Saturday, April 02, 2016

B is for Bottlebrush for #AtoZchallenge

B is for Bottlebrush
There are so many plants I could have chosen for this post that begin with "B." I considered borage, birch, butterfly bush and even bromeliads. But those are all plants I may wish to write more about than I have time for today. So for the purposes of the #AtoZchallenge I've decided "B" is for Bottlebrush. 

Bottlebrush (Callistemon) is a popular evergreen shrub in thirsty, drought-stricken California. It needs almost no water once established. I have two small bottlebrush trees in my immediate neighborhood. They can tolerate our alkaline soil. They should be planted in full sun.

B is for Bottlebrush
Bottlebrush in Bloom, © B. Radisavljevic


Although the bottlebrush flowers are a welcome touch of brightness to cheer the colder months when few other flowers are blooming, I would not advise planting them near a clothesline, if you still have one. I had a large bottlebrush bush about four feet from my clothesline in my first home, and on windy days those long red stamens would blow onto my clothes and stick to them.

I walk my neighborhood photographing plants all through the year, so I can record their stages of growth. The photo below shows a budding bottlebrush shrub (or is it a tree?) in the middle of December. The bottlebrush buds at this stage almost look like the buds of my apple or almond tree blossoms.

B is for Bottlebrush
Budding Bottlebrush, © B. Radisavljevic

On the same December day I photographed another part of the plant beginning to transform from flowers to seed capsules. Since I'm not sure which species this is, I don't know how long the seed capsules will stay on the plant. In some species they remain fastened to the stem until the tree dies or is burned. In others the seeds are released each year. I'll have to remember to check on these to see if any seed capsules have opened.

B is for Bottlebrush
 Bottlebrush Flowers Producing Seed Capsules, © B. Radisavljevic

I just learned you can make tea from some species. Green Deane, who writes "Eat the Weeds" wrote more about the bottlebrush here.  He includes information on making tea. When I saw the seed capsules of the plant, I was sure it must be related to the eucalyptus tree, another Australian native. I was right.

I captured the beauty of the bottlebrush plant against sky in the Zazzle print-on-demand products below. This is just a sample. The other bottlebrush products are here. If you want to grow your own bottlebrush bush or tree, Amazon carries many species of bottlebrush plants they can ship to you. 


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