The Very Green Gardener

Thousand mothers (Tolmiea menziesii)

5.00
Thousand mothers foliage.jpg
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Thousand mothers foliage detail.jpg

Thousand mothers (Tolmiea menziesii)

5.00

Plant of a thousand names! Piggyback plant, thousand mothers, youth on age, pick-a-back plant. They’re native to North America, but have naturalised all over the world. I find these are much better in a nice big pot inside. They are great groundcover for darker wetter spots.

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Plant of a thousand names! Piggyback plant, thousand mothers, youth on age, pick-a-back plant. They’re native to North America, but have naturalised all over the world. I find these are much better in a nice big pot inside. They are great groundcover for darker wetter spots.

Thanking Wikipedia for the description, because it’s a funny one, and I can’t make it much more user-friendly- I’ve left the links in too. “Tolmiea menziesii has hairy, five to seven-lobed, toothed leaves and a capsule fruit containing spiny seeds

It bears many small flowers in a loose raceme. Each flower consists of a tubular purple-green to brown-green calyx and four linear or subulate (awl-shaped) red-brown petals, about twice the length of the sepals.

It has unusual reproductive habits. It grows plantlets from the petiole near the base of each leaf. The plantlets drop off, fall in the soil, and take root there. It will also reproduce by rhizomes and by seeds. “

My best description is- the leaves grow new plants. It’s adorable.

I do not use this plant in landscaping, because I live in Wellington, and they’re ideal conditions but slightly on the damper side. Wherever this plant thrives outside in Wellington, it’s also likely to get rust, which is near on impossible to get rid of once the plant has it. So I keep it in pots, and the increased airflow seems to help keep rust at bay. Mine sits in the darkest spot in the bathroom and cascades down the wall.