Sunday, January 10, 2010
Green and Gold - Chrysogonum virginianum
Green and gold (Chrysogonum virginianum) is a wonderful spreading groundcover that produces both attractive foliage and flowers. In Florida, it is confined to only a four county area in the central panhandle, but it is rather common throughout much of the eastern seaboard region of the U.S. to our north.
Green and gold occurs in the understories of upland woods where it is neither excessively wet or dry and in situations where it receives filtered or dappled light, but not deep shade or full sun. It is especially touchy to its growing conditions, but quite vigorous in situations to its liking. If you give it too much of anything, it will die - quickly.
This is an almost mat-forming groundcover. The "hairy" rounded foliage hugs the ground and individual plants send out runners, much like a strawberry, which form new plants that root where they come into contact with the ground. Eventually, masses of this plant will form and the deep green of the foliage makes a striking addition to the semi-shaded locations where it prospers.
At the center of each plant, small (about 1 inch in diameter) yellow daisy-like flowers are produced - one at a time. These also hug the ground and stand just above the foliage. Their bright golden color is very attractive. Flowering can occur during many months beginning in late spring, but is most common in April and May.
Green and gold is only occassionally available to the home gardener in Florida, but can sometimes be found online from various wildflower growers that have stock which originates from here or nearby. We have grown it successfully for several years in our Pinellas County landscape, but find it extremely touchy as to microclimate. Our once-thirving colony disappeared after 2 years soon after the tree that was partially shading it died and we have not yet replaced it elsewhere.
If you have the right conditions, you will likely love this wildflower. You just may have to experiment a bit to find a spot where it will be happy.