GREATER RED-HOT-POKER

Kniphofia × praecox

Asphodel Family [Xanthorrhoeaceae]

month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8bicolour
flower
flower8red
inner
inner8yellow
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ6
type
typeZspiked
type
typeZtubular
stem
stem8round

22nd June 2010, Grange over Sands, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Up to 2 metres high and much more likely to be found growing in a garden, as here, than on sand dunes.


22nd June 2010, Grange over Sands, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
A single sturdy un-branched stem with stubby triangular 'bracts' bears a single dense flower bi-coloured spike atop.


22nd June 2010, Grange over Sands, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Younger stems are shorter, and have more un-opened tubular flowers that are red and resemble red-hot pokers.


22nd June 2010, Grange over Sands, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The flowers open starting from the bottom of the flowering spike and work their way up to the top until all flowers have opened.


22nd June 2010, Grange over Sands, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Unopened flowers are fire red. As they open their redness fades to a yellowy cream with an orange stripe. The stamens protrude and slowly grow longer from the six-petalled opening.


22nd June 2010, Grange over Sands, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Until the stamens are protruding a good 15mm beyond the opening, un-like Red-hot-Poker where they only protrude slightly.


22nd June 2010, Grange over Sands, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
As the stamens grow ever longer, the anthers turn from creamy orange to brown, then black, with white pollen.


22nd June 2010, Grange over Sands, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Just opened flowers with extending stamens.


22nd June 2010, Grange over Sands, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Pollen on anthers originally creamy coloured.


22nd June 2010, Grange over Sands, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Bird's-eye view of radiating whirls of flowers, perhaps ten in a closely-packed row.


22nd June 2010, Grange over Sands, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Older spent flowers at the bottom of the spike wither and go brown.


22nd June 2010, Grange over Sands, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Stem smooth with vertical striations.


22nd June 2010, Grange over Sands, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
A huge bunch of very long, grass-like leaves strikes from the ground around each stem and gradually taper to a sharp and browning point. Outer leaves bend over un-able to keep themselves erect despite their stiffening 'V'-shape cross-section.



Easily mistaken for : Red-hot-Poker but that is shorter, with the stamens barely protruding from the flower opening and un-sharp leaf tips.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

Greater Red-hot-Poker is a hybrid, and many different varieties are cultivated for the garden. This specimen may well be one of them.

Much more likely to be found in a garden setting than wild. When growing wild, it grows on older coastal sand dunes, rather than mobile ones!

The flowers themselves are fused tubular affairs, and the opening has six very short triangular petals which open with an inward flare rather than the much more usual outward flare. It shares a similar shape with the flowers of Navelwort, but they do not change colour, are cream-coloured and have only five short triangular petals without any protruding stamens.


  Kniphofia × praecox  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Xanthorrhoeaceae  

Distribution
 family8Asphodel family8Xanthorrhoeaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Kniphofia
Kniphofia
(Red-Hot-Pokers)

GREATER RED-HOT-POKER

Kniphofia × praecox

Asphodel Family [Xanthorrhoeaceae]

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