Common name: Bridal Wreath, Maiden's Wreath
Francoa sonchifolia is a clump-forming, hardy perennial native to Chile that blooms during the summer months. It bears tall (about one metre or three feet), graceful stalks of pale, pinkish-white flowers. Each flower has four petals, and each petal has a splotch of dark pink at its base. The ruffled basal leaves of this perennial are dark green, somewhat hairy, and shaped like an oak leaf.
F. sonchifolia thrives in a well-drained, sunny area. Its flowers are excellent for cutting and last well in water.
The genus name Francoa honours a 16th century Spanish physician named Francisco Franco. The specific epithet means'with leaves like Sonchus (sowthistle). It is noted that in the past, Francoas were popular in summer wedding arrangements, thus the common name 'Bridalwreath'.
Francoa sonchifolia can be found in Bed 59B of the Chilean Garden.
Text and photos by Kumi Sutcliffe