Globularia cordifolia. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Descriptive Latin is often used as the basis of a botanical
Not only does this make them delightful to pronounce, but has
the wonderful side effect of making the names much easier to
remember, as we can relate them to the plant.
Globularia cordifolia was named in 1753 by Carl
Linnaeus, inspired by the spherical flower heads and the
Globularia is in Plantaginaceae, a large plant family
that includes plantain, foxglove, hebe, veronica and
snapdragon. It is an evergreen woody-based perennial which
hugs the ground, crawling over rocks.
The leaves, which are small, shiny and leathery, are a bit
like a tiny wooden spoon with a notch in the end.
In spring the flower heads are held upright and begin as a
tightly packed dark purple ball. As the tiny individual
flowers open, lighter coloured petals expand outwards
creating a shaggy powderpuff effect.
These last for several weeks.
Globularia cordifolia requires a sunny position with
well-drained soil and will tolerate drought once it is
established. It is great tumbling over a rock garden, or as a
ground cover at the front of a border.
Native to limestone scree slopes throughout the European alps
and Pyrenees, it grows well in the rock garden at Dunedin
Botanic Garden, where it has been planted in several places.
- Robyn Abernethy is the rock, water and alpine
curator at Dunedin Botanic Garden.