February 19, 2019

It’s a Gas

Dictamnus albus - Gas plant

Mark Uchneat Photo | Dictamnus albus – Gas plant

In the genus of Dictamnus, there is but one species, Dictamnus albus, better known as the gas plant. The common name is about as literal as it gets: Hold a flame to the plant on a windless evening and it will ignite in a flash. Also known as burning bush, dittany and fraxinella, D. albus is an Asian-European native, hardy to Zone 3 and growing up to 4 feet in height. The flowers, which form loose spikes, range in color from white to red to lilac and can sometimes be veined or dotted. The leaves of the plant smell lemony, which stems from the volatile oils in the leaves. Beware those oils; not only are they flammable, they also can cause a rash in some folks.

Photographed by Mark Uchneat.