Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Foliage Friday: Tricolor Oyster Plant

Rhoeo discolor -- one name for it.
This little groundcover or house plant is in the Tradescantia or spiderwort family, similar to Wandering Jew-type plants.  I like the white and green variegation on the front of the leaves, but it's the reverse that's really striking -- a bright clear purple.  Oyster plant does flower off and on, and the flower is contained in two clamshell-shaped bracts (hence the name) but the foliage is the real star.

Tradescantia spathacea -- another name for it.

This plant is not entirely cold-hardy here.  On most winters, it should be safe up against the house or planted in a protected bed, but it's only reliable in zone 9b and south.  I keep mine in a pot and bring it in, just in case.  It thrives outside, in everything from mostly shade to mostly sun.  It doesn't seem picky about water either.  It's often grown as a semi-epiphyte, affixed to trees where it gets plenty of rain.  But it likes regular watering too.  It's got a fancy look to it, but it's just as sturdy as its spiderwort family, if a little more tender.


  1. Nice plant, love the colors. The pinks and purple? are quite nice. Here in Niagara Falls, so much is a house plant. Our weather is getting into the low 50's during the day and 40's at night. My Duranta will be moving in this week.

    New house plant to look into. Thanks. BTW, 3 picks for the info.

  2. How beautiful! It's a shame the really dazzling color is hidden on the underside of the leaf surface, but the variegated upper surface is lovely too.

  3. How could I not love a blog with a wonderful poem like "Pied Beauty" at the top? Isn't all of life a little pied? And isn't it beautiful?

  4. How neat that the reverse of the leaf is such a striking purple. Beautiful!