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What’s the point of having an opinion if you can’t later circle ’round and contradict yourself? Exactly. So while I did write about the importance of using botanical names (here) I now want to give a shout out to the excellence of some common names, in this case Bladder Senna.

Pretty fabulous right?
Colutea x media 109 airy form

I discovered this plant on a visit to Dancing Oaks Nursery last April. While the botanical name does have a certain ring to it (Colutea x media just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it?) the common name had me wondering “what the heck?” (that’s the PG version at least).
Colutea x media at Dancing Oaks label

Promised orange and yellow flowers, and that happy foliage, was enough for me though, sold!
Colutea x media at Dancing Oaks plant

The foliage got better and better…
Colutea x media 101 foliage

But the flowers lacked any orange. Yellow is all I see…hmm…
Colutea x media 100 flower

But then those pods showed up and 1) the common name suddenly made sense, and 2) they are so COOL! I can’t stop looking at them, all it takes is the slightest amount of light and they appear to glow (in other words the flowers were forgotten)…
Colutea x media 106 bladder

Another benefit? In a garden that’s already crammed full, the open and airy form of this plant could easily be squeezed into a tight spot. Although if you take a look at this post over at Rhone Street Gardens Scott shares a photo (taken at Dancing Oaks) that shows a much more compact and bushy shrub. Maybe mine’s just a wild one.
Colutea x media 104 overall

Now here’s where the name thing takes a turn. Researching for this post I discovered there’s another plant that goes by the name Bladder Senna, and that’s Colutea arborescens…who’s flowers just happen to look exactly like the ones on my plant…
Colutea x media 101

So perhaps I don’t have Colutea x media (which is a hybrid cross between C. arborescens and C. orientalis) after all? This is another reality of the plant world, things are sometimes mis-identified, it happens. At least in this case it’s not a horrible difference between the two and I like the plant I got.
Colutea x media 105 overall

Yep, I like it a lot.
Colutea x media 107 bladder