The Q&A Archives: Info about Gas Plant

Question: I recently read about a flowering plant with the latin name Phraxanella. Beings it interested me and I should like to learn more about it, I promptly lost the original article. Now I cannot find any mention of a Phraxanella in any of my garden books, and wonder if I wrote the name down incorrectly.

Could you help me with finding a common name for this and any info about it??

Answer: I found Fraxinella--could this be the plant you are talking about? The common name is "gas plant" or "burning bush"; the scientific name is Dictamnus albus, also called Dictamnus fraxinella. It is a sturdy, hardy, deciduous, herbacious perennial that grows about 2 feet tall. The common names refer to the curious fact that if, on a calm, warm evening, a flame is brought close to the flower stem just beneath the cluster of blooms, a volatile gas given off by the plant readily ignites in a flash of flame.

The plant has attractive, dark green, glossy foliage and spikelike blooms followed by attractive seed pods. It is, however, quite slow-growing and resists transplanting. Once established, the plants should thrive for years, if not decades.

You can purchase this plant from Carroll Gardens, 800-638-6334.

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