In Bloom: Lizard’s Tail

Lizard’s Tail. Anne Holmes, artist

Saururus cernuus, commonly called Lizard’s tail or water-dragon, is a rhizomatous, aquatic perennial found in swampy woods, shallow water and wetland areas. The scientific names refer to the nodding spikes of its flowers: Saururus means ‘lizard’ and cernuus means ‘nodding’. Noteworthy characteristics include heart-shaped leaves on erect, zigzag stems with tiny, fragrant, white, spike-like flowers that droop at the tips. The flowers bloom through September and form small, green, warty fruits. This is a great plant for a wet area in your home landscape. If planting in a water garden, put the plant in a container in water six inches deep. It can be planted directly in shallow water. It is best to plant it in full sun to part shade, but it will flower in full shade. Unrestrained rhizomes will spread to form colonies. Seeds may be started in containers.

The larvae of Parapamea buffaloensis (Buffalo Moth) feed on the roots of this plant. The foliage is toxic and avoided by mammalian herbivores, especially deer. Because Lizard’s Tail often forms dense colonies, it provides significant cover for various kinds of wildlife in wetland areas.

Upcoming Events at the Botanical Gardens

Cyanotype for Kids (ages 7-12) Saturday, July 21, 9:30–11:30 a.m.
Join artist Jocelyn Mathewes in creating beautiful, blue botanical art prints using the oldest historic photographic process, cyanotype. In this workshop, participants will see examples of what’s possible with the cyanotype process and get an introduction to the chemicals and equipment needed. We will create images on both paper and fabrics. By the end, attendees will have at least three pieces to take home, a resource list and the know-how needed to make their own cyanotypes.

Cyanotype for Adults will be held the same day from 1–3 p.m. Participation is limited to 12 students per session. All materials are provided, but participants are encouraged to bring interesting botanical specimens from their own backyards to use in their art. Educational programs are $15 for members and $20 for non-members. Participants must pre-register and pre-pay for classes by calling 828.252.5190.

The Botanical Gardens, located at 151 W. T. Weaver Boulevard, is a nonprofit organization housing a collection of plants native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated and memberships are encouraged. Check

for a variety of education programs this month.

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