Reflecting the past

Published 9:42 pm Monday, June 22, 2009

Alma’s Star Confederate Rose was 13 years in the “making.”

It’s now a patented plant that is included in the city of Troy’s landscaping and beautification plans at City Hall and, as of Monday, at Bicentennial Park.

The plant was propagated and patented by Alma Bodiford, of Brantley, and bought by Southern Growers three years ago.

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It can be purchased only through the distributor.

“I have the patent for Alma’s Star Confederate Rose, but I can’t give away cuttings of the plant or sell them,” Bodiford said.

Alma’s Star is a member of the hibiscus family that includes other Confederate Roses.

“The Confederate Rose gets its name from the plant that Southern women would plant at the grave site of their fallen Confederate loved ones and Union soldiers, too,” she said. “The plant is very hardy and would grow and decorate the graves.”

Bodiford said God had his hand in the creation of Alma’s Star Confederate Rose.

It is vastly different from its cousins in that it has five deep pink blooms within each blossom and usually has five or six blossoms to the stem.

“About 13 years ago, I took cuttings from five different hibiscus plants and put them in a jar and rooted them,” Bodiford said. “When it was time to put them in the ground, I was sick so I just stuck them all in the same hole and one sport came out. It bloomed a deep pink, and it didn’t look like anything that I had in my yard, and I was puzzled.”

Bodiford consulted with a horticulturist who said that she definitely did have something out of the ordinary and suggested that she register her plant with the Hibiscus Society of America.

“After I registered Alma’s Star Confederate Rose, I had to wait 10 years before I could get a patent on the plant,” Bodiford said. “During that time, I had to take a cutting off the plant each year and root it to see if it continued to come back. If it did, it was the real thing.”

When Bodiford was confident that she did have the real thing, she had to get a patent lawyer to check “all over the world” to see if there was anything like it. There was not.

Bodiford said Alma’s Star is unique in that, unlike the blooms of other Confederate Roses that last only one day, the Star’s blooms will last up to four days on the plant and almost a week in a vase.

Alma’s Star Confederate Rose is the first patented plant that Southern Growers has offered for sale.

Wayside Gardens, a South Carolina mail order firm, has ordered 700 cuttings of Alma’s Star from Southern Growers.

Locally, Alma’s Star Confederate Rose is available at Terra Cotta.

“Alma’s Star Confederate Rose is a beautiful hibiscus, and I’m honored that the city of Troy has chosen it as part of the beautification of the city’s grounds.”