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Originally posted pre-flowering as Tellima grandiflora here - http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/321061?nav=search (hope the link works).
Now it has flowered it would seem top marks are due to Brock who suggested the non-flowering stage looked more like Heucherella or Tiarella. Looking through various internet pages I think it may be a Heuchera or possibly a Heucherella but don't know garden plants well. Can anyone put a name to it?
Quite a light, delicate looking flower, and probably tough as old boots.
... Tellima have stalkless leaves most of the way up the flowering stem, - which is long, stiff, and distinctly clear of the lower foliage, which is fairly sparse.
The flowers are attached directly to the flowering stem, singly.
Heuchera/Heucherella have a dense dome of stalked leaves at ground level, with none to speak of on the flowering stems, and their flowers are less of a spike, more of a panicle.
Heuchera flowers are quite loose, Heucherella are more of a pointy bottle-brush shape, if you'll excuse the lack of botanical term. *looks around guiltily for Stuart.*
From your photo, looking at the density of the foliage, I would suggest it's more likely to be Heuchera than Tellima, and from the shape of the flowering spike, more likely to be Heuchera than Heucharella.
Being in a suburban location, they could well be garden escapes, as the Heucheras do seed freely.
Sorry I can't be more precise!
How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:
... but what you are looking for may be raceme. (The difference between a raceme and a spike is that the flowers in a raceme are pedicellate and those in a spike are sessile.)
There, I knew you'd catch me.
Spike = sessile, ie stalkless, that definitely sums up Tellima, where the insignificant flowers appear to be glued to the stem.
Pedicellate - having a pedicel (stalk) is fairly obvious, but I thought a raceme was, as it were, simple, whereas a panicle is complex, ie the pedicels are branched.
If so, would I be correct in saying that the inflorescence of Tiarella (bottlebrush) would be a raceme, whereas those of the Heuchera would be a panicle?
*laughs, waiting for correction!*
We could also point out that the inflorescence appears to be indeterminate, couldn't we? *grins*
... between a raceme and a panicle (but Wikipedia says that a panicle is determinate, giving an additional distinction).
Wikipedia gives a fair account of inflorescence terminology.
...and a panicle, according to my notes, is a compound raceme.
On rereading those notes, there's also a lovely thing called a Thyrse, which appears to be a compound panicle, but when when it is determinate (for anyone scratching their heads, that means the first flower to open is at the top or the middle: indeterminate = first flowers to open are at the base) it becomes a compound cyme.
I have to say that anyone starting out in Botany would run screaming, after trying to read that Wiki page!
Thanks everyone for the comments, and pleased to see that Rachy's conclusion that Heuchera is most likely matches my thoughts. There seem to be numerous species/varieties of Heuchera so it may not be possible to go any further than this.
I agree that this is a Heuchera, and that it would be difficult to identify further - I've just been to the Chelsea Flower Show and there were hundreds on display, many of them with pink or red flowers. Perhaps you should pinch a bit for the garden, it's very fashionable!
According to commentators at Chelsea Flower show last night there are now at least 1000 cultivars and hybrids of Heuchera available, so tracking this one down to species or cultivar level may prove difficult!
David J Trevan
...you'll notice that I didn't even try!
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