Hardy, ornamental, late spring-flowering perennial
Description: Lightly fragrant, pink-mauve flowers with darker veins in late spring; dark green foliage emits lemony scent if crushed; star-shaped seed pods
Habit: Grows 2-3 feet high and wide
Culture: Prefers full sun or light shade and well-drained garden loam; established plants do not like to be moved
Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 through 8
Origin: southern Europe, Asia
This handsome, long-lived perennial, native from southern Europe to northern China, has been cultivated in American gardens since the early eighteenth century. Thomas Jefferson noted planting "Fraxinella in center of NW shrub circle" at Monticello on April 16, 1807. Jefferson received the plant from his friend and Washington, DC nurseryman, Thomas Main. It is also called Gas Plant because it emits a volatile vapor that can be ignited on a still evening. The name Fraxinella refers to the foliage, which resembles the leaves of Ash trees (genus Fraxinus). The Purple Gas Plant takes several years to become well-established in the garden and continues to fill out, forming a dense clump with many showy flowering stalks.