with its bloom time last year. Oh, well. This year, I’m moving it to a spot in part sun, where I think its flowers will hold up better.

Hardiness: Zones (5)6-10
Best features: Giant lavender drumsticks of daisies; drought resistance
Likes: Good drainage
Dislikes: Being moved, because it has a taproot (we’ll see how that goes); blazing sun on its flowers; your fingers (ow)
Comes from: South Africa

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