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Margaret Thele

Mysterious Plant - Gaseous?

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It's gas plant, burning bush, Dictamnus albus purpureus. I'm kind of surprised a garden center person didn't know it by leaf or seed pod - such cool seed pods. All parts have an oil that can get on your skin and then if left in the sun cause a terrible burn. An effect described as phytophototoxic. (It's related to rue, Ruta graveolens, if you know that one, that does the same thing.) We think it's worth growing despite the caution needed on summer days (especially kids' tender skin). Gas plant and burning bush because supposedly on hot summer nights you can hold a match near the foliage and ignite the gases being given off from that oil coating, and this flaming hapens without hurting the plant. I've told my pyro-maniacal family that if they try it I'll shoot them, because gas plant is like peony, takes years to get big, lives forever without needing care, and I don't want to set it back.
Okay if we post your photos of it on our website Q&A forum, with this answer?
Janet (Posted by Margaret Thele for our Guru Janet)


Oops, I did mean to ask you ... reading your answer about it taking years to get big.   Would you then suggest that I stop going over it with my mulching mower in the Fall?
Thanks   :)
No setback from cutting it down in fall. It's entirely herbaceous so it would die back to the roots on its own anyway.



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