Thursday 3 February 2011

A Chinese Theme

Stellar Pelargonium Chinese Cactus

Since today is the start of the Chinese New Year  (the year of the Rabbit of you are interested), I thought I would write about the Stellar Pelargonium Chinese Cactus.  This is the pelargonium that Ted Both of Adelaide, South Australia, used in his crossings to develop the stellar pelargoniums we know today.   Where this plant came from is a mystery. No one knows how it got to Australia, or where it came from. It appeared in Australia around 1950 and was known as Chinese Cactus, Fiery Chief, and also Sunstar. The leaves and flowers are quite unlike the usual zonal pelargonium that were known then.  The leaves of Chinese Cactus have the same dark zone that many zonal pelargoniums have, but the leaves are deeply indented.  The single pink flowers are also very different from the normal zonal flower having two very narrow top petals and three narrow lower petals which are serrated.

Pelargonium Chinese Cactus leaves

Ted Both crossed this plant with a large number of zonals to produce the stellar pelargoniums that we know today.   He though that this plant resembled P.staphysagroides, and called his new hybrids 'Staphs'   However, it has since been proved that Chinese Cactus is not P. staphysagroides.

In Australia these hybrids are still called Staphs, but here and in other parts of the world they are known as Stellars, for the star shaped leaves.

Continuing the Chinese theme:-
 Choun Cho

Ivy Leaf Pelargonium Choun Cho has the darkest and most velvety petals.   I bought this at Fibrex Nursery a few years ago and was told that it was given to them by a visitor from France.  They also said that Prince Charles orders Choun Cho each year for his hanging baskets.
2011 Year of the Rabbit


  1. Kung hsay Fat Choi (as Mary told me yesterday

  2. Stopped by to thank you for your explanation about Hen & Chicken / Proliferation at PATSP. Much appreciated.


I would love to hear your comments about my "ramblings".