Seven years ago while taking an evening walk along the Potomac, Steve spotted a yellow-flowering plant lighting up the dusk.

This year I went back to the same place and was happy to find that swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris; Primulaceae) still bloom there.

This species grows up to three feet tall, preferring wet soils. Various authorities state that flowers are borne on terminal racemes, but I often see axillary racemes growing sideways, as shown in the top photo.

Swamp candles are native to eastern North America, ranging from Manitoba to Newfoundland and south to Georgia; they’re also found in a few places in the Pacific northwest, apparently introduced by accident*.

Whenever I see plants like this in wild places, I wonder why they aren’t common in horticulture. This is a handsome plant with beautiful flowers that last a reasonably long time. Surely there’s some place for it in the home landscape.

*the Native Plant Trust’s gobotany website

1 thought on “Luminous

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