Alpine Garden Society

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Androsace lanuginosa

Androsace lanuginosa Invariably in flower in July, frequently from a June start, Androsace lanuginosa is a native of the North West Himalaya, from the Himachal Pradesh to Western Nepal. There it is found on grassy slopes…….. but from 1800m to 3000m – a height not easily achieved in the cultivated  alpine garden. Fortunately this is a cheerfully adaptable plant, willing when in Rome to do as Rome does.The loose mats or cushions of interlacing, trailing stems are tinged red in youth and branch freely from the leaf axils; and, like the small pointed grey-green leaves, are covered with dense hairs which give a silvery look to the plant.

Androsace lanuginosa The charming little pink, dark-eyed flowers (sometimes lilac with a yellow-green eye) are composed of up to fifteen florets with rounded, slightly overlapping petals.

This is an easy plant to propagate from summer cuttings or layers and, indeed, the trailing stems often root spontaneously. Nor is it particular as to soil or site and will accept some shade though, in common with other hirsute plants, it appreciates a position where it will not be subject to too much winter wet.

The Rev. Ewbank once wrote (though of another plant) that he thought “It stood to reason that it would not enjoy the steady drip, drip of an English summer”. Site Androsace lanuginosa away from any overhanging neighbours and it will not miss those mountain heights.

Ruby Baker