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Featured Conservation Plants: December 2014

December 2014:
Lychnis cognata BSWJ4234

The collection of Lychnis cognata BSWJ4234 was made from wild-collected seed by Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones of Crug Farm Nurseries. Their online catalogue describes it as follows: “A clump-forming very hardy perennial plant we collected in Odaesan, S.Korea from the base of steep banks growing amongst rocks. With few hairy stems 40-100cm bearing from mid-summer large deeply notched pleasing soft-tangerine-pink flowers. For full sun to part shade in drained soil.” However, other nurseries and growers agree that this Lychnis does not like strong, mid-day sun and is better suited to a moist, semi shaded site.

Lychnis cognata is a species native to East Asia. It is rarely seen in UK gardens and even more rarely offered for sale. It grows in clumps 20-30cm across and 30-40cm high with soft green, hairy foliage. The soft orange flowers have five slightly frilled petals. Lychnis cognata BSWJ4234 produces seed readily and this is held in upright seed pods which make it easy to collect or to prevent self-seeding. To maintain this selection it is essential to propagate it from vegetative material rather than growing it from seed as seedlings will inevitably be variable.

L. BSWJ4234 is distinct from the basic species in being much taller with larger flowers. These have deeply notched petals giving them a ‘raggedy’ appearance and this is evident in the illustration of two flowers side by side. The one on the left is the straight L. cognata species and the one on the right is L. cognata BSWJ4234 – the latter illustrating it’s larger size and frillier petals. The colour is almost unique amongst garden plants.

There is only one supplier of this plant in the 2014 RHS Plant Finder.


The Conservation scheme involves HPS members in growing these plants and documenting the best way to grow and propagate them. The plants are distributed across the country with many local groups and individual growers being involved.

The scheme is open to all HPS members. More information about the scheme can be found here.

Since the present scheme started in 1998, we have been successful in conserving over 30 plant varieties that are, in our opinion, all worthy of being grown in British gardens. However, there are still a large number of potentially garden worthy plants in need of conservation.

If you are a interested in making this (or any other of our conservation plants) available on a commercial basis, please contact the National Coordinator.


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