Featured Flower: Red Hot Pokers


Red Hot Pokers

Red Hot Poker plants (Kniphofia uvaria), or Poker Plants, as we used to call them, also known as Torch lilies, remind me of July.  Perhaps this is because they resemble a firework exploding out from the center in bright, hot colors of yellow, orange, and red.  Or it could be my fond memories of summer gatherings with my dad at the grill pit tending the flames licking at the chicken he’s barbecuing, while I walk down to the pond for a handfull of blackberries and to go for a quick dip in the pond before dinner. Whatever the reason, these plants just say, “July.”

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Whether at the beach or inland, they add a certain architectural interest and primordial look to their environment.  With the one central stock surrounded by fluted, fiery flowers, they at once evoke an Indian head-dress and a sacred flame.  Although they originate in Africa, they have become naturalized in some areas including California, which could account for their presence at the coast and my associations of them with home.

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Photos by Nadja Masura