Heuchara 'Pluie de Feu' is one of the early Heuchera hybrids developed by Lemoine et Fils at the nursery on Rue de l’Hospice, Nancy, that Victor Lemoine had established on the small tract of land he bought in 1849. The earliest reference to this hybrid gives a date of 1902 and with that date - when Victor would have been 79 - it is almost certain that the propagation process would have been developed by Emile Lemoine, Victor's oldest son. Victor had already begun to slow down by the 1890's and Emile took on most of the work which he did until the First World War. Emile's achieved great fame in 1912 hybridising the first Heucherella, creating an interspecific cross between his own hybrid Heuchera x brizoides and Tiarella cordifolia, a hybrid that was later named Heucherella tiarelloides. When not creating Heucherellas his work with Heucheras was primarily developing hybrids between Heuchera sanguinea and other Heucheras notably Heuchera americana and Heuchera micrantha. In 1897, Lemoine et Fils had offered the first Heuchera hybrid which was called 'Brizoides' a cross between Heuchera sanguinea and the taxonomically unresolved species, Heuchera americana var hispida f. purpurea. Heuchera 'Pluie de Feu' is one of the so-called Brizoides hybrids - Heuchera hybrids which became known as the Brizoides Group and usually written as Heuchera x brizoides. These hybrids always have in their heritage the red-flowered somewhat-variable species, Heuchera sanguinea which is endemic to the American Southwest in New Mexico and Arizona and also found in the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. Like all Heucheras until the early 1980's, the Brizoides hybrids were selected for their flowering qualities and were named after the resemblence of their delicate inflorescences to Briza maxima, the Quaking Grass. However, these days the term Heuchera x brizoides is frankly meaningless: as meaningless as the habit that some still persist in of naming all Canna hybrids as Canna x generalis. Totally meaningless. The actual origins of these hybrids are lost and in many cases were never recorded.
In 'The Garden Chronicle, a Weekly Illustrated Journal of Horticulture and Allied Subjects', 1904, there is a reference to Heuchera 'Pluie de Feu' which is quite charming: 'Several of the beds are devoted to the best hybrids of different families of plants; thus, one was filled with all the latest Heucheras, of which H. Pluie de Feu was especially bright ...'
It is indeed bright and utterly delightful with a very rich carmine-red flower deserving of its dramatic cultivar name: Rain of Fire. It is the kind of flower that seems entirely right for the old American name for Heuchera, Coral Bells, a name that waxes increasingly anachronistic as the foliage forms continue to predominate.
Nonetheless, the foliage on 'Pluie de Feu' is attractive: small to medium-sized, scalloped-edged, roundish to palmate, a mid-green with lighter variable green or silver marbling. This is a plant that is understated and charming and quickly forms a thick carpet of slug-resistant groundcover enlivened by those fiery infloresences - which are excellent as cut flowers.
|Synonyms||Heuchera 'Rain of Fire', Heuchera 'Feuerregen', Heuchera x brizoides 'Pluie de feu'|
|Geographical Origin||Horticultural hybrid with Heuchera sanguinea in its heritage|
|Cultivation||Cool and moist position but with good-drainage. Sun or partial shade|
|Eventual Height||Foliage to 15 cm, the inflorescences to 60cm|
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