With its large, choreographic flowers, the Speronella it is a much loved plant and is used especially when there is a need to decorate the garden. Let's get to know its characteristics and learn how we must cultivate it to obtain an abundant and fascinating flowering.
Its scientific name is "Consolidate Ajacis" and belongs to the Ranunculaceae family. It is a herbaceous plant, grown as an annual or perennial, and is native to Asia, del North America and also of our Europe, in fact in Italy we can find it that grows spontaneously in some areas near the sea, especially where there are gravelly soils, in the islands and in the southern regions.
Everything hidden under the earth, there is a root system decidedly robust that we can also find sold individually. The plant also has a developed aerial part that is on the surface and which is formed by long stems that can reach a height of one and a half meters. The stems are erect and a little hairy while the leaves are green, large, webbed and divided into linear laciniae but gathered in thick tufts.
Throughout the summer the Speronella he gives us his flowers that are large, long and grouped in spikes that can be of various colors: both white and pink but also purple and blue. Each single flower has a cup shape and can be simple or double.
Towards the month of August, therefore in late summer, the fruits begin to ripen which, opening, release the seeds. These are ventricose fruits, composed of 2-3 velvety follicles each of which contains four seeds covered with a wrinkled and scaly integument. They have a compressed and oval shape, are blackish gray and have the ability to germinate and by self-sowing they give life to many new plants.
Let's see how it is possible to cultivate the larkspur trying to get the most flowers. Let's start by placing it in a place where it receives a lot of sunlight and at the same time does not receive too many winds, especially if cold. Starting from spring, upon awakening after vegetative rest, it is necessary to wet the plant very abundantly so that it blooms at its best, especially if the climate is dry. We try to evaluate on the spot because when it rains, the Speronella flies by itself with rainwater. Already in autumn, and throughout the winter, it is not necessary to wet this plant, indeed it is not recommended to do so because the vegetative rest begins.
To avoid causing asphyxiation to the plant, we do not use a too compact soil but instead opt for the universal one mixed with coarse sand which, among other things, is able to favor the drainage of the watering water. In fact the Speronella loves a well-drained and also soft soil, rich in organic matter and dissolved.
In spring the soil must be fertilized, with products suitable for flowering plants. They are to be used every two weeks, diluted in water for watering or every forty days we can use a slow-release fertilizer, distributing it at the foot of the bushes.
Once, in folk medicine, the dried flowers of the Speronella they were used for therapeutic purposes, especially to prepare diuretic infusions, to improve peripheral circulation, to fight bacterial and viral infections, to strengthen bones and speed up the healing of sores and wounds. Today the healing qualities of this plant are no longer used, which is now destined to be used as decoration or furniture in our homes or gardens.
Occasionally we can find it used for external use, to treat conjunctivitis and other eye inflammations or against lice and scabies. When we handle it, in the garden, it is best that we use protective gloves because it has a very irritating effect, and its seeds are poisonous to humans and dogs due to the high content of methylicaconitine, a vegetable alkaloid similar to colchicine. The seeds that have the most are those of the Stafisagria variety.
Despite its "dangerousness", the Speronella in the language of flowers it is a symbol of serenity, joy, peace and purity of heart and when given as a gift, it would be a good omen. Its name also derives from the term delphís (dolphin) because it has a spur in the flower that closely resembles the fin of the dolphin. This element recalls a legend that tells of a man saved by a dolphin whose friends continued to hunt the animal. Neptune had to intervene, transforming it into a flower to prevent it from being captured.
In Italy this ornamental plant is called with different names depending on the regions: in Calabria it is known as Lice grass while in Campania it is the Speron of knight.
The most frequent problems we can encounter when cultivating one Speronella they concern the formation of water stagnations or attacks by aphids and snails. If the former spoil the flowers before they can bloom, the others devour all the leaves.
To avoid the rot problem it may make sense to always empty the saucer after about 30 minutes from watering.
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