Pulsatilla vulgaris PURPLE PASQUE FLOWER –
Lilac / violet purple Pulsatilla vulgaris PURPLE PASQUE grows to 30cm.
Sun to ½ Shade.
– Height with flowers: 30cm. approx.
– Width: A well established clump will make approx. 45cm. diameter.
– Position: Full Sun to Part Shade / Dappled Sun / Woodland position. Tolerant of periods of dry once established.
– Soil: They love lime, but are generally very tolerant of a wide variety of soils, including those with a pH on the acid side of neutral, as well as on the alkaline lime side. However they positively thrive with a handful of lime, or in naturally lime rich soils. They insist on good drainage and are quite partial to gravel. Plus they respond to compost and humus with even more abundant flowering. However if asked – they are very forgiving and easy about growing in a wide variety of soils and conditions.
– Frost: Extremely frost hardy, even in hard frosts to well below -10C.
– Growth: Perennial clump. They will remain evergreen in milder climates, but are deciduous in areas with very heavy frosts (like our garden).
– Care: Pasque Flowers are very easy, low maintenance plants once established. They only require normal, average garden watering, and are actually quite tolerant of dry periods once your clumps have got their grip on the world.
– Fragrance: Sadly none, but they are so lovely you cant always have everything.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Pasque Flowers are particularly rich in both nectar and pollen, so they are very welcome early season treats for bees and other insect pollinators.
– Beware: Should not be ingested. They are not edible, and fresh leaves will actually cause irritation in the mouth – so there is no incentive to take a bite.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Fortunately the chemical compound within the plant that causes mouth irritation when eaten, causes the pesky rabbits and deer to steer clear of them too.
An interesting History
– Origin: Pulsatillas are native to widespread areas of Europe and Asia (hence Pulsatilla’s adaptable, versatile and easy-going nature). Where they grow in light woodland including amongst pines, and out in grassy wild meadows. So they are accustomed to competing amongst other plants.
– History:The common name Pasque Flower (meaning Easter Flower) comes from French. Of course it does flower at Easter in the northern hemisphere, but is a good six months out in our southern hemisphere.
The botanical name Pulsatilla is thought to come from the Latin word “pulso”, which means “violent movement”, and this is probably what would happen if you ate too much fresh Pulsatilla.
However a more romantic theory is that Pulsatilla comes from the Latin word “pulsare” meaning to quiver, which is exactly what these beautiful flowers do so attractively in the late winter and spring breezes.