Photo: © Jelitto
£15.00 (three years old)
We often grow plants that most people in their right mind wouldn't - this is one of them.
A Missouri native, it's one of the few shrubs from the prairies.
When fully grown - which can take some time - it is fire resistant and drought tolerant owing to a deep and extensive root system. It made ploughing a nightmare for the early settlers.
An infusion of the leaves has been used to kill intestinal worms, treat eczema and heal wounds. Tiny pustules on the plant contain a contact insecticide so it's rarely troubled by bugs.
It can stabilise dry banks, put nitrogen back into the soil, penetrate the deepest clay or grow on virtual sand. It's ridiculously hardy and very long lived.
With attractive silvery, soft foliage and unique orange and purple flower spikes this is a very interesting specimen, but probably one for the plant geek or those recreating the wilder prairie look.
Dry, poor, heavy clay
Full sun, partial shade