Bells of Ireland
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Bells of Ireland
ntroduced Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Bells of Ireland, Molucca balmis, Shellflower, Shell flower
Botanical name: Moluccella laevis    Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Synonyms: Molucca laevis, Lamium moluccella

The common name, Bells of Ireland, make people mistakenly think the plant originates in Ireland. It is a summer flowering annual, native to Turkey, Syria and the Caucasus. It is cultivated for its spikes of flowers. What is often mistaken for a green flower is actually the calyx or cup-shaped leaves around the base of the flowers. The actual flower is a small white fragrant flower inside the "bell." When dried, the leaves turn pale beige and will last for years. The rounded leaves are pale green. Bells of Ireland is a fast growing plant, and will reach 1 m and spread to 30 cm with an erect, branching habit. The blooming stems can be cut and used in fresh or dried flower arrangements. The domestic plant is self-seeding, prefers full sun and regular water and are unlikely to do well in hot, humid climates. The flowers of Moluccella laevis are a symbol of good luck. Cut flowers will last 7 to 10 days in a vase.

Identification credit: Shaista Ahmad Photographed in New Friends Colony, Delhi.

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