A rhinoceros with an elephant?
A Heuchera with a Tiarella?
Let’s answer the second question first: Those two North American native genera pulled off a trick that’s pretty rare in the plant kingdom.
There’s nothing unusual about species within the same genus getting together to form new hybrids. With or without human intervention, it happens all the time. But crossing the genus line within a family is quite unusual. The result here: a striking new genus blending the best traits of each parent.
In modern times, the most striking breeding has come from Terra Nova Nurseries in Oregon. We offer only their introductions.
All are hardy in Zones 4 – 9.
Deeply-cut leaves emerge caramel-colored, maturing to deep rose red in cool weather.
Height 7 – 10”
Peaches and cream! Peachy-red foliage forms tidy clumps under a froth of creamy white spikes.
Height 10 – 16”
One of the most striking garden plants in any genus, a Wow! variety. As its name implies, each leaf features a dark center ringed by a brightly-contrasting lime green. If you try just one, and you want it to be one that jumps out at you, here it is.
Height 10 – 16”
The tallest of the bunch, this shade-shifter’s leaves start bright, darken in summer and brighten again in fall.
Frowny Face Fact
The only downside in this case of strange bedmates: The lovely offspring is known by an odd mishmash nickname. Coral bells conjures up an image of pink, bell-shaped blooms, and Foamflower accurately evokes frothy panicles. But … what the heck are “foamy bells?” 70s bluejeans in the wash? Let’s stick to the Latin.
And finally, the answer to the first question: Elephino!