I’ve got a quick trip to Berkeley planned, and like any good plant-a-holic, I did a quick google search to see if there’s a chance to sneak in a quick nursery visit. Turns out I’ll be 17 minutes driving distance from Annie’s Annuals. Hmm. If there’s any break in the action, I just might be able to swing it.

I’ll have to be quick, none of this reading tags and hemming and hawing allowed. Get in, grab the plants, and get out. I’m ready for it. I’ve got a plant on my most-wanted list, I’ll stuff five or six of these in my carry on bag.

Musschia wollastonii
Musschia wollastonii, photo by Far Out Flora


I’ve fallen hard for Musschia wollastonii.

What’s to love from Annie’s description?

The rarest plant in the nursery!!

Okay, that line gets me. Every. Time.

It makes a giant rosette of long, luxuriant, serrated leaves

And that’s where I start drooling.
Giant?
Rosette?
Luxuriant?
Serrated?

We could stop there, and I’d already be in love. Any velvety rosette 4′ across in a single year is a plant that deserves a spot in my garden. But there’s more. It’s killing me.

In late Spring of year 2, prepare to have your mind blown when it makes a pyramidal inflorescence 4’ across bearing hundreds of fanciful chartreuse blooms. You’ll be calling your friends over to share this amazing sight.

While I don’t grow many flowers, those that I have should be mind blowing and chartreuse.

Musschia wollastonii
Musschia wollastonii, photo by Annie’s Annuals

And what happens to the rosette when that mind blowing inflorescence has made it’s appearance?

Dies after bloom, but not before dropping jillions of seed for future generations.

I love huge velvety rosettes that self seed themselves into drifts in the garden. I’m not scared of the “jillions” comment. If they were weedy, would they be so rare? Well maybe. But if I have extras, I’m sure I know some gardeners who’d appreciate a few Musschia of their own.

Musschia wollastonii
Musschia wollastonii, photo by Annie’s Annuals

Usually, plants I’m pining for at Annie’s Annuals fall into the zone envy category, much like the Mexican Weeping Bamboo at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden in the cover shot on this post. My mostly shady garden has precious little space for sun worshiping plants. However, Musschia wollastonii should be happy here.

EASY to grow. Rich, moist, well-drained soil. Musschia wollastonii naturally grows on cliffs in cool, foggy conditions and so it loves our coastal climate.

Now I really can’t figure out why we don’t see this one around more. I’m going to do my best to change that.

Musschia wollastonii
Musschia wollastonii, photo by Annie’s Annuals

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