Much like animals, plants have character: some are prickly or spare, while others are jovial and grand. And then there's Mikado. Though small in stature, this wee plant has so much personality, it's practically a pet.
Native to the swamps of Brazil, Mikado (or Syngonanthus chrysanthus) possesses a somewhat bizarre compilation of parts. Sprouting from a hedgehog-esque mound of foliage, long-necked stems produce golden buds, which then bloom into tiny, cotton-tail flowers. Somehow it all works though. In fact, Mikado's quirkiness only adds to its irresistible charm.
Above: The Mikado is the irresistible little guy on the far right, on the window sill. Photograph by Electronomo via Flickr.
Above: Perhaps the best home for the small, subtropical, moisture-loving Mikado is an Egg Base Terrarium from Terrain; on sale for $24.95.
Want to create your own house plant vignette? See Steal This Look: Isabel Wilson's House Plants.
Above: A rare specimen indeed, Mikado's explosion of golden buds and white pompon blooms resembles a fireworks display. Photograph by Mareen Fischinger via Flickr.
Above: As a subtropical plant, Mikado prefers growing conditions similar to its native habitat: light, acidic soil, high humidity (60 to 80 percent), and lots of sun. According to the San Francisco Chronicle's very thorough guidelines for growing Mikado, you can add moisture to the plant's environment by placing it on top of a shallow, water and gravel-filled tray. Image via Plant Systematics.
Above: This member of the Eriocaulaceae family never grows very large, making it the perfect apartment plant. Photograph by Gavin of Yorkshire4.
For ideas about interior design with plants, see Steal This Look: Isabel Wilson's House Plants.
Looking for more plants with personality? Shop our Houseplant Picks.
N.B.: This is an update of a post published February 1, 2013.