Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Solomon's Seal: a bad year for the sawfly larvae...

 ,,,or, a really good year for the little blighters, depending on your point of view.

Back in June, I wrote about How To Save Your Solomon's Seal, with advice on  how to prevent the wretched sawfly larvae - or "caterpillars" to those who don't care what they are, and only care about protecting their plants - from decimating your Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum spp).

For some, this advice came too late...

 Oh dear.


"What can I do?" comes the frantic plea.

Unfortunately, once they've reached this state, there is nothing that can be done, and my practice is to cut them right down, because there isn't going to be much in the way of photosynthesising going on, and they look horrible! So just cut the stems right down, throw the sad, tattered remainders on the compost heap, and then go and read the article to which I linked, above: and make a note that next year, start the protective measures a lot earlier in the year.

And, in case you've ever wondered why this plant is called what it is, it's all to do with the marks on the rhizomes:

If you have Solomon's Seal in your garden, you'll know that they tend to sit on the surface of the ground, rather than being buried deep below it, so you can often see the rhizomes in winter, sitting just flush with the soil.

And you will no doubt have noticed that the rhizomes are not smooth, they are ridged, and lumpy, with junctions and odd bits sprouting off to left and right: and they also have a lot of these strange round marks on them.

Personally, I think it's fairly clear that these are the scars from the previous year's stems, but apparently in times before the internet, ie the middle ages (*laughs*), these scars were said to look like the fabled seal of King Solomon. 

So now you know!

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