Thermopsis villosa, aka Blue Ridge Buckbean, Carolina lupine, Aaron’s rod, Bush pea, and other names, all for virtually the same charismatic plant.
It’s that time of year. The thermopsis (Thermopsis villosa, aka Blue Ridge Buckbean, Carolina lupine, Aaron’s Rod) are nearing the end of their bloom, and (hopefully) the pods will follow.
This is a thermopsis summer! This has been their most prolific year. I mulched a few with compost, hoping it will encourage them to set many seeds.
Previously, I posted a photo of the thermopsis just as the raceme is emerging from the apical meristem.
In the beginning…
The following photos were taken about five days later.
You will notice that the Astragalus canadensis (Canadian milkvetch) is conspicuously absent from this post on native legumes. Fear not, I am gearing up for a post all of their own, hopefully soon. Some did not make the winter, but most braved the brutal cold and lived to tell the tale. But that’s a story for another day.
Thermopsis villosa syn caroliniana (Blue-Ridge Buckbean, Carolina golden banner, Carolina bush pea, Aaron’s rod). Seeds from Prairie Moon had a very nice germination rate (they arrive scarified). They came with a Thermopsis inoculum (which is the same as for Baptisia inoculum, perhaps indicating their genetic proximity). Thirty day cold-moist stratification. Scarify with sandpaper or by pouring boiling water and let sit overnight.
This plant brings happiness to my heart.
Our Thermopsis flowered for the first time in the garden this Spring. I have saved seeds, and am nervous because that means I (may) need to scarify them myself. The Prairie Moon accession, I sowed in flats in February, and was pleased to see them germinate in March or so. After that, I ran out of time, so they were largely on their own until yesterday, October 28. Of the ones that made it the first month, there was zero loss.
I may go ahead and sow the collected seeds (“Megadiverse” accession? -not yet) now, to see if I can circumvent scarification.
The above map from Weakley (2015) indicates that Thermopsis is endemic to a small portion of Appalachia. It’s southerly reach indicates to me that it may thrive in our climate zone, 7A. A goal of mine (really a quest) is to locate a naturally-occurring population of this plant in Rockingham County, thus indicating that it’s reach is a bit more easterly than determined.