Ligularia Martian Invader

The crinkle leafed Ligularia that some bright nurseryman decided to call Martian Invader has been a favourite foliage plant of mine for some years now. I grow it in the shelter of overhanging trees by the water.

 With neighbouring flax and variegated pelargonium.
Ligularia in the Garden

This Ligularia is evergreen - in a dullish green sort of way. It is sheltered from our winter frosts. The only care and attention it gets is some sneaky watering in the spring and summer months. I've never it flowering - after all, one doesn't associate flowers with Martians.

What's in a Name?

I have to comment on the ridiculous name it is sold under (in New Zealand, at least) - 'Martian Invader'. Whoever thought that name up must have been in a sorry childhood reminiscing phase - to me it doesn't remotely symbolise anything Martian, nor does it look scary enough to be called an 'Invader'. Real garden invaders often have pretty, subtle, innocuous looking faces, anyway. Unless Ligularia Martian Invader was deliberately named by a sentimental nurseryman's four-year-old grandson, I'm not impressed!

But there's more! I've just found the proper label. I can usefully report that the plant's formal name is Ligularia tussilaginea 'Cristata' and it apparently has grey foliage. Can I quote the next sentence? 'If men are from Mars, this plant is from Pluto.' Hmm... Any self-respecting four-seasons all-weather gardener knows that the surface temperature of Pluto is minus 220 degrees Celsius. The label continues - 'Any information intended only as a helpful guide.' Just as well!

 The leaves range from saucer-sized to the size of dinner plates.
crinkly Ligularia Leaf

But it's given me an idea for a themed garden. I could create a Plants-With-Silly-Names garden! Martian Invaders, Bengal Tigers (cannas) and some Little Warts (daylilies) could frolic underneath a row of Sexy Rexies (roses). Hmm... The mind boggles!