Dictamnus – Gas Plant, Burning Bush, Dittany
The Gas Plant is surely one of our most interesting plants. The glossy, leathery leaves are dark green and retain their deep color until late in Fall. The white, pink and purplish-brown flowers are borne on spikes 2 feet to 3 feet high. Both the foliage and flowers are fragrant and when the parts are crushed in the hand, they have the fragrance of a lemon. The Gas Plant begins blooming shortly after Memorial Day, and the seeds ripen about the middle of August. The whole plant gives off a strong, volatile oil which will give a flash of light if a lighted match is held under the clusters of seed capsules on a sultry Summer evening. This Gas Plant (Diclamnus albus or Fraxinella) is a very strong grower and when once established, many dozen stalks of bloom can be had to a single plant.
UTILIZE. Because of its large trusses of flowers and fascinating odor, the Gas Plant always finds a place in the hardy border, or as a single specimen. They make excellent cut flowers.
GENERAL. The Gas Plant dislikes disturbance very much. When once planted it should be left in the same position always, for as the plants grow older they will then produce many more and taller flower stems. They require hardly any care, but prefer a rather heavy and moderately rich soil in an open, sunny position. When once established drought does not affect them.
PROPAGATION. They are more easily raised from seeds than by root division. The seeds should be sown as soon as they are ripe in the Fall. If the seed is sown in the Spring, pour boiling water over them first, or they will not germinate easily. It takes from two to four years for the flower spikes to appear on young plants. The roots, being very hard, may be divided with difficulty