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Friday, January 23, 2009

Orychophragmus violaceus February orchid

Joy Larkcom gave me seeds of this plant, which I abused soundly all winter in the polytunnel. When I went out in a recent gale to try and close the doors I found that the ground cover had come loose and battered the poor plants. They were already suffering from me going out in the dark and grabbing random handfuls of greens for salad and from a lack of watering since I don't know when. In spite of all that they decided to flower in the middle of January. I suppose that's why they are called February Orchid's. They are not orchids at all at all but a Crucifer called Orychophragmus violaceus They are pretty enough to be orchids. Their mauve flowers grace the header on this page. The leaves are quite variable some deeply serrated and others quite smooth with a mild but interesting flavour in salads. Joy tells me it has two Chinese names, 'Eryuelan' meaning February Orchid and 'Zhuge cai' or Zhuge's vegetable, after a 3rd centuary general called Zuge Liang. I'm going to try it outside next year.


  1. Hi Madeline,
    if you should have plenty of seeds, I would be interested in trying this one, i want to buy or exchange, whatever you prefer,

  2. Hi, Madeline!

    If you have some extra seeds, I would love to try growing this plant. It seems not to be available for purchase. Another name it goes by, in Japan, is Hanadaikon. I have begun saving seeds with the goal of breeding varieties that will grow well in our climate - not for profit, just for my own and friends' gardens. I would be happy to pay for seeds, reimburse you for postage, or trade for other seeds I might have.

    Let me know.


    -She.Rex www.stonepylon.com

  3. Sorry- forgot to leave an email address:

  4. I pulled it up recently although it was still flowering at the end of May, and some of the seeds are mature, I will sort it out soon and send you some. I am happy to swop for something. I will send some to you too Frank.

  5. Hi, Madeleine!

    Just wanted you to know I planted the Violet Cress seeds you sent a month ago, when I thought our hot weather would break, and again last week. (Succession planting, so I only plant a little of everything once a month instead of one big planting for the season - working out great so far.) The heat didn't stop for nearly all of October, so those first seeds got a slow start, taking a couple of weeks to peep out of the ground, but this second set were up in a few days, so I think they will be a success. Will let you know how they do once they have had more time to grow. Again, thank you so much!