Dusky Cranes Bill or Morning Widow
Plants with dark purple almost black
flowers with protruding 'beaks' from 1/2 inch wide cup shaped flowers. Plants form a slowly
spreading, dense clump with a long bloom period from mid spring to mid summer. The clumps
look very attractive in early spring as new leaves grow. Leaves are semi-evergreen, persisting
throughout the winter in tight cluster on the soil surface. This selection has some very dark flowers in
it. Plants grow 24-30 inches tall. Plant in mostly sunny areas with some light shade. After
blooming is done- cut off the old flowering stalks to tidy up and prevent some self seeding.
Plants bloom from the bottom of the stems upwards and while the top flowers are blooming
some of the lower ones are casting there seeds about. The flowers have small catapult like cups
that when dried spring out and fling the seeds a few feet in each direction. Clumps can be divided
up in early spring or mid summer. Grow in open shade to part shade in moisture retentive soils
that are well draining. Does well in our clay soils in our open woodland garden.
Native to Europe and Western Russia. Lightly cover seeds with soil and use F45,
germination is spread out over a number of months. Slow and erratic keep for two years.