Identification: Petasites albus, male plants?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by wcutler, Mar 17, 2020.

  1. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I have spent a long time tonight trying to figure out what these flowers are that I found next to the sidewalk on Lagoon Drive in Stanley Park. I have finally decided they are Petasites albus, white butterbur, male plants. Yes?
    I did notice the orbicular leaves near each plant, was going to photograph them, but decided they were so different from the other "leaves" that they had to be a separate plant. I think now that they are the leaves, and those things with the parallel veins are some other structure. The flowers here don't seem to open more than this - there were several plants clearly past their prime that had flowers no more opened.
    Petasites-albus_LagoonDrive_Cutler_20200317_102951.jpg Petasites-albus_LagoonDrive_Cutler_20200317_103003.jpg
     
  2. Margot

    Margot Well-Known Member

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    Great detective work, Wendy!

    I have long admired (and feared) Petasites in the garden. I first encountered Petasites japonicus (Japanese butterbur) along the north coast of Burnaby and made the mistake of transplanting bit of rhizome in my garden. I have heard that Japanese settlers introduced it as a vegetable but I never did taste it.

    Petasites is truly impressive but hard to control in a residential garden. I remember seeing Petasites japonicus ??? all around a pond just below the UBC Shop in the Garden and then, one year, it was completely gone. Don't know how they got rid of it. I have also seen it at VanDusen Gardens in the native planting below the main building. That was at least 20 years ago so it may be gone now.

    From E-Flora BC: There are 3 native Petasites (Coltsfoot) varieties in BC: Petasites frigidus var. frigidus, P. frigidus var. palmatus and P. var. nivalis. I also see mention of P. frigidus var. sagittatus on another website.

    Petasites albus
    originates in Europe. The flower is really neat but, to me, the leaves are not nearly so impressive as the BC species.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2020
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  3. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Thanks, Margot. I waited to reply until I got a few more photos - I wanted to show the flower stalk and flower arrangement. And some leaves. Those parallel-veined things seem to be bracts.
    I did see several clumps of these, looking more self-arranged than planted.
    Petasites-albus_lagoondrive_Cutler_20200318_133529.jpg Petasites-albus_lagoondrive_Cutler_20200318_133757.jpg Petasites-albus_lagoondrive_Cutler_20200318_133836.jpg
     
  4. Margot

    Margot Well-Known Member

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    It's hard not to admire such an impressive plant but better in public gardens than our own.
     

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