Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Dennis Pot and Bulbous Oat Grass

A Pot in a Patch of Bulbous Oat Grass
A Pot in a Patch of Bulbous Oat GrassA Pot in a Patch of Bulbous Oat GrassA Pot in a Patch of Bulbous Oat Grass
In this POTS and PLANTS episode we have one of our many “Dennis” pots (pots from a friend named Dennis) and Bulbous Oat Grass.

Dennis said that the pot was made with Laguna Clay Company's Los Altos Blend clay. The Glaze is called Woo Blue. The orange flecking in the glaze is from iron oxide bleeding through from the clay body. The pot was fired in a reduction kiln.  A reduction firing reduces the amount of oxygen in the kiln, so that the flame steels the oxygen from the iron oxide in the clay body, giving it its warm toasted appearance.

Bulbous Oat Grass, is always a spring time favorite with its soft leaves. As soon as summer comes and it gets drier here in Seattle, it withers away and goes dormant. It often comes back briefly in the fall with the return of rain.

What is the correct scientific name for bulbous oat grass? Is it Arrhenatherum elatius bulbosum ‘Variegatum’ (Monrovia, Blooming Advantage) or Arrhenatherum elatius var. bulbosum (Dave’s Garden, USDA Plants Profile)? ‘Variegatum’ is a cultivar, bred for desirable characteristics, and bulbosum is a variety, a step below a species. I would guess since this plant was purchased in a nursery it would be the ‘Variegatum’.

According to Quattrocchi, the generic name origins of A. elatius are:

Greek arrhen “male, masculine” and anther “a bristle”, referring to the staminate floret.

Elatius mean tall and refers to the tall habit of the common variety, not the variegated species shown here, which is anything but tall but I guess that’s all relative. Finally, according to Monrovia, Linnaeus put this grass in the genus Avena, commonly known as oats. Later, the grass was put in th Arrhenatherum genus but the “oat” name stuck.

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