Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Crooked as the Devil's Backbone

I was about 16 years old when I was given the first of these plants andI have kept it alive for over 30 years. My collection has grown to 4 different varieties, all known by a number of common names, including "Devil's Backbone", "Cardinal Plants", "Red Bird Plants" and finally, "Japanese Poinsettias." The photo to the left shows them as they appear today, pruned to their bases for a new year of growth.

Click upon any image to enlarge it.

(Left: A white and green variegated variety.)

(Left: The blooms of these plants resemble small red and white birds. This is a small-leafed green variety of the plant.)

(Left: A closer view of the blooms from the plant of many names. You can see from these blooms why they are called "cardinal plants" or "cardinal cacti." They also grow in a zig-zag pattern which lends the name "Devil's Backbone," presuming that the they are "crooked as the Devil's Backbone".)

(Left: A yellow and green variety of the plant was given to me by my friend Kenny just before his death in 1994.)



Anonymous ae said...

That's a beautiful plant, Ron. Better in pots? Need lots of light? Shade? I'm working on my yard, and I need some points of interest. =)

5/07/2006 02:22:00 AM  
Anonymous armen said...

i also inherited one of these beauties over 30 years old. I looked at her this morning and she had some sort of mildew/mold on the upper leaves. what should i use?


9/23/2007 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger misszappa said...

I have a Devils Backbone plant I bought at a tag sale... it is in the same pot as a jade... The Jade is doing fine, but during a windy day here inFlorida the Devils Backbone lost all of its leaves. It does have tiny red flowers on it now... will the leaves come back or should I get rid of it? The plant is kept outdoors.



2/27/2008 01:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once t he leaves on mine fall off the bottom they never grow back. Thou mine is inside and kept trimmed. Plant is only about 12 inches tall and about 10 years old. I keep it trimmed. Grows great in my office. Thou i do have to keep planting new shoots at the bottom to keep the lower leef hidden somewhat.

8/18/2008 01:24:00 PM  

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