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Bizarreness!

Homalocladium

Here's a really weird one folks and i mean that in a good way.  The Ribbon Bush is a terrific, leaf-less plant from the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific with long, flattened stems resembling tapeworms - hence its nickname "Tapeworm Plant".  It's hard to capture the unusual beauty of this plant in pictures.  You'll just have to trust me that this is an awesome, offbeat plant that will get people asking: "What the heck is that??"  Fresh seeds of this plant are very hard to find.  In fact i've never seen them sold before.

Homalocladium platycladum - Ribbon Plant

The Ribbon Bush (Homalocladium platycladum) is an odd member of the rhubarb and buckwheat family.  What you see are the stems.  The plant does make small leaves, but they only appear occasionally on the new growth.  The segmented stems are perfectly flat, and are smooth and durable.  They branch out and weave their way up eerily, forming a tall, bushy mass of ribbons.  The plant gets 10 feet tall here in San Francisco, although you may prune it to any size that you want.  Once it reaches 4 or 5 feet tall, it tends to flop over unless you stake it upright.  But the stems continue to grow upward regardless, giving it an artsy, eccentric look!  In bright light, the plant produces white flowers and attractive red fruit.

Homalocladium platycladum - Ribbon Plant

The Ribbon Bush is easy to grow and grows fast.  It has been raised successfully in warm climates like Florida and Texas.  It may defoliate at temperatures below 25 F (4C), but it reportedly can grow back from the roots after temperatures in the 15-20 degree range (-9 to -7C).  It may be grown in a pot and moved indoors over the winter.  It enjoys part sun to full sun.  In hot climates, it will look the best with some afternoon shade.  It also looks best if given regular watering and feeding.  You may grow it in ordinary, well-draining soil.  A good soil mix is 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite or coarse sand.  Over about 40% humidity is recommended.

Ribbon Plant - Homalocladium platycladum

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