As part of embracing that philosophy, this spring I bought a plant for no reason other than that I thought it was funny. I actually first saw this plant in New Zealand and I’ve been searching for it ever since. It’s Asclepias physocarpa but its common name—Family Jewels tree (aka Hairy Balls plant, or the far more boring Balloonplant) says far more about what this member of the milkweed family actually looks like.
It’s a tender perennial in zone 7, so it is most certainly an annual in my zone 5b garden, but I wanted to give it a shot anyway. It first started flowering a couple weeks ago so I was worried that I wouldn’t get to see any of the seed pods that give it its common names. Never fear, the family jewels are here.
|It’s OK, you can giggle. You know you want to.|
There are several seed pods now and they are growing rather rapidly (obviously I’m not watering it with cold water 😉 ) but I’m really enjoying this plant for its form as well. It has an elongated leaf that isn’t unlike what you’d find on an olive tree. I absolutely love olive trees because I think they are just so pretty. I hate olives though. Go figure. Anyway, it’s difficult to find an elongated, slightly blueish leaf on a plant that will grow in northern climates so this was a nice surprise.
|The flowers are diminutive but pretty with a lovely light scent.|
|The plant stands about 5 feet 6 inches tall and has a sort of free-form habit. I like it.|
I’m going to try to save a few of the seeds and grow this from seed next year. Any plant that makes me laugh every time I see it is certainly one worth growing. Even if it means that you have a rather juvenile sense of humor.
P.S. I think I should receive some sort of award for keeps the puns to a minimum in this post. Feel free to add as many as you like in the comments though. If you have the cojones.