Oxytropis podocarpa, Inflated oxytrope

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Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27
Oxytropis podocarpa, Inflated oxytrope

Hmm, I suppose that that common name, "inflated oxytrope", like bladderpod, is not likely to hold much appeal for the gardening public!  Oh well.  

Oxytropis podocarpa is probably one of the most distinctive alpine oxytropis in this area, due to its very finely divided leaves and for its colourful seed pods.  Its purple flowers fade attractively to blue.  It is quite common and can blanket fairly large areas, in suitable habitat - that being "exposed rocky ridges and turfy alpine hillsides" (Moss & Packer, Flora of Alberta).  

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

That's a very fine species... love the inflated seed pods on some Oxytropis & Astragalus species (like A. ceramicus), and certainly the inflated red pods on O. podocarpa are as attractive as the fine foliage and flowers.  In the first photo, the environment looks so hot and austere that one wonders if it can be easily cultivated.  What is your cultivation experience with this species?

I think we should follow Panayoti's lead, drumming up novel and preferred "common names" to those with less-than-complementary common names.  I like the well known "locoweed" name, which applies equally to both genera, although the "weed" part imparts a negative connotation.  How about "LocoPods" or "ToxiPods"?

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

McDonough wrote:

In the first photo, the environment looks so hot and austere that one wonders if it can be easily cultivated.  What is your cultivation experience with this species?

The dry, bleached-looking rock does make it look hot and austere but, actually, this is not a hot area... The highest temp we've experienced at elevation here was an unusually warm 26 deg C, 79 deg F - almost chilly by the standards of many areas.  ;D  Unfortunately, I don't have any experience at growing it.  I have just started some seeds, though, so maybe I can comment on its cultivation some day.

McDonough wrote:

I think we should follow Panayoti's lead, drumming up novel and preferred "common names" to those with less-than-complementary common names.  I like the well known "locoweed" name, which applies equally to both genera, although the "weed" part imparts a negative connotation.  How about "LocoPods" or "ToxiPods"?

;D

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

Your Oxytropis picture could have been taken on the Mosquito Mountains of Colorado: it looks identical.

We find it challenging to grow in Denver: too hot and dry here..

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

True leaves starting to develop on seedlings:

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

The only place I've personally seen this species- near the foot of the Athabasca Glacier- Columbia Icefield is certainly not hot-- although I've not been there in all summer months, I'd have to dig through old files to check- its never even been at all warm when I was there, usually with an icey wind (it is below a glacier!).. nor would I expect it to be dry- though maybe it could be for a short time in July? Some of the plants I saw were in low places between piles of glacial rubble and at blooming time would not likely have been free of snow for very long... some growing alone (more exposed spots) or with a couple different Dryas spp, as well as Hedysarum and/or some other larger pea species..
More of them here:
http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=591.75
and my full album of the site here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/cactuscactus/AlbertaRockyMountainsMay312011...

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Not to downgrade the beautiful flowers and foliage of Oxytropis podocarpa in your photos, Cohan, but the Dryas also caught my eye.

I had assumed the genus was evergreen, but obvious, not always (?)

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Oxytropis podocarpa can grow in great abundance in dry areas, though it's not limited to those, as you point out.  In higher snowfall areas, I only see it on rocky exposures (and generally not in any great number), not in the wet meadows (which I'm sure is not surprising).

Rick, I would imagine in mild climates that Dryas may well be completely evergreen but in areas with severe winters (here, I mean  ;)), the mats tend to have a lot of old dry leaves at the base and it seems to be the newer growth that is evergreen.  As the season progresses, I think more new growth hides the old mat.  Here's a photo of Dryas integrifolia, that has just emerged out of the melting snow - I suppose a lot of this may be quite new foliage, but you can see some damaged, likely older leaves also:
                       

Same on this one... which I think is also D. integrifolia (or maybe a D. octopetala/D. integrifolia hybrid?):
                       

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Lori, I would have expected that all of the green leaves in those two photos of yours are new growth.  My Dryas ocotopetala grows in non-alpine garden soil, and its leaves are evergreen through the first winter only, dying off as summer progresses.  I assumed that if it grew in more amenable conditions, the leaves would be more evergreen.  There I go again: my best efforts at generalization down the drain.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Keep in mind that I'm kind of guessing about this!
But the leaves of your plant die off during the summer?  That's completely unexpected to me.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Lori wrote:

Keep in mind that I'm kind of guessing about this!
But the leaves of your plant die off during the summer?  That's completely unexpected to me.

I mean only the leaves from the year before die off during the summer.  New leaves of the same growing season remain throughout that growing season and through the first winter.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

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