Red Birds in a Tree Scrophularia macrantha
Plant Height: 36"
A dynamic perennial that is native to southwestern USA, Red Birds in a Tree produces a flock of brilliant red "cardinal-like" flowers on vigorous bushy plants that can reach 36" tall and 18" wide. The adaptable plants will grow in difficult dry soil in the sunny garden areas. The nectar rich flowers are a source of food for hummingbirds all summer long.
Anyone who has managed to grow "Red birds in a tree" knows that few plants are more attractive to hummingbirds. Scrophularia macrantha is a very local plant endemic largely to a few mountains in central New Mexico. The genus usually goes by the common name "Figwort" and gave its name to the Figwort Family--(Scrophulariaceae), which opens up another can of worms--let's leave that for another blog! But this plant is notable for several reasons: it is unquestionably the queen bee of its genus (Scrophularia is widespread in the old world, where most species are black or brown flowered--charming, I'm sure!). It makes a striking specimen in a border or wild garden--but stand back! It can grow six or more feet tall in gardens. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty, Iowa