This large, stemmed cultivar produces multiple (up to 5), simultaneous, well-branched inflorescences with upright racemes of purest red to white. The flower buds start out as deep red and change to white when the flowers open, giving the raceme a bi-coloured affect. These stunning flowers are produced from mid winter to early spring – quite a long season for simultaneous inflorescences.
The plant has long, rakish, grey-green leaves lined with pale, dark-tipped spines. The stem will take many years to develop. Stem shoots should be removed in the unlikely event that some should grow. Division of the plant’s rosette is not a given, but may occur as the plant matures.
Although ‘Etam’ may start flowering at an early age, it will take a number of years to achieve its full flowering potential. In this process a few additional racemes will be added on an annual basis until such time as it claims it rightful place a king of the rockery with a truly awesome display of long-lasting red-to-white racemes.
Because of its large size and wide spread of flowers it is a plant for the open rockery. It is a feature plant of note and should be used as such. The picture shows a young plant with 3 inflorescences.
‘Etam’ is named after the breeder’s father who used the name as his ‘nom-de-plume’ during his 25-year career as a cartoonist. He was, first and foremost, a lover of all plants indigenous and an avid birder long before it became a popular pastime.
10 June 2019