Throatwort

Throatwort

by Barbara Lee on June 23, 2012

Sometimes it’s fun to grow a plant just because you like the name.  I love the name of this plant: Throatwort.  It conjures up some Harry Potteresque magical herb that might be used to cast a spell.  I like the sound of it and I enjoy people’s reaction to it.  “Throatwort” I repeat as they look at me quite astonished.  It sounds a little threatening, maybe even medieval.  Actually, this plant was at one time thought to have healing properties, particularly for sore throats.  Its genus, Trachelium, is derived from the Greek “trachilos” meaning neck.  Wort or wyrt means plant root.

But aside from it having an amusing name, Throatwort is an attractive flowering perennial.  It displays showy puffs of amethyst flowers on thin stems, somewhat similar to allium.  Its serrated leaves are a deep green cast with a purple hue.  It attracts hummingbirds and butterflies for your garden enjoyment.

Throatwort does well as a cut flower, though not really popular in arrangements.  I suppose a florist would be hesitant to suggest such a posy.  A bouquet of Roses and Throatwort might not spell romance to a bride.  A shame really, it would be quite complimentary to a pink and lavender theme.  For my own arrangements, I like to pair it with lacey light green ferns as contrast to the deep purple hues.

I planted my Throatwort last summer and enjoyed its flowers through fall.  I cut it back some in winter and currently it is rewarding me with deep purple pom poms.  It enjoys morning sun here in southern California but will tolerate full sun in more northern climates.  It would look lovely in a cottage garden peeking out between pink foxgloves or along a white picket fence.

If you are looking for a new plant for your garden, go with the unusual.  Throatwort might be an odd name, but it has proved to be a harmonious addition to my magical home and garden.

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