Thysanocarpus radians (Ribbed Fringepod) [10 Seeds]


Germination Information: The seeds of this cool-season annual tend to grow best if you sow them outdoors, right where you’d like them to grow. Gently press them into the surface of prepared soil. In mild-winter areas, you could sow the seeds outdoors any time in winter; elsewhere, late winter is probably best, so they can start sprouting as soon as conditions are right.

Here in southeastern PA, I usually sow in March; the seedlings appear in early to mid-April, then bloom and make seedpods through May. As an experiment, I sowed a few more seeds in mid-April; they germinated too, but the plants were much smaller and produced very few seeds. It seems that even a short spell of hot weather can really interfere with their growth, so sow early!

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Ribbed fringepod (Thysanocarpus radians, formerly T. curvipes) is an intriguing annual native to California and reportedly found in a few other parts of western North America. It’s a delicate little thing, with very slender stems typically 12 to 18 inches tall and tiny, barely noticeable blooms. Its primary beauty comes from its small but showy seedpods, with a flat, circular, green center surrounded by a white ring with radiating pink stripes. It thrives in cool weather, doing its thing in spring and then disappearing as soon as hot weather arrives. The seedpods do not hold their colors as they dry on the plant; I don’t know if they would if silica-dried.

Honestly, this is not a good choice if you are looking for a high-impact plant. You pretty much need to get on your knees to appreciate it, or else grow it in a container in a raised position. (Siting it where the pods will be backlit shows them off to best advantage, by the way.) If you enjoy growing rare plants and appreciate that beautiful things don’t have to last forever to be worthwhile, then I think you will love it as much as I do. It’s an exquisite little gem for full sun to light shade.

I was lucky enough to get a few seeds of ribbed fringepod and grew it for the first time in spring of 2019. I’ve been keeping most of the small seed harvest to grow out more plants the following year, but so many people have expressed interest in growing this plant that I am parting with a few seeds here. Please, if you get some, collect the seeds and share them with others! It is practically impossible to find them in the trade.

I collected these seeds from my plants in the first week of June 2020. Each packet contains at least 10 seeds.


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