Monday, June 20, 2011

Plant of the week: Orlaya grandiflora

This plant is a real Cretan.  I mean it's from Crete,  oh man I wanna go to Crete. For the moment I will just settle for Orlaya grandiflora, which is from Crete by way of Annie's Annuals.  I planted four or five plants last year and saved every freakin' seed I could, I mean Annie's is awesome and all but she charges a fiver for a four inch annual. But I had a plan and it didn't involve buying this plant again.

This spring I unpacked the paper grocery bag full of Orlaya seeds, stems, and leaves ( I was in a rush, but hey I collected them). I cleaned the seed form the debris, by the way, you may want to know that Orlaya has cocklebur-esk spiny seeds, so if you are going to collect the seed you may want gloves.  Well, I planted a ton and a ton came up. I gave quite a bit away, but I also planted a nice swath in the front near the porch.

This is a really nice alternative to Daucus carota or Queen Anne's lace or wild carrot as it is known. Orlaya is a little more refined in habit, with smaller softer carroty foliage.  If you want lacy doilies in the garden this is the plant for you. Each "Queen's Anne Lace" type flower has an outer ring of large flowers creating that doily look.

So far a week or so of full tilt bloom, we will se how long it lasts.


  1. One of my top 10 favorite plants. I first saw it at Annie's in 2003 and bought every plant they had in stock for a cutting garden I designed. I really love most of the umbelifers but this is the best of them.

    1. Hi, I picked flowers of Orlaya grandiflora in the istrian meadow in Rakalj and Kavran for our country house there. There are plenty of orlayas there, the meadow is completely white in some places.Fantastic and beautiful plant with long vaselife as well. Didn't know the name but alas found it some hours ago in internet - nice latin name Orlaya grandiflora and ugly second slovene name - Velecvetna vehrica.

  2. Mine from you are in bloom too, plus one self-sown plant. Wish they'd reseed more but will probably have to save seed manually like you. They've bloomed through the winter for me before, so I'm wondering how long they'll last into summer. I think Annie's gets a succession of bloom from orlaya, sowing it year round near the coast.

  3. PP, get well soon. hmmm, I haven't tried them as a cut flower. cool

  4. Denise,

    Just imagine how much seed I will save this year! I just I should try to plant them in succession. Good idea.