An Encyclopedia of Shade Perennials

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An Encyclopedia of

Shade Perennials
W. George Schmid

Timber Press Portland • Cambridge

All photographs are by the author unless otherwise noted. Copyright © 2002 by W. George Schmid. All rights reserved. Published in 2002 by Timber Press, Inc. The Haseltine Building 133 S.W. Second Avenue, Suite 450 Portland, Oregon 97204, U.S.A. ISBN 0-88192-549-7 Printed in Hong Kong

Timber Press 2 Station Road Swavesey Cambridge CB4 5QJ, U.K.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Schmid, Wolfram George. An encyclopedia of shade perennials / W. George Schmid. p. cm. ISBN 0-88192-549-7 1. Perennials—Encyclopedias. 2. Shade-tolerant plants—Encyclopedias. I. Title. SB434 .S297 2002 635.9′32′03—dc21 2002020456

I dedicate this book to the greatest treasure in my life, my family: Hildegarde, my wife, friend, and supporter for over half a century, and my children, Michael, Henry, Hildegarde, Wilhelmina, and Siegfried, who with their mates have given us ten grandchildren whose eyes not only see but also appreciate nature’s riches. Their combined love and encouragement made this book possible.

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Practical Thoughts 4.Contents Foreword by Allan M. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zone Map Index of Plant Names 343 342 Color photographs follow page 176 7 .S. Perennials for the Shady Garden A–Z Plant Sources 339 55 U. Fated Shade 17 3. Plants Assigned 45 27 Part 2. Armitage Acknowledgments 10 11 13 9 Part 1. The Shady Garden 1. A Personal Outlook 2.

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Shade is to gardening as Oreos are to cookies: having too many can give you a stomachache but having none is cruel and unusual punishment. He is a gentleman and a scholar. flower. fruit. and. and I come away refreshed by having been with a man who revels in sharing his garden. As I follow George from the shady glens of Bavaria to his shady garden in Georgia. And as I imagine a small boy stealing through a picket fence to be liberated by the shady forest beyond. I have a great deal of shade in my own garden. This man knows his plants. I plunged into this book and surfaced not only with a better appreciation of my shaded garden but with a broadened understanding of the diversity of perennials that can flourish in such conditions—not to mention a warm-all-over feeling. and family. and his knowledge. Allan M. letting us know why shade gardening makes so much sense and what plants await the gardener. he offers the “master” gardener no-nonsense botanical information concerning height. Georgia 9 . George takes us through his personal thoughts on shade gardening. the reason one would put a certain plant in the garden in the first place. and his knowledge of the great variety within a genus is enviable and ours to share. his plants. I enjoy my shaded garden. more importantly. yet there is always more to learn and to try.Foreword As I read George Schmid’s book. I am struck by his love of and passion for his avocation. I am mesmerized by his appreciation of the virtues of shade in the garden. who has little use for the “biological desert” of turfgrass. and I too wanted “a cooling refuge during the summer months.” So as can be imagined. he also provides the newcomer with his thoughts on soil conditions. and so I visit George often to indulge our mutual shady tastes. Armitage Athens. watering. In each genus. I am reminded that all gardeners are kindred in spirit and that— regardless of their roots or knowledge—the gardening they do and the gardens they create are always personal. His favorites become obvious. and similarly educated. And plants are important to George. You will be similarly refreshed. this thing called gardening.

which makes for enjoyable reading. Darrell R. companionship. Sharing the paths of discovery with one of my own sons was and still is one of the highlights of being a father. designer. but I want to thank a few standout contributors for their help: Tony Avent. and Sigi Schmid. My thanks again to Allan Armitage. My thanks to Martin White. Her attention to detail and intuitive grasp of what I wanted to say transformed my stiff. Lynne Harrison. a font of information on the genus Asarum. and I want to thank him for his sensitive words. and Barry Yinger. has accompanied me on many rewarding hikes through the Appalachians. Sigi Schmid. and in some instances I have had to rely on photographs taken by others. eloquent writing. and keen eyes have helped me discover the many small wonders along the way. my editor. Allan Armitage agreed to write the foreword for this book. who gave generously of his specialized knowledge of epimediums. 10 . whose Juniper Level Botanic Garden was an inspiration. Probst. and last but not least. Don Jacobs (Eco Gardens). It is impossible for me to grow all the plants included in this encyclopedia on my half-acre garden. Tony Avent (Plant Delights Nursery). I want to thank Franni Bertolino Farrell. my youngest son. his support. As appreciative of the virtues of shade in the garden as I am.Acknowledgments Information for this tome came from many sources. technical text into nicely flowing. Hans Hansen (Shady Oaks Nursery).

my mother. Ottobrunn. Bavaria. 1932. yours truly at age two. late summer potato harvest. my father—and the picket fence in my grandfather’s garden. .Part 1 The Shady Garden My grandmother.

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and colorful flowers everywhere. the vegetables. The tops of the young spruce trees formed a contiguous canopy that sunlight could not penetrate. I tried climbing. It took a while to get this done. Determined. a few feet into the woods. waiting fearfully for the beasts to emerge from the woods’ edge. shady woods. During my kindergarten days. I created a fantasy garden of my own. gloomy world of shade. I crawled on all fours to penetrate the thicket. laying out imaginary garden paths. creating a dry. so at first I was satisfied to slip through to the other side and just sit there. and the thick bed of soft. Hard-won. After a few such visits I got up enough courage to leave the bright. I found my favorite hiding place. the menacing wild beasts were forgotten. With the boundless imagination of a child’s mind. always in secret and a little at a time. The picket fence had a gate. Following Grandfather’s example. I did manage to sneak out a few hard-won berries now and then. I will never forget the feeling of elation: I had conquered my fears and entered the dark world of eternal shade. I remember clearly the many paths to run along. which was always locked. but the obstacle was too tall. All this was fascinating. Once my eyes got used to the low light. and I paraded them around my dream world. I remembered the forbidding stories of bears and other wild animals Grandfather told. and houses. The way to the mysterious woods was open. 13 . I built my first garden in that shady corner of the woods. but one summer day I finished the job. but my secret wish was to go beyond the back fence to the dark. fences. and so it remains. just a few feet from the fence. Its cool. which was strictly off-limits for me during the berry season. My toy soldiers were the visitors. It was at the same time soothing and scary. dry needles became my building material. as I live and garden in the South. There. mysterious darkness enveloped me. The trees had lost their lower branches. frequent visits to my grandfather’s home in the Bavarian hamlet of Ottobrunn allowed me to explore his wonderful garden. because I always got tangled up in the spiny canes. He even had a raspberry patch. Shade became my friend.CHAPTER 1 A Personal Outlook Shade Remembered One of my earliest childhood recollections is of shade. hot sun at the fence and enter the dark woods. and the ground beneath was covered with a thick mat of fallen needles. I used sticks to pry loose a couple of the pickets.

With growth. its nooks and crannies filled with wildflowers. flourish in the shade. ferns. In natural forests some plants exist even in the darkest corners of the forest floor. The Woodlands Aside from playing in the dirt at home. and that thought is echoed by modern gardeners when they refer to their garden as a yard. a visit to the cool. and inevitably. while many of our home landscapes become more ragged. nature constantly meddles with man-made gardens and sees to it that at least some part of the garden requires attention. often in the front and rear of . in many of these natural areas I see a garden. shade is not a nemesis. Not all my friends change or add to their gardens as frequently as I do. making more light for others to rise. a by-product of the existence of sunlight. Teutonic tribes called such a place a garth. But this forest was not nature’s work: it was man-made and badly so. The trees were planted too close. and work to get things ready for the next season. Besides. I seem to recollect a few mushrooms. To call such places gardens may be irrational. Perpetual-care lawns are rooted in sweeping. The first thing I realized during these visits was the futility of traditional garden design.14 The Shady Garden Design by Nature I am telling my childhood story because gardening in the shade is not only possible in a child’s imagination. change becomes inevitable. nothing green grew on the forest floor of my secret garden. The sun-grabbing giants die and fall. Shade in the natural plant world is simply a factor of evolution. these small replicas of earlier gardens. my own garden is in a constant state of flux. Over eons it has been embraced by many plant species. because a garden in the strict sense of the word has always meant an enclosed space set aside for the cultivation of plants. punctuated here and there by lichen-covered rocks. My visits are particularly uplifting in the summer. but there was no moss and definitely no green plants. Nature’s garden is forever changing. shady valleys of the Smoky Mountains and beyond restores my gardening ambitions. I see the wild. In the mountains. Notwithstanding. yet most are not content to leave things as they are and make some changes some of the time. While my plants at Hosta Hill—as I call my half-acre shady garden—are languishing in the summer heat of the South. and fall. and I am ready to dream. providing myriad levels of light and shade. natural gardens of the southern Appalachians. evolved to live under these giants. Just as nature’s shady gardens are forever changing. summer. Several times each spring. plan. It is gardening designed by nature. I visit different remote spots there to hike and photograph the natural wonders of the area. The inspiration of such a natural garden is boundless. Nature rarely if ever commits such an abomination. In this scheme. Design by nature is worth emulating in one’s own garden. Photographs taken in these natural gardens go a long way in providing new ideas and the stimulus to incorporate them into my garden design. Plants below the canopy continue to evolve and persist under more or less shady circumstances. and with it changes the shade. and various plant life prospers under these varying conditions. shade is as ordained as the sunlight that produces it. one of my most cherished pursuits is visiting the shady. formal layouts in vogue a century and more ago. As I remember. In natural gardens a balance exists. and mosses. others. In the natural world. capturing a disproportionate share of the sun’s rays. shady garden grow more beautiful each year. Some plants are fated to reach high into the sky. some shade will be part of this design.

insecticides. even those closely following the natural model. given that natural resources like water are increasingly scarce and the environment is under attack from all sides. and soon a wonderful. or performing other repetitive garden tasks was wastefulness and slavery. have a hard time getting a foothold. Stability and balance are much more difficult to maintain under these circumstances. in some areas. thus releasing more toxins into our already afflicted environment and leaving nothing but a green but genuine wasteland called a lawn. There are no nesting spots. To maintain such a synthetic garden requires a lot of work: heavy applications of fertilizer. and fungicides. Nevertheless. Its supple contours look relaxed. This is hard to understand. To make our own odious contribution to this fiasco is no longer acceptable. replanting annuals. Gardening is like art. Incredibly. on the other hand. this type of landscape is installed in new subdivisions to this very day. which increasingly shaded out the warm weather grasses that came with the house. and re-everything. and our landscapes . following nature’s example reduces a gardener’s workload and provides more time for relaxation and enjoyment. and in some areas reseeding. maintaining such harmony is much more difficult. not gardening. it is the personal touch of individual gardeners that makes each garden unique. This is not gardening either! The natural gardens remaining in wild areas the world over point to a better way. maintaining intrinsic native harmony. and flowering plants have a mind. While no garden is maintenance-free. and absolutely no place to hide. mix native and exotic plants. The only critters living in or under lawns are grubs. So we apply poisons to be rid of them. and shape all their own. my Appalachian visits prove to me that natural gardens should be the pattern followed. Not even the insect pests are alive.Chapter 1 • A Personal Outlook 15 the house. and other nonbeneficial bugs. and small beds of annuals and perennials. I decided that spending weekends mowing the lawn. Year after year. are biological deserts. to suffocate what was left of my skimpy lawn. redressing. Gardeners tend to add a personal touch. are rounded out by the addition of a flowering tree (usually a Bradford pear or other undesirable cultivar). Years ago. size. and I find it impossible to duplicate even small parts of another garden. Shade-tolerant shrubs and perennials replaced it. Lawns. shrubs. gardens made following designs by nature will be less demanding than those conceived along classic lines. In man-made gardens. The reason for gardening’s popularity is the almost unlimited freedom it gives to gardeners to express themselves. Even weeds. But above all. The Personal Touch Visiting other people’s gardens is another highlight of every season. I used the pine straw provided free by my trees. and birds and other visiting wildlife eating their toxic remains get poisoned as well. but the living occupants. and combine natural and synthesized designs. Nature has its own way of balancing the system. The layout and permanent features could be copied. I have never seen two gardens exactly alike. so gardeners are forever reminded by their surroundings that their input is required. trees. army worms. As a wild garden matures. Their wide-open character discourages birds and other wildlife. a few foundation shrubs. the nemesis of classic gardens. shady front garden provided a cooling refuge during the summer months. perhaps). building codes actually mandate lawn installation. its treasure of plants matures also. herbicides. no places to burrow (except for moles. there are no straight lines that have to be maintained. regular mowing and watering. Nature’s composition is a blending of soft colors and textures.

Garden visits provide an infinite display of what to do—or not to do—when making your own garden. If money is no object. Gardening allowed me to reach a balance between the necessity of making a living and the fundamental human desire to keep both mind and body healthy and happy. how to build and maintain water features. how to cope with disastrous but nevertheless natural events like ice storms and high winds. gardening has endowed me with many traits. how to smell soil. shaped the ground to plotted design. I have made many friends. Gardening has taught me how to lay bricks and stone. year after year. in 1957. Hosta Hill. through gardening. Best of all. even climate can be overcome by erecting and maintaining a conservatory. Friends and visitors alike admire the maturity of my garden and wonder who did all the considerable work evidenced by its hardscaping and plantings. now more than three decades old. I have only to look at photographs taken in my garden in Nashville. I see skepticism in their eyes. it filled my mind with the pleasure of nature and growing things. It has imparted an understanding of how nature works. and it was the embrace of my garden that provided the respite required to emerge refreshed for another battle with the madding crowds away from home. It looked like a Jackson Pollock canvas. I have learned from my own early efforts that the personal touch of beginning gardeners can be guileless and even crude. everyone is free to like or dislike what they see. Tennessee. It has inspired me to protect our precious environment. My Garden’s Embrace It has been many years since I shaped my first simple garden with the dreams and imagination of a small child. the environment. just as gardeners everywhere are free to make gardens that have their own personal touch and so appeal to their own taste. away from the garden. shows what can be accomplished when a child’s fantasy becomes reality.16 The Shady Garden our canvas. What I thought of it mattered not. and climate. They know I spent most of my time making a living. It was not my type of garden. colorful personality perfectly. It was the love of my family that sustained me. dug every hole to plant in. In following the rhythms of nature. I honestly do not know what would have become of me without the embrace of my garden. I have derived a lot of enjoyment from planning and designing my own Shangri-la. It matched the owner’s bubbly. with multicolored ornaments intermixed with a riot of annuals and perennials. Gardening also brings many little successes. Nevertheless. Gardening was therapy for me. Aside from supporting a sane mind and a sound body. they develop a knowing patience that influences their daily interactions with the rest of the world. and it becomes obvious to me how my tastes have changed: trying to mimic the gardens of Versailles on a sunny quarter-acre backlot is no longer my own personal touch. A few years ago I was invited to a garden that was whimsical in the extreme. Nature’s soothing green was nowhere to be seen. This art is limited only by financial resources. The rigors of building and planting kept my otherwise deskbound body strong. which in turn kindle happiness and personal satisfaction. so how did I have time to do all this? The answer is simple: I love my family and gardening. and placed every tree—except for the native pines—and all the shrubs and perennials. I respected what I saw. All the gardeners I know are patient people. all of whom share their love of gardens and their lives with me. When I tell them I placed every brick and stone. In gardens as in art. . because it was her type of garden. not the least of which is patience.

It is useless to cultivate such plants in full sun. shade is as inevitable as life-giving sunlight. however. Gardeners must realize that for living plants. nature has important lessons for gardeners.CHAPTER 2 Fated Shade Of Nature and Shade Where there is light. The first and most important one is to copy as much as possible the natural conditions under which garden plants have developed. the crowns of the tallest trees receive most of the sunlight. Descending into the forest’s lower levels. thrive in conditions somewhat above or below these means. require sun in late winter and early spring and fairly deep shade after they have bloomed. or machine—is trailed by its own shadow. before their giant neighbors leaf out. and the amounts of light and shade provided in the wild need not be faithfully duplicated in gardens. anything that moves—man. Many plants. Everything on earth with three dimensions is fated to shade. All kinds of plants flourish in varying degrees of shade. and it is this built-in memory that makes them fail or succeed in the cultivated environment of the garden. As always. And having been out hunting slugs and other nasty critters in the middle of the night. there must be shadow. I can vouch that the full moon’s eerie shadows abound in the garden. primeval forests. With no life-giving sun for them in spring. nonflowering plants like mosses and fungi have found a way to exist. Nature is adaptable. yet they have their ancestors’ genetic imprint. Many wildflowers. Survival of the fittest applies not only to the animal kingdom but to plants as well. even delicate wildflowers. using stored-up energy to ripen seeds and provide for another season’s bloom. Some even go dormant after the leaf canopy closes. Lamplight or even a flickering candle generates shade. In dense. wildflowers have adapted to rise and procreate in late-winter sun. 17 . the nourishing sunrays become sparser. growing these wonderful natives in full shade year-round accomplishes the same depressing result. Most plants grown in gardens are hybrids and cultivars of long standing. animal. Mountains cast a shadow that darkens the valley below. On the forest floor. On the other hand. they will wither and die. no vitality is stored for survival and increase. for example. here plants have evolved to propagate themselves at reduced levels of light. Even in the shade cast by these succeeding light-reducing layers. As long as the sun shines.

yet the hostas thrive.18 The Shady Garden In days gone by. so the amount of reflected light is much reduced. giving shade that is much deeper under- . Many gardens have a similar north-facing corner created by a permanent structure. my mother’s house. open tree branches and dapples the plants underneath with ever-changing patterns of light and shade. for sunny and cloudy days. with the sun low in the sky. The hemlock’s branches are horizontal yet somewhat pendent. full shade is where direct rays of sunlight never reach. It is not. Shade in the garden reduces the burden on our environment and saves valuable natural resources. Michigan (42. Further back in the garden. and close to the ground. Full shade requires a source of light to produce it. Also. dense shade. shade was considered bad. has a wide roof extension and trees planted along the wall. and lawns must be open to the sun. the total absence of light. what full shade really means. short or tall. Along the eastern fenceline. while in summer the large. multibranched tree crown casts cooling. tall grasses shade the leaf mounds of wild species hostas. to my mind at least. In wet meadows in central Japan. Perhaps years of gardening and many harsh lessons have taught me to instinctively categorize shade and then make the right choices for planting. and in the case of gardens. Most shade in nature is produced by trees and shrubs. I finally resolved that full shade must be on the north side of my house. Any living plant. sacrificed to the idea that gardens. will produce some shade. yet flowers on even taller scapes extend above the grasses. and with the passing of the seasons. Many informed gardeners now make the most of shade. Direct sunlight never reaches into that corner. limbed up though it is. even reflected light is blocked. on the other hand. however. my north corner receives more reflected light because the wall is open to the sky and unencumbered by trees and tall shrubs. inviting pollination by insects. a little patch of English ivy is the only thing that grows beneath it. Nothing much grows in Mother’s shady north corner. parks. Georgia. a willow oak planted by a squirrel three decades ago allows almost full sun to reach under its leafless branches in midwinter. But to consider shade a detriment to gardening is incorrect. Theoretically. 34 degrees North latitude). brightening the garden. Here. the full shade cast by the north wall of my house is shorter than that in my mother’s garden north of Detroit.5 degrees North latitude): Mother’s house casts a longer field of full shade. yet even low-growing plants can provide shade. Full shade is modified by where it is produced. Yet shade must be defined somehow for gardeners whose learning curve on shady gardens has not yet reached a satisfactory apex. it is the sunlight that causes it. from morning to sunset. Defining shade that is anything less than full is more difficult. Light levels vary. almost full sun reaches under the loblolly pines. I wanted to establish. a Canadian hemlock casts a much denser shade. because the open corner receives plenty of reflected light. Later in the day the sun’s rays are filtered through the long-needled. Shade Defined Defining shade is more an art than a science: it is impossible to establish a permanent value for a given spot in the garden. Majestic shade trees and tall shrubs were ruthlessly eliminated. Plants grow in full shade by utilizing reflected sunlight. in the morning. where I had planted a bed of hostas. It is almost like that absolute shade I remember near my ancestral home. but trees are the prime natural shade givers. Because the summer sun is higher in the sky at Hosta Hill (in Tucker.

In gardening. but it is often difficult to determine how best to place plants that have recently entered commerce. changing with each season. given too much shade it may stop flowering or fade away altogether. the gardener can concentrate fully on plant selection and layout. The fun is trying things no one else has attempted and finding new ways of being successful—or failing miserably. and to what extent shade exists during different seasons is essential to defining shade in the garden and a critical task for beginning gardeners. Once conditions are known. Some shade-tolerant plants demand dry shade. three different trees—loblolly pine. where they receive sun from morning until about one o’clock in the afternoon. and it is often surprisingly easy to cultivate sun-loving perennials in part-shade. while a severe lack of moisture makes the plant wither and die. hot noon or afternoon sun in southern gardens. Many perennials thought suitable for sunny areas only can in fact be grown where they receive a half-day’s sun. Thus. when.Chapter 2 • Fated Shade 19 neath. Nearly all the herbaceous perennials considered in this work show a wide tolerance in the amount of shade they require. and. The only way to cultivate these plants is by trial and error. Homework for gardeners is primarily studying the garden literature. Drought and heat tolerance are also a concern. And remember that the shade perennial that endures relatively long periods of exposure to direct sun in northern latitudes will wither and die if exposed to high. they are compelled to push the envelope and plant things where they are not supposed to grow. Keeping records of where. the willow oak permits more sun exposure from the sides. There are just too many variables. over the years I have found out that learning the hard way is sometimes the only way and an inescapable part of gardening. I grow daylilies on the southeast side of the house. and other shade-givers in your garden. as is cold hardiness. Plants grown in the open in the South become houseplants in the North. most so-called shade plants are content with some sun exposure. When there is too much moisture the plant may rot. which frequently means learning about their needs the hard way. Even the same tree species grown under different cultural situations can cast different intensities of shade. On the other hand. and again in spring and early summer. Many of my gardening friends invite this process. as the tree canopy regenerates itself. above all. Happily. Given too much sun a plant actually burns. Most of my trees are pines. Hence. The cultural requirements of many established cultivars are well known and information about them is readily found. The main purpose of this exercise is to identify the shady areas (and coincidentally. and willow oak—give various shade patterns throughout the year. so Hosta Hill shade is dappled most of the time. just about any mixture of sun and shade becomes acceptable: each plant will flourish within a substantial range of sun/shade and geographic location and altitude. the areas where more sun than shade prevails). as the case may be. but once they are planted out in the open. shrubs. Nurseries have developed methods of propagating these plants under controlled conditions. talking to other gardeners. gardeners—and the plants—are usually on their own. no flowering garden plant requires constant full shade. Doing homework before digging greatly increases the chance of success. visiting other gardens. Other sun-loving garden perennials can be grown successfully with a few hours of morning sun. Look at the trees. . full sun does not seem to be required for flowering. and most need some sun for reliable flowering. others need moist shade. hemlock. and they bloom faithfully every year. Nonetheless. and even shade-tolerant ferns and mosses are able to thrive with considerable sun exposure. Visit the garden during winter to determine where shade exists once deciduous trees and shrubs have lost their leaves. homework always pays.

The first characterizes shade by using popular terms and simple definitions. Sun exposure is between 30 and 50. in lightly wooded areas. It is impossible to assign it a numerical degree of sun exposure. before deciduous trees leaf out. Sun exposure and reflected light are practically zero. and under groups of high-branching evergreens with a similarly open structure. something between medium and light shade.and low-branching deciduous tall shrubs and trees or evergreen trees with tight branching structure and dense foliage that cast deep shadows during most daylight hours in the main growing season in spring and summer. if any. Out in the open. 4. Effective average sun exposure is less than 10 (perhaps one or two hours of direct sun exist at low angles). dozens of adjectives—most subject to considerable and sometimes contentious interpretation—have been used to define a specific type of shade. Under deciduous trees. Medium shade (MS).20 The Shady Garden I try to avoid the term “shade garden” because the word “shade. it might approach full shade for part of the day. Some plants grow and thrive under these conditions. Total and perpetual shade exists where the direct rays of the sun never reach and where there is an absence of reflected light. with zero denoting total absence of direct exposure to sun. Woodland shade (WS) is as complex as the forests themselves.” standing alone. when the woodland leaf canopy provides nearly full shade. Although considered full shade. The easy way out Here are what I consider popular definitions of shade. Following are two ways to characterize shade in the garden. with direct sun exposure occurring for two or three hours after sunrise and before sunset for trees in the open. the second gives a more detailed analysis of shade conditions. But beyond that basic meaning. rated from zero to 100. grow under these conditions. provided high light levels exist at least part of the time. Obviously. exposure to direct sunrays is intermittent and filtered. where closely spaced groups of trees and shrubs are common. For the remainder of the day. sometimes in conjunction with the degree of sun exposure. Few plants. and 100 representing full-sun conditions from sunrise until sunset. the areas beneath solitary trees or small groups of closely spaced trees receive considerable sunlight in the early morning hours or late in the afternoon. 50 indicating half direct sun and half shade (with full sun occurring usually mornings and afternoons. also called filtered shade or dappled shade. In densely forested areas. full shade conditions prevail for most daylight hours. Full shade (FS) occurs under wide. so many shade-tolerant plants can be cultivated in full shade. morning sun is much more beneficial for shade garden plants than hot afternoon sun. and shade prevailing while the sun is high in the sky). I recommend readers study both. these conditions may nevertheless provide high light at low sun angles. simply implies the relative absence of light and nothing more. medium shade . sun exposure can be near 100 during winter. In gardens. Although some sun exposure may occur at sunrise and sunset for short periods of time. particularly the many wildflowers that rise in late winter or very early spring. 2. and then go dormant late in spring or early summer. 1. full shade may be prevalent even at sunrise and before sunset. 3. exists under high-branching deciduous trees that have an open structure and foliage that is not heavy.

shade-tolerant herbaceous plants. Many plants considered sun-loving can be planted in light shade. supporting considerable undergrowth and a multitude of thriving. Sun exposure under these conditions exceeds 60. Even during times of shading. during a given season or during the course of each day? And. Dense woods close in on us and even intimidate. Large deciduous forests exist in some areas. the first cloudless late March sky wreaks havoc with the tender growth of many shade-tolerant plants that have already emerged in southern regions. Where are the shady areas in the garden? When does this shade exist. Open woodland is lighter and brighter. is the shade a full shade. meaning that the first simple question has a two-part answer: the location of the garden on the map. which influences climate. woodland shade is ideal. As the sun becomes stronger in spring. begins with three simple questions. poor selection of tree species can turn such urban woodlands into dark. unproductive places. with sunlight reaching the ground at clearings only. and shade intensity.Chapter 2 • Fated Shade 21 may prevail most of the time. possibly exceeding two-thirds of daylight hours. Unfortunately. or is it modified to some degree? The answers. while in others evergreen tree species. exists where shade occurs for only part of the day. for the remainder of the day. Areas where summer shade exists may offer no shade whatsoever in early spring before the trees leaf out. others are managed or even man-made. Our garden “woodlands” are frequently open. with the trees of neighbors contributing to the shading. The reason for this is simple: dense forests are dark and dank. the same plants are still safely dormant or even snow-covered. Three ways to solve the puzzle My method. abound. small trees or may be a dense shadow cast by a man-made structure or a tree with a concentrated leaf mass. shade is dappled. because exposure to direct sun in midafternoon can lead to leaf burning. however. Many forests are natural or may even be old growth. while open woods invite and enchant. In many locations conifers are in decline. care must be taken when siting shade perennials. so the early. Most city gardeners realize that only woodland conditions can turn their gardens into the urban refuge they long for. Latitude. are shade location. burning sun has no detrimental effect. particularly in southern regions. Most important is shade location. shade timing. For the purpose of building a garden with shade-tolerant perennials. and sunlight dances across the forest floor. 5. Light shade (LS). and the location of shady areas in the garden. . or three attributes necessary to qualify and quantify shade conditions and limits in the garden. must therefore be considered. Forested areas of various types are found all over the temperate regions of the world. based on my own experience. the open exposure allows considerable reflected light to reach the shaded area. also called open shade or traveling shade. The shade may be filtered through singular. Further north. with full sun exposure. and mixed woods flourish. where the spacing of trees is determined by the inherent rise and fall of dominating tree species and other vagaries of nature. Areas that receive some midday shade will see considerable direct sun during morning and afternoon. If the trees are “good” shade trees. Offending trees may have to be limbed up (their lower branches removed) or even cut down. and bright light conditions exist. mostly conifers. we try at all costs to maintain the trees we planted or inherited.

Plants that can tolerate less shade or even some sun in the early to mid-morning hours need protection from the much more intense sun later in the day. coastal. which can be considered the seasonal belts of the Earth. but even novice gardeners can gauge the various shade intensities . they give considerable year-round shade. but by a garden’s altitude (above sea level). Climate not only depends on the sun’s rays received at any given latitude. This is paramount to determining what tree species occur in the garden. Ultimately—shade houses. Conifers are another group of evergreens. Here the hot afternoon sun is most damaging. and other usually small trees and shrubs that hold onto last season’s leaves throughout the winter before dropping them in spring. anything growing under deciduous trees will be in almost full sun. because the intensity of the sun diminishes. but for gardening objectives. Thus. and other factors. For simplification. continental. Most perennials suitable for the shady garden will prefer morning sun and noon to late afternoon shade. One group. but it does not exactly demarcate climate. As a consequence. rhododendrons. Shade timing has two main components: seasonal timing and diurnal timing. coincidental with a new flush of leaves. In spring. broadleaf evergreens. The bare branches will cast some shadow. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in fall.22 The Shady Garden Latitude (location north or south of the equator) determines the length and consequently the coverage of shadows as well as the intensity of the sunlight. I do plant in such areas. while the foliage of evergreen trees remains with the tree until the next season’s leaves replace it. Diurnal timing is easily established by observation: it is simply the existence of shade during a given time of day. the shade timing exercise is obviously identical to that of a fully leafed-out deciduous tree in summer. The shade-giving plant species growing in one climatic region—oceanic. is important to all gardeners. Seasonal timing is simply the recognition of changes in shade patterns caused by seasonal changes in the shade-giving tree and shrub canopy. Yet another group of evergreens. they give some shade throughout the seasons and usually show some increase in shade during late spring and summer. Most gardens on earth are located in the north and south temperate zones. mountain. pergolas. Evergreens represent another parameter in shade timing. With this group. the atmosphere. Within these zones several different climates exist. when a flush of new needles replaces last year’s. desert—are often very different from those occurring in another. The timing of shade in the garden also bears investigation. During that time. shade timing must coincide with the requirements of a given perennial. it includes hollies. such shade is insignificant. Shade intensity is the third quality to be determined. The sun’s rays are strongest when the sun is high in the sky. These trees and shrubs have very high garden importance and winter-persistent foliage that typically takes the form of needles. and other man-made structures aside—the relative nature of shade in gardens is determined by the species of trees and tall shrubs that cast the shade. As a result. are of marginal importance to temperate zone gardeners and are not considered here. tropical evergreens. for many perennials selected for the shady garden require shade during the hot noon to afternoon hours. but the plant selection is limited to those that tolerate full sun. the proximity of oceans. Practically all the plants discussed in this work have their origin with or are species growing in the north or south temperate zones. Siting them accordingly increases the chances for success in a shady garden. shadows are shortest and shade coverage is at its minimum. climatologists have organized the earth’s climate into zones. more sun can be tolerated by the same plant. Further away from the equator.

I finally covered the sore spot with a mulch of pine bark. Hosta Hill receives almost continuous overhead shade beneath a contiguous canopy of towering longleaf and loblolly pines. Understory dogwoods and Japanese maples cast a more intense shade. their shade becomes more influential. so one spring he planted shade-tolerant perennials and small shrubs underneath the giant. Gardeners who have an established skeleton of trees and shrubs are lucky indeed. the remedies are simple (and much faster than “growing” shade). I found the maple gone. With proceeds from the sale of the wood. Trees that have become dangerous because of disease. I planted a bed of iris and daylilies around it. and the restored garden now thrives in their more benevolent shade. so the selection of a sugar maple did not appear a bad choice. As trees and shrubs grow larger in time. and intensity of the shade provided by it. and they did well for a while. few plants thrive in conditions of full and uninterrupted shade. He loved the tree but did not like the patch of bare ground beneath it. Most tall shrubs need periodic pruning for best performance anyway. Bones of the Shady Garden In nature as well as in gardens. and the shady area around the tree was nothing but a sea of hungry tree roots. Eventually they die and must be removed. Soon he found everything smashed by falling walnuts or stunted by the chemicals the tree produced. With the passing of time. he purchased and planted three fast-growing pin oaks. A good friend of mine had a large black walnut tree shading the entire rear garden. nothing will grow underneath it. but finally he cut it down. forming suckers that further deepen the shade. timing. It takes time to build the bones of a garden. He tolerated this magnificent yet lethal tree for a few years more. in Nashville. its branches touch the ground all around it. but most garden areas with some tree and shrub cover receive varying intensities of shade and are therefore capable of supporting many shade perennials. The most obvious and frequent solution is to cut down trees or tall shrubs. Upon returning to the place many years later. This example illustrates that the “man-made” shade created by planting an . In 1957 we moved into our first home. however. It was. Within a few short seasons. Our newly seeded front lawn came furnished with the obligatory sugar maple. Back then family obligations did not allow much time for horticulture. lightning strike. When too much shade is the problem. owners of new homes with a treeless landscape should educate themselves very carefully about tree and shrub species suitable for making a shady garden. shade is never a constant: it depends on a fluctuating framework of trees and shrubs—the bones of the garden. which does happen. just right for many eastern wildflower species. In the main. Tennessee. all gardens change. and their shade is suddenly gone. Limbing up or pruning is another way to control or maintain shade intensity.Chapter 2 • Fated Shade 23 by observation alone. Sometimes storms topple them. and with it changes the location. so this pruning can be performed with ultimate shade requisites in mind. This framework changes steadily. the tree had shaded out the flower bed and part of the lawn. or storm damage must be removed. Obviously. replaced by flowers in sunny borders with a small patch of a lawn. healthy trees should be removed only if their presence threatens the garden environment. such measures are often necessitated by growing and expanding shade trees and shrubs. Even if not required at first. A 40-year-old evergreen Magnolia grandiflora on the western border casts yearround shade so dense.

on the other hand. As long three-dimensional objects exist. timing. I and many other gardeners with the same dilemma have to change the selection of perennials and small shrubs to those tolerant of some shade. for perennials to attain blooming age. stellata). Large nurseries erect entire complexes of rudimentary shade houses for the purpose of plant propagation. but subsequent owners had problems as well. The material is typically treated wood. and useful as they may be. That many shade perennials require less maintenance is an added benefit to gardeners of advancing age. Unfortunately patience is not an inborn virtue for many of us. Open greenhouses too use shade cloth to control the sun. so the prospect of having to wait a decade or more to grow shade-giving trees appears unacceptable at first. measured in percentage. or solid fences. functional. Even full shade can be found on the north side of a dwelling. and for bulbs planted in fall to show up in spring. which may have shade cloth cover on the east or west wall (or both). they can never replace the living beauty of shade-giving trees and shrubs in a woodland garden. give 100% shading during high noon because the covering vines frequently exclude the sun’s rays completely. but inevitably my sunny flower borders turn into shady beds and small trees planted years ago became giants. and intensity. and saucer and star magnolias (Magnolia ×soulangeana and M. Size is limited only by economics and available space. and they can contribute greatly to the design aesthetics of open gardens. Japanese snowbell (Styrax japonicus). which gives the gardener freedom to select the shade’s location. for this purpose. usually a simple edifice consisting of an open roof framework covered with shade cloth or a wooden trellis and supported on columns. sometimes shade cloth is utilized until the vine or other living cover has grown enough to fill in the roof openings. good choices for understory trees include Carolina silverbell (Halesia carolina). Not only was I affected by this poor choice. because the roof cover is commonly a living vine. woven polypropylene or UV-polyethylene shade fabric is commercially available in several degrees of shading. however. While they may not have overhead shade. their house. Many gardeners struggle with the problem of having too much shade in their gardens. they can nevertheless take advantage of shade cast by small shrubs. A few treeless gardeners fated to sun may have neither the space nor the money to erect such shade-giving structures. These shade-giving structures can be made as attractive as money and talent allows. for . Densely overgrown pergolas. Easily the most artificial of these designs is the shade house. fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus). Pergolas fit this purpose as well but some patience is required. At Hosta Hill some of the increasingly detrimental shade can be controlled.24 The Shady Garden undesirable tree impaired the garden environment in front of my first home for decades. Shade Without Trees Gardening is fundamentally a waiting game. Pergolas are more open on the sides and therefore admit much more light than shade houses. In gardens these shade structures take on a more architectural tone and are embellished with trim work and other decorations. Gardeners wait for trees to mature. For the very impatient. Besides Japanese maples and dogwoods. In time even the most eager gardeners learn to be patient and might even consider planting a tree for their grandchildren. gardening in shady areas is possible by erecting structures to provide such shade. As decorative. shade will also be present.

Every gardener deserves at least one shady corner. if no trees are present. . Indeed. noon. so a shady nook can be planted and maintained in gardens that have an abundance of sunshine elsewhere. a few surveys of the property carried out during morning. and evening hours will reveal a shady niche here and there where at least some perennials for the shady garden can contribute to the overall attractiveness of the garden.Chapter 2 • Fated Shade 25 example.

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lurks the destructiveness of their larvae before they metamorphose into fluttering loveliness. Nature does not care about gardens. and ice. I gave a lecture to the Georgia Hosta Society.” A frequently heard question: if gardening in general—and growing hostas in particular—is that much trouble. Rather than “Garden and never mind the bugs. windblown dust and dirt. and in so doing interferes with the artful ways of the gardener. The topic was troubles in the garden. Practical thoughts may not fit into the romanticized image of fine gardening. I reminded my audience. but many novice members were turned off by “all that talk about slugs and bugs. Pollinating bees are good. It goes on finding its own balance. and many consider the beauty of butterflies very good. pieces of bark. but behind the charm of butterflies. They know their bugs and are attuned to the physical environment of the garden. all manner of fruit. Fungi. Millions of particles rain down constantly: leaves. They understand soils. be it life-giving sun and rain or damaging wind and hail. and the outcome was unexpected. lichens. as it must. small and large branches torn loose by storms. and other tiny creatures break it down to its basic components. and droppings. The Garden’s Floor The wild woodland floor is made up of the by-products of tree growth and life in the woods. snow.” the message should be “Garden and know the bugs!” The best gardeners are practical gardeners.CHAPTER 3 Practical Thoughts A few years ago. Burrowing animals see to it that a liberal sprinkling of 27 . the weather. I concluded. Over time. Even trees die and fall. but behind those wonderful vistas of garden art is the application of a gardener’s basic and practical know-how. feathers. and their decaying trunks become part of the forest floor. and other seed-bearing encasings. animal hair. Succesful gardeners work with rather than against natural progression. is man’s innate urge to create art. I explained. nature shuffles and reshuffles the mixture. who needs it? One trait that separates man from the apes. and nature is the stage upon which gardeners perform their temporal art. seed cones. and even the bones of longdead creatures. bacteria. needles. With this comes all the good and bad nature brings. and all the other things important to versed gardening. rain. A few seasoned gardeners were appreciative.

gardeners must “create” their own soil. Only the trees were left standing. and they try to save a few trees. arrange such rescues. The loblolly pines are second growth. perhaps. Plant rescues are an excellent way to save wildflowers from destruction where development is planned. my dream was not realized. The half-acre of Hosta Hill sits on the crest of a hillock. I had to build new soil atop a solid layer of exposed. and some smaller shrubs can be rescued. the landscape. This soil is not static and changes constantly. One day. The contractor wanted to put in a lawn. once composted. high-nitrogen fertilizers to feed the decomposition process. and Solomon’s seal. at least. brick-hard Georgia red clay. . if ever. some wildflowers were already there: wild ginger. shrubs. farming in the area must have stopped around 1910. an old farmhouse sat on the site. and so the seasons’ successional process never ends. visiting the site to inspect ongoing construction. I found to my horror that all that woods soil had been pushed aside and carried off—wildflowers. whether woodland or old farmland. or other natural waste. they make fine soil amendments. labor-intensive. including the Georgia Native Plant Society. is such “gardener’s gold” available. Fine-graded ground bark. organic debris makes up the soil of the forest floor. their random placement shows they are volunteers on former farmland. dark. Most gardeners these days have a similar problem. Loblolly pines are notorious for shedding their large needles in bushel-basket quantities. It was too late for protestations. . But to make my garden.” an ornamental tree. Ground tree clippings and sawdust can be obtained cheaply by the truckload and are sometimes free for the taking. a lawn. I had it once but lost it. and all. and I still discover pieces of china and small farm implements when I dig in the garden. Organic matter can actually be bought in raw form. or ground natural waste products. and it is worth telling the story . mixed in with Christmas and lady ferns. leaves. and it is easier to install the “new landscape. the soil produced by nature’s workings is to die for. like peanut hulls or corn cobs—all are available at nurseries. The addition of organic matter to clay or sandy soils—indeed. which. In days long gone. cranefly orchid. Eventually. and when we started the house. .28 The Shady Garden earth’s mineral matter is added to the mix. As a participant. When raw organic materials are digested in compost piles by soil organisms. A few small wildflowers. spongy soil. At least I still had my trees. is so thoroughly disturbed. In many developments. dreaming of carpeting the back-half with wildflowers. A few contractors are beginning to realize how devastating such methods are. I remember sinking my hands into this soft. and often expensive. New debris is added. 60 years’ accumulation had built a carpet of gardener’s gold. these require the addition of slow-release. to any natural soil composed chiefly of mineral particles—is essential. Sadly. of course. I see the before and after of such development. but everything else falls to the bulldozers. Gardeners can collect pine needles. they become humus. and foundation planting. ferns. For gardeners. Indeed. coarse sphagnum peat. for practical reasons. layer upon layer of this rich. Organic matter To take available soil and improve it to attain good physical structure and openness (a condition sometimes referred to as good tilth) is time-consuming. and many local native plant societies. particles of old are absorbed by roots. Judging by the growth rings of some of the trees removed for construction. It is sad indeed. It will take years to grow new shade providers and to build soil. House construction on this bare ground is more economical. Rarely. usually takes the form of packaged products. ferns. so I shed a few silent tears.

humus is an amorphous. and it is important for gardeners to find out which of the multitude of different natural soils they have. . and plant waste materials should be composted before being used in the garden. well-drained soil. and reduced. Most perennials listed in this book have great adaptability. Adding chelated iron may be necessary. sandy soils. in fact. chemical soil imbalance. Readings above 7 indicate increasingly alkaline conditions (with 14 being absolute alkalinity). widely used for this purpose. Gardeners often take the brown.Chapter 3 • Practical Thoughts 29 Technically. woodlands growing on limestone rock or in chalky soils have soil that is more alkaline. It also helps the formation of soil crumbs in clayey soils. Humus comes in two forms: mor humus. Soils can be acid. Knowing the soil Knowing the soil is essential to making a garden. chalky. Many county extension offices of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provide a soil analysis service either free or for a nominal charge. red clay. among other things. alkaline. Pine and oak forests impart acidity to the surrounding soil. usually toward the acid side. so adjustment of pH is normally not required. preferring slightly acid soils. Neutral is represented by pH 7. a condition found in most garden soils. to make the iron in the soil more available. silt loams. so gardeners can do their own testing. grass clippings. improving aeration and drainage. high in organic matter. formed in acid conditions. particularly rapiddraining. silty. in which the leaves turn slowly yellow but the veins stay dark green. Spray the leaves with iron sulphate (1 oz. sandy clays. For gardening it is simply appalling. Herbaceous shade perennials require a loose. A wide variety of pH levels are tolerated by most herbaceous perennials suitable for shady gardens. are sandy. and clayey. decayed matter on their compost piles for pure humus. colloidal. heavy clays (like those at Hosta Hill). and other intermediate types occur. Soil tests will determine. fine sands. Readings below 7 indicate increasingly acid conditions (few plants can exist below pH 4). The addition of humus is one of the best ways to improve garden soil because its chemicals are directly available to plants. Diseased plant waste and materials should never be placed on the compost pile but conveyed away from the garden. Chlorosis. and inexpensive pH meters are available at nurseries. per 2 gallons/4 g per liter): if the leaves temporarily turn green after this treatment. or neutral. the pH balance of the soil requires adjustment. or a virus. which level is indicated by the pH number. raw organic matter in different stages of decomposition. Raw vegetable garbage. black or brown substance that has the ability to retain water. moder (an intermediate form of humus). suitable for making bricks and. formed in neutral or alkaline environments. At Hosta Hill the natural soil is a dense. and mull humus. poorly drained soils. is a condition caused variously by overfertilizing. Loams (mixtures of mineral particles with an optimum combination of coarse and fine particles) are best for gardening. categorized by the ratio of coarse to fine particles. but it is actually a mixture of raw and decomposed organic matter: colloidal humus. Gravelly sands. This makes it an excellent amendment to natural garden soils. what pH number the soil has. loamy. The five major soil types.

Many years ago I read somewhere that sand was a fine amendment for clay soils. so the soil can hold large amounts of water. The hostas took off and grew to their full glory. Initially. . through chemical interaction. natural clay soils of Georgia. A breath of air Soils must be able to breathe. and finally I decided to dig and find the cause of their disappearance. some remain happily in the same location after three decades. once they dry out. and amended the soil with an abundance of pine bark and peat moss. Sand can sometimes be beneficial. Garden soils for such plants should have a high water-holding capacity. A few hostas hung on to a skimpy existence and did not begin to flourish until I took pity on the plants. but here another story bears telling . The sand-clay mixture. dug them up. Not even a spade could break the clod. organic matter. the moisture amount becomes less than field capacity. heavy clay soils have poor percolation (the rate at which water can move through the soil). Soil moisture deficit is the difference between the actual amount of moisture in the soil and its field capacity. insufficient moisture is invariably detrimental to lush growth and plant survival. . There can also be too much water in the soil. which means they lose uncommonly high amounts of water through the leaves. are difficult to bring back up to field capacity because of poor percolation. had turned into something akin to concrete. I tried to fool nature and grow perennials in barely improved clay. this deficit can be held to a minimum by regular watering and the addition of clean mulches to reduce surface evaporation. After this. gravitational water has percolated to the water table. wild populations of largeleaved plants grow in relatively moist soils or near water. making the soil percolate and breath better. As moisture is withdrawn from the soil by absorption through roots or evaporation. soil moisture must be maintained at field capacity: the amount of water that can be held by capillary action in the soil after excess. or thoroughly composted material containing humus. and these conditions are fortified by high humidity and rainfall in many natural woodlands. These soils are usually sticky and wet and retain large quantities of water but. Dutifully. few things are more exciting than the emergence of new plant shoots in spring. During the spring growing season. The slow-draining clay soil at Hosta Hill is an example. Maintaining moisture in the soil is one of the most important obligations a gardener has. To me. Thus. ground organic waste products. I planted a few perennials in that mix and eagerly awaited their bursting forth next spring. . This can be accomplished by the addition of organic matter like peat moss. In the very fine. In the shady garden. the volume of the individual pore spaces becomes very small but surface tension increases. I never mixed sand with Georgia red clay again. Such plants require considerable available amounts of water in the soil to replace the transpired water. With rare exceptions. Percolation in these soils can be improved by the addition of liberal amounts of coarse.30 The Shady Garden Water: too little or too much Many plants with large leaves have high transpiration rates. Good garden soils have a high percentage of pore space (the empty space in soils usually occupied by air and water)—the best have around 50% solid matter and 50% pore space. The results were dismal. I purchased several bags of coarse builders’ sand and mixed it with my Georgia clay in proportions long forgotten. But nothing happened with the new perennials.

wildflowers and other natives are particularly sensitive to such injury. The first step to such success is good soil. which contains nitrogen. and calcium. To fertilize or not Many cultivated garden plants are relatively heavy feeders. due to the danger of burning. feeds my entire garden. In most areas application should be made in early spring. It comes in two formulas. such as ammonium nitrate or superphosphate. Making soil does not mean replacing existing topsoil. Osmocote Plus®.Chapter 3 • Practical Thoughts 31 Minerals in the soil Agricultural topsoil is composed of 90% mineral and 10% organic matter. The basic tenet is to add enough organic matter to make . applied sparingly in early spring. gardeners need some measure of success. (30 cm) thick. Some require constantly moist or even wet soils. These raised beds are filled with soil composed of 10% screened clay. This mix holds a lot of water during dry summers but also drains well during excessively wet periods. I do not recommend raw chemical fertilizers. undisturbed woodland soil. it means adding organic matter to the surface layer of soil. but few gardeners are lucky enough to have good garden soil ready for planting. A 50-pound (23 kg) bag. 20% peat moss. and fertilizing at Hosta Hill is thus kept to a minimum. It also depends on the topsoil type. the danger of overfertilizing is always present. I use the 18–6–12 nine-months’ time release. while others may be over 12 in. can be as much as 50% organic matter. Gardeners can accommodate their plants by creating soils and conditions that mimic the natural habitat. by contrast. it deposits a residue that spoils the attractive surface of many large-leaved perennials. however. phosphorus. such as magnesium. fertilizer can be applied in late winter. comes in the form of osmotic pellets and feeds through osmosis for extended periods. I have already detailed my mixture for raised beds. Making garden soil To be happy. particularly by fast-growing perennials. but it is by no means the only one I use. iron.5–5 cm) deep. when known. Other slow-release. (2. potassium. A high volume of organic matter is preferred in soil for the shady natural garden. Some topsoil layers are only 1–2 in. Wet soils can be duplicated by building artificial swamps. 20% composted humus or cow manure. Although organic content is important. and rapid drainage is easily achieved by creating elevated rock gardens with porous soils and sublayers. This fertilizer. So I use only one type of fertilizer. but in more southern latitudes. and 50% ground pine bark. so it is important to get the soil analyzed. How much must be added depends on the make-up of this existing soil and its depth. Nutrients can be added in many ways. Old. where the ground rarely freezes and with some root growth continuing through winter. and many required trace elements. a percentage of mineral content should be maintained for balance. urea-based fertilizers will do. others require soils with rapid drainage. I do not employ foliar feeding. are given for individual plants described in Part 2. At Hosta Hill various planting areas are installed above the underlying clay surface. Because they are absorbed at a fairly high rate. Specific soil requirements. To simplify. the layer in which cultivation occurs. Wildflowers are not. with eight. but many are water soluble and their nutrients are washed away by heavy spring rains.

the plants showed renewed vigor the following spring. and it is prudent to test the acidity now and then. A little peat moss goes a long way. forming a thick mat of roots. the problem with it is its rapid deterioration in the soil. Judicious applications of pelletized lime can correct conditions of too much acidity. Some experimentation may be necessary to find the best formula. Trying to reestablish the former elevation. The soil of shady gardens under pines and oaks can become more acid in time. In thriving gardens. like rough-ground tree bark. I realized that the fertility and tilth of my soil is not a permanent condition. The soil appeared to be of good tilth. or to make the soil over again. For soils that drain too fast. or corn cobs in ground form can also be purchased by the truckload. peanut hulls. plants may start to crowd each other out. Such materials open clay soils and permit them to breathe and freely drain any excess water. so periodic digging is a must anyway. In short. Some plants are very sensitive to lime. because nearby dogwood trees had greedily invaded the bed over the years. Just as a garden cannot be made in one day. Some amendments may be absorbed and disappear. This is even more essential in planting areas that can be invaded by the roots of trees and shrubs. back at their old level. No wonder the plants had declined. amend the soil. It is not enough to improve the soil. because if the plants are not given correct soil conditions. After seeing plants excel at first and then decline.32 The Shady Garden slow-draining clay soils like my brick yard soil percolate faster and rapid-draining sandy soils hold more water. which can lead to rotting or suffocation. fertilized. Maintaining garden soil The story of tree root invasion just related illustrates the necessity of soil maintenance. to have it retested perhaps. they may die anyway. I replenished the soil. When it comes to a decision of buying either soil amendments or plants. but to no avail. The bed where a lot of peat moss had disappeared gave the first clue. so it will be necessary to dig the plants. When large quantities of amendments are required. . From time to time it will be essential to inspect the soil. At Hosta Hill it took many years to arrive at suitable soil conditions. usually in wildflower beds. and then replant. the surface of the beds had literally sunk as much as several inches because the peat moss simply disappeared. These are available prepackaged from local plant nurseries. only small amounts of organic amendments are required. successful gardening is not possible without some maintenance. for example) and shrubs (stewartias come to mind) have greedy. There was nothing wrong with the plants. I watered. such as humus from the compost pile or peat moss. economics may also play a decisive role. Where good. Some popular garden trees (dogwoods and maples. dense. and. use caution whenever using lime in shady woodland gardens. it is not enough to just top the area or bed with more amendment because this will bury the tops of plants with layers of new material. Many perennials are fussy about how deep they are planted. In years past I added as much as 30% (by volume) peat moss to some beds. development of its soil base takes some time to accomplish. In a few short years. Bark. There can be other problems. and did all the things gardeners are supposed to do. the amendments should come first. I recommend water-holding organic matter. far-reaching root systems that can choke nearby planting beds. I now use peat moss sparingly. I removed the plants and started digging. Make most of this organic matter a relatively coarse material. screen it to remove tree roots. loamy topsoil already exists naturally. too good perhaps. and maintaining the soil is imperative.

a cessation of bloom. remove the roots. and other trees that produce large seedpods or fruit. Indeed. These secretions are impossible to remove and usually turn black in short order by way of fungal action. but there will be a general decline in plant vigor. magnolias. in the bottom of planting areas and beds before backfilling and planting. Another type of damage is caused by tree droppings. partially at least. it may itself present a hazard. It is not worth worrying over such minor troubles in Paradise. In North America the dogwood is one such flowering tree. normally this is not harmful to the trees. such as redbud (Cercis canadensis) or flowering dogwood. If the offending trees are mature. Physical damage is common: trees bombard the garden below with large cones. and replant everything. If left on the leaves. and other seedpods or heavy fruit. Avoid planting large-leaved perennials under many of the pine trees. and they eventually become attached. fertile soil provided in the planting areas and beds on the shady garden floor with a rapacity that can eventually damage the plants grown there. It may take several years for the harm to show up. Smaller particles can accumulate in the pockets of rugose or cup-shaped leaves.Chapter 3 • Practical Thoughts 33 Trouble from Above In most shady gardens as in the wild. the shady garden is not without conflicts and troubles! It used to disturb me greatly when the perfect leaf of a hosta got smashed and torn by a spiny pinecone falling from great height. Over time I got over it. from falling objects. while you are at the routine lifting and dividing. plant a shield of leafy. principally those with brittle wood. damage to the underlying plants. Neither rain nor wind will dislodge them. In gardens where existing shade trees bring trouble. nuts. and even pine needles driven by wind or falling from a height can pierce the leaves of hostas and other large-leaved perennials. fungal action eventually decays the covered leaf tissue. spent flower petals (or bracts in some cases). remove a portion of their feeder roots. because of the sugars in their chemical composition. Only careful siting and selection of suitable shade tree species under which to plant can reduce or eliminate these problems. shade trees are a roof bringing trouble—namely. so that the fall of some objects tumbling down from greater heights can be blocked or broken to some extent. Shade trees stretch their feeder roots over large areas. I use this method at Hosta Hill. become literally glued to the leaves of perennials. If root invasion has occurred. designed to prevent root invasion. such as the resinous droplets that descend from many pines or the sticky nectar exuded by some flowering trees. understory trees. Impact damage by falling branches is an obvious hazard under trees. Trouble Underneath Nature has another surprise waiting. They definitely hinder root invasion and lengthen the time a plant can grow unim- . But remember: while the flowering dogwood will shield leafy plants like hostas. I have installed landscape fabrics. but in gardens. and now I just tuck the damaged leaf under the others or remove it. and an eventual wasting of the plants. which attach themselves to rain-moistened leaves and. Not so obvious are falling. adversely affecting the appearance of a leaf or the entire plant. discoloring the leaves and flowers. They feed on the splendidly friable. hidden from view. Falling pinecones can cause considerable leaf damage. Check for invading tree roots at regular dividing time. trees are the shade givers. screen the soil.

After all. worse yet. behave like living organisms. once inside a living being. soil bacteria. In most shady gardens. fungi. Maples. waterlogged or parched soil. however. when symptoms show up in the garden. Only after eliminating these causes. While gardeners may care little about what viruses actually are. Eventually. Before fixing blame on bugs. nucleoprotein molecules that. I have learned—sometimes the hard way—that sickly looking plants may not be diseased after all. Usually several years pass before root removal is required. they command the thoughtful gardener’s full attention. so the problem with tree roots is unavoidable. or plants. Over the years. Most are very small. do I go after pathogenic causes. and as a consequence. though.34 The Shady Garden peded. are beneficial. referred to as physiogenic factors. Some. too many factors can upset the balance. that is what happens in nature. soil amendments added. Because they attack and damage precious garden plants. are deadly when they interact with people. A not-so-new school of thought has reemerged of late. like the one that mottles forms of Farfugium japonicum (leopard plant). fertilizer burn. I have become philosophical about these enemies. Gardeners emulate their native landscape and let plants fend for themselves. In the garden. sun scald. many beneficial creatures in the garden are forgotten—insect pollinators. slugs. like bacteria. I try to determine if the cause of sickness is associated with the environment—perhaps I have unintentionally stepped on an emerging plant or done something else wrong. so powerful microscopes are required to detect them. dogwoods. so I find this radical procedure not unwelcome. the tree roots find a way into the planting beds. and viruses. seen or unseen. and other assorted pests can plague gardeners. and other helpers. Pathogens are living organisms that cause diseases in garden plants. Focusing on the bugs and slugs. Others. For new gardens it can be reduced by carefully selecting shade trees with nonaggressive root systems. and many other tree species have aggressive root systems. they become very worried when they get the flu or. the presence of harmful insect grubs detected. gardeners forget that other problems can be the cause of trouble. Injury to plants may be brought about by a late freeze. These include chlorosis (yellowing of the . Gardeners’ Enemies A horde of bugs. But replicating nature’s delicate balance is difficult. some invisible. weeds removed— it is even possible to redesign the entire area. so never mind a little trouble underneath: it is part of it all. trees are the primary shade givers. dwarf Japanese maples are tolerable. These fabrics are available in most large garden centers. earthworms and mycorrhizas. symbiotic soil fungi. herbicide or other chemical injury. magnolias. but large native and exotic maple trees can be very destructive. Viruses Viruses are ultramicroscopic. animals. All we gardeners can do is to become proficient in recognizing the symptoms brought about by these invisible hordes. not least of which are the gardeners themselves. At Hosta Hill. Gardens are never finished. I find that other garden necessities can be efficiently accomplished during periodic checks for root invasion: plants can be divided for increase.

the underground portion of the plant may have turned to mush. crown rot occurs once in a while. Viruses partially or completely shut down the plant’s vascular system and consequently photosynthesis. mottling or mosaicism (white or yellowish spots). I spent a lot of time worrying about hosta rhizomes rotting in the ground. or abraded. as do gardeners who use the same garden tools first on infected and then on healthy plants. They can cause decay. infected plant waste should never be conveyed to the compost pile. even with good fall sanitation. the best strategy for most gardeners will be the one I use at Hosta Hill: any plant suspected of being infected by a virus is ruthlessly eliminated. When the sad results show up in the garden. Plants that can be readily bought in plant nurseries should simply be replaced when a malady strikes. blotching (whitened areas larger than spots). and that is best accomplished by removing and discarding all diseased plant material. Crown rot. and most certainly such losses should not result in unreasonable grief. More often than not. By the time the plants are expected to produce their spring flush of leaves. In years past. Losing a plant now and then is inevitable in gardens. torn. wilting and collapse of plant tissue. Many leaves turn yellow during very hot. A gardener’s first priority should be to stem further infection of neighboring. and stunting. that have inbred resistance to viruses. and the destructive action continues below ground until spring. but in my experience such measures would be justified only when an “irreplaceable” plant becomes diseased. soil and all. Mosaicism is almost always a viral infection. many bacterial and fungal diseases start in late fall. I dig up the plant and consign the remains. Worse. leaf curl. contribute to secondary infections. mosaic and ring spots. As no effective treatment against viral infections is known.Chapter 3 • Practical Thoughts 35 leaves). belongs in this category. and may result in the plant’s demise. a visit to the county USDA extension office or a university’s plant pathology department can help identify viral diseases. a virus can be spread by any action that transfers cell sap from one plant to another. healthy plants. The spade used in the procedure is afterward thoroughly cleaned with heavily chlorinated water. leaves thus affected remain firm for quite some time and dry up slowly. cutting or sucking insects accomplish this. both edible and ornamental. but leaf yellowing can have several causes. Practical thoughts must also include a respect for the environment. . thereby avoiding the spread of infection in a tightly planted garden. gardeners should select such cultivars whenever possible. At Hosta Hill. but I am more practical now. a normal signal of heat stress due to lack of water. This is not to say that in rare cases the application of systemic insecticides or fungicides can be employed under rigidly controlled conditions. cherished keepsake from Grandmother’s garden. like dividing. Viruses can also spread through asexual propagation methods. a frequently observed problem in herbaceous perennials. They usually enter plant tissue that is cut. after the leaf drop of herbaceous perennials. and often through seed. This is no time to be sentimental. it is often too late to do anything about the predicament. for example the normal yellowing that occurs at the onset of dormancy. Plant breeders have developed garden varieties. to the waste heap. It is absolutely unconscionable and impractical to try to save commonly available garden plants by dousing them with fungicides and insecticides. even if it is an old. Bacteria and fungi Bacteria and fungi are the most prevalent pathogens. and once inside the plant tissue multiply rapidly. just as they do at winter’s onset. dry weather. general reduction in vigor. It is better to lose even expensive or rare plants.

healthy. to determine their general health. and packaged soil and soil amendments are safe. use all your senses: look. bark. Common horticultural afflictions are rootknot eelworms or root gall nematodes. Nematodes specializing on agricultural crops cause an estimated $1 billion in damage yearly to world agriculture. such as pruning. robust. afflictions are rarely seen. And luckily. In early spring. Nonetheless. cankers. Once a crown is affected. Examples of these maladies are leaf spot. touch. too much or too little water. Take steps to reduce physical damage to the plants caused by slugs. too much or inadequate feeding—result in unhealthy plants. or similar products. and other animals. Be alert. when herbaceous perennials do not resprout at all or the young leaves turn yellow just after sprouting. these cystforming nematodes invade the root structures and lay eggs in cysts formed from root tissue. release poisons or . Leaf yellowing is often attributed to a virus but can also be caused by bacteria or fungi. Corrective measures.36 The Shady Garden Early detection of symptoms is essential. allowing pathogens to enter. wilting. and well-cared-for plantings are in the main disease-resistant. If you live in an area where prolonged snow cover exists. and some blights. some pathogens are concentrated in certain regions of the country. I have a quarantine area in the rear of Hosta Hill where I keep “newly imported” plants in pots for about six months. In areas where the ground remains open. which are much less able to resist all manner of plant pathogens. so as to avoid stepping on fragile rhizomes and emerging plant shoots. clean mulches. salt hay. Falling dead branches can pierce the ground and damage the underground portions of plants. may prevent the development of disease in the aboveground plant tissues. crown gall. like pine needles. although some grow much larger. organic mulches in the fall—instead. and smell. particularly bacteria and fungi are everywhere. Obviously. visible when roots are exposed. Plant pathogens. use light.5–5. I practice exclusion for all plants and any other materials brought in from outside. Gardeners should know where their plants are located. Above all. and these offices are aware of such infections. Gardens are wide open to such carriers. anthracnose. the problem of excluding pathogens becomes much more complicated when dealing with wind-borne diseases or those brought in by insects or other carriers. Good gardeners spend a lot of time in their personal landscape visiting the plantings and checking everything. do not apply heavy. which can result in secondary infections. black spot. If a garden is generally healthy. so backfilling with clean planting soil will eliminate them as well as insect larvae and other subterranean pests. Bacterial and fungal diseases are easily spotted during the growing season. the decay process is irreversible. rusts. These cysts or galls. and gardeners should become familiar with their symptoms. Avoid siting plants in low spots that get flooded every spring. smut. insects. Nematodes Nematodes are unsegmented worms. inspect the herbaceous perennials that are resting for the winter. it is impossible to erect barriers to exclude them. virtually all plants sold by nurseries are disease-free. mildews. rotting. trouble exists just below the surface. Improper growing conditions—too much shade or sun.0 mm in length. A visit to a county USDA extension office is particularly valuable. there is no magic bullet for curing diseases affecting the root portion of a plant. slime flux. Thus they can detect problems before they become disasters. 0. visit your plants often to detect storm and snow damage to trees and shrubs. improve soil if it is mostly clay. most are very small.

The best way to keep populations down is to remove any disfigured leaves as soon as they show up. which take over the role of biological insect control in gardens. Some granular nematicides are available and can be tried. borers. disfiguring them. Green lacewings predate on aphids. gardeners must be practical and learn to live with these pests. and even with another grateful nod to the extremely beneficial pollinating insects. mealybugs. Biological controls and exclusion are the best ways to protect against bugs.Chapter 3 • Practical Thoughts 37 enzymes that alter cell content. Japanese beetles. and the nematodes do not leave the host plant until it dies or the roots are severed. The cysts. tiny parasitic wasps combat insects both as larvae and adults. With that understanding. Ladybugs control aphids. make life miserable for gardeners. particularly the leaves. and even beneficial diseases can be introduced into the garden to combat specific garden pests. which should appeal to gardeners who are bothered by the adult ver- . scales. There they consume the inner cell layers and lay a new crop of eggs inside the leaves. biodegradable insecticides and fungicides should be considered a last resort. when. and the impulse to be utterly rid of such pests is understandable to most gardeners. The damage does not show up until early in summer. and whitefly. Various predators. but the environmental consequences must be considered. and other soft-scale insects. The way caterpillars can devour the leaves of a favorite garden plant easily qualifies them as ultimate eating machines. For this reason I shall dispense with giving advice on how. Even occasional and prudent use of selected. and in what amounts to use chemical protection. parasites. leading to stunted growth or loss of vigor. wireworms. Insects have only two goals in life: to eat as much as possible and to procreate as much as possible (and furthermore. But many gardeners have made a conscious decision to stop constant use of toxic chemicals to control pests in the garden. usually winding up in the leaf structure. predatory wasps are used against whiteflies. awaiting another cycle and staying viable for many years. army worms. and other cultivated garden plants are favorite targets. predatory mites fight thrips and spider mites. Good cultural practices can overcome some of the damage. like the grubs and adults of weevils. No truly effective control exists for living plants. Hostas. to do both as quickly as possible). Again. hatching from overwintering eggs. then detach themselves. in some way. Foliar nematodes invade the aboveground portions of plants. The product Bt (strains of the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis. chrysanthemums. available in powder form) paralyzes those ravenous caterpillars. where. a process best left to professionals. conscientious gardeners have replaced chemical insecticides with beneficial predatory insects. root maggots. and a host of others. some ferns. thus preventing the eggs from escaping into the ground when the leaves disintegrate in fall. and grow in cell pockets of the elongating plant tissue. another strain of Bt is marketed for control of mosquito larvae. Beneficial nematodes are very effective against any pest that lives just below the ground or crawls upon it. Total eradication is possible only with extremely dangerous chemicals and is not advised. full of eggs. These eelworms invade the rising shoots on the rootstock very early in the spring. Bugs and other critters Of late. Other species form permanent galls that remain as part of the roots. but the ground can be fumigated before planting. it must be said that a huge number of “bad” insect species in the north and south temperate zones still. who may remember a wonderful rose chewed to bits by Japanese beetles or that perfect hosta leaf cut to ribbons by army worms.


The Shady Garden

sion of this blood-sucking menace during their insect-hunting jaunts in the garden. Most important, encouraging songbirds to visit the garden is a very effective control of all insect pests. Several mail-order houses specialize in providing such environmentally friendly solutions for bug control. Exclusive methods may be as simple as setting a trap to catch Japanese beetles or hanging up flypaper, one of the oldest exclusionary devices known. Many more are available at garden centers or comprehensive hardware stores: animal and insect traps; sticky plant collars or tapes to intercept insects climbing tree trunks; tacky baits that use either color or synthesized sexual attractants to snare specific insects. Light can also be used as a nonspecific attractant; some light traps kill the offenders in an electric grid. And bugs can be caught in the beam of a flashlight and hand-picked at night; coordinate such activities with neighbors beforehand, to prevent their thinking something more sinister is taking place. Observant gardeners even hand-pick moth egg cases or Japanese beetles, albeit after damage has been done.

Slugs and snails
Slugs and snails, classified as mollusks, have horny, rasplike teeth (radulas, or radulae) that can cut through even the most substantive perennial leaf or sprout. Adults cause extensive damage, occasionally eating an entire shoot at the ground line in spring; some plants will resprout, but the surviving initial leaves remain extensively damaged. Slugs and snails are hermaphrodites: they can produce offspring without benefit of a sexual union, but they do also mate. The egg clusters are produced in batches, from a few to many, laid in moist places under abandoned flower pots, woodpiles, and vegetation, and in other hiding places, including soil fissures and hollows. Depending on the species involved, hundreds to thousands of eggs are produced during a life cycle, each with a high survival rate. Many become sexually mature very early on, so the generation gap is brief, creating a continuing problem for the gardener throughout the growing season. The fight against mollusks is constant. During lazy summer days, resigned gardeners often put up with mollusks, figuring that the first freeze is not too far away. Unfortunately, the many eggs laid in summer hatch new broods that hibernate during winter and literally overrun the garden during the spring warm-up (or, in the warmer sections of the temperate regions, the late-winter warm-up), shortly before early perennial sprouts appear. This is when the application of a molluskicide is most effective. A thorough cleanup, as early as possible in spring (or even begun in late fall), is another absolute must; leaves, sticks, pinecones, and other debris must be removed from beds, paths, and planting areas. Inspect the garden for possible hiding places and eliminate them. Anything that is lying on the ground can be a hiding place for mollusks during the daytime when ultraviolet rays endanger their existence, forcing them to seek cover. On cloudy days, they can be seen climbing atop leaves. Feeding takes place at night. Hand-picking of slugs during the night is an effective exclusionary method, albeit a bothersome one. I have found a highly effective product that contains a selective, mollusk-specific attractant; a small, beadlike amount suffices, so the environmental impact is minuscule. Drawn out of their hiding places by the attractant, the mollusks consume the product, which also contains a synergist, resulting in fast dehydration and death. Unlike poisoned bran products, this gray slug killer does not attract birds and other wildlife. Plastic slug houses are also available; the toxic bait, fortified with

Chapter 3 • Practical Thoughts


chemical attractants, is enclosed, preventing birds from being poisoned. A dish sunk into the ground and filled with beer is a famous exclusion device for slugs; slugs absolutely love that beverage and promptly drown themselves in it. Other lures include inverted grapefruit skins, lettuce, and other preferred foods around which slugs congregate during the night for feeding; gather them at their table in the early morning, before sunrise, and dispose of them. Nonpoisonous controls include spreading diatomaceous earth, wood ashes, soot, sharp cinders, broken cedar shingle fibers (shingle tow), and other, similar material around the plants. I have tried some of these but unsuccessfully. Finely ground pine bark seems to have some effect; it coats the gastropods’ feet with bark fines, which apparently cannot be overcome by increased secretion of slime, so repels them, but this is only marginally useful because the bark fines must be loose and dry, a difficult state to achieve during rainy springs. Biological controls include birds, skunks, shrews, and turtles. At Hosta Hill a family of chipmunks (Tamias striatus) consumes a considerable number of snails, judging by the piles of broken shells at their burrow’s entrance, and they probably eat slugs, too, without leaving a trace. Unfortunately, they dig extensive tunnels and can themselves be a real nuisance.

The snout beetles or weevils are a large group of 50,000 insect species. Many specialize on specific plants and have become a significant pest for azaleas, rhododendrons, and other ornamentals. Visual damage, caused by the adult beetles feeding at night, consists of irregular notches eaten out of leaf margins. Even more destructive are the cream-colored, orange-headed beetle larvae, which feed on the roots. The beneficial nematode Heterorhabditis heliothidis is an effective biological control; once eaten, it causes death in weevils by releasing blood-poisoning bacteria and also by penetrating the skin of the insect and feeding on its blood cells. This selective, specialized nematode is harmless to plants and humans and should be the control of choice.

Butterfly and moth larvae
The order encompassing butterflies and moths includes 112,000 species, many endemic to the temperate zones. The adults are mostly very attractive and admired as beautiful insects. Nevertheless, during their larval stage (the second stage of metamorphosis), many species cause great damage to food crops and ornamentals. Some are migratory in the adult stage, infesting certain areas overnight. Even the larvae of some species are migratory; army worms, striped caterpillars, and other moth larvae of the Noctuidae occasionally move in huge numbers. Fortunately, many butterfly and moth larvae have specialized feeding habits; the well-known migratory monarch, for instance, feeds only on milkweed and bypasses garden ornamentals. The larvae of some night-feeding moths, however, have a voracious appetite for anything green, and their damage can be devastating to cultivated garden plants. Both chemical and biological controls are available. Only chemical methods work fast enough to control overnight infestation; they are the only choice in difficult, but usually localized situations. Even so, many gardeners now opt to forgo such measures, given their toxicity and potential ill effects on the environment. Relatively slow-acting biological controls include predatory wasps and


The Shady Garden

insect-eating birds and mammals. Repeated applications of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), which is eaten by the caterpillars and kills them, have proven effective. Timing is of the essence with this biological control, and slight damage caused by newly hatched larvae may have to be tolerated. Examine emerging plants for signs of early damage during the spring warm-up; apply Bt if necessary and repeat applications throughout the spring and summer growing season. The search for organic, biological, and botanical products that are environmentally safe continues with urgency as toxic pesticides are withdrawn from the market. The neem tree is the source of a spray reputed to be effective against caterpillars and other insect pests. Beneficial nematodes have proven highly effective and long-lasting at Hosta Hill, but their application must be timed in concert with the appearance of caterpillars. Botanicals like rotenone are useful, but I have never used them because they are toxic to birds and other wildlife. Organics include dormant oil sprays, biodegradable soap solutions, and the application of home-brewed pesticides containing garlic, pepper, vinegar, deodorant soaps, and other household organics.

Deer and rabbits are among the worst offenders when it comes to wildlife feeding on garden plants. Feeding principally occurs in spring, when the growth is young and tender; damage consists of everything from partially eaten sprouts to the erasing of entire, emerging leaf bundles. Rabbits are easily fenced out, but deer are another matter: many species can and will jump a standard chain-link fence 4 ft. (1.2 m) in height to get to a food supply. To reliably exclude deer, animal control experts recommend fences with a minimum height of 8 ft. (2.5 m) topped with barbed and electric wire, but many gardeners have neither the funds nor the inclination to convert their property into a cage. Other available methods, usually involving a repellent, are unfortunately are not very long-lasting. Some gardeners concoct foul-smelling preparations, use human hair collected at barbershops or urine of questionable origin to “mark” their territory, but such measures are often to no avail. Nor are the root structures of plants immune from animal attack. Voles use abandoned chipmunk tunnels to get to the roots and rhizomes of garden plants, with occasionally lethal consequences. There is no better defense against destructive voles than a hungry cat. Unfortunately, most domestic cats are fed so well, they have no intention of chasing down mice or voles. My grandfather had a half dozen barn cats; all they got from him was a dish of milk each morning—all their solid food came from the barns and fields. I still remember my grandfather’s stinging rebuke when, as a little boy, I innocently fed one of the cats with leftovers from the table. As with most good cures, the hungry domestic cat has a serious side effect: a preference for songbirds over quadruped rodents. Most gardeners entice the lovely birds (which themselves are so effective against insects) with birdbaths, feeding stations, and berried shrubs, so cats usually find a satisfying hunting ground for birds in our gardens. Squirrels damage individual perennial clumps by digging holes to bury acorns and other nuts in the fall and retrieving them in spring; smaller plants can be completely dug up and thrown aside during this search for buried food. Terrestrial squirrels, such as the striped ground-squirrel or chipmunk, eat insects and slugs, but unfortunately, their extensive burrows can damage root systems in beds and plantings. Other burrowing rodents, principally gophers and moles, ravage plantings by their extensive tunneling. While gophers actually eat subterranean root systems, so injuring the

Chapter 3 • Practical Thoughts


plants, moles are attracted by grubs, and their extensive tunneling in search of them causes physical damage to plantings. Getting rid of grubs is the best way to combat moles. Exclusionary methods, such as fencing or chaining, are not very effective against such tunneling, climbing, leaping mammals. More often, active controls, principally poisoning or lethal trapping, are employed. Gardeners should investigate local laws and search their conscience before deciding to use such drastic measures. Many responsible gardeners capture wild animals in noninjurious traps and release the wild animal in natural areas. Biological controls (as, for example, cats against voles or trained dogs against rabbits) can backfire, when the “beneficial” animals engage in fast pursuit through a garden, inflicting severe, physical damage on plantings. The same thing happens when children, sometimes innocently, other times not so, play or cavort in the flower beds. To me, developing in young children a love for nature and plants kindles respect for anything living and growing. We have ten grandchildren, and not one of them has ever cavorted in my beds.

Stretching the Limits
You would think the workings of the natural world just arrayed would present gardeners with enough problems to conquer. But gardeners merrily create some of their own by knowingly stretching the limits of plants. One such stretch was my mother’s desire to grow tropical plants without benefit of a greenhouse in Detroit, Michigan. Another is my desire to dabble in Bavarian alpines in my hot and humid Dixie climate. Extensive plant collecting and improved propagation methods make it possible to obtain plants from faroff habitats. The lure of growing difficult plants out of their native habitat or to adorn gardens with bewitching exotics is just too strong to be ignored. Many gardeners are spurred on by alluring magazine articles and local “experts,” who proudly showcase wondrous rarities during spring garden tours. Others, trying to satisfy a craving for being the first on the block to cultivate an uncommon Chinese import, become entangled in the web of plant collecting. Suddenly the very human goal—gardening as art, recreation, and refuge—becomes unbridled desire to acquire and display as many curiosities as possible. As long as this desire does not develop into a garden-destroying obsession, the cultivation of difficult plants in even more difficult habitats is a good way to learn. Plants are very good at letting gardeners know whether they are satisfied or unhappy. Given the right cultural conditions, they reward with lush foliage and bloom; if unhappy, they simply perish, mostly sooner than later. Finding out what makes plants thrive under less than ideal circumstances is always a welcome challenge to gardeners, because most of us understand that the path to becoming a successful gardener is composed of many small steps of achievement. For many, the road never ends, and, while they happily repose in the Shangri-la of their own making, their mind wanders to greater challenges ahead. Truly, never is there a dull moment—there is always something to look forward to. Perhaps that is why so many good gardeners grow very old so cheerfully. Eventually, gardeners will strike a balance between their own skills and the demands of the plants whose limits they are trying to stretch. They understand what is possible and what cannot be attained. Above all, they realize that fooling Mother Nature has a high price in both time and money. When these costs become too high, gardeners may give up some of these “stretching” projects,


The Shady Garden

content in knowing that they have traveled that road and learned a lot on the way. If lucky, some of the exotics may still grace their garden, pleasing them and garnering the praise of visitors.

Contained in the Shade
Container gardening has been practiced for millennia: potting plants was one of the most practical things ancient Egyptians ever came up with. Mobility is the root of this practicality. Potted plants can be moved around easily; even very large, heavy containers are made transportable with the aid of casters or rollers. With this method, plants can be sited just about any place in the garden, shifted from sun to shade, and brought inside during stormy or freezing weather. Container gardening allows complete freedom in the choice of plants. Almost any plant can be grown just about anywhere in a pot, provided the gardener knows what the plant’s cultural needs are. With its exact soil conditions, feeding, and watering requirements met, any plant listed in this book can be grown outside its listed hardiness zone. Potting is a superb way to give importance to exceptional plants; even when placed among ground plantings, a potted plant stands out among other garden plants. Another very obvious benefit is the ability to store dormant plants over the winter. Many tender and subtropical perennials go dormant when cold weather arrives and can subsequently be moved to frost-free locations like a heated garage or basement. Safely stored in a dry, warm haven, the plant’s root system is protected from freezing and the rotting caused by wet soil conditions. Garden design and plant layout can be finetuned by using potted plants in experimental locations. Many gardeners do not have the ability to visualize a change to a garden scene or what a plant might look like at maturity. I suggest they keep their perennial plants, and even small shrubs, in plastic pots of adequate size. These can then be placed in prepared holes in the garden, pot and all, and backfilled as required. A particular design can be observed for a season or two, and modification, if necessary, will be easy. If a plant looks out of place, simply lift it out of the ground—again, pot and all—and move it to a more appropriate location. Potted perennials are not hurt by these moves. When the final position is found, the plastic container is removed and the plant claims its permanent spot in the earth. Some will call this a shotgun approach, but it works. Some skilled gardeners use potted plants similarly but with a twist. They place the pots on top of the ground, mound up topsoil or bark around them, and dress the berm with decorative mulch. Simple and effective, this method is used principally to eliminate competition from trees with greedy root systems near the surface. A good friend of mine uses this method for another reason. He lives in an area where late hard freezes are as common as very early warm days, which pattern causes many perennials to emerge too early, only to be cut down. To protect his plants from this calamity, he grows them in pots. They are stored in an unheated garage in winter; in spring, after all danger of frost has passed, the emerging, potted plants are moved outside and installed within a berm, in a new layout each spring. This, of course, creates more work for him, but he claims the peace of mind is worth the effort. Gardeners who are looking for reduction of garden maintenance are hereby put on notice: gardening in pots is more arduous than in-ground cultivation. Regular watering of container subjects is vital; the potted soil concentrates the roots and dries out faster. Trickle irrigation to each pot

Chapter 3 • Practical Thoughts


is ideal. Also, some perennials grow rapidly, and a few are sensitive to potting and dislike being confined in such way. I have kept some perennials, including hostas, in pots for up to eight years without ill effect, but inevitably, potted plants must be set free and their usually crowded, rootbound underpinnings released. This creates additional work, but dividing for increase can be accomplished at the same time, making the effort worthwhile. For me, one of the most practical aspects of pot culture is the ability it gives me to experiment. Keeping an untried plant in a pot, in the fore, reminds me to keep watching over it and to learn all about it. It may take some time to determine its likes and dislikes, but eventually the plant will find its way into the garden and happily add its beauty and character to all the others gathered there.

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Some plants are more shade-tolerant than others. replace. gardeners usually lift. plants look green). But when there is too much shade. A study of wild plant populations of the same species shows that sun exposure can vary considerably from one population to another. Many regarded as suitable only for the sunny border can be successfully grown and will flower in some degree of shade. but to consider them shade-loving is stretching the truth. They do this by absorbing light energy. which are often described as shade plants. can persist under very low light conditions. One might argue that it does not matter if a garden plant sustains its life cycle by pollination and the generation of seeds—after all. hostas may be more efficient than other plants in converting light energy into chlorophyll. All flowering plants slow down their growth rate and stop blooming when light levels become too low. when in fact their progenitor species in the natural habitat grow in open meadows and forest clearings and receive a lot of sunshine. divide. which is used to produce carbohydrates and all other materials essential for growth. the plant’s growth rate goes to zero and flowering stops. Many can be grown in full shade. This is utter nonsense. Many nonflowering garden plants. Hostas. prefer considerable shade. The perfect sun exposure for plants mimics the conditions found in their natural habitat. “shade-tolerant” better characterizes plants that can be grown in shade. In gardens. are often called shade-loving plants. for instance. Flowering plants are another matter.CHAPTER 4 Plants Assigned Shade-loving or Shade-tolerant? Many plants are described as shade-loving. shade is necessary for their survival. and in general look after the welfare of their plants. but most flowering plants require a measured amount of sunlight. All gardenworthy plants require some level of light to photosynthesize and create chlorophyll. 45 . In my opinion. Remember this leeway when trying to mimic nature’s purported ideal exposure. Some nonblooming specialty plants. receive some sun during their spring flowering and pollination period and increasing amounts of shade as the trees leaf out. Our native wildflowers. and in certain cases. To call this condition “shadeloving” is preposterous. The chlorophyll pigments absorb red and blue-violet light and reflect green light (hence. ferns for example. The result is a plant that barely exists. like mosses.

To some gardeners.” it may have too much shade—give it more light. If it stops growing and flowering and just “sits there. In many gardens. challenging plants are worth the effort. The best way to decide where a given shade-tolerant cultivar should be sited is to be informed about a plant’s cultural requirements. north or south. or worse. the basement.46 The Shady Garden Every garden has unique conditions of light and shade. but the best teacher is to actually experience the plant by planting it in the garden. Sooner or later. and their respective garden value has yet to be determined. snow cover. most garden plants have a wide latitude of shade tolerance. Successful gardeners spend a lot of time listening . The new location may turn out to be too sunny. . I grow daylilies and iris. Reading about it helps a lot. Each square foot of the garden has a different microclimate that can influence the worth of plants: humidity and other climatic conditions. sometimes it is not too much shade but a very dry location that keeps a plant from thriving. with just a few hours of unimpeded morning-till-noon sunlight. If it turns yellow. the only way to gauge the shade tolerance of a plant is to place it in a site considered suitable and then “listen” to it. Fortunately. and the limbed-up tree will continue to grow larger. and they bloom for me nicely. longevity. Yet one can enjoy a tropical palm at the Canadian border if it is potted and placed on a sheltered patio during the warm summer time. In either case. and their importance is well established. Most important is the amount of attention the gardener pays to the plant’s requirements. The Worth of Plants The number of garden plants available to gardeners is staggering. sun exposure. it becomes necessary find yet another solution. The term . A tropical palm that would make a fine garden addition in southern Florida will not be worth much planted out in northern Minnesota. in the living room. the gardenworthiness of a given plant has to be judged by the individual gardener for his or her particular location and microclimate. color. They will tell us when their shade tolerance has been exceeded—if we are listening. texture. The enjoyment will be brief. Neither solution is definitely permanent. available moisture—all are contributing factors. soil conditions and fertility. I also successfully grow shade-tolerant hostas in sunny areas of Hosta Hill by providing extra water during droughts. both considered plants for full sun. Many others have been in cultivation the world over for centuries. and accent) in a particular microclimate but also on its ability to be fruitful and multiply. orientation. either by moving it or by limbing up the offending tree. . and aesthetic contributions to the garden (form. Whether a plant is hardy enough to be worthy of inclusion in a given landscape depends primarily on the geographic location of the garden and the plant’s own genetic makeup. and the poor palm will have to spend the long cold season in a greenhouse. Hardiness A plant’s hardiness must be among the first considerations in determining the relative gardenworthiness of a plant. it may not have enough water. The worth of a plant depends not only on its hardiness. land contour. annual rainfall. Some were collected in the wild only recently. but most of us who like to play in the dirt grow plants in a microclimate that suits them.

Chapter 4 • Plants Assigned 47 “hardy” in a general sense means that a plant lives and survives local cold. including this one. dry summers. But. The plant loses some or all of its leafy top growth. rainfall may be more or less. more detailed maps available for local areas. or bulbs. on the other hand. Many county USDA extension offices have larger. so one of the main regulating factors of garden hardiness is cold hardiness. but even diligent researches occasionally disclose only incomplete results. Snow cover. Because it occurs during a period of active root growth. and other factors. it invariably signals a condition of stress or disease. and so decline and wither away. so survive freezing conditions with their top growth intact. tender plants must be protected with coverings and mulches when the eventual below-average lowtemperatures hit. Freezing. The courageous experimenters should also be prepared to lose plants if temperatures reach record lows for long periods and coverings or mulches fail to protect. for example. is regular and cyclic in temperate zones. for example. is a reaction to extremely dry. All wild plants are considered hardy in their own natural habitat. In their native habitat. Occasionally. It is a known fact: the USDA hardiness zones as printed in most books. Evergreen perennials like hellebores are able to maintain a minimum cell water content in their top growth. corms. but at times of active growth. herbaceous perennials like hostas have nonhardy top growth. At Hosta Hill some exposed hostas have gone heat-dormant during extremely hot. unless they repeat themselves in successive years. fortunately. tubers. The natural response of these plants is to shed their top growth and survive such conditions by storing food in underground organs such as rhizomes. Most gardeners can expect some periods when the temperatures fall below the average shown on the map. In deciduous plants. Their small scale makes it is impossible to include all the geographic details that modify the general outlines of the map. leaves resprout when normal conditions return. The effect of cold temperatures is to some degree affected by microclimate. can ameliorate the effect of extremely low temperatures. Hardiness is also the ability of plants to readjust to a new habitat. hot conditions. Hostas. as around Atlanta (“Hotlanta” to locals) in 1998 and 1999. The USDA has prepared a map that is divided into zones based on the average minimum annual temperatures (in degrees Fahrenheit and Celsius) recorded throughout North America from 1974 to 1986 (similar maps showing the European cold hardiness zones are published in The European Garden Flora). Gardeners must try to learn what plants need for cold survival. but it is frequent in cultivated plants. particularly in warmer regions. The first symptom of this process is yellowing of the leaves. indicating shutdown of the vascular system. the ability of a plant to withstand a given average minimum temperature. Another process. are approximate guides only. Heat dormancy rarely occurs in the native habitat. and soil conditions may be different. and some adventurous gardeners like to experiment with plants considered tender in their area. they have evolved and adjusted to a life cycle dictated by local climatic and environmental conditions. Such “stretching” requires preparation. yellowing of leaves is normal at the onset of winter dormancy. which is unable to maintain cell water content during freezing conditions. heat. . are temperate-region plants that are considered hardy even in extreme winter conditions. this dormancy normally occurs in winter. depending on the severity of the weather. Even if temperatures are about normal (for the plant). heat dormancy. the plant will be smaller and less vigorous the following season. as retiring gardeners transplanting their hostas to Florida have found out. heat dormancy is extremely damaging. plants have the ability to recover between such events. hostas do not like the Florida climate and soil.

are the nonflowering ferns. and replanted. Thus. Additionally. leafy stalks of Solomon’s seal makes a shady garden corner rich in forms and textures. Herbaceous perennials lose their green stems and leaves in fall and reappear in spring with renewed vigor and often in increased size. the importance of flowers in the shady garden is transcended to a considerable degree by the many diverse forms and unusual textures found in the leaves of shady garden plants. In heavy soils. and the plant deteriorates. These wonderful natives flower generation after generation in their native habitat. the Methuselah of flowering plants. parts of the surviving. and with them longevity becomes a nuisance. Some of the best plants for shade. longevity alone does not imply gardenworthiness.48 The Shady Garden Beginning gardeners especially should pay close attention to all hardiness zone information available for their region. flowering diminishes or stops entirely. the key elements in the garden are flowering plants. they simply will not survive there. Plant longevity is chiefly dependent on the provision of good soil. and little can be noticed after the plant leafs out and covers the center hollow. the selection of flowering perennials for year-round bloom is not what it is for the sunny border. Unfortunately. When the crowding becomes severe. the flowering glory of many perennials is transitory. but they barely idle on when removed to gardens and disappear after a few years. and. Lifting and replanting is the only remedy. Combining the lacy fronds of ferns with the bold. have a root system that becomes crowded with age.” The exposed roots dry out. Obviously. as attractive and seductive as they may be. however. The very best garden plants do this reliably. now ring-shaped rhizome keep on growing. in most cases. watering. Even when basic maintenance is provided diligently. in fact. many of the perennial weeds in my garden have unbelievable longevity (not to speak of the many annual weeds). Many other long-lived perennials. highly textured leaves of hostas and the elegant. This is true not only true for exotic plants gathered in faraway places but for some of the wildflowers blanketing woodlands just a few miles from our gardens. So longevity is to some degree affected by periodic root maintenance. There . Much to my chagrin. Form and texture That form and texture are mentioned here. Longevity The longevity of a given perennial must be considered when selecting plants for gardenworthiness. Determining the entire range of conditions for your garden is essential for success. Keep temperature records in winter and spring: late-spring freezes can be more damaging to emerging plants than midwinter cold. But some plants are simply not suited for the open garden. and the roots must be lifted. Herbaceous perennials assigned to the shady garden are best picked from a list of tried and proven plants whose longevity in the garden is well established. heuchera cultivars have a habit of “growing out of the ground. Even the hosta. divided. Use an outdoor thermometer. After all. On aged clumps. might appear peculiar to many gardeners. some normally longlived perennials are nonetheless short-lived. whose records reflect conditions at their particular location only. and for the shady garden. fertilizing. and tender loving care. it is not enough to call the local weather station. the flowers of shade perennials are frequently smaller and less conspicuous. the center part of the rhizome may die out and root rot sets in. year after year. before color. can have problems. for example. daylilies and iris.

Color and accent Color is a device. and even black. but the visual content of such plantings is sufficient to make flowering a secondary consideration. and chartreuse to blue-green. from the hostas and Solomon’s seals. they somehow do not support my goal of tranquillity. Most of us feel colors more than we see them. one provided by flowers and the other by leaves. the color combinations we see in gardens can evoke either pleasure or disdain. brownish. with its multiplicity of fascinating plant forms and textures. less plants are needed for the shady form-and-texture garden. yellow. green is no longer the only color in a garden of leaves. But by late spring the blossoms are gone. It is not essential to create rich tapestries of color in the shady garden. azaleas. offer exciting new solid leaf colors. What makes the subject so difficult is the distinction between the physical basis of this reflected light (wavelength in angstroms) and the different sensations produced by these light waves in humans. the display of green forms and textures. and they welcome the exercise occasioned by maintenance. the result is an expensive. of course. In this way. and now comes the extended period of time when I look for the cooling envelope of a shady green garden. These color feelings . on the other hand. two sources of color in the garden. individual plants and plant groupings become more visible and hence more important. from silvery white. relishing the fruits of my labors. activity is the main goal of gardening. blue-gray. opting for the form-and-texture garden reduces the initial investment required for a new garden and can decrease the costs associated with established gardens. to me. shrubs. I realize some gardeners get a lot of pleasure spending their weekends or more staking and deadheading flowers. This is important to the natural gardener. In the woodland. who seeks out native plants to duplicate the surrounding. Another significant reason for recommending form and texture over color is the reduction of labor. for example. Luckily. who wants to showcase his treasures individually and in a setting akin to the natural habitat. and there are even specimens with three colors on the same tree—tri-colored beech. Modern horticulture has developed trees. year-round bloom. While the flowering plants of a sunny border must subordinate themselves to the overall color display and design. dogwoods. Some tree groups. indigenous landscape. purple. and perennials that produce leaves in excellent colors. color is reflected light of different wavelengths. whitish gray. Flowers give relatively short-lived color. I enjoy garden work to a point but much prefer to relax in a cool corner in midsummer. Everybody seems to know what color is but very few gardeners can explain it. plants look more correct and spontaneous in small colonies. There are. as with most perennials suited for the shady garden. of course. For one thing. as well as the collector. Most important. To them. high concentration of individual plants in a relatively small area. like dogwoods and Japanese maples. and redbuds. having lasted the entire season. it is all right to expose some of the garden floor.Chapter 4 • Plants Assigned 49 will be short periods of flowering. ends with a glorious display of fall colors. while leaves provide year-round color. in my garden I enjoy the riotous spring display of color provided by native wildflowers. It is as essential to gardens as it is to the artist’s canvas. Admittedly. Scientifically. Complete coverage of the ground is not necessary. And. plants and plant groups in the shady garden can exert their individuality of both form and texture. Sunny borders require a multiplicity of flowering plants designed to give multilevel.

with colors out of balance. light is transmitted through trees before it is reflected. Evergreens retain their color all season. with patterns ranging from narrow to wide margins. along with their form and texture. and fade with the dropping of the petals. which undergo changes from spring until after the first frost. against the green backdrop. Variegated leaves show a combination of two or more colors. Leaf colors are more at home in the shady garden. perhaps deepen in full bloom. requires considerable skill. and a softening of colors takes place. like yellow or red. and. are so colorfully variegated. occasionally. The handling of color combinations and placement of plants by size. perhaps discerning only good or bad and likes or dislikes. and white—look almost like flowers. direct sunshine is not the same as light filtered through clouds. some of us are color blind in more than just the clinical sense. are not variegation. Brilliant. by contrast. they arise with bud break in spring and last through leaf drop in fall. the human eye is drawn to bright colors first. The color of flowers. takes a secondary role. particularly in the shady garden. their leaf mounds—splashed yellow. Colors change from the soft green hue of the buds to the brilliant fall foliage display. like blue or even white (yes. indeed. shady garden because it is feeling that creates a relaxing ambience. bloom season. admittedly. white is a color). And even when we see colors. we see them differently because the impulses transmitting light waves from the optical nerve register in slightly dissimilar fashion on the human brain. This approach works well in the natural. Accents are highlights in the garden. Careful siting of such plants creates bright accents in the shady garden. while others prefer cool colors. colors are almost never viewed in isolation but in combination with others. but they too show different pigmentation in spring and fall. the quality of the natural light being reflected influences color. Too often sunny borders are simply overwhelming. even the glorious pinks and yellows of lady slipper orchids. such as yellow. This is not true. and multicolored streakings and splashings. Shade is increasingly becoming a requisite in modern gardens. bright centers on dark surrounds and the reverse. the result is more muted. Leaf colors are more permanent. they can become distasteful. Solid leaf colors. Most gardeners now shun well-established models and develop their own idea of what a garden should look like. are satisfied with feeling their way through the world of color. like hostas and heucheras. and habit requires a very delicate and professional touch. and so are visually (and mentally) modified. but they are ordinarily used as accents and embellishments in concert with the shapes and textures structuring the shady garden. Many gardeners. Creating a poem of color in sunny borders. and shade precludes a dominant display of flower color.50 The Shady Garden have a lot to do with personal likes and dislikes: some individuals are drawn toward warm colors. Flower colors are ephemeral at best. are prime considerations when weighing the gardenworthiness of plants for shady gardens. . A word about variegation is in order here: novice gardeners sometimes mistake an atypical solid leaf color. Complicating things further is the shifting nature of plant colors. Some herbaceous perennials. In the shady garden. they arise with the opening of the bud. Many flowering plants are suitable for shade. cream. not interested in the intricacies of color theory. The astonishing range of leaf colors. Because colors are reflected light. however unusual. Moreover. to be variegation.

campion (Silene spp. Plants that are easy to grow and keep are the backbone of a shady garden. Notice the word “almost. but that takes considerable and determined effort. They also make friends. Some perennials do this much faster than others.).). From late March through May. bloodroot (Sanguinaria spp.Chapter 4 • Plants Assigned 51 A bounteous harvest Many plants that flourish in the natural shady garden are grouped in communities of individual plants. The plant species and cultivars listed in Part 2 are selected with this in mind. One advantage of herbaceous perennials for the shady garden is their ability to form such colonies: rapid increase is the final element of gardenworthiness.). so their value is greater. twinleaf (Jeffersonia spp. scattered among the trees and shrubs. but not all are suited for shady places.). They join the native dogwoods and indigenous and exotic azaleas to give my garden its own wonderful glory season. Not one of the many excellent garden books and photo essays on the subject of the natural look teaches as much as a day’s visit to the mountains. but there is one important aspect they fail to provide: the natural garden must be felt body and soul. violet (Viola spp.). lady slipper (Cypripedium spp. spring beauty (Claytonia spp. so many of them are prominently featured in Part 2. liverleaf (Hepatica spp. and each in its own way will contribute to a successful shady garden. and many other wildflowers join the carpet of trilliums in the mountain forest’s glory season. many of those that can be planted in the shade are not easy to maintain: they simply do not have the general hardiness and longevity required for plants to be considered gardenworthy in the shady garden. trout lily (Erythronium spp. The Glory Season Spring is the glory season for many natural gardens. the same dazzling display can be accomplished. Success guaranteed Many plants are easy to grow. The blooming of many wildflowers coincides with the rays of the warming spring sun reaching the forest floor before the canopy of leaves closes in. These wonderful colonies of individual plants can get quite large—to see hundreds of large-flowered white trilliums carpet a forested mountain slope is a magnificent sight indeed. mayapple (Podophyllum spp.). inspired to create my garden in the image of nature. now provide their own resplendent spring display. the gardener can help even such eager colonizers by planting several specimens in a group to begin with. Gardening success is almost guaranteed once these difficult and transitory shade plants are banished from shady gardens. . a singular plant is seen. charming natives.). Of course. At Hosta Hill. many of them rescued from the bulldozers. foamflower (Tiarella spp. by forming colonies.). Plants that give a bounteous harvest are key to this image. Their text and illustrations combine to give a fair idea of what natural gardens look like. Further.).” Sometimes a gardener manages to kill off even hostas or hellebores. Rarely. In the shady garden at home. but the norm is dominant groups of like plants. among the most durable of all shade-tolerant plants.). I did not become a true gardener until I experienced these feelings and carried them back home. they hasten the creation of the natural shady garden’s unique look.

but anything blooming is welcome as winter approaches. It continues through the summer heat. its general habitat and cultural range with emphasis on performance and hardiness in hot and cool regions. the color display continues. and purples. variegated hostas. established Linnaean order. closely related genera with similar cultural requirements (Asarum and Saruma. and wild gingers finally have enough elbow room to be noticed. according to genus. Plants whose names appear in boldface are pictured in the color photograph section. dwarf Japanese maples. however. its propagative characteristics. yellows. and other colorful foliage plants take over and extend the glory season. its historical use in medicine and folklore. Plants that are new to horticulture enter commerce with tentative scientific names that may have to be changed later. green silence settles in. the latest taxonomic revisions are applied. its soil requirements and other cultural recommendations. Yet. Their attributes combined with the wonderful shapes and textures available makes the modern shady garden a visual pleasure and a soothing refuge. japonica is actually a distinct species. It is not really a glory season. Many placements are based on minuscule botanical details in the flower structure that matter not to gardeners. My decisions concerning the generic and specific names used as main entries are based solely on simplifying things for gardeners. and taxonomic diagreements are not easily solved. In the shady garden it is possible to have a long glory season provided the plants assigned to the garden have uncommon. long-lasting leaf color or variegation. Descriptions begin with general comments relating to the genus as a whole. it too is a glory season of sorts. In the North. but in some cases I have maintained the old. and any concerns regarding pests and diseases. the first hard freeze cuts down the display. heucheras. a few hardy evergreen perennials hang on and continue to please the eye. providing colorful groupings and accents until the first frost turns everything into a riot of reds. To gardeners. Hellebores decide they can compete and open their flowers. Most gardeners understand this and adjust when the true names become known. Trees and shrubs lose their colorful leaves. The problem as to whether or not Achlys triphylla var. Descriptions of . including my own experience with certain of its members. for example. so. I have kept all wild gingers under Asarum. The science of plant taxonomy is in a constant state of flux. and many call it their winter wonderland. As the wildflowers fade. Here and in many other shady gardens. All possible synonyms are included as cross references in the Index of Plant Names. in the many shady southern gardens that lack snow cover. for example) are combined. which is also arranged alphabetically. In general. oranges. Finally. About the Encyclopedia The plant descriptions presented in Part 2 are in alphabetical order. cannot be solved in this work. snow finally covers all. a quiet. its naming and placement in higher orders. the same reasoning drove my decision to lump together a few genera of bamboo suitable for shady gardens. There the show is temporary and by the onset of summer. with the canopy fully leafed out. In some cases. A majority of the plants recommended in Part 2 contribute both flower and leaf color for the entire season. ready for the winter’s rest. is different from the floral display in the mountains. Italian arums unfold their colorful leaves. Achlys japonica.52 The Shady Garden Hosta Hill. and the herbaceous perennials slump to the ground. and even some established plants are incorrectly labeled in commerce.

. Many of the odder common names are of regional occurrence only and not in general use. again alphabetically presented. Transliteration of names conforms to international standards and is in accord with Hepburn for Japanese. Portland. ‘White Queen’).Chapter 4 • Plants Assigned 53 recommended species and cultivars follow the general comments. Most species descriptions begin with a range of shade gradients (see Chapter 2 for details). even casual gardeners primarily interested in cultivars may want to learn some of the more frequently used descriptive latinate terms. The only standard for inclusion was availability in commerce. consult William Thomas Stearn’s Botanical Latin (fourth edition published in 1992 by Timber Press. rather. foreign cultivar names are often translated into English or even renamed by the nursery industry. For a comprehensive reference. Although it is against the rules of the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants. Pinyin for Chinese. one a translation. and McCune-Reischauer for Korean. Anemone ×hybrida ‘Géante des Blanches’ (‘White Giant’. Often I have included rare North American wildflowers—but always with the admonition that none of these should ever be removed from the wild. “heart-shaped” instead of “cordate. Perhaps my listing these translated names and renamings as synonyms—for example. abbreviated as follows: FS = full shade MS = medium shade WS = woodland shade LS = light shade All descriptive terms are rendered in plain English—for instance. Obviously. Oregon). some plants are found in garden centers the world over.” In time. while others may be had only from specialty nurseries in certain countries. they should be sought out from nurseries specializing in propagating these rare treasures. one a renaming—will prevent duplication of orders by unsuspecting gardeners. See Plant Sources for a list of nurseries.

Part 2 Perennials for the Shady Garden A–Z .

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Hardy to zone 7. incised. nefarious-looking. syriacus.and drought-tolerant. This species lacks the monster appearance of other bear’s breeches. Greece. to 4 ft. glossy dark green. 6 with protection. sail-like leaves from being tattered by spring storms. Other species from the Mediterranean region include Acanthus dioscoridis. A. Fresh seed can be germinated under the same conditions. Rarely available. is well worth the extra effort. Hungarian bear’s breeches. but the damage is hard to see on the incised leaves. heat. Morning sun. A. leaves like the typical species but greenish yellow. May–July. with soft spines in the margins. (0.2 m) wide and high. Acanthus is from the Greek acanthe (= thorn). and hail. preferring sunny morning hours. reddish purple. (90 cm) long and 18 in. cut into deep lobes with winged midrib. arching on the stem. plant clump-forming. protected patio. ‘Holland’s Lemon’. the soil at Hosta Hill is cold and wet—another condition they abhor. (60–90 cm) long. probably because it is not as showy as other species and cultivars. pointed bracts (calyces). plant clump-forming. tubular.2 m) long. A plant I suspect is a hybrid (Acanthus mollis × A. montanus (mountain thistle). LS to WS. crowded on flowerstalks 2–4 ft. In summer. bear’s breeches. the plant dies off and loses its magnificent leaves by midsummer. each propped up by spiny. (90 cm) wide and high. (0. with 4 spiny. glossy dark green leaves to 4 ft. however. I observed a population of Acanthus spinosus in northeastern Italy. all dislike long. (45 cm) wide. glossy. to prevent matting. leaves large. very glossy dark green. but their soil should not dry out. which I bought for its intriguing name. sometimes shaded to pink. thriving in partial shade with about three hours of morning sun. but further north into the foothills of the southern Alps it does not exist. to 36 in. all of which are too tender to be grown in zone 8 and colder. Balkans. They may require overwintering in a cool greenhouse and the withholding of some water. May–July. Acanthus hungaricus. Acanthus mollis. Plant in a sheltered spot to keep the huge. which overwinter. leaving only the lower part of one to produce a few seeds. flowers white. with 4 spiny.9–2 m) tall.Acanthus 57 Acanthus Bear’s breeches are the Mediterranean plants whose leaves inspired the classic decoration on Corinthian columns. Their grandeur. well-draining soil. mauve bracts (calyces). but they are replaced by new leaves in early spring. northeastern Africa. cut and dissected into lobes.2 m) tall. The overwintering leaves of this large plant break under the weight of our occasional winter ice storms. the plant regenerates and produces many new leaves. bear’s breeches are a subject for potting and thrive on a sunny. hirsutus. They are magnificent plants with gorgeous. crowded on flowerstalks 3–7 ft. In winter. lower lip 3-lobed. It is rarely seen in gardens. often 2–5 racemes per plant are produced. In colder regions. lower lip 3-lobed. leaves 24–36 in. which has a climate slightly colder than zone 7. hungaricus.6–1. and other moth larvae feed on the leaves. I also have Acanthus ‘Summer Beauty’. Morning sun. Plant cuttings in a well-draining potting soil and keep them moist and warm. Acanthaceae. But the spring display is astounding. they might make good pot subjects. Species and cultivars listed are evergreen in zone 7 but may become deciduous in zone 6. in my experience. Latifolius Group. They are in general suitable for cultivation in zone 7 and warmer. Bear’s breeches like some sun but grow in partial shade. tropical-looking leaves and pinkish white flowers. Large slugs and snails attack the young growth and even mature leaves. In the cool days of autumn. but none is as showy as A. LS to WS. spinosus) has flourished here for years. Most species require full sun and a stony. striped caterpillars. The genus is classified in the acanthus family. to 36 in. After the spikes go to seed. Southwestern Europe. hot summers. and A. (1. (1. army worms. flowers pink to mauve. selected cultivars with larger. Propagate by taking root cuttings in very early spring. common bear’s breeches. Southeastern Europe. I cut most of them. ‘Niger’. more toothed than spiny in the margins. more shallowly lobed. requiring maximum protection during extreme winters. Romania. I cover them during the coldest days with dry pine straw supported by aluminum screens. Hardy to zone 7a. tubular. If I let all spikes go to seed. high winds. . leaves very dark green. leaflike bracts. oval.

Probably the best species for gardens.5 m) wide and 40 in. often 2–6 racemes per plant are produced. but happily. (15 cm) across. flowers white. Southeastern Europe and eastern Mediterranean region. leaves shaped like a red oak leaf. Still scarce. to 4 ft. May– July. deeply cut and dissected to the midrib. neither sepals nor petals contribute to this filmy display. filamentous to petal-like. plant clump-forming. arching on the stem. Its leaves are something else. When I first saw it in flower it reminded me of the eastern Amianthium muscaetoxicum (fly poison). though plants should do better in cooler locations. purple bracts (calyces) on tall racemes to 6 ft. moist shade. Large slugs and snails can damage young leaf growth and even mature leaves. Morning sun. sometimes shaded to pink. to 6 in. Achlys japonica (Japanese deerfoot). having three large. a reference either to the delicate. glossy dark green. provided soil moisture levels can be kept high. stamens white. to 5 ft. some- Achlys It is unfortunate that some of the western North American wildflowers are so rarely cultivated. (25 cm) wide. with soft spines in the margins. flowerstalks 12–20 in. Propagate by taking rhizome cuttings in very early spring. Sweet-after-death describes the propensity of the leaves to retain their fragrance after drying. Berberidaceae. dark green.2 m) wide and 36 in. numerous. deerfoot. Heat resistance is limited. British Columbia south to northern California. (5 cm) long. vanilla leaf. leaves large. Achlys triphylla is one of these western denizens. rhizomatous. (1. (30 cm) long and 10 in. flowers tiny. middle leaflet larger. The many airy white stamens give the inflorescence its wispy appearance. with 4 spiny.58 Achlys the ground. Morning sun. particularly when it is happy with its microclimate. MS to FS. Hardy to zone 5. deep woodland soil found in the moist forest communities of the western mountain ranges is a difficult habitat to match. Western North America. northern Japan and Korea. plant clump-forming. flowers white. Admittedly. slightly conical or cylindrical raceme. ‘Summer Beauty’ is an outstanding representative of the Spinosissimus Group. LS. American Indians called this wildflower deerfoot. during flowering it is spectacular. Spinosissimus Group. (1. northeastern Italy. to 12 in. often 2–5 racemes per plant are produced. the wonderful. army worms and striped caterpillars feed on the leaves. spiny bear’s breeches. sweet-after-death. the cultural conditions of its natural habitat must be approximated as closely as possible. Excellent for a solid cover in deep. clump-forming. eastern Asia. ‘Spinosissimus’ is typical. clustered together on a narrow. but available. vanilla leaf resents fertilizing. shiny. (90 cm) high. I never fertilize but add years-old compost to the soil. (1 m) high. arching on the stem. leaves green. glossy dark green. Achlys triphylla. I have not been able to duplicate this natural display at Hosta Hill. solidly covering . I observed a blooming colony of these plants in British Columbia—truly a spectacular sight. ‘Oak Leaf’. jagged-toothed lobes. all leaflets 7-lobed and/or toothed. wispy flowers or the plant’s preferred habitat in the western woods. selected hybrids (Acanthus mollis × A. LS to WS. Balkans. In summer. strangely. spinosus). to western Turkey. plant herbaceous. leaves large. with soft spines in the margins. leafless. To successfully cultivate this species. (30–50 cm). (1. Accustomed as they are to cool moisture. with spiny. May–July. Garden origin. Like most North American wildflowers. deeply incised and heavily bristled. deeply cut and dissected to the midrib. purple bracts (calyces) on a tall raceme to 40 in. May–July. tepals absent. Acanthus spinosus. The genus is classified in the barberry family. Hardy to zone 6. 8–12 per flower. Fresh seed can be sown in the ground or in a seed tray. (30 cm) long and 10 in. Widely creeping rhizomes assure the spread of this plant. (1 m). The leaves overlap in mature colonies. leaves extremely narrow. Achlys (= mist) is from the Greek. (25 cm) wide. they are meanlooking but have more bark than bite because the spines are soft and not penetrating. divided into 3 lobelike leaflets. sweetleaf. This is a great accent plant when surrounded by hostas and ferns. to 12 in. 4 with protection and in a very sheltered position. dedicated shade gardeners are not deterred and sometimes succeed in cultivating these beauties out of their natural range. colonists noticed the sweet fragrance of drying leaves and named it vanilla leaf or sweetleaf.8 m). to 2 in.

Many species are of garden origin. while hiking in the Bavarian mountains as a young boy. (0.2 m) high. the lower triplet insignificant or absent. Sun. and many interspecific crosses of uncertain makeup exist. It is futile to plant them in heavy. (2. the classic European monkshood. The leaves are divided fingerlike. their beauty will unfold in partial shade. and much later. Under these conditions. tauricum. Aconitum is the Latin version of an ancient name used by Theophrastus for a poisonous herb. the upper pair shaped like spurs and included in the hood. Aconitum alboviolaceum. wolfsbane). Aconitum napellus. so their inclusion in a book of plants for the shady garden is somewhat arguable. a scourge of European farmers (hence. flowers creamy white to very pale yellow. unless otherwise indicated. Yet. July–August. Propagate by division in early autumn or late winter to early spring. the German name for monkshood. and the leaflets 3-lobed. or they can be planted in shady perennial beds. and five petals. After that. a heart sedative. waterlogged soils. They are predominantly blue or purple. hybrids between Aconitum carmichaelii and A. the upper of which is enlarged and shaped like a hood or helmet (hence. Slugs and snails can be very damaging to the young growing tips. I picked some stems of Eisenhut. Aconitum napellus is divided into subspecies. is slightly smaller in stature and has fewer stamens in the raceme. ×arendsii or listed under A. 59 Aconitum One early summer day. carmichaelii.9–1. Keep small children away from the plants. LS. plant to 32 in. Seed can be sown as soon as ripe. They make colorful additions to open woodland gardens. It was probably Aconitum napellus subsp. triphylla. That day. Avoid siting plants in open and accessible plantings near walks. The leaves are more lobed than divided. (80 cm) tall and . Nomenclature of aconites is confused. only diverging morphological traits are included in the plant descriptions. has served as a source of aconite. commonly a raceme or panicle. Mountains of South Korea. In most cultivars the leaves clothe the lower half of the stem. The genus Aconitum is classified in the buttercup or crowfoot family. not only because of their poisonous nature. monkshood). Aconites demand soils that are high in organic content. I wanted to bring this flower home to give to a beautiful neighbor girl I secretly adored. With flowerstalks 3–4 ft. compactum or A. broken flower stems and torn leaves exude a poisonous sap that can be absorbed through cuts and scratches. I had a healthy respect for the aconites growing in the Bavarian garden of my grandmother. its root extract was used to poison wolves. white. but because wind gusts will blow them down unless they are staked individually. (60 cm) long. I shall never forget my father’s scolding. when he found out. pink. as can infestations of aphids. Rust appears as gray and black encrustation on the shriveling growing tips and spreads quickly. Crown rot caused by Sclerotium rolfsii is also seen. Most aconites are listed as perennials (sometimes biennial or vining) for full sun to part shade. I have attempted to assign cultivars with proper appellation. loose. Aconites are native to the northern temperate regions of North America and Eurasia.5–5 cm) long and have five sepals. carmi- chaelii var. Most aconites suitable for the garden have similar morphology. The flowers are 1–2 in. but the best advice may be for gardeners to concentrate on cultivar names exclusively when searching for plants. and bicolored flowers are also available. For example. I learned a lot about preservation of wildflowers—and the poisonous nature of wolfsbane. wilsonii are variously combined either as A. each of which has given rise to many cultivars.Aconitum times ranked as a variety of A. This species from northern Honshu and Hokkaido is rarely offered. napellus subsp. fungal diseases develop in the crowns. they are usually borne in terminal clusters. Species and cultivars listed are perennial and nonvining. Ranunculaceae. Flooding and standing water is fatal. Flowers show well above the leaves. lobed or cleft. Species are reliably hardy in zones 3 to 6. All parts of the plant are poisonous when ingested. The rootstock is thickened or tuberous. they should be placed at the back of the border. but yellow. in my mother’s garden in southern Michigan. to 24 in. They dislike the warm temperatures of the south temperate zones and are not suitable where summer night temperatures exceed 70°F (21°C) for extended periods. Experience has shown that the warm night (and day) conditions in zones 7 and 8 are simply not appropriate for successful cultivation. and free-draining.

2 m) tall and 12 in. (30 cm) wide. dark blue on straight. July–August. leaves dark green. June–August. 5 ft. (1. badger’s bane. Aconitum lycoctonum. Sun. variega- tum × A. 4 ft.60 Aconitum ‘Spark’s Variety’ (‘Spark’). flowers light yellow. flowers blue to blue-violet on loose panicles. based on minor morphological differences. (1. 4 ft. leaves dark green. dark blue on straight. June–August. 4 ft. (1. (1. flowers light to medium blue on branched racemes. 4 ft. (30 cm) wide. flowers very large. however. Aconitum bartlettii. leaves large. napellus). azure monkshood. (30 cm) wide. Aconitum carmichaelii var. July–August. Central China. flowers large. wolfsbane. Russia to China. 4 ft. leaves large. pyrenaicum of the western Alps and Pyrenees. (1. September–October. extending into the upper reaches of the stem. and further north than zone 6 it may need some protection. (1. Hardy in zones 3 to 6. Aconitum carmichaelii. (1. ‘Nachthimmel’ (‘Night Sky’). (30 cm) wide. leathery substance. vulparia (Moldavian monkshood) to the east and var. ‘Coeruleum’ (‘Caeruleum’). Sun. more elongated and open than the type. plant to 5 ft. dark violet with bulging hood on loose panicle with nodding branches. This new collection is a great aconite for southern gardens. with additional 3–4 clefts. loosely arranged. ‘Bicolor’. flowers dark blue on straight. (1 m) and 18 in. ‘France Marc’).2 m) tall and 14 in. strongly divided into leaf bases. flowers blue to blue-violet on dense panicles. wolf’s bane. The epithet derives from its use to poison wolves (lyco = of wolves). Eastern Aconitum anthora. Hardy in zones 3 to 6. (1. ‘Arendsii’ (‘Arends’) has deep blue flowers on branched panicles. a species long known in central Europe with wide distribution. (1. (45 cm). (1. ‘Late Crop’ has blue flowers. a collection of sterile hybrid cultivars of garden origin and often with uncertain attribution. to 18 in. LS. (70 cm) tall and 12 in.2 m) tall and 12 in. dark green. branching panicle.5 m) tall and 14 in. Hardy in zones 5 and 6. so transplant often. wilsonii. (30 cm) wide. divided into 5–7 lobes with added incisions. all forms are combined here. divided into 3–5 lobes.5 m) tall. ‘Doppelgänger’ (= body double). branching panicle. (40 cm) wide. flowers blue and white. (1. divided into 5–7 lobes with added incisions similar to wild geraniums. rounded to kidney-shaped. plants from 32 in. LS. ‘Blue Scepter’. pure violet flowers) and ‘Kelmscott’ (light blue-violet flowers) are as tall as var. Mountains of Europe to the Caucasus.2 m) tall and 12 in. leaves large. Hardy in zones 3 to 6. blue and white flowers on branching panicle. northern monkshood. Garden hybrid (A.2 m) tall and 12 in. 12 in. Korea. Hardy in zones 5 and 6. (30 cm) wide. wilsonii but a little wider. on straight. Sun. LS. plant to 6 ft. subject to wilting. branching panicle. medium green. deeply divided into 3–9 lobes. Mostly northern Europe. . plants from 32 in. (1. flowers large. subject to wilting. 28 in. leaves large. This recent importation brings a ferny look to the open woodland garden. Aconitum ×cammarum. 4 ft. (30 cm) wide. glossy dark green extending into the upper reaches of the stem. sometimes twining racemes or panicles. mostly glossy sometimes dull. its cold hardiness is uncertain. ‘Barker’ (‘Barker’s Variety’. Sun.8 m) tall. a Chinese species. medium to dark green. plant to 4 ft. protected from strong north winds. Flowers are pale to creamy yellow or yellowish white. flowers dark blue on branching panicle. LS. LS. ‘Francis Marc’ (‘Franz Marc’. September–October. to 40 in. leaves large. plant to 32 in. LS. Sun. (80 cm) to 5 ft.2 m) tall and 12 in. To simplify. central Europe in the Alps. (35 cm) wide. finely divided into 5–7 lobes with diminutive divisions.2 m) tall and 12 in. dark green. so transplant often. she never needed to staked the plants. (30 cm) wide. Taxonomists have separated subsp. divided into 3–7 lobes. but often less. My mother grew this species on the south side of her home. Over a century old and once attributed to Aconitum henryi. (30 cm) wide. (45 cm) wide. but forms with purple flowers are known. 3–5 lobes.5 m) tall and 16 in.2 m) tall. (80 cm) to 4 ft. (35 cm) wide. (80 cm) tall and 12 in. Sun. occasionally blue to blue-violet.

‘Rubellum’). 5 ft. grasses are limited to sunny areas. all slightly different. 61 Acorus Acorus is the classic name for a plant with aromatic roots. (35 cm) wide. (80 cm) to 4 ft. leaves mostly glossy. Alps. The clay soil between the rocks stays moist. (80 cm) tall. flowers very dark blue on dense. to 32 in. scarcely seen in cultivation. Among the bushiest aconites available for the garden is the hybrid ‘Ivorine’. and astilbes. ‘Nanum’. Root rot. branched at the base. possibly zone 5. the little golden bunches of Acorus gramineus ‘Minimus Aureus’ have withstood temperatures down to 15°F (−10°C). flowers uniform dark violet-blue on straight. the much-divided leaves form an attractive mound topped by ivory flowers. but I have not experienced them here. ‘Carneum’ (‘Roseum’. Interplant them with green and blue hostas. where they naturalize under the right conditions. medium to dark green. where they get considerable shade during the day. (90 cm) tall and 12 in. ferns. Application of a fungicide should hinder the spread of such diseases. similar to ‘Bressingham Spire’. Acorus calamus ‘Variegatus’ (variegated sweet flag) is a marsh plant with larger. helmet flower. Aconitum napellus. turk’s cap. ‘Bressingham Spire’. Further north it is a good pot subject. Hardy in zones 5 and 6. requires no staking. and wildflowers. calamusroot. with some protection. common monkshood. flowers dark blue on branching panicle. branching panicle. flowers are early and long-lasting. With few exceptions. sweet calamus. branching panicle. appearing feathery. Sun. erect. but the originator places it with Aconitum napellus. strap-shaped. golden tuft of grass. My variegated sweet flag plantings get no winter protection. soldier’s cap. to 5 ft. smaller. and there they slowly increase. ‘Bergfürst’ (‘Mountain Prince’). flowers deep blue. to 36 in. green leaves attractively striped with creamy white.2 m) tall. watery home and found them to be excellent for adding texture and color to the shady garden. garden monkshood. Tolerates more shade than most aconites. (1. but available. further south. With a light cover of pine straw. making wonderful bright spots in shady corners. dark navy-blue flowers on branching panicle. Acorus belongs in the Acoraceae. and reaching far up the stem. I planted a few of these years ago in the clefts of a man-made rock ledge. The color is brought out only in areas of cold nights. color turns off-white. Often listed as a hybrid. (90 cm) tall and 18 in. ferns. Acorus calamus. LS. usually on straight panicles. Acorus calamus ‘Variegatus’ is hardy to zone 4. plants from 32 in. I water them only when their neighbors need it. (45 cm) wide.5 m) tall and 14 in. calamus. where they fend for themselves with no maintenance or watering. this cultivar should be hardy in zone 6. divided into 3–7 lobes that are again deeply incised. (30 cm) wide. The yellow flowers add bright color to shady areas. but I have successfully grown selections of it and another species in the genus away from their normal. sweet flag. Acorus distinguishes itself by serving as a good grass substitute. overwintering inside. Both are hardy even under these alien growing conditions. June–August. leaf spot. (1. (35 cm) wide. flagroot. (1. (40 cm) wide. . to 4 ft. It is a darling little plant that looks like a small. occasionally white or pinkish. I have several planted next to dwarf hostas.2 m) tall and 14 in. making a wonderful display.Acorus These European plants. bear’s foot. friar’s cap. Acorus calamus (sweet flag) is a North American aquatic perennial that might be considered unsuitable for the woodland garden. sometimes dull. Acorus gramineus ‘Minimus Aureus’ is a recent introduction to horticulture. and rust are reported. Pandemic in the northern hemisphere. Northern and central Europe. (1. ‘Album’ (‘Albidum’) has off-white flowers.5 m) tall and 16 in. The expand slowly. make excellent subjects for the woodland garden. ‘Newry Blue’. flowers rosepink. Propagate by dividing the rhizome. good cut flower. myrtle flag. 36 in. Hardy in zones 5 and 6. with flowers pale yellowish white on dense racemes. Valuable cultivar with flowers held high above foliage. garden wolfsbane. ‘Gletschereis’ (‘Glacier Ice’). adding a dimension to the texture of shady gardens. upper part of plants hairy or felty. flowers white on branching panicle.

2 m) in water. This display is followed by glossy white. May–July. (15–30 cm) long. tiny flowers in a spadix to 3 in. Actaea is native to shady woodlands in the temperate regions of North America and Eurasia. flowers greenish yellow in a dense spadix. Baneberries thrive in considerable shade and may be used in dark corners of shady gardens. ‘Ogon’ (‘Wogon’) has yellow leaves with creamy yellow variegation. American Indians used minute amounts of the berries for pain and menstrual and postpartum problems. Sometimes reverts to all yellow. protruding from a spathe (leaflike flowering stem). Their pinnate. which brings out their wonderful red color. ‘Pusillus’ is a compact clump of green leaves to 3 in. where the white berries show up well. Severe winter weather can disfigure leaves. hence the forewarning name. Despite their toxic properties. China. ‘Albovariegatus’ (‘Argenteostriatus’) has whitestriped leaves. (10 cm) long. terminal raceme and are held over the leaf mound by strong stems. Years ago. It is evergreen at Hosta Hill. 2 in. to 4 ft. the whiteberried colony stood out like a beacon. Japan. (8 cm). ‘Yodo-no-Yuki’ (‘Yodonoyuki’) has green leaves variegated with whitish green. Aside from being baneful. to 14 in. Later I rescued some plants locally and bought a few others. LS to MS.. In spring their small. which recall a doll’s eye. all . (35 cm). Hardy to zone 4. ‘Variegatus’ (variegated sweet flag) has leaves striped with creamy white to white. or they avoid planting them altogether. Baneberries like cool soil. (1. Hardy to zone 5. Not as dwarf as ‘Minimus Aureus’. (5 cm) and shorter in center. but they will succeed even in warmer regions if ample moisture is available. in dwarf forms 2–4 in. my favorite is doll’s eyes. bright yellow leaves. plant rhizomatous. Cautious gardeners site these plants in areas inaccessible to small children. In an otherwise bleak woods. or black berries. plant rhizomatous. the outer leaves to 4 in. It is a highlight in corners of the garden that get filtered sunlight and some morning sun. made from crushed seashells and sold in farm supply stores (poultry growers use it as a bedding material). leaves grasslike. ‘Oborozuki’ has bright yellow leaves. necklaceweed). so much so that in bygone times they strung the berries (hence. even in the warm climate of Hosta Hill. The grit also aids soil drainage. ‘Minimus Aureus’ (dwarf golden sweet flag) has very short and narrow. green with distinct midrib. The white or red berries are very appealing to children. I watch our youngest grandchildren when they are visiting while the berries are on the clumps. I discovered the white-berried form in the North Georgia mountains. and the leaves come through mild winters in good shape. much shorter when growing in garden soil. the berries are a powerful purgative. grassy sweet flag. much-divided leaves holds their fresh. well-draining woodland soil. In this case. white flowers form a ball-shaped. I sweeten the soil by mixing in turkey grit. Linnaeus adopted this name for baneberries. LS to MS. They do best in a light. rich in organic matter and preferably not too acid. Makes a wonderful underplanting for perennials with bluish or dark green leaves. evergreen leaves sword-shaped. no distinct midrib. given to Actaea alba for its beautiful white berries with a black spot at the tip. dwarf stature. 6–12 in. I grow all the North American species and a few exotics as well—I would not be without them. Morning sun. but some protection may be required. Acorus gramineus. (8 cm) long on a short spathe. Needless to say. baneberries are attractive plants for the shady garden. The genus Actaea gets its name from the classical Greek aktea (= elder). (5–10 cm) long. ‘Variegatus’ (‘Aureovariegatus’) has yellow leaves with creamy yellow variegation. More frequent is baneberry. I grow the red berries where some sun filters into the garden. It is the berries that give added color to the autumn garden. Actaea Of the several common names connected with this genus of woodland plants. rootstock not aromatic. for the similarity of its leaves to those of Sambucus spp.62 Actaea parts of the plant—and in particular the berries— are poisonous. rootstock is aromatic. arranged in a tuft. Many old names gave some hint as to the plants’ medical use or their effect on humans when ingested. red. from the archaic English bane (= to kill. Actaea is classified in the Ranunculaceae. Hardy in Morning sun. to hurt). dark green color well into the early days of fall.

2. Forma neglecta (‘Neglecta’). but its berries are not as outstanding as the white and bright red forms. to 2 in. to 2 in. red berry carried on thin green stalks. Intrepid gardeners may want to try them in deep shade and with abundant watering in the hotter areas of zone 8. globose. Even with successful germination. to 20 in. Actaea asiatica (Japanese baneberry). clumps develop leaf spot. (1. or black rust. The redfruited f. (80 cm). terminal raceme.2 m) and thickening as the berries develop. oval. All are suitable for zones 3 to 7. almost maroon. Seed propagation is cumbersome and arduous. alba. pointed. to 14 in. (60 cm) tall and 30 in. 4–10 petals. slightly hairy. Actaea erythrocarpa. leaf mound to 24 in. Employ a clean. Missouri. rubra.5 in. (50 cm) long. Korea. (45 cm) tall and wide. grouped in a small. (6 cm) long in mature plants. ovate at the base. flowerstalks green. leafy clump alone. (5 cm) long. (6 cm) long. (5 cm) long. leaf mound to 20 in. April–July. black baneberry. endemic to China. to 2 in. to 24 in. June–July. 2. terminal raceme. The berries are a very dark red. sometimes with a bluish hue.Actaea zones 3 to 7. requiring a regimen of warm. It may be an Asian derivative of A. which also has black berries. (45 cm) wide with dark green. sharp knife for cutting and apply a dusting of fungicide to keep the cuts free of fungi-caused smut or rust. white baneberry. leaf smut. (35 cm) long. and Japan. (60 cm). Northern Europe east to the western Caucasus. its flowering racemes are more spherical. a white-fruited baneberry native in western North America. Its black berries are not as attractive as the . since the black berries are more inconspicuous than those of the white. necklaceweed. (5 cm) long. small. LS to FS. Eastern North America. (75 cm) tall and wide with dark green. Other insect pests do not seem to bother them. April–July. to 32 in. (50 cm) tall and 18 in. fungal diseases that can affect the entire plant unless fungicides are employed. Subspecies arguta has much smaller leaves and grows to 18 in. from British Columbia to southern Oregon. white berry carried on thick. to 14 in. and its black berries are held horizontally on elongating and thickening stalks that turn reddish brown. pachycarpa can be distinguished from Actaea rubra (red baneberry) by its thick pedicels. divided into 3–15 leaflets. Sometimes available. LS to FS. Occasionally. terminal raceme. grouped in a small. Each division should have a growing tip. it has round. small. round to oval. certain microclimates in zone 3 may be too challenging in severe winters. flowers white. toothed and pointed. This species and its variants are considered the most poisonous of all baneberries. fruit a glossy. white cohosh. triple compound and pinnate leaves. slightly hairy. Northern Europe east to northern Turkey. lance-shaped. toothed. red stalks. spicata. like the fruit of the sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) of Europe. Its garden merit rests on the flowers Actaea spicata.or red-berried forms. (35 cm) long. red baneberry. a contrast to the slender ones of A. whitebeads. ovate at the base. Check plants often while young leaves are emerging in spring. flowers white. divided into 7–15 leaflets. triple compound and pinnate leaves. Actaea alba. (90 cm) elongating to as much as 4 ft. leaf mound to 30 in. fruit a black. 63 and the handsome. Propagate by dividing the rhizome in autumn after the leaves have dropped.5 in. globose. this dark red-fruited baneberry is very similar to Actaea spicata and formerly was considered a variety of it. 4–10 fringed petals. Eastern North America. smaller when young. but I see occasional weevil damage. so site plants away from easily accessible areas. broad at the base and tapering at the tip. red berries. flowerstalks red. triple compound and pinnate leaves. Actaea rubra. snakeberry. eastern Canada south to New England and south to Georgia and west to Oklahoma. European red baneberry. LS to FS. to 36 in. small. and Minnesota. green stalks. doll’s eyes. results are variable at best. deeply toothed and pointed. divided into 3–12 leaflets that are ovate at the base. flowers white. eastern Canada south to Pennsylvania and west to South Dakota and Nebraska. grouped in a small. and cold temperature periods. is smaller than the type. LS to FS. egg-shaped. some deeply cleft. freezing. egg-shaped berry carried on thin. some deeply cleft. Species and cultivars listed are clump-forming herbaceous perennials. (75 cm) wide with dark green. fruit a glossy. flowerstalks green. coralberry. is smaller in size than A.

Adiantum capillus-veneris. Species and cultivars listed form slowly expanding clumps and lose their top growth in areas where temperatures go a few degrees below freezing. but with some overwintering protection to keep the soil from freezing. It gets plenty of water during the long. North America from Virginia south to Georgia and Alabama. which emerges every spring without fail.5 maintained moist at 70°F (21°C). and along the West Coast in California. drooping or leaning. It is definitely worth trying even in colder areas. it has elongated. Maidenhair ferns require abundant moisture. protected by overhanging rock ledges. Adiantum is classified in the Adiantaceae. this fern occurs in protected areas. Adiantum pedatum withstands some drought and considerable heat if grown in shade and is very hardy. west to Missouri. I sweeten the soil by mixing in poultry bedding material made from crushed seashells and sold in farm supply stores as turkey grit. Many southern nurseries sell this delightful fern but give no instructions as to its cultural requirements. Variety acuminata is a regionally modified form ranging from southeastern Europe to northern India. fronds are produced on slender. Although many species are tropical. it is a tough fern for the garden. It expands slowly by means of a creeping rootstock. Maidenhair ferns are native to shady woodlands in the warmer regions of North America and Eurasia. shiny black to dark brown. in warmer areas. They do not tolerate direct sun except during the early morning hours. The stalks and fronds die down every autumn. maidenhair ferns are evergreen. black maidenhair. They do best in a light. alluding to the watershedding surface of the fronds of some species. if protection can be provided or if it can be brought indoors during winter. rich in organic matter and preferably alkaline. but it is not very hardy. easily one of the most attractive and distinctive ferns for temperate gardens. (361 m) above sea level. venustum instead. perhaps because my ferns are in raised beds. duddergrass. but I have seen colonies of it on Lookout Mountain in northwestern Georgia and in White County. it is better to cut a plant in half rather than take small pieces. topped with light green fronds composed of thin leaflets (pin- . The grit also opens up the soil mixture and aids drainage. unbranched stalks (stipes). but I have never seen it here. The genus gets its name from the classical Greek adiantos (= not to wet). Adiantum Maidenhair ferns are among the most popular of all ferns. at elevation 1185 ft. Maidenhair ferns thrive in considerable shade and may be used in dark corners of a shady garden. Southern Europe. primarily in southeastern Georgia. which are difficult to grow on. When it comes to ferns with grace and beauty. but I find the small ferns are difficult to dislodge from the cracks in the brick. white. More delicate and refined is A. It needs a fair amount of shade and can tolerate deep shade. hot. where it grows in the spray of a small waterfall. capillus-veneris (southern maidenhair). Usually not fatal. acuminate leaf tips and is rarely seen.and red-fruited baneberries. Foliar nematodes may infest maidenhair plantings and are difficult to eradicate. branching from time to time and forming a large group of upright stalks that bear the horseshoelike fronds. a few inhabit the temperate zone. Propagation by spores is also relatively easy under the right conditions. southern maidenhair. Root rot caused by fungi is also reported. few can match this native American species. The spores must be sown as soon as they are ripe on a coarse commercial mix with a pH of 7 to 8. Propagate by dividing the creeping rhizome in autumn after the fronds have dropped or in very early spring. Maidenhair ferns are sometimes attacked by scale insects. Georgia.64 Adiantum They are also successfully cultivated in areas where some sun filters into the garden. this beauty springs forth every spring with renewed vigor. Those gardening further north should plant the graceful A. long-lived fern. despite its delicate appearance. in its natural habitat. Each division should be large. My single clump has been growing and expanding for years here in zone 7a. My brick borders are an excellent growing medium for spores. well-draining woodland soil. but they do disfigure the leaflets and reduce the vigor of the plants. emerging directly from the rhizome and scaly at the base. dry summer. Taking divisions is much faster. LS to FS. southern maidenhair fern. one is Adiantum pedatum. I grow several clumps of this herbaceous. Venus maidenhair. Venushair fern.

(25 cm) wide. as someone once said. enlarging the plant constantly. which grows to 6 in. calderi with a tight. shiny black to dark brown. are extremely fragile and snap at the slightest stress. horseshoe fern. Hardy to zone 6 with protection. (40 cm) long and 8 in. It shudders in the slightest breeze. stipe and fronds to 30 in. ‘Imbricatum’ may simply be a select form of Adiantum pedatum subsp. true northern maidenhair fern) is very similar but slightly smaller than the type. Ferns are also damaged by late frosts and freezes and require occasional protection. it is offered as ‘Minor’ and ‘Minus’. where mass plantings can brighten up otherwise dark areas. carried high on strong stalks. in some forms bluish green. five-finger fern. Site large clumps near walks or seating. deeply cut. capillus-veneris ‘Imbricatum’—which illustrates the folly of using identical cultivar names for different species within the same genus (and. (15 cm) tall and 10 in. south to northern Georgia and California. including the Alaskan Peninsula and the Aleutian Island chain. vigorous grower. This most charming native maidenhair fern can be grown in the ground or potted and brought outdoors during summer in colder areas. erect. upright clump with small. with several lobes at the apex. cleft. American maidenhair. forms a very tight. horseshoe-shaped frond with light green. should be placed up close to garner attention. LS to FS. ‘Japonicum’ (early red maidenhair fern) is closely related to Adiantum pedatum subsp. stipes more or less equally forked at the top. ‘Asiaticum’ has drooping fronds. North America from Quebec to Alaska. almost skeletonized. thin. twisted leaflets. the lobes are fingerlike and extended. Its delicate appearance adds grace and beauty to the garden. where they can be appreciated. Every gardener in North America can grow this native maidenhair fern. incidentally. Available cultivars are more tolerant of cold and expand the usefulness of the species. Subspecies calderi. upright clump with small. (75 cm) long. Often confused with A. ‘Fimbriatum’. glaucous bluish green pinnules. fronds to 16 in. violates the rules of the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants). mostly oblong leaflets (pinnules). ‘Mairisii’. (40 cm) long and 10 in. half-moon-shaped. (20 cm) wide. Subspecies subpumilum (dwarf maidenhair fern) has small fronds to 4 in. which is occasionally available from specialists. To me they are. emerging directly from the rhizome and scaly at the base. (10 cm) with bluish green pinnules. an older cold-resistant hybrid. The only problem I have had with this fern is the early appearance of the bronze-colored young croziers. fronds 16 in. spore cases (sori) covered by reflexed tip of the lobes. Caution is advised when ordering under these names. Subspecies aleuticum (Aleutian maidenhair fern. Comes true from spores. spore cases (sori) covered by reflexed tip of the lobes. northern maidenhair fern. animating its spot. Hardy to zone 3. with the out-facing side cleft and lobed. with their tops beautifully rolled like the scroll of a violin. When young. fronds are produced on strong stalks (stipes). half-moon-shaped. 65 Adiantum pedatum.Adiantum nules). the new fronds are pinkish. frond and stipe 12–26 in. It is native to northwestern North America. (25 cm) wide. Its rootstock creeps widely and branches. glaucous bluish green pinnules. then single and alternate toward the tip of the frond. aleuti- . ‘Compactum’ and ‘Nanum’ are dwarf forms of the Aleutian maidenhair fern. ‘Banksianum’. the wings of my garden. Hardy to zone 3-compound. Excellent as a companion plant when overtopping smaller perennials. Adiantum aleuticum. At this early stage the emerging croziers. eastern Asia from northern India to Japan. the fronds are broadly triangular with pinnules elongated triangular. northern maidenhair. wedge-shaped at the base and rounded. ‘Imbricatum’. spreading out to form a flat. some consider it a separate species. If you must remove mulch in spring from areas where the croziers appear. American maidenhair fern. and the pinnules are bluish green and more triangular. a dwarfed form with deeply cut lobes. on the upper margin of the pinnules. valuable garden plant. be very careful in the process. arrangement at base first 2. This cute dwarf fern. more upright stalks. each fork bears 5–7 curving leaflets on the upper side. Fronds hang down. long-lived and suitable for areas of full shade. It is unique among ferns with its horseshoe- like fronds. A sturdy. All this extra effort is rewarded by elegant stands of these splendid ferns. (30–65 cm) long. ‘Scintilla’.

but only this variegated cultivar is worth growing. dark green with a creamy white margin and occasional white splashes in the leaf. 12–24 in. (35 cm). (30–80 cm) long. fronds evergreen. fruit seedlike. Bishop’s weed does not seem to mind and carries on . Now and then. planted under great tree canopies where darkness reigns and tree root competition sucks the soil dry. the compound fronds are 3. The widely creeping rhizomes form a nice colony in time. rootstock with aggressively spreading rhizomes. wedge-shaped at the base and rounded. Coming as it does from a sharply draining mountain environment. northern India and Nepal. Many gardeners use it in pots. with several lobes at the apex. carried 10–16 on loose. is sometimes seen in gardens. low groundcover of nicely variegated leaves that brighten dark corners of the garden. The genus is classified in the Umbelliferae. Seed propagation is also easy. ground elder. the flowers should be cut back on potted plants kept near open borders. mow the entire planting. triangular fronds. becoming ragged and unsightly. Himalayas. to rejuvenate it. bishop’s weed. medium green later. half-moon-shaped. dry summers. ashweed. herb Gerard. western China. attractive and of easy culture. In areas where the soil is 4-pinnate. (2400 m). I would never plant it in the open border or even in good woodland soil: it is almost impossible to contain under such conditions. There are locations in shady gardens where nothing else will grow (the back corner of many gardens. Some have characterized it as a little coarser. when growing on vertical rock walls hanging down. ‘Montanum’ makes a very compact clump. Its only fault is that it dies down every fall. stems to 14 in. new shoots will replace the dead stems. cum and has young pinkish to reddish bronze fronds that later turn darker green. shiny black to dark brown. spore cases (sori) covered by reflexed tip of the lobes. This mountain fern is much more hardy than Adiantum capillus-veneris. The all-green typical species. but because it also spreads by seed. (30 cm) long and 8 in. Its aggressively spreading rhizomes would soon take over. or just plain bad. Himalayan maidenhair fern. with leaning. fronds to 12 in. it must be cultivated in rapiddraining soil with the rootstock barely covered. Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum’. comes to mind). Propagate by dividing the creeping rhizome in autumn or in spring. leaflets toothed. where it can be contained. Not surprisingly. and the dense leaf cover would overwhelm all other low-growing plants. mountain maidenhair fern. planted with evergreens.66 Aegopodium year after year with little or no care. but for garden purposes. but I have seen bishop’s weed thriving in many gardens. Hardy in zones 5 to 8 and evergreen to 15°F (−10°C). Venus’ hair fern. with compound. after moisture returns. ‘Miss Sharples’ has yellowish fronds. Bishop’s weed is a good but invasive herbaceous perennial. produced on slender. bishop’s weed might be the solution to cover bare ground. LS to FS. flowers very small. creamy white to white. ternate or 2ternate leaves. (30–60 cm) long. composed of thin leaflets (pinnules). Adiantum venustum. Whether used as a Aegopodium Occasionally. (8 cm) across. drooping or leaning. overlapping fronds. topped with compound. sterile. leaf blight browns the foliage. which it closely resembles. bishop’s weed escaped from gardens has naturalized in some areas of North America. ground ash. to 6 in. (15 cm) high. it easily replaces the much more tender southern maidenhair and allows gardeners in northern climates to add a delicate and charming fern to their landscape. leaf stems green. In this case. LS to FS. All species in the genus Aegopodium are herbs that spread aggressively. cleft. however. leaning. lower leafstalks winged and clasping. even pernicious weeds—like bishop’s weed—are selected by gardeners to solve landscape problems of one sort or another. emerging directly from the rhizome. flat compound umbels to 3 in. western and northern Asia. aromatic. Usually. (20 cm) wide. ‘Laceratum’ has deeply cut leaflets. unbranched stalks (stipes). but take care the seed does not spread to areas where the plant is not wanted. which forms a thick. June–August. native to shady woodlands in Eurasia. Northern and central Europe east to Siberia. Bishop’s weed requires some moisture in the soil and dies back during very hot. first reddish bronze. goutweed. stem 12–32 in. at elevations reaching 7900 ft. A great fern in the wild garden near rock features or in the low-growing border.

rich in organic matter. dry summers. Ajuga reptans likes to grow more on brick paths than it does in the good soil intended for it. This can be done almost all year if the resulting plants can be well cared for after transplanting. for years. Some sun. so can be used as specimen plants. the cultivars with variegated and purple leaves are particularly good when juxtaposed with plants of opposing colors. under wet and warm conditions. in southern gardens the dark leaves may scorch in too much sun. clumps develop leaf spot or crown rot (southern blight) caused by Sclerotium rolfsii (white silk fungus. Geneva bugle. I keep a close watch on mine—I do not want this creeping bugle to get out of hand. Ajuga is native to shady woodlands in the temperate regions of Eurasia. sun.Ajuga groundcover or in containers. Temperate Eurasia. Occasionally. There they thrive on neglect and do not mind being stepped on occasionally. Otherwise. Propagate by separating the individual rosettes that arise along the stolons or by dividing the clumps. and their desire is now satisfied by the really big A. blue bugle. Some gardeners like their bugle large. In northern gardens it tolerates considerable. reptans. among bluish bracts. Check plants often while young leaves are emerging in spring. the leaves of this ‘Bikun’ (= beautiful decoration) are deeply cleft and toothed and have a wide yellow margin. They lack the wandering stolons of Ajuga reptans. alluding to the five-toothed. Hardy to zone 3. reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’. and they make colorful companions. including central and southern Europe. the species most frequently offered in nurseries. if not full. many of them with variegated leaves.5 in. it has the most diverse selection of cultivars. I particularly like A. A rare variegated form of A. One plant of this giant may be enough for many gardens. They do best in a light. upright bugle. their garden use can extend to zone 9 if they are planted in the shade and supplied with moisture during hot. upright bugleweed. certain microclimates in zone 3 may be challenging in severe winters. Ajuga reptans (carpet bugle) is a popular creeping groundcover. and to Lycopus. with its gleaming cushion of purple curlicue leaves. My main bugle planting provides groundcover around a fountain. It is in shade after midmorning. late summer is a good time to separate rosettes or take root cuttings. including central Europe north to southern Sweden. disconnected calyx. Their great colors make this effort worthwhile. Ajuga reptans develops stolons. Ajuga genevensis. incisa from Japan has been made available recently. rarely white or pink. Other species in the genus Ajuga are better behaved. steady vigilance is required to keep it from escaping. Other insect pests do not seem to bother bugle. moist woodland soil. a fine genus of garden plants and groundcovers. Their best use is for covering the ground. and the resulting small plants set up housekeeping in the middle of some of the garden paths at Hosta Hill. which have a base of pure. Both the species and its cultivars may be used in full shade as long as they have a moist environment. The clump-forming bugles grow out of the ground and may need occasional dividing to keep them nicely clumped and attractive. Nutlets of A. Ajuga reptans becomes more docile in shady areas. so watch it along paths. The genus gets its name from the classical Latin ajugatus (= not yoked). small corolla to 0. Bugle dislikes wet and waterlogged soils and thrives in considerable shade. where it gets considerable morning sun. morning sun is required for it to make a tight groundcover. I have grown several forms of A. reptans are dispersed by insects. arranged in false whorls . which has several North American species and is far less desirable (my apologies to those who grow Virginia bugleweed in their bog or wildflower gardens). white mold fungus). LS to FS. unimproved Georgia red clay. well-draining. south to North Africa and east to the Caucasus and beyond. flowers 3–18. Species and cultivars listed are clump-forming evergreen or semi-evergreen perennials. covered with a thin coating of pine bark. blue bugleweed. and east to southwest Asia. All are suitable for zones 3 to 7. 67 Ajuga The name bugleweed is applied both to Ajuga. bright blue. Hardy to zone 4. (1 cm) long. Ajuga is classified in the Labiatae. usually wood ants. and several other bugle species are used as specimen plants in the front of a border or along paths in the woodland garden. pyramidalis ‘Metallica Crispa’. One of the negative traits of bugle is its propensity to grow where it is not wanted and to die out where it is desired.

leaves all twisted out of shape the entire mound is distorted. among blue-tinged bracts. (verticilaster) on a terminal spike. dark green. (5 cm) wide. to 5 in. the largest bugle available. without stolons. arranged in false whorls (verticilaster) on a terminal spike. Some sun. arranged on short flowerstalks. leafy stolons. rhizomatous. northern bugle. fruit an egg-shaped nutlet. without stolons. Cultivars include ‘Alba’ (white flowers). south to North Africa and east to Asia Minor. plant evergreen. to 6 in. hairy. with lobes or toothed. leaves with silvery green centers. Scandinavia. coppery purple leaves. (2 cm) long. central lower leaves with long leafstalks arranged in a rosette. pyramidal whorls on flowerstalks 4–6 in. emerging along training. Nepal. Pink bracts and light blue flowers. (20 cm) high and 14 in. A great addition to the shady garden where a bright green groundcover is desired. rarely white or pink. metallic leaves. (30 cm). carpet bugleweed. Makes a good companion plant along woodland paths or in the shady border. fruit an egg-shaped nutlet. (10 cm) long and 2 in. deep bronze. silvery gray leaves and a narrow. corolla blue. dark green margin. hairy stems to 15 in. rooting at the leaf nodes. small corolla to 0. A rapid spreader. ‘Jungle Beauty’. dark green. ‘Tricolor’) bronze leaves mottled reddish pink and yellow. it can invade adjacent border areas or lawns. ovate to spoon-shaped. flowers lavender-blue. Ajuga pyramidalis. to 2 in. It is well worth the effort. plant evergreen. sometimes Ajuga lobata. ovate to spoon-shaped. hairy. 4–12 in. 4–6 in.” ‘Alba’. (5 cm) long and 1 in. ‘Jumbo’ (a large form). runs as fast as the species. May–June. toothed. ‘Multicolor’ (‘Rainbow’. (13 cm) long and 2 in. ‘Burgundy Glow’. rarely white or pink. April–June. very dark purple-brown leaves. LS to FS. It has coppery leaves with a purple tinge and bright blue flowers on fairly tall spike. clump-forming. (10–30 cm) long. April–June. clump-forming. and in the mountains further south. (10–15 cm) tall. among purple-margined bracts. and with upright. deep blue. rhizomatous. ‘Metallica Crispa’ (‘Metallica’). For those who like grotesque plants. leaves small. Some sun. ‘Botanical Wonder’.8 in. (2. easily the most popular and widely available form. is popular for its compact habit. and east to the Caucasus. crinkled bronze-green leaves.68 Ajuga it in shape by frequent dividing. which also produces more plants for the garden or to give away. brilliant. common bugleweed. ‘Pink Surprise’ (pink flowers). hairy stems to 12 in. small. green. flowers 4–8. lower leaves with long leafstalks arranged in a rosette. resulting in what Southerners call “buglelawn. smooth or scalloped margins. (10–15 cm) tall. flowers 5–18. plant evergreen. making a dense groundcover. Northern and central Europe. Uses are similar to Ajuga reptans. This popular species is an excellent and colorful groundcover used by many gardeners. ‘Robustum’ (another large form). coppery. ovate to spoon-shaped. (10–15 cm) tall. 4–6 in. which produces a shimmering purplish bronze cushion of crinkled leaves. ‘Cristata’. Ajuga reptans. ‘Atropurpurea’. April–June. Himalayas. arranged in dense. carpet bugle. rhizomatous. fruit an egg-shaped nutlet. (15 cm). (35 cm) wide.5 cm) wide. It needs careful watching so as not to stray out of bounds. lower leaves with long leafstalks arranged in a rosette. An attention-getter when planted with masses of small yellow hostas like Hosta sieboldii ‘Subcrocea’ and light green ferns. this one will satisfy. ‘Bronze Beauty’. 3 in. (38 cm). ‘Gaiety’. ‘Arctic Fox’. Northern and central Europe. Leaves are very large. and ‘Rosea’ (rose-pink flowers). to 8 in. LS to MS. light green. hairy. bright blue flowers on tall spike. large. and with upright. I keep . ‘Brownherz’. sometimes semi-evergreen depending on microclimate. purple. Differs from other species by its upright habit and its need for somewhat drier soil. (5 cm) wide. stoloniferous stems. but this cultivar has a sloppy growth pattern and gets out of shape easily. Iceland. to 4 in. developing above ground. and nicely fluted. Reversions to green are reported. It makes a good companion plant in front of the shady border yet is infrequently seen. indigo-blue flowers. (8 cm) tall. flowers lilac. ‘Catlin’s Giant’. LS to FS. pyramidal bugle. rounded. flowers white. suffused with pink and cream toward the margins. plant evergreen.

so wild populations must remain untouched by greedy shovels. with bulbous root. fly poison). basal leaves are straplike. and green flowers. but usually less. wild gingers. It tolerates considerable shade but prefers a more open site with light shade and some sun. ‘Variegata’. margined leaves. (2 cm) wide. 3 sepals. Early settlers of the region used crushed bulbs with some honey to make their own flypaper or crushed roots in sugar water for fly bait (hence. or gray speckled with green. plant herbaceous. 2–4 in. and. May–June. Seed propagation is difficult. ‘Pink Delight’. (5–10 cm) long on tall flowerstalks with small. yet it deserves better. brown-tinted. crow poison. Many gardeners find a place for poisonous plants like philodendrons and dieffenbachias in their homes. acid soil with a pH of 5. coastal plains from New York to Florida. The generic name is a combination of the Greek amiantos (= immaculate) and anthos (= flower). flowers deep pink. this plant is threatened in several areas. to 7 in. ‘Silver Beauty’. In agricultural meadows it has been wiped out to prevent livestock from being poisoned. but now I have a small group that delights all with a showy display every May. in mountains from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. first conical then cylindrical raceme. It took me a while to find a responsible wildflower nursery that offered the plants. (90 cm). (35 cm) long and 0. 3-beaked capsule. Wash your hands after handling the bulbous roots or other parts of the plant. 12– 24 in. This new miniature bugle stands out among yellow-leaved small hostas. LS. this species never fails to elicit comments of wonderment from visitors admiring the progression of white buds. numerous. leaves overlaid with silvery gray. Hardy to zone 4. May be a hybrid with Ajuga genevensis. bright to dark blue. flowers rose-pink. arranged in a dense. 69 Amianthium Amianthium muscaetoxicum (fly poison) is one of those obscure wildflowers hardly seen in gardens. take care to keep small children and the attractive flowers separate. smaller than ‘Rosea’. Amianthium is classified in the Melanthiaceae. Propagate by taking bulblets.8 in. flowers on short stems to 3 in. Flowers are dark blue. leaves green overlaid with silvery gray and margined in white. flowers pink. I first saw this beauty along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Great Smoky Mountains Park.Amianthium speckled with silvery gray. and uvularias. leaves crinkled green. and all-green leaves. Amianthium muscaetoxicum. and this elegant native should find a place in the wildflower garden. The specific name comes from the Latin muscae (= flies) and toxicum (= poison). fly poison. west to Missouri and Oklahoma. white turning greenish with maturity. smooth. All parts of the plant are toxic. flowers pink on taller pink spikes. I took several photographs and left the sizeable colony for others to admire. making a modest but interesting early autumn display. (60 cm) spikes. flowers bright pink. blunt-tipped. Some sun. leaves small. ‘Pink Spire’. persisting on the spike as fruit matures. . Every leaf on the plant is different and to give an accurate description is impossible. ‘Pink Elf’. flowers with pinkish shading to lilac. Eastern North America. green. to 14 in. Some leaves have pink hues. greenish white flowers. It requires damp. It does carry on in mountainous areas of the Appalachians and in Atlantic coastal areas. As with all native wildflowers. ‘Tottenham’. flowers small. The spent flowering spike and raceme remain on the plant. ‘Silver Carpet’. I have them interplanted with fairy wands. leaves flecked with creamy white. fly poison should be purchased only from environmentally certified sources. I have not seen any disease or insect damage. leafy bracts. native trilliums. clump-forming. ‘Pink Beauty’. ‘Rosea’. as with baneberry. When in bloom. all on the same raceme. smaller than ‘Rosea’. (18 cm). 3 petals. Pesky crows raiding vegetable gardens also met an untimely end by ingesting poisoned bait made with the plant. (8 cm). ‘Valfredda’ (‘Chocolate Chip’). particularly the bulbous root. surely the risk of planting this beauty in the open garden is minor. Fly poison thrives in open woods and meadows and is seen in sandy bogs along the coast. to 36 in. growing in a meadow near the tree line —a marvelous sight: cylindrical racemes of white flowers held aloft on 24 in. (30–60 cm).

breaking it occasionally. mesmerizing spathe and spadix. their tubers must not be exposed to freezing. Some gardeners have grown the smaller varieties as curiosities in greenhouses and potted on Florida or southern California patios. I may sometimes call it that too. the flowers of this plant are very tiny and crowded onto the spadix. Some time after flowering. I plant them among large hostas and tall ferns in the woodland. however. The rhizomatous corms develop an indentation on top. I brought a few rhizomes to my mother in Detroit. they follow this display. but then. and several are now available that have smaller but equally bizarre “flowers. these exotic Asian marvels send up a large. Araceae. Amorphophallus is from the Greek amorphos (= deformed) and phallos (= penis). those who have spent a bunch of dollars for their snake palms may want to overwinter the tubers inside. Amorphophallus Until recently. propagation by offsets is much faster. Taxonomists classify some species under the genus Hydrosme. they have been around for years. I guess many gardeners consider the combination of spathe and spadix a flower. I have grown Amorphophallus rivieri var. The first flowering of Amorphophallus titanum in North America took place in the conservatory of the New York Botanical Garden on 8 June . after some rest. She planted them after the ground warmed up and removed them in autumn before the ground froze and brought them inside to overwinter. some weighing over 50 lbs. are known) make it well worth opening your eyes wide while holding your nose shut for a spell around these trendy plants. but the exciting and unusual flowers of these aroids (as plants of the arum family. titanum. A demand has developed for this and other species of Amorphophallus. Although the snake palms have been touted as the latest in gardening. a sturdy stake usually solves the problem. not every gardener has the room to grow that giant. (23 kg). Snake palms are ideally suited to our temperate Western shady gardens. finally issued their monstrous. people waited patiently in long lines to get a look at the spectacle. familiar to many as the Jack—as in jack-in-the-pulpit.) At the Atlanta Botanical Garden. referring to the phallic shape of the spadix. Most available snake palm species come from Southeast Asia. and so to simplify things. sail-like leaf caught in a moderate wind gust can exert considerable force on the pulpy stem. with a towering single leaf that soon reveals why they are called snake palm. widely reported as being the largest flower in the plant kingdom. I started to leave the large mother corms in the ground at a depth of 12 in. to let the water drain out during winter rains. and being of tropical origin. and gardeners are now in a race to see who can grow the tallest. I have not tried seeds. The mother rhizome sends out rhizomatous “branches” that form another cormlike swelling at their termination point. on top of a well-draining coarse bark and gravel layer and surrounded by good garden soil. Amorphophallus titanum (titan arum) garnered worldwide television news coverage when its bulbs (actually tubers or cormlike rhizomes). The large. Let me caution against placing them in a windswept area. Most snake palms may be safely left in the ground in zone 7. a related North American native. always setting the corms out after the last freeze and bringing them in during winter. where they overtop their neighbors. (30 cm). First they send up 5–6 ft.5–1. the same scene was repeated in England and on the Continent—and the rest is history. which I consider a synonym. (Actually. so I plant them tipped at about 45 degrees. the genus Amorphophallus was a curiosity in botanical gardens and in a few intrepid gardeners’ greenhouses. snake palm).8 m) flowerstalks. Exaggerated reports of a penetrating foul odor during bloom season contributed to its rarity in cultivation. konjac for years. which is brownish green mottled with white or greenish spots and brown and purple speckles. Propagate by taking offsets. where they became curiosities for all the neighbors.” They are not as huge and expensive as A. (1. meanest-looking amorphophallus. reminiscent of the patterned skin of many tropical serpents (hence. They proved remarkably hardy. There is some truth to the reports. Soon I found that some of the offsets left behind came up in spring even after harsh winters with temperatures down to 0°F (−18°C).70 Amorphophallus 1937. single leaf that has the generalized shape of an umbrella palm (Hedyscepe canterburyana) atop a thick stalk. which can cost the aficionado as much as dinner for four in a fine New York restaurant.

Telingo potato. (2 m) tall. (1.5 m) tall. bulbbearing snake palm. (10 cm) long and 1 in. mature tubers are to 12 in. spadix purple. 3-parted. cup-shaped. peony-leaved snake palm. (30 cm) tall. furrowed. petiole dark olive-green with silvery sea-green irregular spotting. Variety konjac. Amorphophallus paeoniifolius.5 cm) in diameter. (90 cm) wide. (2. The flower structure is the weirdest I have ever seen on any plant—so outlandish only a photo can do it justice. dirty. with ribbed walls of reddish purple changing to creamy pink below. (1. peduncle spotted purplish brown. tapering toward the top. rose-colored in the throat becoming pinkish tan inside the hood. I give away an increasing number of small tubers. spadix prodigiously protruding and up to 7 ft. (10 cm) wide. with each leaflet 2-pinnate.Amorphophallus Viral diseases (mosaic virus). the most frequently offered snake palm. If there is room for only one snake palm. inflorescence to 6 ft. It makes its own bulblets on top of the leaf. and waves on its surface.8 m) tall. spadix impossible to describe but roughly cone-shaped. corpse flower. inflorescence to 9 ft. tapering. Indonesia. (45 cm) tall. leaf solitary.5 m) tall. distortions. this is it—the hardiest and most prolific of them all. spadix pink. punga pung. (90 cm) wide. (5 cm) wide. The foul odor lasts but a short time and draws flies from miles away. leaf on thick petiole to 6 in. light to dark green with prominent veins. konjac. Amorphophallus titanum. spathe funnel-shaped to 5 in. to 7 ft. (5. to 36 in. (1 m). tiny protuberances that feel nubby to the touch occur at the base. to 36 in. The smell is noticeable but all are willing to stand it just to see the macabre flower. MS to FS. (2. bacterial rot. spathe widely expanded. to 1 in. titan arum. spathe openly vase-shaped. bulblets. leaf solitary. (45 cm) long. dark olive-green to very dark greenish brown speckled progressively with silvery sea-green irregular spots toward the top. purple and spotted with rusty cinnamon in the throat. wide. recurved and very undulate. dull yellow. New Guinea.7 m) tall. spathe widely expanded to 4 in. leaf on thick petiole to 0. Indian snake palm. Malay Archipelago. Northeast India. it will grow very large. which will need plenty of space. to 40 in. this Telingo potato is an important food starch from northeast India to Vietnam and the Philippines. 3-parted. Sumatra. Leaving this one in the ground gives succeeding offsets a chance to form a large colony. with expanded collarlike limb. 3-parted. (1.5 m) tall. (2 m) wide. inflorescence to 12 in. wavy at top. will be the “thing” everyone wants to see and smell in spring. a conversation piece for the garden if there ever was one. outside pinkish with green markings. one of the tallest among snake palms. tiny protuberances that feel nubby to the touch occur along the entire length. Amorphophallus bulbifer. form at the apex junction of the petiole and at major leaf divisions. colorful flower structure. snake palm. supported by white-spotted flowerstalk to 18 in. (2. MS to FS. and leaf spot (anthracnose) are reported but unknown in my experience. A very large snake palm with a huge tuber. (2 cm) wide and 4 ft. 3-pinnate. . inflorescence to 18 in. konjac snake palm. with each leaflet 2.8 in. 71 Amorphophallus rivieri. Given fertile soil and plenty of water. devil’s tongue. to 4 ft. (1. to 36 in. seed black. to 8 ft. some stems of mature plants have few spots and are dark to the leaf. (13 cm) wide. with each leaflet pinnatifid. India.5 cm) wide. with recurved collarlike limb irregularly margined. tapering toward top. which is seldom seen. seed black. leaf on thick petiole to 2 in. (2. Sumatra. dark olivegreen to very dark greenish brown speckled progressively with silvery sea-green irregular spots toward the top. MS to FS.2 m) tall. umbrella arum. with sterile appendage to 4 in. (30 cm) wide and form stolons bearing small tubers. Malay Archipelago. light to dark green with prominent veins. (5 cm) wide and 5 ft. (90 cm) long and 2 in. leopard palm. This smaller snake palm has a slight but not pungent odor. (5 cm) wide at the base. tapering. cinnamon to honey-colored. with upper margin incurved. leaf on thick petiole to 2 in. tapering toward the blunt top. (1.5 m) tall.2 m) across and 5 ft. with many folds. which can be removed and planted to make additional plants. Its huge. leaf solitary. elephant yam. is somewhat larger but otherwise indistinguishable from the type. blackish red to dark purple. (15 cm) wide and 18 ft. MS to FS. petiole medium to light green marbled with irregular silvery light green to gray-green markings. light to yellowish green with prominent veins.

but they will succeed even in warmer regions if ample moisture is available. dormant even before the heat of the summer arrived. but by the third year they bloom abundantly and spread vigorously. red. to 15 ft. Despite their sometimes invasive and occasionally demanding properties. given their beautiful flowers. The genus Anemone derives its name from the classical Greek anemos (= wind). The best windflowers for the shady garden are easily the wood anemones. anemones have been grown in gardens for many years. The same can be said for another group of windflowers that are usually mat-forming. most wood anemones require moist soils yearround. pink. They range from eastern Canada to the moist woodlands of the Carolinas and Georgia. This accounts for the many failures in gardens where an unsuitable habitat is provided. Anemone Windflowers are a mixed blessing in the wildflower and woodland garden. much like a daisy. Anemone ‘Prinz Heinrich’). (5 m) wide. Specific windflowers like the wood anemones are short-stemmed and make good groundcover. and some flowers are double. its variety japonica. and blue. The many garden clones and hybrids are variously assigned to Anemone hupehensis. well-draining woodland soil. Anemones are found all over the temperate . most of the fall-blooming varieties bloom on taller stems. rich in organic matter. ranging from shady woodlands to sun-baked alpine screes. but windflowers respond to reduced sun exposure with diminished flowering. So large it is seldom seen in small gardens. with each leaflet pinnatifid and deeply lobed. The number of tepals varies considerably. violet. the specific attribution becomes less important. some stems of mature plants have few spots and are dark to the leaf. 3parted. They like cool soil. Anemones do best in a light. but their growth is rampant: some gardeners call them downright invasive. they are slow to establish from small plants. Unfortunately. leaf solitary. blanda. common in woodlands in the temperate regions of North America. which require full sun and a dry soil in dormancy—a condition that is difficult to provide when they are planted with woodlanders that require moist soil year-round. Some daring and wealthy gardeners have bought immature tubers and are growing them on. The inflorescence has a foul odor (hence. depending on the species. those from Mediterranean regions are somewhat tender. I have had some success with anemones that flower in late summer and autumn. This may be difficult with some species but is certainly worth trying. ×hybrida. Their flowers are in the shape of a shallow dish with a concentric tuft of bright yellow stamens. mature tubers are to 20 in. but I know of plantings that thrive in ordinary garden soil. leaving holes in my garden. protuberances that feel nubby to the touch occur at the base. medium to dark green with prominent veins. (50 cm) in diameter and form stolonlike offsets. corpse flower). Anemone is classified in the Ranunculaceae. however. I have tried Anemone sylvestris and other spring-flowering species and cultivars. like A. they are somewhat fussy in the lower parts of the southeastern states. or the hybrid group A. Nomenclature of the garden cultivars is confused. but temperate zone botanic gardens feature them in their conservatories for all to see and smell. The spreading woodland and meadow species are best planted where they will not overrun other delicate wildflowers or woodlanders. Since most are sold under the genus name alone (for instance. This spreading habit is subdued when the plants are grown in more shade. in shades of white. The main consideration is to match the anemone’s native growing conditions to the cultural conditions attainable in gardens. both in the northern and southern hemispheres. The native North American wood anemones. Just exactly which species and cultivars will work in a given garden is up to the individual gardener. and some experimentation may be the best way to select specific plants. purple. but they were gone by July. yellow. particularly those that spread. Another flaw: some exotic anemones have a penchant for giving up the ghost after a couple of seasons and quietly disappear from the garden scene. The anemones native to North America and northern Europe are hardy to zone 4. A snake palm of truly titanic proportions and even television fame. where long periods of summer heat and drought dry out the soil. are well suited to the shady woodland garden.72 Anemone zones. Sometimes. Their habitat is enormously diverse. creamy yellow. creeping perennials.

flowers pink to 3 in. unless otherwise noted. plant to 32 in. remains the most popular single-flowered garden anemone. and the plant is a vigorous.2 m) tall. flowers red. semi-double. (80 cm). (6 cm) across. divide the tubers after they go dormant. white or pink with the outer being red or deep pink. combining these hybrids with that species lengthens a windflower bloom display. moth and butterfly larvae (caterpillars). ‘Prinz Heinrich’ (‘Prince Henry’). Variety japonica (Japanese anemone) is taller. Chinese anemone. anemones in difficult microclimates in zones 4 and 5 may require winter protection. flowers uniform pink. fibrous rootstock. hupehensis var. ‘Praecox’. light pink tepals so tightly arranged as to appear double or semi-double. Cultivars of this species and variety that bloom September–October may in fact be cultivars of Anemone ×hybrida. flowers pink to 3 in. vitifolia). lively spreader. it was introduced into cultivation by Robert Fortune in 1844. (9 cm) across. 3-lobed and deeply toothed. a white sport first described in 1858. (1. 73 ‘Hadspen Abundance’.5 in. Species and cultivars listed should receive at least four hours of sunlight. LS to WS.Anemone Propagate by taking root cuttings of autumnflowering anemones in spring. to 3 in. Japanese anemone of gardens. the stems are 4 ft. for reliable and abundant flowering. stake them in unprotected areas before they are bowed by autumn winds. drooping. This hybrid group is the mainstay of autumn-flowering anemones and includes some of the most popular garden varieties. known in Japanese gardens since the 17th century. 6–15 tepals. plant to 36 in. ‘Alba’. ‘September Charm’ (‘September Glow’). plant to 36 in. and various beetles and their grubs all favor the plants. (50–90 cm). pure white tepals overlap and show a little pink on the underside. (80 cm) with purplepink flowers. Late-blooming anemones are subject to foliar and root nematodes. leaves basal. particularly in humid climates. flowers silvery pink. semi-double.5 m). (90 cm). (1. plant to 28 in. Anemone ×hybrida. erect. (8 cm). lobed and deeply toothed. (18–20 cm) long. ‘Bodnant Burgundy’. plant to 40 in. japonica × A. Western and central China. (90 cm). (6 cm). sometimes invasive. spreads rapidly. Bowles’). plant with suckering. (8 cm). Seed can be sown as soon as ripe. (80 cm) with semi-double pink flowers to 2. (70 cm). semi-double. Anemone hupehensis. A selected clone of the species with good vigor and larger stature. ×hybrida cultivars are very old. August–October.2 m). shiny appearance produced by silky threads on the outer surface. For summerdormant species. flowerstalks 20–36 in. flowers 12–20 in loose umbels or cymes. flowers purplish pink. as present in open woods. or leaf smut. (8 cm) with a bright. flowers 5–15 in loose cymes. and double flowers occur. ‘Bressingham Glow’. divided into 3–5 leaflets. (1. ‘Splendens’. (10–20 cm) long. plant to 36 in. All are suitable for zones 4 to 7. (8 cm). and I am not alone in preferring the tried-and-proven ones listed: ‘Honorine Jobert’. 5–6 rounded tepals. Some A. ‘Alice’. 5–8 in. pink and purple. Hybrid (A. plant to 32 in. plant to 32 in. seldom white. 4–5 ft. (8 cm). (80 cm). but white sports have appeared. Slugs and snails. plant similar to the species but more vigorous and floriferous. usually in summer. plant with suckering. Its broad. plant to 32 in. 4–8 in. ‘Elegans’. . LS to WS. ‘Bowles’ Pink’ (‘E. fibrous rootstock. and has 20–25 narrow. slightly hairy. slightly hairy. The flowerstalks are very tall but strong. divided into 3–5 leaflets. Divide rhizomatous species in early spring. ‘Superba’. to 4 ft. slightly hairy beneath. medium green. Anemones are prone to develop leaf galls. leaves basal. flowers reddish purple. This species is the basis for many autumn-flowering anemones. (1 m). ‘Rubra’. semidouble light pink. dark green.5 in. flowers deep pinkish purple to 3 in. flowers pale rose-pink. Most flowers are a light pink. A. flowers bicolored. both colors contrast beautifully with the round tuft of bright yellow stamens in center. plant to 32 in. to 3. to 2. Powdery mildew is very common. Utilize a cold frame and liberate the seed from the woolly casing before sowing. Since it flowers a week or so later than Anemone hupehensis. (90 cm) with single white flowers to 3 in. single.5 in. robust. flowerstalks stout. darker outside. leaf spot.2–1. August–October. (80 cm). notwithstanding.

20–32.5 m). are frequently mixed up. ‘Königin Charlotte’ (‘Queen Charlotte’. almost semi-double. plant to 32 in. semi-double. overlapping outer tepals. plant to 4 ft. ‘Rosenschale’ (‘Pink Shell’). with broad. (1. flowers large. The lobed leaves of this species (the epithet means “vine-leafed”) are unlike those of other anemones in appearance. ‘Robustissima’ is hardier than the species (to zone 3). to 4 in. Afghanistan to Nepal and western China and Burma. but many gar- Anemone tomentosa. flowers numerous. Anemone vitifolia. ‘Reine Charlotte’). Plant small ferns or a patch of moss next to it.5 m).2 m). white. ‘Géante des Blanches’ (‘White Giant’. plant to 4 ft. LS to WS. to 4 in. flowers 3–7 in loose cymes. especially ‘Robustissima’. (1. darker outside. (10 cm). plant clump-forming. it can be combined with other species to give several weeks of bloom in the fall. flowers rosy pink. (8 cm). LS to WS. The woolly fruit stays on the stems all winter long and adds interest. Taxonomists have had a field day with this plant. plant to 36 in.2–1. with fibrous rootstock that spreads by underground runners. plant to 5 ft. fruit a woolly capsule. an important trait for shady gardens. light pink. its charm can be seen. August– September. cleft and toothed. (10 cm). (90 cm). flowers semi-double. and they stay fresh.74 Anemonella Anemone tomentosa and A. and carpeting plants with dense habits. Remove these in spring. There. flowers large. pale purplepink. grape leaf anemone. double. overlapping tepals. 5-lobed. fertile. Their dainty and fragile beauty is frequently overpowered by bold hostas. It is clump-forming but can become invasive if not watched. Anemonella thalictroides (rue anemone) is found in moist. It is perfect planted by itself in a shady corner under a pine tree with moist and acidic soil. leaves on the stem and basal. Anemonella Delicate native woodland plants are often overlooked by shade gardeners. single pale pink. plant to 36 in. dark pink. One of the earliest autumn-flowering anemones. vitifolia and their cultivars interchangeably. medium green. (10–13 cm). (80 cm). lasting from spring until autumn. ‘Luise Uhink’. plant to 4 ft. broad. (1.2 m). to 4 in. large ferns. overlapping outer tepals. ‘Kriemhilde’. (8 cm) across. pure white. The woolly fruit stays on the stems during winter and adds interest. August–September. As the generic name indicates. greenish shading on the underside. which root a distance away from the mother plant and form new clumps. clumping anemone. (1. (90 cm). 3-lobed. 2–5 in. plant huge. semi-double pink. to 5 in. so caution is advised. to 36 in. This species gets its name from the whitish (tomentose). erect. and either plant them elsewhere or give them away to friends. ‘Margarette’ (‘Lady Gilmoure’). with fibrous rootstock. Latest placements favor inclusion in the genus Thalictrum. ‘Elegantissima’. with broad. fruit woolly. (5–13 cm) long. The species and its cultivars. (10 cm). plant clump-forming. spreads rapidly. to 4 in. very hardy. woolly covering of the leaves. to 2. Northern and central China. covered with fine. (1. ‘Pamina’. ‘Whirlwind’. 4–8 in. (90 cm).2 m). 6–8 tepals. pink. with the outer tepals darker pink. ‘Max Vogel’. it nevertheless spreads by stolons. whose bluish green leaves will contrast with their soft green. (10–20 cm) long. erect. 5–6 tepals. ‘White Queen’). to 5 ft. flowers semi-double. 4–5 ft. Unlike other anemones. to 4 in. (1. to 4–5 in. flowers 9–15 in loose cymes. ‘Profusion’. single. clean white. many sources ship . (10 cm). in fact.2 m). thus bringing diversity. (1. to 3 in. to 4 in. So I place my rue anemones where they can be appreciated. to 3 in. medium green. plant to 4 ft. (10 cm). away from more boisterous neighbors. with pink shading to dark pink toward the outside. the only species in the genus was formerly included with the anemones as Anemone thalictroides (= the anemone that looks like a thalictrum). single. (10 cm). flowers semi-double.5 m) with pink flowers. open woodlands in eastern North America. this species forms a slowly expanding clump and is better behaved in the border than the runners. flowerstalks stout. flowers large. leaves on the stem and basal. rosy red flowers. woolly white hairs below.5 in. greenish shading on the tepals in center. as its leaves resemble those of Thalictrum dioicum. flowers almost double. white. (6 cm) across. ‘Superba’ is smaller in all respects. flowerstalks stout. (13 cm).

false rue anemones. Few hot breezes could reach this nook. flowerstalks thin. leaves basal. white. cup-shaped to 0. Anemonopsis macrophylla (false anemone) is one such plant. fruit one-seeded. Anemonopsis is classified in the Ranunculaceae. Do this in early autumn. Differentiated only by minor botanical details and their smaller size. Forewarned that plants disappeared in hot. I provided water 3-ternate. 4–6 in. in very deep woods soil. flowers long-lasting. however. so frequent checks are advised. flowers 2–4 in loose umbels. Isopyrum biternata is hardy to zone 3. and when the hot days and nights of August arrived. 3–10 in. without disturbing the mother plant. plant with slowly expanding tuberous rootstock. rue anemone will seed itself. which was wind-protected by a board fence at back and mature azaleas to the left and right. (8–25 cm). Watering and mist- Anemonella thalictroides. which occurs after the seeds have ripened. The only fault of this little plant is its relatively early dormancy. Anemonella is classified in the Ranunculaceae. astilbes. gardeners should have no problems. dry summers in short order. Choose a site that is sheltered from strong winds. Alabama. and powdery mildew are common in humid climates. bluish green. single. Leaf smut. ‘Schoaf’s Double’. southwest Maine west to Minnesota. The soil must not soggy. ferns. and native wildflowers in the moist woodland border. and only the back of the tepals shows. these species serve equal purposes in gardens. the dauntless German doctor. flowers rosy pink double. When happy. The plant dried out and gave up. ‘Rubra’. ‘Cameo’. ‘Semidouble White’. brought it and many other species back from Japan in the 1830s. the plant continued in good condition. flowers small. I planted one in full shade. rue anemone. ‘Schoaf’s Pink’). but they nod. a tender California native. divided into 5–9 oval leaflets. ‘Rosea’. or white shaded with very light pink. LS to MS. Rue anemone is a bit slow to establish itself. It has been around since Siebold. nevertheless. rue anemone is longlived given the right conditions. Eastern North America. thalictroides. button type. respectively. even misting the plant at times. It is sometimes confused with Amenopsis. forming a nice colony in time. opsis = resembling).8 in. south to Georgia. usually 9 tepals. In more northern areas. or the tubers will rot. but after a few seasons it forms a nice colony if larger adjoining plants are prevented from obliterating it. lime-green. I was looking forward to seeing its flowers— and then took a fortnight’s vacation to escape the unbearable Georgia heat. unusual plants are received from Asia and I just have to try them. ‘Rosea Plena’. ribbed. rust. Similar are Isopyrum biternata and I. ‘Oscar Schoaf’ (‘Flore Pleno’. a fitting diminutive of anemone. erect. Watering is necessary in hot. March– May. Slugs and snails can decimate plantings in early spring. The rhizomatous rootstock spreads slowly. flowers rosy red. dry summers. I. flowers semi-double white. Despite its fragile charm. . Propagate rue anemones and false rue anemones by removing some outer tubers from the periphery of larger plants. Anemonopsis Occasionally. The flowers do resemble those of the anemone. It thrived in the cool nights and warm days of early spring. (2 cm) across. Find a permanent place for this beauty: it resents being moved or otherwise disturbed. 2. or in very early spring. Hardy to zone 4. flowers pink double. the early-spring flowers and attractive leaves provide a lovely display well into early summer. high up in the North Carolina mountains. thalictroides to zone 5.Anemonopsis deners still grow it under the older name Anemonella. A lovely native no garden should be without. 75 ‘Alba Plena’. The false anemone is a valuable shade garden plant where summers are cool and the environment replicates to some degree its native habitat in Japan. False anemone is a great companion to hostas. rosy pink double. (10–15 cm) long. windflower. fragile. flowers rosy pink. or seed can be sown in a cold frame as soon as ripe. Although its leaves look more like those of the baneberry. ‘Green Hurricane’. after the plant goes dormant. northwest Florida and Mississippi and west to Arkansas and Oklahoma. common in central and eastern North America and Europe. flowers white fully double. the generic name indicates a resemblance to anemone (Greek.

An orchid with winter interest for discriminating gardeners. with its peculiar life cycle. but they require a fair amount of full sun to provide the stimulating flower display promised on the seed packets. elliptic. In more southern areas.76 Aplectrum for wounds and on abscesses. and in time I found one at a wildflower nursery. I like this unusual orchid. false anemone. It was also taken for respiratory problems. After a short period. so a sheltering position in full shade should be selected in southern gardens. 6–24. (4 cm) across. 24–32 in. (18 cm) long and 3 in. blackish purple. This is an attractive curiosity for southern gardens. moist soil with a pH of 5. unassuming plants and are often overlooked in the wild. Hardy to zone 4. Propagate by carefully dividing the fleshy dormant rhizome. Japanese Alps.5 to 7. I had to have one. substantially toothed and incised. shiny purple on the underside. where the unusual leaves cannot be seen. this is not a plant for weekend gardeners. insignificant. plant clumpforming with slowly expanding rhizomatous rootstock. False anemones suffer severely in dry. to 7 in. August–September.” as mountain people express it: its leaves appear in autumn. and die down the following midspring. resurrection orchid. Aplectrum Hardy woodland orchids native to North America are not much seen in gardens. nodding cup-shaped to 1. Slugs and snails left my plants alone. Still. 3–6 in. disappearing before flowering. basal. (60–80 cm). it has a Japanese counterpart in Aplectrum unguiculatum. and they did give a nice display for a couple of seasons. An excellent plant for the shady northern garden. My first acquaintance with Aplectrum hyemale was during a late autumn walk on a North Georgia mountain trail. LS to FS. MS to FS. Alabama. many of the hybrid groups are short-lived. (45–60 cm) high. usually 7–13 tepals. while on a hiking trip in the Little River Valley of . flowerstalks upright. In the South. dark gray-green above. puttyroot. This orchid is locally called resurrection orchid because it “has things all turned around. thinly silvery-white striped. and this inherent problem is aggravated by a little too much shade. No other pests or diseases are reported. hot winds. I tried some McKana Hybrids in woodland shade. Anemonopsis macrophylla. after which they rapidly declined. This is fortunate because most are rare and thus protect themselves by being inconspicuous. leaflets. Fallen leaves covered the ground and I almost overlooked it. (8–15 cm) long. Hardy to zone 4. the sepals larger and waxy. dry summers. ing is necessary in hot. greenish purple or white and yellow tinged with purple. Adam and Eve orchid. The genus Aplectrum (= without horns) is classified in the orchid family. from connected underground corms in autumn. shiny dark green. Propagate by carefully dividing the tuberous corm. In my garden. pink to pale violet. One leaf twisted to show the shiny purple back. remain on the plant over the winter. which is rarely offered. It is useful in the wildflower garden in deep. Difficult further south unless cool. As with many North American species. Southeastern Canada and northern New England. Seed is unreliable. nothing seems to bother this native orchid. central Honshu. west to the Rockies and Cascades. leaves 2. slugs are a scourge during winter warm-ups. the plant resurrects itself and the flower spikes appear.or 3-lobed on very long petioles. where it is fairly common.5 in. leaf solitary. northern Georgia. flowers 2–5 in open racemes. The epithet (hyemalis = pertaining to winter) indicates its fascinating persistence during that season. south into the Ohio River Valley and the central Appalachians. It is a less interesting plant in areas of long-lasting snow cover. Unfortunately. Aplectrum hyemale. Japan. June–August. Orchidaceae. I wanted some columbines in my garden. and Arkansas. but a second glance revealed a splendid colony of strange green leaves with a hint of silvery white striping. moist conditions can be maintained during hot summers. flowers tiny. even with abundant moisture present. One day. Many are small. (8 cm) wide. in a loose spiral on an erect spike 18–24 in. pleated. The content of its paired corms was used by American Indians as a dressing Aquilegia Hybrid columbines are a mainstay of sunny borders.

light green. Hundreds of fabulous. the clumps renew themselves. Hummingbirds have long tongues so can easily reach the nectaries. Columbines have been popular garden plants for many years. flowerstalks 20–30 in. leaves basal. fruit many-seeded. unaffected leaves soon develop. fungal leaf spot. Aquilegia canadensis. yellow stamens bundled and projecting. and there is no die-back as seen in many hybrid columbines. (2. each lobed and deeply divided into 3 segments. and powdery mildew. seedlings can be removed where they are not wanted and planted where they are. although I cannot see anything dovelike in the flowers. plant clump-forming with deep-seated rootstock. unless otherwise noted. April–July. The colorful flowers attract hummingbirds. A general-application insecticide may be the only way to solve these problems. Combat this affliction by cutting off all affected leaves and sending them to the dump. wild columbine. and new. The common name appears to be rooted in the Latin columbinus (= like a dove). One of the best columbines for the shady garden. Established clumps self-seed abundantly. somewhat bell-shaped. Easily the best columbines for the shady garden are the various species native to woodlands. 4–6 in. present in just about every moist woodland garden. hot. Columbines are also subject to rust. on terminal. Systemic insecticides are useful. alluding to the resemblance of the five flower spurs to an eagle’s talons. Crown rot (southern blight) caused by white silk fungus (white mold fungus) is sometimes problematic. bees. others have up-facing flowers. moist. Their foliage is attractive and longlasting. To harvest seed. leafy racemes. The genus name derives from the Latin aquila (= eagle). the Canadian columbine does not seem to be as affected by this blight. Leaf miners. The native habitat of columbines is remarkably diverse.5 in. is so vigorous. Short-lived hybrid columbines requiring full sun or very light shade are excluded in general. move young plants in autumn. Slugs. Happily. 5 slightly diverging but forwardpointing bright red sepals. blue and blue. Some species. wait until the seeds turn black and sow as soon as ripe. mysteriously appear whenever a columbine is planted. which are simply mesmerizing in the garden. dehiscent. like the Canadian columbine. Aquilegia is classified in the Ranunculaceae. (1 cm) long. cut holes into the sides of the nectaries to get to the sweet fluid. those that are included should be considered for tentative use. which now thrives in the moist shade of my garden. New England west to Wisconsin and Minnesota.Aquilegia the Smoky Mountains. Eastern North America. disfiguring the leaves. rock bells. leaflets 9–25 per leaf. supported by thin stems. Color combinations (sepals and petals) seen in species include blue and white. Species columbines do best in a light. (50–75 cm). but well-draining woodland soil. bright scarlet. nodding. long-spurred flowers with yellow skirts could not be missed—an unforgettable sight. yellow and red. and their grubs also do damage. (10–15 cm) long. Species and cultivars listed are suitable for zones 4 to 8. digging to a depth sufficient to 77 liberate all roots. Butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars) and various beetles. because they are frequently open-pollinated. and in most cases new plants flower within two seasons. 2-ternate. dry summers of the South. particularly weevils. have flowers that nod. and white and white. 1–2 in. have not been problematic at Hosta Hill. many species columbines are deep-rooted so do well during the long. most columbines rarely come true in such gardens. Canada columbine. Here its brilliant scarlet flowers with yellow . rich in organic matter. but they should be used as a last resort and sparingly. yellow and yellow. Propagate by dividing the dormant rhizome. 5 petals with yellow blades tapering backward into straight or slightly outward-curved bright red spurs to 0. ranging from shady woodlands to sunbaked alpine meadows. Ontario and Quebec. those pesky bugs that construct twisting roadways on otherwise attractive foliage. microclimate will be decisive in these cases. flowers many. Expect hybrids in gardens where several species and cultivars are present. I stumbled upon a colony of wild columbines growing in full shade near a moss-covered rock formation. Seed germinates easily. Fortuitously. Aquilegia canadensis. on the other hand. Hardy to zone 3. This wonderful native. some gardeners consider it an annoyance when seedlings show up in unexpected places. south to Georgia. this removes some of the active insects. In so seeding. I was able to purchase a few pots in a wildflower nursery off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Canadian columbine. LS to MS.5–5 cm) long. and Tennessee. Florida.

flowers double of various colors. glaucous beneath. medium bluish green. and leaves are margined. The subject of widespread breeding with other wild species in Europe. ‘Koralle’ (‘Coral’). European columbine. flowers deep blue with white petioles. violet. flowers blue or violet. erect habit. hybrid origin. For best effect and to follow natural patterns. ‘Adelaide Addison’. Western North America. flowers bright blue. a smaller version of the type to 12 in. ‘Gisela Powell’. June–August. Aquilegia vulgaris. ‘Clematiflora Alba’. Not as robust as some species (but long-lasting compared to the hybrid groups). flowers pure white contrasting with gray-green foliage. flowerstalks to 36 in. LS. ‘Alba’. ‘Cuprea’. 2-ternate. leafy racemes. some color can be had in the shady garden during most of the summer. flowers spurless. (6 cm) across and 5 white petals with long. strongly hooked. it can be grown in warmer areas extending to zone 8. straight or outward-curved spurs to 2 in. hybrid origin. much like (and sometimes sold as) ‘Nivea’.5 in. LS to WS. flowerstalks 20–30 in. ‘Candidissima’. leaflets lobed and deeply divided. Suitable in the shady garden if some sun is available. flowers double white. This species was used by American Indians as a narcotic and aphrodisiac and to treat headaches. Combine several plants to form a colony. The bizarre double and almost triple flowers have an outline almost like pomponshaped semi-cactus dahlias. leaves basal. ‘Helenae’. and gastrointestinal complaints. on leafy stems from branched racemes. Rocky Mountain columbine. ‘Olympia’. yellow. probably hybrid origin. which fault is easily corrected by rejuvenating the planting with raised seedlings. Pandemic in Europe. plant clump-forming. plant clump-forming with deep-seated rootstock. hybrid origin. ‘Himmelblau’ (‘Heavenly Blue’). blue edge on double.8 in. flowers white. flowers red tinged white. ‘Haylodgensis’. the type is rarely available. (50–75 cm). combine several plants to form a colony. common columbine. (4 cm) long. (2 cm) long. hybrid origin. ‘Caryophylloides’. red and white or creamy white. when this species is combined with August-flowering hostas and autumn-flowering anemones. coral. 0. hybrid origin. flowers lemon-yellow. leaves basal. 5 forward-pointing sepals. Nothing approaches it for brightening up a lightly shaded corner. incurved spurs terminating with rounded knobs. An excellent species for woodland shade and the basis for many long-spurred hybrids. flowers red and yellow. flowers bicolored. Sun. 5 flaring blue to bluish purple sepals to 2. ‘Double Red’. Cultivars include ‘Corbett’ (yellow flowers) and ‘Nana’. ‘Albiflora’. long spurs. flowers blue. 5–18. large flowers. ‘Nivea’ (‘Munstead White’). bright yellow. flowers double. flower colors in this group range from purple. Rocky Mountain area from Montana to northern Arizona and New Mexico.78 Aquilegia ‘Rotstern’ (‘Red Star’). accents go on five to six weeks. dark red. blue. flowers many. white. flowers yellow-orange. granny’s bonnet. ‘Citrina’. true columbine. dehiscent. Several cultivars with variegated leaves have been combined as Aquilegia Vervaeneana Group. May–July. white flowers. ‘Alba Plena’. and pink. mottled. (30 cm). prudence is advised before introducing such a jarring element into the restful green garden. and blue to pink. coppery glow. nodding. Variety stellata has spurless flowers with widely spreading tepals and comes in white. pointed outward. flowers bright blue. 5 petals with blades tapering backward into short. erect habit. ‘Erecta’. smaller stature.5 in. ‘Crimson Star’. fevers. flowers salmon-pink. Aquilegia coerulea. hybrid origin. flowers large. hybrid origin. . fruit many-seeded. ‘Atrorosa’. and white. ‘Flore Pleno’ (‘Pleno’). medium gray-green. European crowfoot. garden columbine. upright on terminal. divided into lobed leaflets. ‘Maxistar’. flowers rose-red. Seems to grow larger in the warmer areas of its habitat. to 1. Consult the latest nursery catalogs for details and availability. white center. very long spurs. pure white. (90 cm). flowers red and white. 2-ternate. or streaked with whitish yellow or yellow. flowers yellowish white. (5 cm) long with knobs at the ends. flowers red with metallic.

they could be grown in the ground a little further north. The ferns in the genus Arachniodes are endemic to the temperate and tropical regions of eastern Asia. scaly at the base. leaning. The attractiveness of A. In the very cold northern regions. flowers double (pom-pom). stay close to the ground—some taller. This is abundantly epitomized by hostas. Other spikenards are better behaved. forms considerable colonies in the right conditions. Its glossy. mostly bluntpointed. Often confused Aquilegia coerulea ‘Rotstern’. Dryopteridaceae. Not usually considered hardy in zone 9 and colder. Aralia Large. Several other species are available. stalk green. perhaps because they are considered weedy by some. The genus includes shrubs and trees. Provide supplemental water during periods of drought. flowers pink and red. Both species form slowly expanding clumps and should be placed in a shaded position. It grows to 28 in. flowers blue and white. tapering at the tip. the stalk. Large perennials like those of the genus Aralia (spikenard) add such highlights and vertical emphasis. pink and whitish green. ‘Tom Fairhurst’. In many ways. A.Aralia ‘Nora Barlow’. (1. ‘Olympia’. though. (25 cm) wide. ‘Red Star’. (40 cm) long and 10 in. broadly ovate. pointed top. Japan. well-draining. but I have found both A. although they will tolerate considerable sun if grown in moist soil along stream banks or ponds. but the stately herbaceous perennial spikenards are practically unknown and rarely seen. flowers red with white. spores should be sown as soon as they are ripe on a coarse commercial mix with a pH of 7 to 8. acid woodland soil.2 m). brought into Western cultivation by Siebold in the 1830s. 79 Arachniodes If one fern I have comes close to being as ornate as the Japanese painted fern (Athyrium nipponicum ‘Pictum’). is increasingly appreciated for its large. (50 cm) and without variegation. produced in rosettes on slender stalks emerging directly from the rhizome. leafy presence is needed. its veins protrude conspicuously on the upper face of the leaflets. leaflets (pinnae) wedge-shaped. where no direct sun reaches during the heat of the day. China. although during particularly cold winters. its handsome. all preferring moist shade. leafy perennials are crucial to the success of the shady garden. fronds to 4 ft. Propagate by dividing the creeping rhizome in autumn or in very early spring. Clones from northern Honshu and Hokkaido seem to be more hardy than those originating further 3-compound. narrow. I made my first acquaintance with aralias during a summer trip through Arachniodes simplicior. and do well in the hot. the native American spikenard. LS to FS. simplicior and A. Indeed. whose leaves play a major role in adding texture and color. Arachniodes standishii (upside-down fern) is similar but slightly smaller. veins prominent. variegated shield fern.5 maintained moist at 70°F (21°C). Propagation by spores is also successful. racemosa. to 16 in. the top growth becomes deciduous. striking leaves and tall roundish umbels of white flowers. simplicior particularly is worth a try. Early morning sun is tolerated. in such situations. it is Arachniodes simplicior (variegated shield fern). Aralia cordata (Japanese spikenard). standishii to be hardy here in zone 7a and evergreen in a protected area. variegated fronds can be closely examined in an elevated position. with some protection. including the very popular Aralia elata (variegated Japanese angelica tree). Hostas. it makes an excellent container plant. The genus is placed in the shield fern family. Slugs seem to like my variegated shield ferns. subleaflets deeply cut and toothed. They do best in a light. Often confused with Aquilegia coerulea ‘Olympia’. rich in organic matter. bright green fronds carry a pronounced yellowish band on each side of the midrib. other maladies and insects do not seem to bother them. to 20 in. this fern is more showy—it literally shines in a garden. leaves 2. lustrous dark green with a yellowish band along the midrib on both sides of . humid southern regions of North America. The generic name (arachniodes = like a spider) suggests the spidery habit of a clump. Sometimes incorrectly sold as a selection (‘Variegata’) of Arachniodes aristata. (70 cm). whereas in other species they can be seen on the underside only (hence the common name).

to 6 in. overtopping glades of hostas and ferns. British Columbia to Newfoundland. fruit many. Spikenards are native to North America and Asia.5–2 m). greenish white. Araliaceae. (30 cm). I use it as a bold accent plant. it can reach 10 ft. The Japanese eat the young. purplish black berries. A fine tall accent for the background of larger woodland gardens. black berries. (50 cm). The Japanese spikenard’s attractive large foliage adds a tropical flavor to the shady garden. leaves 2. (1. rising above flowers. which may require application of a fungicide. was inspired by its monstrous spiny trunk. May–June. its prominently veined leaves addding texture to the garden. branched stem. . plant with rhizomatous rootstock. wild sarsaparilla. Aralia cordata. spreading. (75 cm) long. North America. and I was hooked. white. 3branched. September. branched 3-pinnate. on upright. to 12 in. to 20 in. California spikenard. pro- Aralia californica. 36 in. in usually 3 ball-shaped umbels to 2 in. There I found A. LS to WS. Michel Sarrazin. (15 cm) long. the Smoky Mountains. branched racemes. less in cultivation to 5 ft. 12 in. and the display was simply breathtaking. mountainous positions. spreading. providing striking vertical accent. check each spring to curtail its spread. plant with carrot-shaped taproot. (3 m) and may be too large for many smaller gardens. fruit many. Aralias are prone to develop fungal leaf spot. medium green. with 5–15 ovate leaflets. I made a mental note of it. to 6 in. vigilance is required to detect this problem early. irregularly toothed. Most are hardy to zone 4. finely toothed. Hardy to zone 6. cordata in a friend’s garden. and pendulous. Aphids and other sucking insects can be controlled biologically or with a mild general-application insecticide. The species listed are benign—mostly lacking spikes and bristles altogether—so undeserving of the name spikenard. and the flower panicles are white.7 m). and bristly leaves. (5 cm) wide. bristly. spinosa. September.5 m). upright. whose large leaves catch the wind like sails. This native species is much smaller than the other species listed. single stalk. rounded. dark green to black. flowers many. exposed. British Columbia to northern California. south to Georgia and west to Colorado. particularly when in bloom in late summer. leaves 2-. (90 cm) long.). 4 with protection. It looks much like an oversized astilbe. light green. elk clover. Flowers are followed by many purplish black berries. medium green attractively marked lighter green along the veins. flowers many. a shrubby aralia whose fitting common name. black berries. (2. inflorescence to 10 in. Species listed are suitable for zones 4 to 8. At least 15 ft. Aralia cachemirica from the Himalayas has long been grown in England but is seldom seen in North America. Stem-boring insects sometimes attack the plants. Much later. Their habitat is diverse. leaves on separate. and the plant is long-lasting. (15 cm) long. it was topped by huge umbels of greenish flowers. Hardy to zone 5. sent various northern species of this group from North America to Europe in the early 1700s. LS to WS. flowers many. (30 cm) long.80 Aralia Some sun. (25 cm) tall. irregularly double-toothed. Coming from sunny. to 10 in. ranging from shady woodlands and thickets to open ravines and stream banks. Japan. sometimes 3-pinnate. flowerstalks to 9 ft. Western North America. arranged in roundish umbels on upright. with 3–9 leaflets. (25 cm) long. fruit many. LS to WS. unless otherwise noted. Some sun. udo (Jap. moist soil this species forms colonies by means of creeping rhizomes. Propagate by dividing the dormant rhizome. Aralia nudicaulis. ovate. on separate. it may be marginal in very shady gardens. The soil must stay moist if this aralia is to be kept happy. Its leaves are robust. (5 m) tall. Japanese spikenard. spreading. with acute tip. Aralia is classified in the ginseng or aralia family. physician at the Court of Quebec. inflorescence to 30 in. plant with rhizomatous rootstock. each with 3–5 leaflets. A sheltered location is recommended for this tall plant. Although too large for my small garden. Some sun. umbrellalike. devil’s walking stick. A stately accent in the garden. prickly stalks. blanched shoots of this plant. in very windy locations the flowerstalk may have to be staked. white. the generic name stems from the FrenchCanadian aralie. Aralia continentalis from Korea is similar. I found the more restrained A. veins impressed. In fertile. flowerstalks 5–7 ft. (1. its leaves are more finely textured.

lifeof-man. It has a light green leaf and flower. and remain on the plant long after fruiting. Early settlers dried the tubers. making it more acceptable in smaller gardens. (38 cm) long. with snake palms. I still have some of these particularly vigorous plants. irregularly toothed and serrated. Indian turnip) or sliced and dried the corms and ground them into flour. Although the area had not been farmed since the 1930s. American spikenard. it is applied to other Asian arisaemas. Wild sarsaparilla was used as a substitute for authentic sarsaparilla flavoring. and used them as a pepper substitute. Although the collective common name cobra lily (an allusion to the similarity of the flower to the raised head of a cobra) is most proper for arisaemas that come from the Himalayas. It was familiar to American Indians. when the withering spathe reveals an attractive seed cluster of tightly packed. their growth in general is more up than out. and their size allows several to be included in a shady woodland garden. They are better garden plants than snake palms because they do not rest for a month or more between flowering and sending up a leafstalk. dracontium (green dragon). American Indians used it medicinally. not just collectors but many regular gardeners pride themselves on their latest acquisitions. which is distinguished by its single umbel of flowers and red fruit. Some sun. flowerstalks to 8 ft. branched racemes. September. On one of these rescue missions. North America. so occasional attention is required to contain the colony.” a hill-and-dale spot covered in second-growth loblolly pine forest punctuated by ancient oak trees. Arisaema In 1969 our family moved to Tucker. it was still known as Atlanta’s “farm country. with some farm terraces still discernible coursing through the woods. And arisaemas provide an attractive display from spring until autumn. sometimes 3-pinnate. plant with rhizomatous rootstock. Not as showy is another. Georgia. in cultivation to 5 ft. LS to WS. petty morel. this same chemical was the basis for an insecticide. As the area began to be built up—and long before we had a Georgia Native Plant Society—I raced bulldozers all over developing neighborhoods to rescue ferns and wildflowers. Both native North American arisaemas are now joined by an ever-increasing number of species . arisaemas have become an obsession. The hood frequently covers the spadix and has to be lifted slightly to reveal it. 81 Aralia racemosa. A. but the most notable feature is its whiplike spadix. (20 cm) long. “Jack” is the preacher—the clublike spadix standing in the “pulpit” formed by the encircling spathe. eastern Canada south to North Carolina and west to Arizona and Utah. and with the recent importation of hardy exotic arisaemas from the Far East. lesser-known jack endemic to North America. It spreads actively. not bristly. who either cooked the tubers for a lengthy period and then used them as a source of starch (hence. Similar to Aralia californica but not quite as large and a little more refined. spreading. followed by the flower. fruit many. (75 cm) long. brownish purple berries. flowers many.5 m) or less. leaves 2-. The corms contain calcium oxalate. with 3–7 ovate leaflets. to 8 in. Arisaema leaves emerge first. 30 in. which extends like a long mouse tail beyond the pointed spathe.Arisaema viding a nice spring accent in the wildflower garden. almost 4 ft. Wildlife loves the fleshy red fruit. pointed hood above it. The North American native jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) is so well known and widespread in shady wildflower corners that many gardeners just call it jack. Similar to Panax quinquefolius. which causes an intense burning sensation in the mouth if the corms are eaten raw. than most jacks I have added since. I have observed chipmunks making off with them before I can harvest. which was also used as a source of starch and as a medicine for female problems. Many relish the diversity of arisaemas. (2. With flower structures unlike most garden flowers. Botanists have known about Arisaema triphyllum since the mid-1700s. ground them. I discovered a colony of jackin-the-pulpit that stood out among the undergrowth. whose leaves are taller. inflorescence to 15 in. white. spikenard.5 m). My children always looked for a mouse caught in the spathe. medium green. arranged in umbels on upright. (1. (1. with a sheltering.2 m). Happily. so they can be mixed with lowergrowing underplantings. colorful berries. nothing shows above ground during this respite. to build the home we live in today.

from Nepal. but too much overlap hides the attractive flowers. The roots emerge from the top of the tuber. rhizomatous extensions) from the large tubers (they sap strength from the large tuber and may reduce top growth). During the winter rest period. never fail to become topics of conversation. and high winds can break the pulpy stems. but most must have a dry winter rest period. Arisaema is from the Greek aron (= arum) and aima (= blood-red). northern India. the Asian arisaemas vary in cold hardiness from zone 4 to zone 8. Propagate by taking offsets in autumn. loose. In autumn or whenever the plant goes dormant. which are . while others grow to 6 ft. Viral diseases (dasheen mosaic virus) are reported. Where all this would be difficult to accomplish. Some newer species are still rare and therefore expensive. Early-rising species can be kept inside until all danger of frost has passed. Their neighbors must be chosen with care: some arisaemas are small. Examine tubers for soft spots before planting them out in spring. the large leaves act like sails. and beautifully marked petioles accenting the panorama. but most gardeners can afford to add one or two to their gardens. Weevils are known to take bites out of the leaves. to 4 in. The production of these fruiting bodies depletes the tubers energy reserves and diminishes future top growth. Small tubers may be used to expand the planting or given away to friends. and Japan. western China. tubers should be lifted and stored in barely moist peat in a cool garage or basement. The genus belongs in the Araceae. wildflowers. and remove any offsets (small corms emanating either directly from the mother tuber or on short. where temperatures stay above freezing. less for the really small ones. by overwintering. Arisaemas are native to many different habitats. young shoots in spring. Fortunately. A similar recommendation holds true for the seed clusters. near perfect drainage is a must below the tuber to prevent rot. Indian author Udai Pradhan writes about Arisaema speciosum being used as pig fodder. I remove the pots and store them inside in cool but frost-free areas. They require abundant water during their active growth cycle. Do not place the tall ones in windy areas. Taiwan. which are then propagated from seed. and moisture-retentive. Korea. The following spring they are returned to their former locations (I save their spots by inserting empty pots of the same size after removing the potted tubers in autumn). rising above large and small hostas and woodland ferns. I keep some of my better arisaemas in good commercial potting soil in large plastic pots. so the fading flowering structure should be removed. so the soil surrounding the tuber over the top and to the sides must be fertile. (1. It may be just as well to grow and preserve a few of the Himalayan arisaemas in the West. the farmers of Nepal and Sikkim have found it much more lucrative to sell the corms for horticultural use. some leaf overlap is acceptable. He recalls seeing whole populations being ripped out of the ground with the vegetative parts fed to the pigs and the tubers left behind. The North American arisaemas are hardy to zone 4 with protection. In spring. Tubers left in the ground demand fairly deep planting. for example). they prefer a nearly dry soil but resent drying out completely.82 Arisaema enormous in some species (Arisaema taiwanense. Thailand. causing damage to azaleas—none have developed an appetite for arisaemas. and plant collectors oblige them. in fact. Large slugs and snails attack the fresh. This method is best for all gardens where winters are wet and cold. even some half-tender species can animate northern gardens. like snake palms. Arisaemas. They are ideally suited for the shady garden. (10 cm) for the larger tubers. where they stay during the growing season. because they may not be altogether safe in their habitat. On the other hand. colorful flowers. Some 150 species are now known. Seed can be sown in autumn in a cold frame. the inflorescence of arisaemas is anything but ornate: their early removal not only helps conserve energy in the tuber but also improves the appearance of the plant. During their inevitable decline. Allow enough room between tubers for leaf expansion above. or groundcover. with plenty of room for the roots to grow. their distinctive. but at Hosta Hill—with weevils ever present. and plant hunters continue to scour Asian habitats to find additional species suitable for cultivation. The tubers resent wet and cold soil in winter and so are difficult to grow outside where the ground stays soggy. The pots have a gravel layer below the tuber to guarantee drainage. striking leaves.8 m). referring to the red markings of some leaves and the petioles. I plunge these pots into previously prepared holes.

LS to FS. In some clones of this superb arisaema. inflorescence to 18 in.Arisaema Species and cultivars listed tolerate considerable sun. green with some grayish marbling in the leaflets. prominently veined. though its name suggests otherwise. downpointing tip to 4 in. shorter than or sometimes even with the petiole. Northern China and Korea. white-margined and -striped inside. The spadix is club-shaped and contained in the spathe tube. sheathed below. with an elongated. pointing to the very white spathe and hood. the central one wider. (13 cm) long. Fruit for all is a cluster of red. light green to pinkish white-striped outside. Arisaema angustatum var. Hardy to zone 5. (25 cm). light green. petiole to 40 in. Bhutan. candidissimum. (10 cm) long. such as small hostas. spathe to 6 in. spadix with cylindrical appendage. green. its inflorescence is smaller and more narrow than A. compound leaf solitary. sitting on a long peduncle to 10 in. (45 cm) tall. same color as pe- . Tubers should be overwintered indoors in northern areas wherever the soil freezes. hooded. but it can be grown further north by potting the tubers and overwintering them inside. in others the leaves unfold before the flower rises. pronounced irregular silver markings running along the midrib of the leaflets. ferns. The pinkish white flowers glow in the shade and cannot be missed. Arisaema concinnum. striped white. white cobra lily. hood with elongated. with pseudostem to 4 in. The bright red fruit held up high is eye-catching. variegata. light green. with 5 radiating green leaflets. elegant cobra lily. northern Japan. which rises above the leaves on 4 ft. Variety robustum is no more robust than the type. Size also varies greatly in cultivation. petiole to 24 in. This lovely flowering jack deserves a special place in the garden. (10–13 cm) long. (1 m). Arisaema angustatum. (45 cm) tall. Arisaema amurense. (1. peduncle below leaf. slightly longer than tube. Korea. light green with brownish. (20–30 cm) tall. May–July. peduncle 10 in. 83 Arisaema candidissimum. hood is a greenish pink with elongated tip. denticulatum is differentiated from the species by toothed leaves. hooded. purple to chiefly purple-mottled. (10 cm) long. preferably morning sun in more southern regions. the flower emerges before the leaves. and astilbes. LS to FS. distinguished only by the height of the inflorescence.2 m) flowerstalks. brown. with tapering appendage. var. sometimes 2. I have grown this exquisite Chinese jack for several years. All are colorful arisaemas that fit well in a deeply shaded corner with other diminutive companion plants. Identification of arisaemas in commerce is sometimes problematic. (25 cm). and from the initial two tubers a colony of more than a dozen plants has developed. (8–10 cm) long. followed closely by the slightly fragrant flowers—you must get really close and have a good nose to detect it. differentiating these species is difficult when plants are not in flower. leaf solitary. mostly green. pendulous tip. June–July. (60 cm) tall. which is sheathed by purplish mottled bracts (cataphylls). striped pinkish white outside. rarely purple. or blackish berries that remain on the plant until winter. (15 cm) long. Hardy to zone 6. with 3 shiny green leaflets. May–July. occasionally taller in the wild. spathe to 5 in. Arisaema franchetianum. purple to deep violet with 5 whitish green stripes. May– June. (13 cm) long with light green tube. northern India. (15 cm) long. Amur river region. green with narrow white stripes. Himalayas. so adjustments may be necessary. A variable. their leaves unfold first. rarely mottled with purple. is similar to the species but has beautiful. It is not unusual to see green and purple flowers on different plants of the same species. lighter inside. Amur cobra lily. petiole 8–12 in. LS to FS. franchetianum is quite different. slightly longer than tube. to 8 in. hardy arisaema. leaf solitary. hooded. A recent introduction. with flaring hood. Western China. hooded. spadix darker green toward top. western China. has almost identical leaves. 3–4 in. Hardy in zones 6 to 8. basal bract. (20 cm) long. Another jack with white flowers is A. spathe to 5 in. also from western China. peninsulae f. Variety peninsulae is very similar. oblong lance-shaped. as is the variability within a given species. where it can be inspected at close range. LS to FS. The flower of A. broadly ovate. spathe to 6 in. the spathe tube is purple to brownish purple. 4–5 in. Nepal. The epithet is the Latin candidissimum (= the whitest). saxatile. spadix darker green toward top. with 5 wide white stripes. which difference may be due to environmental conditions. petiole to 18 in. inflorescence on short peduncle below or even with leaf.

In the wild. petiole to 36 in.84 Arisaema dark reddish purple with clear white stripes outside. slightly bending at the tip or straight. This species is superficially similar to Arisaema erubescens and A. (15–25 cm) long. peduncle below leaf. LS to FS. Michigan. 0. green dragon. with elongated tip. sometimes mottled with. leaf solitary. 2–3 basal bracts. spathe tube 4–8 in. slightly longer than tube. 10 in. Hardy to zone 7 with protection but best overwintered. petiole to 16 in. (1. others have purple spathes. ribbed along stripes. fruit cluster of red berries. The most visible differences are the very long. (15–30 cm) long. Widely available from wildflower nurseries and of easy culture in the garden. ribbed cobra lily. light green tinged purple or brownish red. acuminate. Western China. (35 cm) long and very narrow. sheathed below. to 3 in. flaring hood upright or bending. as ‘Red Form’ and the green one as ‘Himalayan Form’. petiole to 40 in. rarely mottled with pink and brown. hence the Latin epithet (costatum = elevated. Himalayas. spadix darker green or brownish toward top. parallel ribbed veins on the underside. spathe to 5 in. usually 15. LS to FS. spathe tube to 5 in. (50 cm) long. This arisaema has a graceful flower with the lines in the spathe tube flowing uninterrupted into the hood. and Wisconsin. purple spathes. Nepal. with 7–13 radiating. with 11–22. (13 cm). Indian turnip. drooping extensions. with pseudostem to 24 in. some nurseries offer the purple flower. leaflets. striped inside and out. southern Tibet. (10–20 cm) long. Arisaema elephas. to 14 in. leaf solitary. hence the Latin epithet (dracontium = dragonlike). central ones larger to 8 in. and New Brunswick south through Appalachians to Georgia and along the coastal plain to Florida. 6–10 in. (40 cm) tall. flaring hood with elongated. dragon arum. Hardy in zones 6 to 9. concinnum. The spathe and long spadix is a fanciful portrayal of a dragon’s tongue. ovate. thin leaf tips. (8 cm) long. consanguineous cobra lily. to 5 ft. Arisaema dracontium. ribbed). purple to chiefly purple-mottled. Eastern North America. spadix thick. some with green and others with white-striped. Hardy in zones 4 to 9. May–June. with tapering. green to yellowish green leaflets. Hardy in zones 7 to 9. spadix darker green toward top. June–early July.5 in. In the wild. May– June. (1 cm) or less. somewhat darker. west to eastern Texas. southern Quebec. sharp-tipped. with irregular piecrust margins. (25 cm) peduncle. compound. sheathed at the ground. closely spaced. leaf solitary. Taiwan. darker green tinged. western China. smooth margin. threadlike extensions of the spadix hood and the equally long. small. Variable plants from seedlings are also available. same color as peduncle. the epithet (consanguineum = of the same blood) probably alludes to such a relationship. threadlike tail to 6 in. the middle leaflet much larger. This native North American jack is not as showy as the exotic cobra lilies. sometimes bending. Bhutan. in the upper part thinning. to 14 in. (25–50 cm) long. fruit cluster of red berries. wavy. spathe a very dark purple-black with white lines. Ontario. but it is a graceful addition to the shady woodland. (13 cm) long. leaf solitary. and a refined plant it is. drooping. slightly flattened into the hood at the top. hooded. hooded. (90 cm) tall. mostly green. (1 m). northern India. appendage projecting to 10 in. Eastern and central Nepal. peduncle 10–20 in. (60 cm) long. broadly ovate. green to yellowish green leaflets. with 3 green leaflets. both forms are seen growing side by side. narrowly lance-shaped. the leaves have distinct. LS to FS. with tapering upright. The epithet comes from the Latin concinnus (= elegant). Arisaema consanguineum. 2–3 basal bracts. two clones of this arisaema are found.5 m). A small colony of plants is better than a single specimen. duncle. Some clones of this superb rhizomatous arisaema have green spathes. threadlike. (20 cm) long. cylindrical. brown. May–June. (15 cm) long. Arisaema costatum. both hanging down. the more desirable jack. very narrowly lance-shaped. (13 cm) long. where it attracts attention by rising above smaller companions. spadix whitish at base. (35 cm) long. dull light green tinged. LS to FS. with striking narrow leaves hovering umbrellalike above the flower. 6–12 in. tubular but open on the spadix side. with tips lengthened into threadlike. threadlike appendage often to 20 in. taller in cultivation. (25 cm) above hood. with 5–15 dull green leaflets. blackish purple extending beyond the spathe . peduncle to 5 in. light to medium green. radiating. uniform light green or white-striped purple.

(2 cm) long and of lesser width. (13–25 cm) long. (50 cm) tall. (38 cm) long. petiole to 20 in. reddening) refers. Sometimes considered synonymous with or a variety of Arisaema consanguineum. mostly purple-striped green. A relatively new jack with bold leaves of heavy substance. spathe tube almost globelike to 0. peduncle short. This rhizomatous. (45 cm) tall. leaf solitary. greenish to grayish purple. (10 cm) wide. (5 cm) long. with 5–11 radiating. green. spathe very large and decorative. hood flaring wide with reflexed lips and long. Being from a subalpine region. LS to FS. lance. spathe tube without hood but tapering from a roundish base to an elongated. LS to FS. leaf solitary. Nepal. Griffith’s cobra lily. without the usual hood-shaped limb. Himalayas. junction of spathe tube and hood very constricted. tapering appendage to 24 in. LS to FS. shiny dark green above. (60 cm) long. Darjeeling. to 1 in. broadest above the middle. rarely 1. 4–9 in. it is a midget compared to others jacks. northern India. it will eventually make an unusual addition to the Western shady garden. rose-colored and streaked red. down-pointing tip to 3 in. similar to those of Arisaema ringens. to which the Latin epithet (erubescens = blushing. Himalayas. Differs from most Himalayan jacks by having an erect spathe. (40 cm). broadest above the middle. to 5 in. green leaflets with conspicuous veins. in-rolled margins. pseudostem to 16 in. (2. (75 cm) tall. petiole to 20 in. owlface cobra lily. and if there is such a thing as a cute jack. fruit cluster of bright red berries. rose with brown mottling. It is reliably hardy here in zone 7a. fully enclosed. it requires perfect drainage under the tuber. Bhutan. widening at the top. May–June. this is the one. Darjeeling.8 in. Yet untested but nevertheless promises to be an exciting addition to many gardens. Reported hardy to zone 4—questionable considering its native habitat.Arisaema tube. northern India. pointing down. with sharp. Arisaema flavum. The tuber is small. with 3 bold green leaflets. May–July. tapering tip. (75 cm) tall. pale yellow to yellowish green. The leaves are not small. Hardy here in zone 7a but best overwintered further north. leaf solitary. rarely purple. fully enclosing the cylindrical spathe tube. Western China. shorter than petiole. Its species name alludes to the missing spadix appendage. leaf solitary. rounded tip. LS to FS. slightly longer than the spathe tube with a blunt. undulate leaves and a flower with a whitish bloom (indumentum) that imparts a blush-pink appearance. spadix small. peduncle to 9 in. Himalayas. It is vigorously rhizomatous and spreads briskly in good garden soil. spreading Himalayan jack has striking shiny. pseudostem short. spadix small. 85 Arisaema erubescens. so mark its location carefully. purple with . broadly ovate and pointed. threadlike. smooth and glaucescent below. it will seed itself around. Scarcely available. June–early July. brownish purple sometimes red or purple. to 4 in. which looks like the tip of a Arisaema griffithii. its spreading habit may be boon to gardeners. Where hardy. June–July. spadix with very long. oblong lance-shaped. tube to 3 in. blushing cobra lily. LS to FS. peduncle. median leaflets shorter. contained in spathe tube. yellow-flowered cobra lily. in the upper part brownish purple with purple stripes. Bhutan. broadly ovate. erect tip. but this arisaema requires a place up front to assure the cute inflorescence is not overlooked. Himalayas from Afghanistan east to western China. Arisaema exappendiculatum. (8 cm) long. hood yellowish green. (13 cm) long. leaves 2. with 3–5 white stripes extending into hood. petiole to 30 in. appendixless cobra lily. spathe to 2 in. June–July. to 15 in. Arisaema fargesii. narrowly lanceshaped. with 9–13 radiating leaflets. light green leaflets. tip reflexed. with precautions or potted and overwintered. In a locality to its liking. with 3 shiny. Scarcely tested in Western gardens but may be as hardy as other species from the area. covered with a pinkish white bloom. spathe a very dark purple-black with white lines. (50 cm) tall. (8 cm) long. lance-shaped. hooded. A showy jack—makes a great solitary accent.5 cm) long. to zone 6 or 7. with 7–15 radiating leaflets. (23 cm). to 3 in. The small yellow flower gave this jack its name (flavum = yellow). (30 cm) long. (10–23 cm) long. streaked brown. best to pot and overwinter it further north. 5– 10 in. petiole to 18 in. spadix darker green or brownish. petiole to 30 in. purple inside at lower end. to 12 in. (8 cm) long. Nepal. Nepal.

spathe to 5 in. winged. which has rolled edges on its clublike spadix. pot in areas of wet winters. slightly longer than tube. leaf solitary. purple. Arisaema heterophyllum. with 3 green leaflets. (60 cm). with tapering. fruit cluster of red berries. The epithet heterophyllum (= different leaves) alludes to the leaves being different from other species in the area. peduncle very short. green with dark brown. almost black spotting. (1 m). Can be tried in colder areas with protection. (25 cm) long and very narrow. leaf solitary. radiating from the petiole. northern India. almost black petiole and peduncle. caution is advised before ordering. Arisaema griffithii resents our cold. is traceable to this Himalayan jack: the winged hood of the flower suggests the raised head of a cobra. to 18 in. March–May. fascinating and attractive. from the Latin verruca (= wart). with a long. and a much longer spadix appendage. striped whitish. heterophyllum. but mostly reaching the ground. after it emerges. it requires a cool spot in deep shade and dislikes hot summer temperatures. spathe with hood blackish purple striped pinkish green. petiole to 30 in. verrucosum differs from the type by having a smaller spathe hood that is ovate above the spathe tube. (45 cm) long. Hardy to zone 7. threadlike appendage. (13 cm) long. with large lateral lobes forming ovate flaps. tapering. LS to FS. (15 cm) long. with leaflets to 10 in. deep violet with yellowish or greenish veins all over. var. Most likely the common name of the genus. (2800 m). Arisaema iyoanum. Hardy to zone 6 with protection. (30 cm) tall. red. a very light . to 24 in. nakaianum. piecrust margins. tapering tip to 3 in. allowing for it to be brought inside during late freezes. rarely purpletinged. Japanese cobra lily. The same goes for var. to 5 in. (8 cm) long. spathe recurved. (13 cm) long. a shorter hood tip extension. Nepal. widening at the top. Arisaema utile is very similar but smaller. (10 cm). compound. Variety pradhanii is said to be larger. Arisaema jaquemontii. broadly ovate. (60 cm) tall. not convoluted. Bhutan. Korea. to 8 in. (20 cm). petiole spotted dark brownish purple. drooping extensions. tortuous. the middle leaflet much larger. cobra lily. spadix extending beyond spathe tube with very long. with a long. Hardy to zone 8. dull light green. wet soil and comes up early in spring. uniform light green. white stripes. flaring hood with elongated. with tips lengthened into threadlike. Japan. smooth margin. spadix darker green. (25 cm) long. LS to FS. to 10 in. Blume’s cobra lily. Shikoku. and warts on the very dark. Native to the higher elevations of the Himalayas. petiole to 40 in. (20 cm) long. May–June. spathe to 6 in. (50 cm) high. tapering tip. white-striped. Arisaema consanguineum is superficially similar and is sometimes supplied in lieu of A. to 24 in. Attractive leaves. I found it best to pot the tuber and overwinter it inside. This somewhat tender arisaema has not only the largest flower but the most bizarre inflorescence in the genus—the entire plant looks menacing. petiole to 12 in. June–July. ribbed. with pseudostem to 24 in. sometimes rhombic in outline. (15 cm) long. hooded. with 3 leaflets. southeastern Tibet. to 20 in. and a curious spadix tail that meanders down and across the ground make this an interesting jack. (75 cm) tall. May–June. at above 8000 ft. networked with many veins. Also available is subsp. ovate lance-shaped. Darjeeling. sometimes longer. Jaquemont’s cobra lily. a fascinating flower. Arisaema intermedium. LS to FS. very narrowly lance-shaped. folded over and downward. Afghanistan. biflagellatum. arranged like a horseshoe. broadly ovate. May–June. hood very wide at the top. It should be potted in areas of cold and wet or freezing winter soils. to 8 in. with a much shorter peduncle. to 40 in. flowers carried above leaves. centrally convex above the tube and with a tapering tip to 4 in. threadlike appendage often held in the hood. downward-drooping threadlike tail to 6 in. spadix clublike. (60 cm) long. or purplish wavy margins. but it is. hood yellowish green.86 Arisaema wavy. leaves 2. deep violet-purple with closely spaced lines of pale yellow to white on the facing surface. puckered. which is distinguished by a longer tail on the hood but is otherwise much like the type. dull green. hence the varietal name. Himalayas from Afghanistan east to western China. green with yellowish. Himalayas. 8–10 primary veins impressed above and elevated below. very long. with 9–13 green leaflets. leaves 2. (1 m) tall. purple or brownish red speckled with light green. 2–3 large basal bracts. LS to FS. green. nevertheless. spadix club-shaped.

slightly longer than the spathe tube. white-striped. extended tip. with 5 radiating leaflets. June–July. outstanding for carrying its flowers above the leaves. spadix whip-shaped. with 3–9 medium green leaflets. with sharp. taller in cultivation. wavy in the margins. with threadlike extension rising up. digitate. peduncle to 6 in. occasionally 2.5 m). upright tail extending from the hood can be observed. Arisaema minamitanii. (13 cm) long. This species. wavy. recently discovered on Kyushu in Miyazaki Prefecture. attractive Japanese jack from Chiba Prefecture is an early riser. tapering tip. sheathed with pseudostem to 24 in. I keep it in a pot in a cool. (40 cm) tall. widening at the top. shiny green. where the unusual long. With warming weather. Hardy to zone 6. lance-shaped. Arisaema limbatum. petiole to 16 in. spathe held above foliage. with sharp. darker green toward top. July. tail-like tip to 5 in. tapering to a sharp. (40 cm) tall. spathe green. with basal bracts marked dark brown. I planted a small colony in a shady corner underplanted with white-flowering Mazus reptans. leaf solitary. Kyushu. spadix slender. This lets me enjoy its commanding presence without freeze worries. Arisaema kiushianum. Kyushu cobra lily. Japan. spadix clubshaped. green. LS to FS. LS to FS. petiole to 36 in. leaf solitary. leaf solitary. tip of green. broadly egg-shaped. to 8 in. hood flaring. (25 cm) long peduncle emerging between the leaf petioles. Kyushu. Japan. with basal bracts marked dark brown. Where it can be left in the ground. Japan. broadest above the middle. spadix club-shaped. so late freezes are not a problem. but mostly less. Here it is always too early and gets nipped by a late freeze. (75 cm). slightly longer than tube. (18 cm) long. mottled darker purple. Occasionally. lanceshaped. broadest above the middle. spadix short. green. green. drooping. hooded. radiating leaflets. spathe rising above leaves. hood broadly flaring. pot and all. when it gets buried outside. purplish green. peduncle arising between the leaf petioles. bending forward and down. A showy species with prominent white markings inside the hood. dry place until mid-April. smooth margin. Kyushu. lance-shaped. widening at the top. slender extension to 7 in. extending over the spathe tube with long up-slanting. is similar to Arisaema robustum and is reported to be a durable garden plant. Japan. white-striped inside hood. Japan. Hardy to zone 6b. petiole to 16 in. petiole to 30 Arisaema negishii. spathe to 5 in. (50 cm) tall. green. leaves 2. uniform green with whitish green stripes outside. green. tapering tip. with pot culture required in colder regions. blooming here in late May. dark purple with white T-shaped marking inside. sometimes barely white-striped. (40 cm) tall. greenish purple. This tall. LS to FS. hood extending over the spathe tube. hood extending over the spathe tube. broadest above the middle. some cultivated specimens lack the tail. June–July. whitish green. (13 cm) long. rarely purple. Hardy to zone 6. flaring hood that is blunt or pointed with broad. to 5 ft. east-central Honshu. light green. widening at the top. usually 5. darker green purplish toward top. (13 cm) long. shorter than the inflorescence. to 5 in. with sharp. hood extending over the spathe tube. whitish at the base. light green with prominent veins. (1. June. drooping earlike lobes (auricles). . whitish gray markings along the midrib. with 9–11 radiating leaflets. to 7 in. with tips lengthened to a sharp point. it soon propagates by offsets. without pseudostem. purple. (15 cm) arising from the ground next to petiole. striped reddish brown. the leaves are marked with irregular. tapering tip. One of the hardiest Himalayan species. broadest above the middle. 87 in. exserted. with sharp. then hanging down. petiole to 20 in. leaf solitary. green. It emerges late and blooms in July. tapering tip. Hardy to zone 6b. In autumn the pot with the tuber gets put back into storage again. inside spathe tube.Arisaema whitish green. (60 cm) long. Arisaema maximowiczii. spadix club-shaped with projecting. petiole dark brownish green to 16 in. light green tube with white stripes. green. spathe to 5 in. May–July. with 3–9. widening at the top. it comes up quickly and keeps pace with the other jacks. LS to FS. extending over the spathe tube. lance-shaped. spathe on 10 in. (20 cm) long. pointed tip. Kyushu. with 3–9 radiating leaflets. projecting. (18 cm) long. April–May. (13 cm) long. (90 cm) tall. barely striped. LS to FS. hood elongated into a vertically ascending.

with tapering tips. (45–90 cm) long. Darjeeling. hood wide. The common name honors the botanist Wallich. Its leaves are among the largest I have seen and exceed many published descriptions. compound. pot and all. spathe tube to 3 in. glossy dark green above. the middle leaflet sometimes shorter. Taiwan. western China. cylindrical. sharply incurved. spadix darker green or purple. spotted darker. to 20 in. (1. climbing pitcher plant. Himalayas. brownish with green markings at the base fading to solid green further up. The best of all exotic jacks when it comes to uncomplicated culture and long-lasting display value in the shady garden. May–June. (45 cm) tall. spadix enclosed. Plants hailing from the subalpine regions of Sikkim (available under the name sikkimense) are slightly different and are better planted in a rock garden. glossy medium green with prominent depressed veins above and elevated beneath. nepenthes-like cobra lily. I find it is better to bring the potted tubers inside. The leaflets have great substance and come through hot. with large. arranged like a horseshoe. Nepal east to Sikkim. indicating its affinity to Arisaema costatum. clublike. hence the epithet nepenthoides (= like a nepenthes). threadlike appendage to 2 in. This jack is suitable to more northern gardens. I have measured as much as 50 in. 18–36 in. (2. with closely spaced. southeast Tibet. flaring. being hardier than A. with pointed. middle larger. latticed white toward margin. Japan. but shorter than petioles. green. then place them back in the accustomed spot the following spring. with 3–9 leaflets. particularly Arisaema ochraceum. spotted bracts. yellowish outside. deep purple with white stripes with hood widened. leaves 2. yellowish brown toward base. hood whitish inside. spathe to 6 in. This Japanese jack also occurs in extreme southern Honshu and many of the southern islands. reticulate veins on the underside. with flower held at. peduncle long. Himalayas. yellowish brown. extending from mouth and held subhorizontally. sometimes uniform pale green. threadlike but stiff leaf tip extensions to 2 in. with tapering. earlike appendages projecting 1 in. elongated tail. (20 cm) long. pseudostem tall. Marvelous and showy in the garden. who first described the Nepalese arisaemas in 1824. mottled dull brownish purple. petiole to 18 in.3 m) across the leaflets of a leaf. not visible. each with 3 glossy green leaflets on short leafstalks. spiraling. purple with light green stripes. LS to FS. in areas of wet and cold winter soils. they may need repotting from time to time. broadest above the middle. dark reddish purple with white stripes. May–June. spadix projected. Shikoku. peduncle long. petiole to 18 in. signifying its pigmentation (ochraceus = ochre-yellow. green or green spotted purple or brownish red. The spathe tube of this Himalayan jack is colored like the pitchers of Nepenthes refflesiana (monkey cup). leaves 2. purple. glaucous beneath. sitting helmet-shaped atop the spathe tube. bending down. ringent cobra lily. Kashmir. neighboring. Arisaema ringens. (8 cm) long. with brownish purple.5 cm) each side at the base of the hood. Arisaema nepenthoides. Korea. but I have had it potted in the ground during mild winters in zone 7a. Because this species resents cold. tapering tip incurved. which has prominent parallel. leaves 2. a tropical. LS to FS. sometimes hanging down. gaping mouth cobra lily. as opposed to reticulate. wet soil. earlike appendages each side. green. to 8 in. Variable in height. beneath. May–June. greenish red or brown. costatum. (18 cm) long. mottled dull brownish purple. Hardy to zone 8. with deep purple. peduncle short to 2 in. yellow tinged pink on top. white to pale yellow. (45 cm) tall. Hardy to zone 5 with protection. with 3–5 wide lines on the back. curled. with 3 leaflets. dry sum- Arisaema propinquum. in the sense of “related to”). (5 cm). Bhutan. (50 cm) long. green spotted brown with purple margins. or slightly above the leaves. Bhutan. (5 cm) long. yellowish brown). This jack is occasionally available under one of its synonyms. club-shaped. . it is best overwintered. LS to FS. to overwinter. Its showy flower and unusual color display are well worth the extra effort. broadly ovate. as wide as the spathe tube. spathe tube to 7 in. northern Burma. almost black. with striated dark reddish brown lines. slender. As the tubers grows. The epithet is from the Latin propinquus (= near. slightly flaring. broadly ovate. ovate lance-shaped. each with 5–7 palmate leaflets. petiole to 18 in. (5 cm) long. white to pale yellow. northern India. Wallich’s cobra lily. veins. China. rarely 3.88 Arisaema (15 cm) long. Nepal. Hardy in zones 6 to 9. yellow cobra plant. (45 cm) tall. leaves 2. narrowly lance-shaped.

to 3 in. LS to FS. its spathe is a translucent light jade-green. whitish coating covering the flower. purple. spathe green. green. green. (30 cm) tall. LS to FS. pseudostem to 14 in. Arisaema sazensoo. LS to FS. and as the epithet indicates. Kurile Islands. with pointed tip. green. it has survived temperatures to 0°F (−18°C) here for short periods with protection to keep the soil from freezing. green. spadix cylindrical. Hardy to zone 5. Arisaema saxatile. with petiole to 10 in. no harm was done by the heat and dryness. and they are never without their beautiful gloss. with blunt. June–July. (13 cm) long. Eastern Russia. leaf 1. broadest above the middle. The flowers are lovely. mottled dull brownish purple. (8 cm) long. pseudostem to 20 in. Japan. obovate with sharp. Many available plants of this variable jack are raised from seed. spadix cylindrical. Arisaema ringens is variable—for example. rarely 2. white-striped dark purple inside. robust arisaema makes an excellent landscape plant for the open garden. (38 cm) tall. robustum. brightening up shady corners with their glowing white spathes. tapering tip. can also be green. This large. it looks much like the gaping mouth of a sinister. hood slightly widened. robustum. whether used as an accent in mass plantings of ferns and smaller hostas or to punctuate ground- Arisaema serratum. perfect white outside. narrow tube. which usually characterizes a one-petaled flower with the upper limb (hood) pressed against the lower one (spathe tube). The construction is impossible to describe. they need plenty of water. peduncle long. Japanese cobra lily. with sharp. Hardy to zone 5. Japan. whitish inside. short. so expect minor differences. tapering tip.Arisaema mers here with aplomb. This is inferred by the Latin ringens. Aside from the superb leaves. ringens of gardens is actually A. which are mostly purple. leaves 2. so verification before ordering is advised. in areas of wet and cold winter soils. (35 cm) with large basal bracts. or dark purple. and in this case a picture is worth more than a thousand words. pale green with purple spots or dark purple with whitish green stripes. petioles to 12 in. hood held obliquely upward or horizontal over the spathe tube. with earlike coils at junction with tube. truncate. elegant jack for the garden. green. Korea. May–June. flaring. a form from the Ryukyu Islands with a glaucous. This Japanese jack is new to Western gardens and a good garden plant. One of the most impressive and showy arisaemas for the open garden. dark monster. spathe to 5 in. Here the leaves emerge a light green. long hood upright to slightly oblique. petioles to 15 in. tapering and extending beyond the spathe tip. lance-shaped. Forma glaucescens. providing a continuing accent from early spring until autumn. but it can be grown in pots anywhere if the corm is overwintered in a frost-free place. which looks much like a bowing Buddhist monk. spathe emerging on peduncle between the leaf petioles. Sakhalin. green . round tip. This species and Arisaema sikokianum are mixed up in commerce. Korea. slightly incurved. June–July. spathe long. it is best overwintered. A rare albino form is available. (25 cm) tall. alluding to its native habitat. The easiest way to tell these species apart is by the number of leaflets: 3 for A. tapering tip. Its epithet is from the Latin saxatilis (= dwelling among rocks). Hardy to zone 7. spadix club shaped. long hood extending over and beyond the spathe tube. but when left alone during a few days of absence. LS to FS. the lips of the spathe. green. spadix darker green. rarely purple. This recent introduction is a distinctive. widening at the top. with 5 radiating leaflets. pale green with white stripes or purple spots. China. Like the large-leaved hostas. (50 cm) with petioles to 20 in. narrowly lance-shaped with sharp. to 5 in. 89 cover in the shady woodland. with 3 leaflets. purple outside. leaves 2. is available but still rare. with long extended tip. with 5 radiating leaflets. (50 cm) tall. ringens. green or greenish with dark brown markings. 5 for A. so be cautious when ordering from European sources. ripening to a darker green. short peduncle. (13 cm) long. the spring-blooming flower is something to behold: as the epithet indicates. with 5 greenish white stripes. June–July. with white stripes outside. rock-dwelling cobra lily. basal bracts. Hardy to zone 6b. robust cobra lily. In Europe A. Arisaema robustum. but shorter than petioles. for the drooping hood. widening at the top. Japan. they stay on the plant until early November. cylindrical. truncate. Japan. Its epithet is from the Japanese sazen (= meditation).

It is rarely available. Hardy to zone 5. Shikoku. broadly ovate. interior yellowish white to pure white. this is the one.2 m) with leaflets attractively silvermarbled. the middle one larger. hence the epithet. but potting is suggested. purple inside with 5–9 whitish green stripes. radiating leaflets. wavy. exterior dark purple or deep reddish brown. sikokianum × A. peduncle short. spadix greenish yellow fading to purplish green toward top. the leaflet margins can be smooth but are frequently toothed. no pseudostem. to 32 in. rising from the ground. Potting is the best way to protect this valuable jack. with slightly depressed veins. It comes up early. the base of the tube arising decurrent to the peduncle. Arisaema sikokianum. reddish purple.5 m) tall. green leaflets. margins rolled up. The epithet comes from the Latin speciosus (= showy). In most clones. blackish purple outside. LS to FS. green mottled with dark brownish purple. broadly ovate. with attractive silver markings. including the color of the spathe and the height of the plant. LS to FS. from the Latin serratus (= toothed). petioles to 20 in. hood pinched at the base then widening. slightly emerging above tube. elongated. margins slightly incurved. make this an interesting jack. (25 cm) long. darker purple outside. cylindrical with enlarged. emerging from the ground on very short stalk (peduncle). toothed. Shikoku cobra lily. dark green or dark green with whitish gray markings along the midrib. a detailed description should be obtained before ordering. the lower with 3 leaflets. (80 cm). meandering down and across the ground. Taiwan. erect. as Barry Yinger puts it. I have measured some plants at almost 5 ft. sungure-to (Punjabi). a vigorous cross that reaches 4 ft. to 6 in. (1. leaves 2. possibly zone 4. Hybrids are rare in the wild. tapering. spadix cylindrical with a long . with 3 large. early May–June. each with 7–9 green.2 m). LS to FS. but shorter than petioles. ‘Silver Pattern’. (1. dark purple. leaflets wavy. dull brownish purple at the base. with up-pointed tip. This is the cobra lily everyone talks about. takedae. leaf solitary. these are available as A. to 10 in. (70 cm) tall. Hardy to zone 8. a “wow” impact. threadlike appendage.90 Arisaema premium price. margins sometimes flushed red. very dark purple. striped white and ribbed. spathe to 8 in. (45 cm) long. knoblike top. slightly widening at the top. This tall addition to the shady garden looks fabulous popping out of plantings of woodland ferns or larger hostas. sikokianum. so protection from late freezes is in order. Japan. but some have been made in cultivation. tapering tip bending down subhorizontally. This species is variable in other details as well. (20 cm) long. some nurseries have selected outstanding clones with silvery gray markings along the leaf midrib. May–June. spadix pure white. Some gardening duffers compare it to a smooth golf ball sitting on a fat tee. sikokianum ‘Variegata’. white inside with purple margins at the mouth. (20 cm). and with its unequal leaflet count and gaping flower (whose white mouth contains a jack like that of no other arisaema). bending forward. mottled dull brownish purple. If only one example of this species can be planted. (20 cm). Arisaema speciosum. the flower exceeds the leaves in height. purple inside and out. Variety mirabile differs by having a spadix that is distended at the top and somewhat rugose. peduncle long. Flowering-size tubers exact a Arisaema taiwanense. but its commanding presence when in flower makes this investment worth every penny. and it can replace Asiatic lilies in the more shady areas of the garden. pig arisaema. showy cobra lily. mottled with dark brownish purple. Attractive leaves and a large flower with an outlandish spadix tail that extends far beyond the fascinating flower. Occasionally sold as Arisaema sazensoo. Himalayas. leaves 2. with no abrupt transition. narrowly lance-shaped. the upper with 5. spathe to 8 in. with very long. sometimes longer. petiole to 28 in. (30 cm). Although most clones in commerce are variegated. tube pinched at the center. (50 cm) tall. at Hosta Hill it has reached 4 ft. It has. (15 cm) long. to 18 in. provides outstanding interest even when not in flower and is well worth the considerable additional cost. it is also the easiest to identify. short. spathe to 8 in. most recently A. erect. long tip projecting over and far beyond the mouth. Taiwanese cobra lily. (1. the light yellowish green flowers are otherwise similar to those of A. flaring at the top. 7 with protection. Nepal east to western China. Hardy to zone 5. to 12 in. very large hood extending over and beyond the spathe tube. unequal in height. hood very long. sometimes smooth-margined.

12 in. smooth. green or greenish with dark brown to purple markings. to 10 in. (2. (90 cm) tall. with dark brownish red or dark purple or whitish green with wide purple stripes. northern Burma. (25 cm) long. then outward in a shallow. hood whitish inside. with pointed tip with a thin. Himalayas. vertically drooping 2 in. rarely 2. with 9–17 radiating leaflets. forming colonies. Kashmir. (5 cm) tip extensions. tall cobra lily. spadix short. in 1784. green. upright S-curve. Goes dormant fairly early. flaring and arching over the mouth of the tube. LS to FS. (8 cm) long with green tube with flaring hood. Japan. petioles to 24 in. tapering extension. oblong lance-shaped. A recent introduction and reportedly a good garden plant. spathe tube cylindrical. to 12 in. LS to FS. (5 cm) long. so removal of the fruit cluster at an early stage is advised. bloom later. Hardy in zone 6. green outside.5 m). petioles to 4 ft. to 10 in. with tapering tips that terminate in a threadlike. petioles to 36 in. There is no reason to take chances with this beautiful jack. spathe to 8 in. Hardy to zone 6b but might require potting in certain microclimates. May–June. Bhutan. northern India. bending over and extending beyond tube. leaf solitary. Definitely worth a try. egg-shaped. projecting from the mouth of the tube first erect. compound. heavily mottled reddish Arisaema thunbergii. I pot and overwinter it. tapering tip. May–June. Subspecies urashima has a spadix apppendage that is smooth at the base. bent-forward end. The subspecies is also offered as A. rarely purple. southwestern China. white. thickened and wrinkled at the base. leaves 2. each with 3 green leaflets. May–June. mottled dull brownish purple. (50 cm). Nepal. greenish mottled heavily . truncate. first green then scarlet-red. as wide as the spathe tube. (20 cm) long. mottled dull brownish purple. (1. with barely discernible light green lines. earlike extensions. they make colonies too dense for good cultivation. This jack is named for early plant hunter Carl Peter Thunberg. hood erect with up-pointing tip extending over the spathe tube. however. dark purple with whitish green stripes outside. May–July. with small. (10– 15 cm) long. Arisaema tortuosum. Hardy to zone 6b. brown with pale greenish stripes inside. green spotted with dark brownish purple. with the outer portion hanging down. urashima. so should be combined with companion plant able to fill in a bare spot. lanceshaped.2 m) tall. although these differences may be attributed to cultural conditions. pseudostem to 8 ft. LS to FS. spathe to 3 in. but sometimes of equal height or shorter. spadix green. (20 cm) long. shorter than petioles. Remove offsets from the corm to propagate true offspring. 4–6 in. Southern Japan. Sikkim. Flora Japonica. leaves 2. usually green. spathe green with white interior. tortuous cobra lily. green or greenish with dark reddish brown or purple markings. Hardy to zone 6b. have rougher and wider leaves. who wrote a compendium of Japanese plants. with pseudostem to 2 in. thick. slightly flaring. with sharp. dark green leaflets. better to plant it in a raised bed or rock garden or near a path. fruit cluster very large. Remove the numerous offsets. basal bracts. (30 cm). Seed may not come true if this species is grown in the vicinity of other Japanese jacks. ovate. described as being the python-skinned queen of the genus. hood slightly widened.Arisaema tapering tip coming to a blunt. Thunberg’s cobra lily. with flower occasionally held above leaves. At Hosta Hill this tall addition to the shady garden has reached 28 in. Abundant fruiting under favorable conditions lowers the vitality of this Taiwanese jack. broadest above the middle. Rhizomes are sent out from the small tuber. 91 Arisaema tashiroi. and are hardy to zone 5. (60 cm) tall. Arisaema ternatipartitum. inflorescence emerging on long peduncle at leaf juncture. tapering to a thin tip. green. petiole 8 in. (20 cm) tall. with green leaflets. cylindrical. (30 cm) long. Japan. It is of easy culture and vigorous when planted out in the open woodland garden. arranged horseshoelike. Its size limits use in the open garden. This petite arisaema is a cute addition to gardens. Darjeeling. spadix green with threadlike appendage to 20 in. leaf usually solitary with 9–17 wavy. peduncle long. peduncle to 8 in. LS to FS. mottled. green to blackish purple. if allowed to remain. like larger woodland ferns or hostas. spadix extension tail-like. plants I have seen under this name. (70 cm). but given its subtropical origin. (25 cm) long. May–June. narrowly lance-shaped with elongated tip.


Arisaema forms as separate species. The main difference is color, though sizes vary considerably as well. Variety atrorubens (‘Atrorubens’; purple jack, ruby jack) is the most desired form, with its fine reddish purple coloration; the leaves are sometimes grayish green underneath. Subspecies stewardsonii (Indian turnip), a northern form, grows in swamps and bogs of eastern Canada and south in the northern Appalachians; its spathe tube has prominent ridges. Frequent in wet soils along the Atlantic coastal plain and the Piedmont from New England to Georgia and Florida is a smaller form with light green leaves and a spathe that is sometimes blackish inside; both the spathe tube and hood are lightly, sometimes barely perceptibly, striped with a whitish green. This jack frequently has only a solitary leaf with 3 leaflets. A form with ridged white stripes is available as ‘Zebrinus’. I am growing an unusual variation saved from the bulldozers; it easily reaches 4 ft. (1.2 m) and has very large leaves, to 14 in. (35 cm) long and 27 in. (69 cm) across. While the spathe hood of the smaller forms is usually closed, the hood of this large form is open, and the petioles, pseudostem, and leaf veins have a dark purple color. The purple jacks are most striking but any of these native North American jacks makes a great addition to the shady garden. They are of easy culture, going on year after year with minimum care. Seed can be saved and sown in the garden as soon as ripe, after removing the pulp. Hardy in zones 4 to 9.

brown or purple, occasionally green, with large, spotted bracts below; compound leaves 2, rarely 3, each with 5–17 leaflets, green, ovate to lanceshaped, broadest above the middle, to 12 in. (30 cm) long; fruit cluster bright scarlet. If Arisaema taiwanense is the queen of arisaemas when it comes to size, this Himalayan jack is definitely the king. Even small tubers give rise to 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall plants. This jack is variable in its colors, but the berry cluster’s color is always a beacon to all. The spathe may not be the most colorful in the genus, but its tortuously bending spadix extension (to which the epithet refers) is usually held high above the leaves, becoming a serpentine focal point in the garden. Gardeners who have had trouble showing off a jack among taller plantings should definitely plant this one—there is no way anyone can miss this giant. I have it popping up between large blue and gray hostas and established clumps of reddish dark green autumn fern, where the color contrast brings out the best in this jack. Also offered under its synonym A. helleborifolium, which epithet indicates the similarity of its leaves with those of the hellebore. Hardy to zone 7a. Pot in colder areas; it comes up early, so protect from late freezes.

Arisaema triphyllum, jack-in-the-pulpit, Indian
turnip, dragonroot. Eastern North America, southeastern Quebec and New Brunswick south through Appalachians to North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, west to Louisiana and eastern Texas. LS to FS; peduncle short; spathe 2–3 in. (5–8 cm) long, spathe tube tubular, light to medium green or reddish purple; hood flaring, margins recurved, bending forward and sometimes slightly down over the spathe tube, with the hood tip sharply pointed and extending far beyond the tube, pointing down or curving back up; spadix appendage green or purple, cylindrical with rounded top, exerted beyond tube; April–June; petiole 12–36 in. (30–90 cm) tall, dull light green or dark brownish purple with greenish linear markings; leaves 2, with 3, rarely 5 leaflets, dull medium green, sometimes dark green, conspicuously veined, ovate, with sharp tip, central ones slightly larger, 3–8 in. (8–20 cm) long; long-lasting fruit cluster of red berries. This native North American jack got its name from the usual arrangement of the leaflets (triphyllum = three leaves). Taxonomists have treated this variable jack variously, sometimes classifying its distinct

Arisaema yamatense. Japan, southern and central
Honshu. LS to FS; peduncle short, rising from the petiole; spathe to 5 in. (13 cm), variable in color, but usually green outside, white inside, margins recurved at opening; hood green with short tip projecting over and beyond the mouth, yellowish white inside; spadix cylindrical, white with a green, slightly expanded blunt head; early May–June; petiole to 5 ft. (1.5 m), very light green mottled with brownish purple, sometimes almost white with the same pattern; leaf solitary, rarely 2, with 7–11 green leaflets, finger-leaved (pedate), with pointed tip, to 15 in. (38 cm) long; fruit cluster large, reddish orange. A variable species. Some specimens have an extremely attractive snake pattern of purple on white or green on purple; some have variegation along the midrib of the leaflets,

Arum but they are most often plain green. The spathe is plain green, but the inside of the hood is an attractive white. Hardy to zone 6. Variety sugimotoi is distinguished by having 2 leaves per stem but is otherwise similar; its more copious leaf mound makes it a better garden plant.


Arisaema yunnanense. China, Yunnan.
LS to FS; spathe and hood green, white-striped; spadix tapering, extending horizontally from spathe tube, light green to green; May–June; petiole to 18 in. (45 cm) tall; leaf usually solitary, with 3 green leaflets, the middle one larger, broadly ovate. This modest, mostly green jack is occasionally available.

small companion plants, such as small hostas, ferns, and the dwarf astilbes. Hardy to zone 7, 6 with protection. Withstands 15°F (−10°C) for short periods with protection. Where the ground freezes, pot and overwinter indoors. This plant is for patient collectors who are willing to brush the leaves aside to reveal the curiously pretty flowers partially hidden among them.

Arums are not considered true shade garden plants. But one species, Arum italicum (Italian arum), handily adds the leaf texture and color so important in shady gardens. It does not flower in more than the lightest shade, hence no colorful, glowing cluster of orange-red berries follow, but this might be just as well, because the fruit is very poisonous. Even if I have to do without the colorful berries, I would keep a few tubers of Italian arum just for the beautiful leaves. Plants are sited where they get a couple of hours of morning sun—and where the disappearance of their leaves in early summer matters not. New leaves emerge in late autumn; here they are usually larger and more striking than those of plants situated in full sun. They provide a wonderful display of interesting, curiously marbled leaves throughout autumn and winter, helping the hellebores bring some color to the garden during the off-season. The leaves have withstood freezing temperatures on many occasions; they droop a little, but spring right back when warmer days arrive. In areas colder than zone 6 and where snow would cover the leaves, they are definitely houseplants. Found all around the Mediterranean region, Arum italicum is one of the hardiest garden arums available. It grows in moist, shady marshes of woodlands and is much more attractive than A. maculatum (Austrian arum), a central-European species widespread in Austria and Bavaria (I remember the leaves of Grandfather’s Aronstab, but it is to the bicolored spathe of red and white that another of its common names, lords-and-ladies, refers). Arums should be planted in protected locations with light shade and some sun. Exceptional in areas with winter-wet soils, arums require watering in gardens where the soil dries out in winter. Although the soil must be moist during the active growing season, dry soil is required during dormancy in summer, so withhold watering after the

Found in the Mediterranean region, southwestern Europe, and the Atlantic islands, the arisarums are very similar to the cobra lilies, Arisaema, only smaller. Of the three species in the genus, only one, the fairly tender Arisarum proboscideum, is suitable for gardening in deep shade. The generic name is from arisaron, the classical Greek name for Arisarum vulgare, which needs sun. Arisarum belongs in the Araceae. Propagate by dividing the tubers in autumn or very early spring. Seed can be sown in autumn or spring in a cold frame. Diseases and attacks by insects are uncommon.

Arisarum proboscideum, mouse plant, mousetail
plant. Italy, Spain. LS to FS; peduncle short, to 6 in. (15 cm); spathe to 7 in. (18 cm) long with red to dark brown tube fading to pure white in the basal part; hood red to pinkish brown with the upper part forming a thin, whiplike tip to 6 in. (15 cm) long, reddish or brownish pink at base turning to pinkish white toward tip; spadix enclosed in tube; April–May; plant tuberous-rhizomatous; leaves simple, glossy green, arrow-shaped to 6 in. (15 cm) long on petioles to 10 in. (25 cm), emerging in crowded bundles. The tufts of shiny leaves are attractive and add diversity to shady gardens; they all but obliterate the small spathe, from which the long spadix extension emerges (hence its common names). The mouse plant comes from warm woodlands, where it grows in very moist, humus-rich soil or in shady marshes. It fits well in a deeply shaded corner with other


Aruncus ‘Pictum’, leaves smaller and narrower, marbled silvery gray with creamy undertones. ‘Tiny’, leaves small, no more than 4 in. (10 cm) long, triangular, arrow-shaped, and beautifully marbled with yellowish white. For gardeners who appreciate dwarf plants. ‘White Winter’, leaves narrow, marbled with pure white; plant small.

leaves die down. The addition of slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of leaf emergence in autumn is beneficial. The generic name is from aron, the classical Greek name used by Theophrastus for Arum. Arum belongs in the Araceae. Propagate by dividing the tubers after flowering. Seed can be sown in autumn after all the pulp is removed with care, due to its toxic nature. Seed may require a long time to germinate, so division is faster and more productive for gardeners. Diseases and attacks by insects are uncommon.

Centuries ago, Aruncus was given the name goatsbeard because its flowers have a fancied resemblance to the white beard of a goat. The name goatsbeard also applies to spirea, which itself is used as a synonym for Aruncus dioicus; in fact, Aruncus is closely related to Spiraea and Filipendula and is frequently mislabled as one or the other. Goatsbeard grows in moist, shady woodlands, often in mountainous areas, throughout the entire northern hemisphere, and our native as well as the Asian goatsbeards are supremely adapted to these conditions; I have seen spectacular blooming specimens in a ravine in the North Georgia mountains. Goatsbeards are very long-lived if the microclimate is to their liking. They require a fertile woodland soil with plenty of humus and a pH of 5 to 6. The one thing they do not like is a lack of moisture. Provide supplemental water during prolonged droughts and a spot in deep, moist shade to keep them happy, but such a location also reduces flowering, unfortunately. Sadly, the giant native goatsbeard, Aruncus dioicus, does not do well in the Georgia Piedmont, so I stopped growing it. There is some hope for southern goatsbeard lovers, however, in a new hybrid, A. aethusifolius × A. dioicus, which was developed at the Mount Cuba Center for the Study of Piedmont Flora; though not as tall as the native species, this Aruncus ‘Southern White’ has been successful in the hot, dry summers of zone 8a. Goatsbeards are herbaceous, clump-forming perennials with short rhizomes as well as some fibrous roots. Aruncus is the classic name bestowed upon these plants by the Roman polymath Pliny. The genus belongs in the rose family, Rosaceae. Many species form large to very large, slowly spreading clumps and a dense, billowing shrublike form; smaller species are available for gardens that cannot accommodate large plants. Flowers are their

Arum italicum, Italian arum. Mediterranean region,
Turkey, Syria, North Africa, Italy, also England and south-central Europe. Morning sun, LS; spathe to 15 in. (38 cm) long, spathe tube pale green to greenish white, sometimes light purple, blade (hood) pale green to yellowish, unmarked or marked with purple, flower develops only in mostly sunny positions; June–July; plant tuberous; leaves simple, glossy, triangular, arrow-shaped to 16 in. (40 cm) long on longer petioles, medium to grayish green with silver, whitish to light grayish or yellowish green markings along the principal veins, occasionally with purplish dots and markings. This species is extremely variable so expect differences in color shading and markings. Some supbspecies, like subsp. albispathum and subsp. neglectum, are without showy leaf markings; they are not noteworthy in gardens, and they are, as the latter name might indicate, neglected by nature. The leaves of the selection ‘Immaculatum’ (sometimes assigned to Arum maculatum) are also an unmarked, plain green. Hybrids (A. italicum × A. maculatum) have, aside from the typical marbling of the species, some yellowish markings and purple spots. Grow this species and its cultivars for their beautiful leaves, which emerge in autumn, stand overwinter, and crumble at the time of flowering in late spring or early summer. Site in a protected corner and combine with hostas, pulmonarias, heucheras, or other bold-leaved plants that can fill in during the arums’ summer dormancy. Excellent for winter color where there is little or no snow cover and the soil does not freeze solid. ‘Chamaeleon’, leaves broad, marbled yellowish green and greenish gray. ‘Marmoratum’ (var. marmoratum), leaves large, marbled in yellowish white.

Aruncus crowning glory; individually, they are very small, but they are assembled in plumes of off-white clouds drifting high above the leaf mound, pyramidal panicles often exceeding 20 in. (50 cm) in length. Unfortunately, the spectacular display does not last very long, and the flowers brown rapidly. The sometimes fernlike, medium to dark green leaves die back in autumn, but the faded flower panicles remain upright and like astilbes provide winter interest. Large goatsbeards should be located at the periphery of the garden; fronted with plantings of hostas or other bold-leaved plants, they form a superb summertime screen. The dwarf species are great companion plants for miniature hostas and can be used as fern substitutes where spring flowering is desired. Propagate cultivars by dividing the completely dormant rhizome in the first warm days of late winter. Carry the roots with a large ball of soil attached. Most species self-seed unless deadheaded. I dislike deadheading and let the plants seed as they will. There will always be something to give away to friends and neighbors. Seed propagation too is easy, but why do it if the plant takes over that chore? Occasionally clumps at the soil level develop black rust on emerging leaves; in these cases only systemic fungicides seem to work. Attacks by some fly larvae and tarnished plant bugs are reported; insects do not otherwise seem to bother goatsbeards. Species and cultivars listed are dioecious: a plant has either male or female reproductive organs and requires cross-fertilization from other individuals for successful seed production. In gardens, locally isolated female plants do not produce seed. All flower from late May to August, depending upon location.


selection ‘Hillside Gem’ is similar but smaller, with a neat habit. Hardy to zone 5.

Aruncus astilboides, Japanese goatsbeard. Japan.
LS to MS; flowers tiny, white to light yellow, carried on erect, open, panicles to 8 in. (20 cm) long; plant delicate, to 4 ft. (1.2 m) high and wide, with compound, 2- to 3-pinnate leaves, divided into small, ovate, deeply serrated, green leaflets tinted with reddish brown, a little more than 1 in. (2.5 cm) long. Very similar to an astilbe (astilboides = like an astilbe), and a good goatsbeard for smaller gardens. Hardy to zone 6, 5 with protection.

Aruncus dioicus, goatsbeard, goat’s beard, bride’s
feathers. Europe to eastern Siberia, North America from Pennsylvania south through the Appalachians to Georgia and west to Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois. Some sun, LS to MS; flowers tiny white to creamy white in male plants, greenish white and more nodding in female plants, carried on large panicles with spikelike clusters of densely arranged flowers branching off a tall, central stalk reaching 7 ft. (2 m), but in gardens more often 4–6 ft. (1.2– 1.8 m); plant bushy, 4–5 ft. (1.2–1.5 m) tall and 4 ft. (1.2 m) wide, large green alternate compound leaves, to 15 in. (38 cm) long, 2- to 3-pinnate leaflets to 5 in. (13 cm) long, smooth, medium green, with deeply toothed margins. A very large goatsbeard whose large shrublike proportions composed of ferny leaves cannot be missed, even as a background, for which garden use it is most suited. Needs plenty of space to develop to maturity. Long known: it has been used as an herbal bath for swollen feet, American Indians dressed bee stings with a poultice made from its roots, and the airy, white flowers were collected in the woods for wedding decorations (hence, bride’s feathers). When mature it has a woody rootstock, making propagation by division difficult, but it self-seeds copiously when cross-fertilized and produces abundant seedlings. Hardy in zones 4 to 7; reported growing as far north as zone 2 but loathes hot, dry summers further south. I have grown var. kamtschaticus from the eastern Russian Kamchatka Peninsula for some years; it is about the same size as ‘Kneiffii’. The flowers are white, similar to those of the type but not as showy: the inflorescence is only about half the size. The leaves are

Aruncus aethusifolius, dwarf goatsbeard, Korean
goatsbeard. Korea, Cheju Island, Japan. LS to MS; flowers tiny, white to light yellow, carried on erect, open, panicles to 6 in. (15 cm) long, above the leaves; plant compact, to 15 in. (38 cm) high and wide, with compound, 2- to 3-pinnate leaves, to 10 in. (25 cm) long, divided into small, ovate, green leaflets, deeply incised. A wonderful small addition to gardens that cannot accommodate the larger goatsbeards. Its leaves turn a bright yellow in autumn, brightening the garden together with the hostas that change color at that time. The


Asarum and Saruma litter the area, and their decay feeds all manner of forest floor plants. Mosses and wildflowers abound. Near the stream, growing by a fallen giant, I detected a plant that day with splendid shiny leaves marbled with silvery veins. I admired this wild ginger for a while, took a few pictures, and continued on. But when my developed slides came back, showing the splendor of this particular wild ginger magnified many times, I just had to return, shovel in hand, to find it. Heavy spring rains had transformed the gentle stream into a raging torrent; the old, decaying log was gone, and the area was now thinly covered with red clay and debris. I searched for hours and returned very disappointed. The little beauty was nowhere to be seen. A week later, I went back one more time—and a few tiny, unmistakable, silvery marbled leaves had pushed through the clay. The thick, long roots, anchored in deep native clay, had withstood the onslaught of the flood and saved the plant from being washed away. The plant has been growing at Hosta Hill ever since, happy in the same soil it came from, in the deep shade of pines and a hemlock. It is still my favorite native wild ginger, and I even gave it a name, ‘Gosan Valley’, one of the most beautiful forms of Asarum shuttleworthii I have seen. Finding this native wild ginger started my Asarum collecting fever, and I have most of the many new species and forms now available. I must admit, some are more spectacular than my ‘Gosan Valley’, but who can argue with a first wild ginger love? Premier plants for the shady garden, wild gingers come from the shady woodlands of the temperate regions of North America, Europe, and eastern Asia. Asarum is the classic Greek and Roman name for these plants. Taxonomic splitters have had a good time with the genus, dividing it into a plethora of new genera, so gardeners be warned: any time now, you may find your favorite wild ginger under an alias like Heterotropa, Hexastylis, Asarabacca, Japonasarum, or Asiasarum. Well over 100 species are known, and dedicated and daring plant collectors like Dan Hinkley, Barry Yinger, and Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones are adding to this number all the time. Most new species are found in Japan and China. Asarum belongs in the birthwort family, Aristolochiaceae. The related Saruma henryi, taller than most wild gingers, has been growing at Hosta Hill for some time. It too belongs in the Aristolochiaceae.

compound, with the leaflets medium to dark green, lobed and toothed. The leaf mound is to 24 in. (60 cm) tall. This small variety is suitable for any garden and does well in hot southern climates as long as the soil is kept moist. Aruncus sinensis (Chinese goatsbeard) has a tighter structure with more luxuriant leaf growth and leaves whose bronze undertone is imparted to the entire plant; easily distinguished from A. dioicus and more suited to warmer regions, to zone 6. ‘Glasnevin’, flowers in feathery plumes of creamy white; plant grows to 5 ft. (1.5 m). ‘Kneiffii’ is considerably smaller than the species, 3.5–4 ft. (1–1.2 m), with whitish flowers and a more ferny appearance in leaf. Possibly a selection of var. kamtschaticus. ‘Southern White’, a hybrid (Aruncus aethusifolius × A. dioicus) with multibranched, slender spikes of white flowers that resemble those of A. aethusifolius but are much more dense and numerous; plant vigorous and suited for hot-summer areas in zones 7 and 8; size is intermediate between the parents. ‘Zweiweltenkind’ (‘Child of Two Worlds’), ivorywhite flowers, a selection of Aruncus sinensis.

Aruncus parvulus, dwarf goatsbeard. Japan.
LS to MS; flowers tiny, white to light yellow, carried on erect, open, feathery panicles; plant compact, to 12 in. (30 cm) high, with compound, 2- to 3-pinnate leaves. As the epithet parvulus (= dwarf) indicates, this is another good goatsbeard for smaller gardens. Most often represented in commerce by its selection ‘Dagalet’ (which is frequently offered as Astilbe ×crispa ‘Dagalet’).

Asarum and Saruma
Wild gingers bring out the collector in gardeners. This has certainly been the case with me at least, as the following story relates . . . Over time, a few meandering creeks have carved deep valleys into the Georgia red clay, and some 20 years ago I explored just such a steep, rocky gorge near my home. Because it is unsuitable for building, the landscape remains pristine to this day; it is wild, dark, and eerie, even with unseen houses nearby. Old stands of trees persist, mostly towering, centuries-old oak trees, loblolly pines, and tulip poplars. There is always a shallow stream flowing, fed by underground springs and a small lake upstream. Old fallen trees

Asarum and Saruma Whenever the roots of wild gingers are cut or their leaves broken, the strong, gingerlike aroma drifts over a considerable area, hence the common name. This is particularly noticeable when the plants are divided for increase. In the garden, wild gingers serve as groundcover and specimen plants in light to deep shade. Native gingers require considerable shade; some Japanese and Chinese species are happy with a bit of sun exposure. Except for the widely grown deciduous Asarum canadense (Canadian ginger) and its equally deciduous Japanese counterpart, A. caulescens, most are evergreen. Their leaves have great substance and are usually shiny; many are attractively marbled along the veins or all over the leaf surface. Leafstalks arise directly from the rootstock. The roots are thick and penetrate the soil deeply. Wild gingers do best in a light, well-draining woodland soil, rich in organic matter and preferably acid. Good drainage is essential. With their deep-rooting habit, both native and Asian wild gingers can withstand long periods of drought, but they will not tolerate continued dry soil. At Hosta Hill wild gingers abound. A few have rounded leaves, with lobes that overlap frequently. All have attractive silvery veining or mottling reminiscent of cyclamens. Most Japanese and Chinese wild gingers have distinctly heart-shaped leaves, some with overlapping lobes. To me, the finest wild ginger is the variable Japanese Asarum kumageanum; planted near one of the walks, my golden-mottled specimen elicits inquiry from every visitor. Another wild ginger from Japan is A. hirsutisepalum, which has the largest leaves of any asarum I grow. A splendid wild ginger from China is the aptly named A. splendens, whose large leaves are a very dark green mottled with large silver blotches. Notice that so far I have said nothing about the flowers of wild gingers. To me, leaves are the most important value point in plants for the shady garden, and this applies to Asarum as well. Most wild gingers are evergreen: their endowment to the garden lasts the entire year, provided there is no snow cover in winter. Most of my wild gingers are planted in the ground, but I have Asarum hirsutisepalum in a nice, elevated pot on the patio just to show off the gorgeous, beaker-shaped flowers covered with purple specks. Other wild gingers, like A. speciosum, have erect leaves on long leafstalks, so their flowers show advantageously even when


planted in the ground. The flowers of our natives A. arifolium, A. ruthii, A. shuttleworthii, and A. virginicum are hidden in spring under a dense cover of leaves, which must be pushed aside to reveal the little brown jugs. In short, the flowers of some wild gingers are spectacular, even bizarre, but all are ephemeral. It is the leaves of Asarum that add so much to the shady garden. Wild gingers from Japan—where the passion for unusual mutations of Asarum has become an obsession called saishin—are another story. Japanese collectors concentrate on unusual flower forms, including albino, and have selected as many as 150 different variants of Asarum minamitanianum alone. Of more interest to me is their selection of different leaf forms seen in this species, for example the yellow-leaved A. minamitanianum ‘Koki’. Other leaf mutations include center variegations, called hon fu (= true variegation) in Japan, seen, for instance, in A. savatieri ‘Otome aoi shirofukurin’, which has a uniform, narrow white leaf margin (shirofukurin = white margin). The book Toki no Hana, translated from the Japanese by Asian plant guru Barry Yinger, gives a glimpse of these unique selections, which bring great sums of money in commerce. Propagate by division. Employ a fungicide during this process to keep the cuts free of black rust. Seed propagation is possible, but ants seem to have better success with this method than I shall ever hope to attain. Occasionally, black rust develops on emerging leaves at the soil level. This malady appears as gray and black encrustations on the shriveling growing tips and spreads quickly. Entire plants can be affected unless systemic fungicides are employed; I have not been able to find an effective yet environmentally friendly cure. Crown rot too is problematic as are slugs, which seem to prefer tender young leaves. Check plants often while leaves are emerging in spring. Other insect pests do not seem to bother my wild gingers. Given the tremendous diversity of leaf and flower seen in both native and Asian species, I offer descriptions for some wild gingers with trepidation. In many species, the leaves can be either variegated or plain green, and the usually bright patterns of the emergent leaves in spring become more dull with the progressing seasons. Variability is normal in species populations and should be expected in purchased plants. Unless otherwise noted,


Asarum and Saruma fled and tubercular flowers and grayish green, patterned leaves. Similar too is A. unzen (unzen kanaoi in Japan) from northern Kyushu’s Shimabara Peninsula; it flowers April–May. The brownish flowers are like those of A. asaroides but smaller, very constricted at the top, and with sharply pointed lobes. The roughly triangular leaves are evergreen and patterned. Hardy to zone 6b.

all asarums are evergreen in zones 6 to 9 (in colder regions, even evergreen asarums become herbaceous and may lose their top growth) and hardy to zone 5 with protection.

Asarum arifolium, arrowhead ginger, heartleaf,
heartleaf ginger, little brown jugs, pig flower, pig ginger, wild ginger. Eastern North America, Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, west to Louisiana. MS to FS; flowers brown, shaped like little brown jugs, 3-lobed, darker inside, to 1 in. (2.5 cm) long, with spreading sepal lobes; April–May; plant clump-forming, 6 in. (15 cm) tall to 18 in. (45 cm) wide; leaves of many different shapes but mostly triangular, arrow-shaped with rounded lobes, to 5 in. (13 cm) long, dark green with varying lighter gray-green patterns. This species has a profusion of different leaf forms and variegation patterns; in some plants, large triangular leaves are distinctly mottled and veined, while smaller forms are almost heart-shaped with little mottling. I grow more than 20 forms, most rescued locally from construction sites. This is a good garden plant, deep-rooted and very drought-resistant. It does not like overly wet soils, where it is subject to fungal rot of the crown. Here in Georgia, it thrives in dense clay, which dries out completely during droughts; it may need some dry summer weather to flourish. The Appalachian native Asarum ruthii, also called little brown jugs, is very similar but has erect sepal lobes 0.1 in. (3 mm) long, while A. arifolium has spreading sepal lobes, 0.3 in. (8 mm) long; its leaves are similarly colored but more heart-shaped.

Asarum asperum, miyako aoi (Jap.). Japan, central
Honshu, western Kansai (Kinki), Shikoku, Kyushu. MS to FS; flowers whitish outside with dark purple inside center, inflated, tub-shaped, very contracted at throat, with 3 rounded lobes, similar to native “fat” little brown jugs, 1.5 in. (4 cm) across; May; plant clump-forming, 6 in. (15 cm) tall to 9 in. (23 cm) wide; leaves to 3 in. (8 cm) long, heartshaped, dark green with varying silver patterns. The albino forms have pale green, not white, flowers. Hardy to zone 6. A related evergreen species is Asarum controversum from Nagasaki, Japan, which also has patterned leaves and flowers that look like those of Dutchman’s pipe, Aristolochia macrophylla. Hardy to zone 7.

Asarum blumei, ranyo aoi (Jap.). Japan, central Honshu, Shizuoka, Kanagawa. MS to FS; flowers brownish with dark purple tint, tub-shaped, lobes widely spreading, rounded, networked or stippled white throat, small; May; plant clump-forming, 8 in. (20 cm) tall to 12 in. (30 cm) wide; leaves to 5 in. (13 cm) long, arrow-shaped, glossy dark grayish green with cloudy silver markings along the margins and leaf veins. Still scarce, this variable species promises to be a good garden plant.

Asarum asaroides, tairin aoi (Jap.). Japan, Honshu,
Kyushu. MS to FS; flowers brownish with dark purple tint and whitish center, tub-shaped, 2 in. (5 cm) across; May; plant clump-forming, 6 in. (15 cm) tall to 14 in. (35 cm) wide; leaves to 6 in. (15 cm) long, heart-shaped, dark grayish green with cloudy silver markings. The epithet means “the asarumlike asarum.” Albino forms and variants with tortoiseshell variegation in the leaves are available. Asarum muramatsui (amagi kanaoi in Japan), a species from central Honshu, has similar but smaller flowers and glossy, patterned foliage with deeply sunken veins. Both are good garden plants, hardy to zone 6. Very similar is A. satsumense (satsuma aoi in Japan), which differs from A. asaroides by having boldly ruf-

Asarum campaniforme, kiwi asarum, kiwi ginger, kiwi
kanaoi (Jap.). Southern China. MS to FS; flowers elongated, tubular, to 2 in. (5 cm), whitish green outside, a conspicuous, blackish purple ribbon appears inside on the edges of the sepals; May; deciduous; plant clump-forming, 12 in. (30 cm) tall to 16 in. (40 cm) wide; leaves to 6 in. (15 cm) long, narrowly arrow-shaped, variable, either glossy green without markings or marked with variable, unpredictable designs. In a genus known for its bizarre flowers, this species stands out as one of the most peculiar: its flowers have a spoke pattern like a kiwi fruit cut crosswise and are

99 Asarum canadense. All parts of this wild ginger are covered with minute hairs. (25 cm) tall to 12 in. (5 cm). April–May. Worth a try—but may give southeast- Asarum celsum. of minor importance. I suspect that soil moisture content and composition as well as day and night time temperature ranges have a lot to do with this. sometimes tailed sepal lobes. ‘Alba’ (f. Hardy to zone 4. heart-shaped leaves with yellowish brown flowers borne in the leaf axils in early spring. they should be represented in collections. emerging between leafstalks. green. tub-shaped. An excellent. British Columbia. bowlshaped. The Japanese equivalent of Asarum canadense. soshinka in Japan). (13 cm) petioles. (15 cm) long. China. It reminds me a little of the luminous appearance of sunlit Saruma henryi. leaves to 5 in. Kagoshima. (10 cm) long. rich green with no markings. on 5 in. widely grown ginger that faithfully returns year after year with a luxurious. Nor do Asarum lemmonii (Lemmon’s wild ginger). this asarum makes a fine addition to gardens. alba of gardens. flowers brownish green to brown. arrow-shaped. March. flowers purple-brown. Shikoku. creeping and forming colonies. Japan. kidney-shaped. to 1 in. but as native North American wild gingers. flowers reddish to greenish brown. to 6 in. Taiwan. which add an exceptional. west to Missouri and Minnesota. Hardy to zone 3. no petals. rich green with no markings. ern gardeners fits. This wild ginger was used by American Indians and early settlers to season cooking and to treat colds. but here it has failed miserably—while a few miles away. to 12 in. Asarum caulescens. Another deciduous species from Japan with nearly black flowers and bright green leaves is A. Eastern North America. May. pear-shaped. at a friend’s garden. Honshu.Asarum and Saruma carried flat on the ground—strange but weirdly attractive. a rare albino form of the type. fast-growing. another western wild ginger from southern Oregon to northern California. reflexum is more like the type. ginger root. to 1 in. Washington. wagneri grow here. MS to FS. which is rare but available for a price. April–May.). if at all possible. south to South Carolina and Georgia. southern Kyushu. coughs. dark green with no markings. The two are usually not separated in commerce. it serves as a powerful emetic and antiseptic. Some better forms with white to pinkish white flowers are in commerce. plant rhizomatous. fevers. MS to FS. 1. Canadian snakeroot. ground-covering carpet of large leaves. tubular. (2. potting is advised in zone 7b and colder. with ridged opening. flower small. deciduous. emerging between the base of leafstalks on relatively long. but the shine is more brilliant and conspicuous. these two fussy species may not be of great garden value. (8 cm) long. 2 with some leaf cover. May–July. clump- . (4 cm) wide with 3 rounded sepal lobes. (15 cm) tall. something rarely seen in this genus. raw. plant clump-forming. plant rhizomatous. Variety acuminatum from the Great Smoky Mountains has more pointed. plant small. A good groundcover for small areas. year after year. hairy. and the closely related A. MS to FS. tails to 2 in. (2. deeply sunken veins.). Western North America.5 cm) wide. silky luster to the plant. hairy. creeping and forming colonies. Asarum caudatum. and stomach disorders. flowers usually reddish brown. Further north it needs to be potted and moved inside during freezing periods. Variety cardiophyllum has fuzzy. Kyushu. has white flowers. dark grayish green to green. hairy pedicel. dimitiatum. Asarum caudigerum. MS to FS. futaba aoi or kamo aoi (Jap. to 6 in. only smaller and with daintier flowers. wild ginger. Quebec to New Brunswick. miyabi kanaoi (Jap. widely creeping and forming large colonies in time. leaves to 4 in. It stands up well to cold or heat and drought. Suitable to zone 7b and south. round to oval. Japan. (13 cm) long. deciduous. 10 in. (30 cm) tall. flowers reddish to greenish brown. MS to FS. to 12 in. leaves paired. Japanese wild ginger. Still rare. tub-shaped. its growth is luxuriant. heartshaped. (30 cm) tall. Indian ginger snakeroot. Canadian ginger. tailed lobes. This wild ginger from the deeply shaded redwood and pine forests of the Pacific Coast needs moist soil and considerable shade. The unconventional flowers are well worth this effort.5 cm) wide with 3 pointed. with 3 reflexed lobes covering tube. (30 cm) wide. Cold hardiness is not yet determined. var. western wild ginger. Oregon to Montana. plant rhizomatous.5 in. It does well in some gardens out of its native range. leaves to 3 in.

Europe east to the Caucasus. MS to FS. of thick substance. leaves to 5 in. Sierra wild ginger. usually furry flowers. Ryukyu. flowers small. prostrate. Asarum dissitum. 3-lobed. tubular. April–May. (18 cm) long and 6 in. Asarum hartwegii. to 0. Kochi. they are very large. Japan. 6 in. (10 Asarum infrapurpureum. tubular. ger. a mature clump stands out in the garden or in a container. (10 cm) tall and 12 in. or yellow mottling are available. MS to FS. (8 cm) long. succulent leaves and variable. tubshaped. A. gusk with velvety. reportedly thriving in zone 4. (23 cm) wide. (1 cm) wide with 3 pointed. tubular. (45 cm) wide. (15 cm) tall to 9 in. tailed lobes. plant clump-forming. (5 cm) long. 6-angled. monodoriflorum with similar leaves.5 cm) across. Asarum fudsinoi. Ryukyu. (30 cm) tall. A semi-tender subject for shady patio pot culture in zone 8.). southeastern Shikoku. Asarum hexalobum. some with white band around lobes. 8 in. May–June. Oregon to northern California. inflated. pointed lobes. heart-shaped.5 in. flowers brown. Japan. I grow A. rich glossy green with little or no markings. western Chugoku. Honshu. occasionally a purple-veined. leaves to 4 in. Japan. An excellent garden plant and one of the hardiest asarums. heart-shaped. 6 in. white. leaves triangular with oval base. used exclusively in pot culture. (20 cm) long. shortly creeping and forming colonies. Hardy to zone 6. plant large.100 Asarum and Saruma cm) long. flowers brown. plant clump-forming. (15 cm) tall to 9 in. use in a pot on the shady patio or in the cold greenhouse. Western North America. Tosa wild ginger. sometimes with silvery blotches. 2 in. (2. white ring at throat. later dark green with the veins outlined in light green. Japan. to 4 in. April–May. flowers whitish gray. (30 cm) wide. May. Asarum europaeum. In Japan. A nicely marked ginger with good drought tolerance but fussy when planted in a spot not to its liking. soft uniform green. northern Kyushu. Kyushu. Japan. MS to FS. cylindrical. urn-shaped. MS to FS. plant rhizomatous. clump-forming.5 in. leaves to 3 in. (1 cm) long. to 0. plant vigorous. contracted at throat. (2.). April–May. sometimes pink. (23 cm) wide. Taiwan. 7 in. heart-shaped.5 cm) across. bell-shaped with short lobes. uniform shiny light green in spring. dark green with varying silver patterns. Kagoshima. plant rhizomatous. and A. green with no markings. Great with ferns and wildflowers with lacy foliage. sanyo aoi (Jap. Shikoku. ‘Kinkonkan’ (= golden crown) is a yellow-variegated cultivar. MS to FS. (20 cm) tall to 15 in. April– . flowers dark purple. Hartweg’s ginAsarum costatum. (13 cm) tall. (30 cm) tall to 18 in. European asarabacca. contracted at throat. Also from Ryukyu are Asarum gelasinum and A. tails to 2. leaves to 8 in. with 3 pointed lobes. kidney-shaped. leucosepalum with velvety. forming. faintly patterned leaves and pure white flowers. with 3 pointed lobes. leaves triangular heart-shaped.). (10 cm) long. European ginger. plant clump-forming. A very early-blooming. (38 cm) wide. 12 in. Asarum hirsutisepalum. April. silvery veins. not hardy enough to be planted in the open ground in gardens in zone 8 and colder. MS to FS. silvery gray. flowers inflated. 1 in. oni kanaoi (Jap. MS to FS. contracted at throat. (5 cm) across. clump-forming. narrow. The flowers are absolutely stunning. contracted at throat. 5 in. sports with different leaf variegation patterns such as white. April–May. rounded. it makes a nice display in a sunny south window during our very short winters. (13 cm) long. to 12 in. flowers dark or purplish red. (6 cm). they have become objects of great desire and command princely sums. rare species. inflated. dark green speckled with silvergray in varying patterns. pear-shaped. extended leaves. In zone 8 and colder. monodoriflorum in the ground during the summer in zone 7a and pot it in autumn before the cold season arrives. MS to FS. rich green with pale. dark green. (15 cm) wide. leaves to 2 in. mat-forming. and although the leaves are not mottled.5 in. to 1 in. contracted at throat. glossy green with silvery blotches. All are semi-tender subjects for shady patio pot culture. flowers reddish to greenish brown. deeply lobed. Variety caucasicum has triangular. Yakushima. tosano aoi (Jap. leaves to 4 in. large.

(18 cm) long. leaves to 3 in. the forms with silvery gray markings in the leaf center are most gardenworthy. 10 in. flowers bell-shaped. (20 cm) tall. Tanegashima. onaga kanaoi (Jap. May. arrow-shaped. 6 in. plant rhizomatous. similar to Asarum splendens but without its active rhizomatous behavior. koshino kanaoi (Jap. also from China. (25 cm) tall to 16 in. rippling lobes. with a grayish cast. they do look like the face of a panda. uniform shiny light green in spring. except in protected areas of zone 7 or warmer. dark glossy green leaves. plant spreading by runners. expect differences in plants from commercial sources. (25 cm) tall to 14 in. leaves to 6 in. to 2 in. leaves to 6 in. small. Another variable wild ginger. plant clump-forming. (23 cm) wide. flowers dark brownish to purple. flowers variable. urn-shaped. are still rare in gardens. uniform shiny light green in spring. (5 cm) across. shiny. Japan. kuwaiba kanaoi (Jap. leaves to 3 in.). leaves to 5 in. tsukushi aoi (Jap. MS to FS. triangular. flowers black with pure white 3-lobed interior. Variety tubulosum has pure white flowers. (35 cm) wide. which has very small.). heart-shaped. purple-spotted. panda face ginger. (45 cm) wide. reddish pink to blackish purple. 10 in. April. Asarum kumageanum. with some imagination. purple underneath. small-leaved evergreen groundcover. later dark green. with leathery. cloudy silvery white to greenish white markings. Hardy to zone 7. 101 Asarum magnificum. usually with silvery white veins. Kyushu. and hardy to zone 5. large. Forms with greenish white flowers are also available. Clones of this very attractive wild ginger are highly variable. purplish brown or purple leaves.). China. Northern Japan. flowers yellowish. MS to FS. (40 cm) wide. 6 in. Asarum kiusianum. tubshaped. with 3 rounded lobes. of thick substance. (8 cm) long. flowers blackish purple outside. Later in the season. (15 cm) across and 7 in. Asarum maximum. MS to FS. (13 cm) long. Some forms have patterned leaves. May be too tender for outside planting. plant 10 in. Albino forms are available. (30 cm) wide. wavy margins. This running wild ginger forms a splendid groundcover. forming expanding clumps. (25 cm) tall to 18 in. (15 cm) long. of thick substance. with a plaited white throat. This species should be placed in an elevated bed or potted and displayed at eye level so that the contrast between the purple underside of the leaves with the white-dotted surface can be closely observed. inflated. Variety satakeanum is very similar. rounded leaves and variable flowers. dark green with outstanding. with 3 long- . Kyushu. (15 cm) tall to 9 in. (5 cm) across. flowers brownish purple. China. September–November. Kyushu. MS to FS. where the striking flowers can be observed and the plant carried inside during the cold season. spreading evergreen gingers is A. of thick substance. triangular. and the variegation becomes a very light green.). ikegamii (yukiguni kanaoi in Japan). usually plain green. tub-shaped. plant spreading. (8 cm) long. (15 cm) tall to 12 in. panda kanaoi (Jap. May. One of the best cold-climate. the bright green turns to dark green. dark green with variable and uneven silvery and whitish gray splotches and a surface glowing with a refined luster. triangular to heart-shaped. contracted at throat. Both it and the virtually identical Asarum maculatum. Taiwan. rich dark green base color with the leaf interior mottled with large patches of a yellowish green. in commerce. Asarum fauriei. contracted at throat. differing only in minor flower characteristics. plant clump-forming. April–May. almost black. MS to FS. Japan. to 2 in.). 8 in. China. almost golden mottling.Asarum and Saruma May. triangular to heart-shaped. yellowish lobe margins and ring at throat. with 3 wavy. The flowers of this species are gorgeous and very showy. All are from northern Japan. contracted at throat. leaves to 3 in. Yakushima. MS to FS. Asarum megacalyx. heart-shaped. Several forms offered have silver rather than golden markings. Japan. The flowers are outstanding. mouse tail ginger. peculiarlooking yet very attractive. MS to FS. Asarum macranthum. (15 cm) long. Further north it should be potted in an elevated position. makes a dainty. (8 cm) long. spotted with white above. April–May. Asarum minamitanianum. plant clump-forming. later dark green. uniformly spotted with bright purple inside lobes. inflated. leaves to 6 in. low-growing.

MS to FS. the flowers. Both species are hardy to zone 5. (8 cm) long.5 in. with silvery gray markings. Eastern North America. A. 9 in. with 3 in. 6 in. Similarly varied in leaf variegation and size is Asarum savatieri (otome kanaoi in Japan). sakawa saishin (Jap. with luck. leaves variable in size. shiny. MS to FS. heart-shaped. Virginia south to the Carolinas. (15 cm) tall to 9 in. northern Georgia. the more stable varieties will reach Western gardens. and A. ‘Honeysong’ is a large-leaved. tamano kanaoi or maruba kanaoi in Japan) from Kanto in central Honshu. the Carolinas. lewisii. Kansai. little brown jugs. MS to FS.5 cm). Asarum shuttleworthii. (8 cm) long. New England south to North Carolina. rich green with striking silvery markings. is rarely available. MS to FS. dark green with varying silver patterns. hardy to zone 6. rich green with pale. Kochi. kooyanum. lobes deep purple with whitish margin and white throat. niponicum. leaves to 4 in. flowers reddish to greenish brown. contracted at throat. darker inside. (10 cm) long. (23 cm) wide. A good garden plant and companion for small hostas. (15 cm) tall to 18 in. plant slowly spreading by creeping rhizomes. central Honshu. 6 in. (23 cm) wide. (13 cm) long. Japan. (2. forming mats of leaves that hide the “little brown jug” flowers in spring. plant clump-forming. to Alabama. to 1 in. Virginia. 3-lobed. In Japan many variegated . Asarum naniflorum. A nicely marked wild ginger with good drought tolerance. round with rounded.102 Asarum and Saruma sports of these two species have been selected and are collected by aficionados. leaves to 2 in. glossy green with varying silver splashings and speckles. 6 in. kanto kanaoi (Jap. A good. Hardy to zone 6. tailed lobes. Ch¯ bu. Plant this small wild ginger in an elevated spot in a shady rockery or along a path. leaves to 5 in. (20 cm) tall. flowers brownish purple. A definite conversation piece during mouse tail bloom time. A similar native species with longer rhizomes. July–August. glossy. plant clump-forming. leathery leaves with depressed veins and unusual patterning. with 3 wavy lobes. Asarum minor. to 0. where it can be spotted. heart-shaped. (45 cm) wide. (23 cm) wide. to 1. A species that will be of more interest to collectors than to gardeners. rounded. leaves to 5 in. small-flowered ginger. (30 cm) tall. (13 cm) long. it blooms more than a month later than A. (1 cm) with 3 pointed lobes to 0. urn-shaped.). The leafstalks are purple.). deep purple with whitish margin and white throat. (0. urn-shaped.2 in. All forms have a prostrate growth habit. (8 cm) long.5 in. Albino forms are available. heart-shaped. rigescens (atsumi kanaoi in Japan). averaging 3 in. A variable species with hundreds of different flower forms. rich green with pale silvery gray markings. narrow. Shikoku. (15 cm) tall. (4 cm) long. unmarked leaves. with tails to 5 in. Other evergreen species from central Honshu are A. flowers brown.5 cm). rounded leaves to 1 in. 6 in. with mostly medium green. Eastern North America. u Kanto. flowers brown. Japan. sometimes overlapping lobes. Use in protected areas in zone 7 or put it in a pot. it is a clump-forming ginger with evergreen. (5 cm) long. wild ginger. Both are good garden plants. ‘Eco Decor’ is a silver-marked clone introduced by my gardening neighbor Don Jacobs. plant clump-forming. 3-lobed. plant to 8 in. Those with extremely long-tailed sepals and leaf variegations have been collected in the wild in Japan to the detriment of natural populations. April–May. Japanese wild ginger. either plain green or patterned but always with deeply sunken veins. are usually brownish and have pear-shaped tubes with very wavy lobes. also from central Honshu. Callaway Gardens in Asarum niponicum. Variety harperi from westcentral Georgia has smaller. MS to FS. (15 cm) tall to 9 in. Asarum sakawanum. hardy garden plant with highly variable leaves.5 cm) wide with 3 pointed lobes. Even more hardy (well into zone 5) is A. oval to heart-shaped with extended lobes. April–May. leathery roundish leaves. distinctly marked selection. ‘Callaway’ (seen in photo of Pulmonaria longifolia ‘Bertram Anderson’) was named by Fred Galle for its point of discovery. dark green with varying silvery gray patterns. which appear March–April. to 3 in. (13 cm) long. mottled wild ginger. leaves variable. Eastern North America. (2. tamaense (round-leaved Japanese ginger. plant to 12 in. April–May. it is threatened and should never be collected in the wild. Shuttleworth’s ginger. flowers reddish brown. heart-shaped.

A good garden plant. contracted at throat. deciduous. 103 Asarum sieboldii. with wavy margins. and by far the most vigorous garden asarum: I dug a plant to divide it. moist.). leaves to 6 in. (2. silvery stars. heart. cloudy silver markings. heart. spreads slowly by creeping rhizomes. Japan. (30 cm) wide. Eastern North America. (5 cm) with good mottling. dull green with no markings. The leaves withstand winters in zone 6b to −10°F (−23°C). (15 cm) tall to 9 in. vigorous. Southern China. flaring. with very pronounced mottling of silvery white on dark green. ‘Gosan Valley’ is a selected clone of the type. (25 cm) tall to 18 in. remnants of a dug-up clump traveled under mortared brick and came up in the middle of a walk composed of compacted Georgia red clay. plant clump-forming. (10 cm) long. pointed lobes. (23 cm) wide. with 3 tailed lobes. to 10 in. Korea. plant rhizomatous. leaving many creeping rhizomatous rootlets in the ground. (13 cm) long. Asarum himalayicum (Himalayan wild ginger). The high mountains of Sichuan province in China are the habitat of another Chinese elongated heart-shaped.5 in. Leaves to 2. Chinese wild ginger. it is one of the most popular wild gingers at Hosta Hill.5 cm) long and wide.Asarum and Saruma Georgia. the upper leaf surface and petioles have a dense cover of fine hairs. 10 in. not quite as large and vigorous as Canadian kidney-shaped. starry ginger. May. central Kyushu. April–May. flowers ball-shaped. plant clump-forming. MS to FS. Sometimes offered as Asarum magnificum. (8 cm) wide. either solid light green or marked. (10 cm) long. Asarum splendens. Just like the flowers. to 1 in. triangular to heart-shaped. Herbaceous in colder regions. they are large. leaves to 5 in. ball-shaped tube.). Japan. MS to FS. It may be a challenge to grow these Asian gingers in southeastern North America. (15 cm) long and 3 in. judging by the similarity of the flowers. to 2 in. with down-turned sepal lobes. contracted at throat. Shikoku.5 cm) long. large. whitish hairs. heart-shaped. yellowish brown to yellowish white. This species may represent an Asian relative of Asarum canadense. (45 cm) wide initially but eventually spreading over a wide area. (5 cm) wide. MS to FS. (20 cm) tall and wide. plant . deep purple with whitish margin and white throat. (2. light green in spring. covered with fine. leaves to 4 in. Leaves to 2 in. flowers brownish purple. plant clump-forming. where it occurs above 9000 ft. on long petioles. (25 cm) tall to 12 in. Chinese ginger. of minor importance. All forms I have observed have an erect growing habit. variable. dark green later and usually unmarked. Asarum stellatum. to 8 in. Sichuan. which imparts a greenish sheen. flowers dark purple. flowers mushroom-shaped when unopened. MS to FS. making a striking effect in time. Asarum subglobosum. growing in cold. April–May. (5 cm) across. tails to 1 in. April–May. leaves to 4 in. The leaf is dotted as if spangled with bright. (15 cm) long. hence the scientific and common names. reportedly the only wild ginger native to the Himalayas. 3 lobes rounded and pointed. ‘Buxom Beauty’ is a distinctly marked and rounderleaved selection. (6 cm) long and 2 in. deep purple with whitish margin and white or brown throat. Asarum speciosum. March–May. 6 in. During spring bloom time. dark green with outstanding. urn-shaped. (2700 m). with 3 pointed lobes. and the long-lasting display of gorgeous flowers is among the best of the native North American wild gingers. showing a creamy white sunburst pattern in the throat. arrow-shaped with rounded lobes. leaves to 6 in. each produced a new plant very quickly. MS to FS. dark brown to brownish purple. Although the leaves are usually plain green. and overlapping lobes. glossy green with each half being mostly covered with a silvery cloud leaving a dark green center and margin. tubular. Asarum sinense. In another place. (25 cm) tall. Not only a very attractive wild ginger but one of the easiest to grow and propagate. flowers brownish purple with 3 wavy. May. China. cloudsoaked woods. with white margin and purple inside. usuba saishin (Jap. rivaling that of Asarum campaniforme. it serves the same purpose in gardens. marumi kanaoi (Jap. MS to FS. Appalachians in Virginia and the Carolinas. opening wide. North-central Japan. plant vigorously rhizomatous. 10 in.

in April) and continues sporadically throughout spring and summer. MS to FS. (8 cm) long. sometimes with no markings. (75 cm) wide. Eastern North America. (2. rich green with pale. depressed veining over leaves.104 Aspidistra Asarum heterophyllum is distinguished by its much shorter flower lobes and a high-relief network of ridges inside the flowers. u MS to FS. Japan. Both are good plants for gardens in zone 7a and south. inside of flower networked with low ridges. (10 cm) long. plant to 12 in. giving them a felty look. where its erect. Spreads slowly and makes an excellent groundcover in time. takaoi complex selected by Japanese collectors for pot culture are the yellow-variegated ‘Kinkazkan’ (= Mount Kinka) and ‘Setsu Getsu Ka’ (= snow-moon flower). Ch¯ bu. Scarce but available.5 cm) wide with 3 pointed. and Virginia south to northern Georgia. a very rare species from Kagoshima Prefecture. virginicum to be a better garden plant. It is related to Asarum minor. heavily veined leaves make a fine pyramidal accent. hime takaoi (Jap. Its extreme variability exceeds that of our native Asarum arifolium. flowers usually reddish brown. Saruma henryi. small Japanese wild ginger. black dwarf Japanese wild ginger. creeping and forming colonies. with silvery gray markings. to Kansai. Hardy to zone 6. and the patterned green leaves are triangular. (2. which it closely resembles. continuing to grow and flower all during the summer’s heat.8 in. leaves to 4 in. grayish green with varying patterns. plant to 24 in. hairy leafstalks. and wild gingers. leaves mostly opposed on long. distinctly and broadly heart-shaped with nicely rounded lobes. to 0. A nicely marked wild ginger with good drought tolerance. upright Chinese ginger. Pennsylvania. Honshu. to 5 in. to 5 in. it has withstood droughts with aplomb. leathery leaves—attracted . Aspidistra Aspidistra elatior (cast-iron plant) is sometimes the only houseplant still alive when the owners return from a lengthy vacation. flowers bright yellow. kurohime takaoi (Jap. which are shiny. are available. to 1 in. (10 cm) tall. round to oval. small. clump-forming. light green at first. and among the hardiest species for the garden. Virginia heartleaf. rounded heart-shaped. Japan. including a white-flowered albino with jade-green flowers. I have it underplanted with small yellow hostas. turning a dull dark green. it grows taller and much more rapidly than Asarum species. plant rhizomatous. Under the right conditions.5 cm) wide. MS to FS. stems and leaves covered with tiny hairs. Another of the wild gingers subject to pot culture in Japan. Asarum takaoi. bowlshaped. yellow club moss (Selaginella kraussiana ‘Aurea’). heartshaped. and dwarf golden sweet flag (Acorus gramineus ‘Minimus Aureus’). April–May. MS to FS. urn-shaped. April–September. (60 cm) tall and 30 in. small. leaves evergreen. Very rare and still expensive. Asarum yoshikawae. spreading sepal lobes to 0. the many forms in commerce offer random uniformity of leaf variegation at best. (30 cm) tall. Kanto. with 3 straight lobes. (13 cm) long. to 1 in. although heat and drought put it to rest. little brown jugs. with 3 flat.). rounded lobes. (13 cm) long and wide. this species is an excellent garden plant here in zone 7a and may be hardy to zone 5. but at Hosta Hill. flowers reddish to greenish brown. hardy to zone 5. particularly when planted with all-green hostas. This newcomer to cultivation makes an excellent accent plant in the shady garden. Some say it thrives on neglect. which is how it earned its common name. but with larger leaves. with light jade-green flowers and leaves variegated with gray and silvery white. West Virginia. small ferns. related to Asarum takaoi and similar to it. Two representatives of the A. Asarum trigynum (sanko kanaoi in Japan). Its tough constitution together with its beauty—exemplified by long-lasting. Asarum virginicum. (1 cm) long. Western China.5 in.). is similar but has only 3 pistils instead the usual 6. dark green. leaves to 3 in. extending into the northern regions of Honshu. The jade-green flowers are more elongated and tubular. dark veining over light gray-green mottling. (2 cm) wide. many forms. pig flower. to 4 in. I have found A. Offered in an albino form with light jade-green flowers with a white center. Flowering starts early (here. southern Tohoku. A widespread species in Japan. Honshu. With supplemental water. stems branching. Shikoku. sometimes singular. pyramidal Chinese ginger.

Cast-iron plants are eminently adated to even the deepest shade. to 4 ft. (35 cm) long. It 105 is classified in the lily-of-the-valley family. shady woodlands. further north. cast-iron plant. jade-green. Cast-iron plants are extremely long-lived and. which she plunged every spring into prepared holes lined with empty plastic liners. the top growth became tattered and unsightly. Aspidistra elatior. Barkeepers. elongated lanceshaped. My mother took a few of my extras back to Michigan and potted them in plastic nursery pots. but they seem to munch on juicier things. general neglect—and extremely low light levels. ‘Jade Ribbons’ is an available selection. Its appealing leaves present themselves in tight. (50 cm) long and 4 in. China. Leaves have a white stripe in the center. ‘Asahi’ (= morning sun). a gardener brings a potted cast-iron plant outside. ‘Akebono’ (= dawn of day). add texture to the shady garden. falling out of the pine trees. in moist. iron plant. on stout petioles to 10 in. when temperatures dipped to −10°F (−23°C). thick and stout—even high winds will not knock them down. arising directly from the rhizome. southern China. (90 cm) long and 3–5 in. Japan. (10–13 cm) wide. I just cut off the damaged leaves in early spring and let new growth take over. to 20 in. but the rhizomatous roots survived. Several of the variegated forms found in China have been propagated and are now available. looking for something better than plastic greenery. The only insect damage I have seen is the vine weevils’ scalloping of the leaf margins. I daresay. round shield). Infrequent local ice storms can bombard the leaves with melting ice particles. Aspidistra caespitosa. (75 cm) high. They are evergreen.Aspidistra multitudes of indoor gardeners during the Victorian period. barroom plant. (25 cm) long. jade ribbon plant. an allusion to the shape of the stigma. Slugs and snails are the natural pollinators of aspidistras. Flower arrangers found the leaves indispensable because they stayed fresh almost permanently after cutting. Aspidistras frequently fail to flower in homes or gardens. These can brighten the darkest corners of any garden. MS to FS. Species and cultivars listed are hardy to zone 7. This is the ubiquitous cast-iron plant of Victorian days. mites. (10 cm) wide. and more than 40 years later both they and their children continue to grace Hosta Hill with their elegance and beauty. they have survived intact every winter except one. sending up fresh leaves in spring. on stout petioles to 10 in. slipped into decorative containers. (63 cm) long and 0. . Before the big freeze started. MS to FS. dark glossy green. and though their cold hardiness limits them to zone 7 and warmer. In 1959. fumes. It is a classic indoor plant. Here in zone 7. Propagate by dividing the rhizome before new growth starts in late winter or spring. The genus name comes from the Greek aspidion (= small. From time to time. The tight clumps of leaves. with oblong-elliptic leaves. leaves erect or slightly leaning. arising directly from the rhizome.). they graced my parents’ home all winter. took up with the aspidistras and soon it acquired its other common name. she brought them back inside. to 30 in. Aspidistras are relatively disease-free. (1. but this is no problem because the flowers are insignificant and hidden within the foliage. (8– 13 cm) wide. where. like hostas or lettuce. with oblong-elliptic leaves. and scale insects too are occasionally described as pests. (60 cm) high. Many variegated forms from China and Japan are available. upright bundles. which have been compared to those of daylilies (Hemerocallis spp. (63 cm) high. to 25 in. anthracnose and leaf spot are reported but have not been noticed here. (25 cm) long. clump-forming. tolerant of dust. and Japan. plant compact. Leaves have progressive whitening and streaking toward the tip and are almost all white at the apex. clump-forming perennials with short rhizomes. almost permanent. China. usually near soil level. elongated elliptic. plant clump-forming. letting it spend the warm season on a shady patio. best to pot and overwinter them. but not in my experience. Mealy bugs. to 36 in. to 25 in. they are useful in most northern shady gardens as well. Remove the occasional all-green leaf. leaves upright. (1 cm) wide. to 24 in. to 20 in. stout petioles to 14 in. (50 cm) long and 4–5 in.5 in. I decided to plant a few clumps out in my Nashville garden. Aspidistras are endemic to the Himalayas. Convallariaceae.2 m) high. barroom plant. but they should not be fertilized because they may turn all green. held on rigid.

plant compact. (20 cm) long. with oblongelliptic leaves. Leaves are spattered with yellow specks. on stout petioles to 8 in. (15–18 cm) long. their favorite anchorage is cracks in bricks or between rocks. ‘China Moon’. The genus gets its name from the classical Greek a and spleen (= no or without [the] spleen). tidy rosettes here and there without the gardener’s intervention. (5–8 cm) wide. platyneuron) are considered delicate. (95 cm) high. MS to FS. Leaves are specked with light yellow dots. ‘Leopard’ has green leaves richly speckled with yellow spots. with oblong-elliptic leaves. Remove the occasional allgreen leaf. to 32 in. clump-forming. Ceterach. the following cultivars are of uncertain parentage but may turn out to be connected with Aspidistra typica. on stout petioles to 8 in. although widely grown as houseplants and in greenhouses. Phyllitis. The many hardy species. (45 cm) high. with oblong-elliptic leaves. A relatively new species from China. with oblong-elliptic leaves. China. (25 cm) long. throughout. with oblong-elliptic leaves. acid Georgia red clay. to 36 in. to 38 in. irregular white stripes throughout. Aspidistra lurida. (50 cm) long and 2 in. and colors. cast-iron plant. the highly decorative and long-lived spleenworts. (60 cm) high. (25 cm) long. to 30 in. (70 cm) long and 0. Leaves are white-speckled all over. Leaves are irregularly white-striped more or less equally throughout. to 20 in. to 10 in. (1 m) high. The hardy spleenworts are native to shady woodlands and are cosmopolitan in the temperate regions of North America and Eurasia. and several other genera with the spleenworts. Hardy to zone 8. to 8 in.106 Asplenium ‘Hoshi Zaro’ (= starry sky). to 10 in. with oblongelliptic leaves. textures. Leaves are spotted with creamy yellow and brighten up a shady corner. all over Hosta Hill. (10 cm) long. dark glossy green. Aspidistra typica. with oblong-elliptic leaves. The classification of certain fern groups is still debated. Once established in a garden. (10–13 cm) wide. it is attractive anywhere. but I can vouch for their rugged nature. (8–10 cm) wide. (25 cm) high. to 30 in. but they will also find a place on dense. ‘Milky Way’ (‘Minor’). plant clump-forming. with resulting baby ferns. to 9 in. The leaf center is pale. elongated straplike. plant clump-forming. leaves erect or slightly leaning. on stout petioles to 4 in. ‘Variegata Exotica’. . 8–10 in. (60 cm) long and 4 in. (10 cm) wide. (20 cm) long. a subject for potting only. The variegated ‘Irish Mist’ grows to 18 in. Leaves have white blotches throughout. (95 cm) high. Many spleenworts are of tropical origin and so not suitable outdoors in temperate zone gardens. I follow those who include Camptosorus. to 38 in. to 10 in. on stout petioles to 10 in. (5 cm) wide. The leaves have bold. plant clump-forming. much like a starry sky. ‘Okame’. ‘Variegata Ashei’. (50 cm) high. like maidenhair spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes) and brownstem spleenwort (A. China. to 30 in. narrow and wide. yellow speckles and markings appear all over its mature leaves. trichomanes makes itself at home. MS to FS. showing off its petite. to 16 in. (2 cm) wide. alluding Aspidistra linearifolia. (50 cm) high. ‘Variegata’. arising directly from the rhizome. on thin. elongated elliptic. (90 cm) high. Asplenium The most tropical-looking hardy ferns available for the shady garden are members of the genus Asplenium. (8 cm) wide. (23 cm) long and 3 in. with their variety of leaf forms. plant clump-forming. arising directly from the rhizome. (75 cm) long and 4–5 in.8 in. (5 cm) wide. (75 cm) high. to 40 in. MS to FS. to 28 in. They spread spores. with oblong-elliptic leaves. small cast-iron plant. ‘China Star’. narrow-leaved cast-iron plant. are the ones considered here: no shady garden should be without a few of these valuable assets. (20– 25 cm) long and 2 in. similar to ‘Hoshi Zaro’ but smaller. rigid petioles 6–7 in. further north. (25 cm) long and 2–3 in. Leaves have irregular white stripes. Hardy to zone 7. on stout petioles to 10 in. (75 cm) high. (20 cm) high. White-speckled leaves. Hardy to zone 8. with oblong-elliptic leaves. leaves erect or slightly leaning. (25 cm) long. to 24 in. 7 with protection. to 20 in. (80 cm) long and 4–5 in. dark shiny green. A. Leave it be or move it. Some. to 24 in. China. with small oblong-elliptic leaves. to 20 in. (40 cm) long and 3–4 in. ‘China Sun’. (10–13 cm) wide.

upright. Cosmopolitan species like A. Some species prefer alkaline soil (I sweeten the soil by mixing in dolomitic limestone or turkey grit made from crushed seashells). but they do disfigure the leaflets and reduce the vigor of the plants. With their great diversity of leaf shape and texture. removing a small start of this tiny. light green. scale fern. This is a small. well-draining woodland soil. and hostas and fit in well anywhere in the shady garden. pointed tip. and digestive tract disorders. rugged fern for dry places. in mortar joints of brick curbing. often flat on the ground. margins less toothed. western Asia. (13–20 cm) long. Some sun. with some like A. whence the fledgling plants can be lifted and transplanted to suitable locations. rusty-back fern. Morning sun is ideal. It is always welcome in gardens. veins on all leaflets are forked. (50 cm) tall. upright. lobe present but not as manifest. They are ideal ferns for the shady garden. It does not like soggy or wet soils and is best in elevated situations that guarantee good drainage. maintaining themselves with little or no care. 107 Asplenium ceterach. trichomanes and A. continuous moisture on them brings decline. but they do not appreciate direct sun from noon through late afternoon. straight. Mediterranean region. the spleenworts make great companion plants for wildflowers. fronds produced in rosettes. for example. Ceterach is the Arabic name for this fern. Aspleniaceae. Central and southern Europe east to the Caucasus. A tough fern for the rockery. Asplenium platyneuron. Himalayas. The epithet (platyneuron = with broad veins) stems from an old. Ontario to Quebec. evergreen. so species descriptions include soil preference. short. fronds produced in rosettes. rhizomes short. but I have not seen such damage. They are particularly useful in isolated places along walks. leaflets more rounded. Most species and cultivars listed form slowly expanding clumps and are evergreen. Some sun. next to rocks. dark green above and covered with yellowish to silvery brown scales beneath. (25 cm). platyneuron are best for gardens. Spleenworts are successfully cultivated in medium shade and where some sun filters into the garden. rich in organic matter. Some species are used as a treatment for parasitic worms. others an acid soil. however. rhizomes short. The American and European hardy spleenworts are hardy to zone 4. brownstem spleenwort. they are very prolific and will naturalize in many places of the garden. platyneuron usable in zone 2. Propagate spleenworts by raising them from fresh spores. Difficult to establish where high humidity and rainfall keep the soil saturated. India. dark green. delicate fern. it shows up in both alkaline and moderately acid soils. Occasionally spleenworts are attacked by scale insects and mealy bugs. blackstem spleenwort. fronds 5–8 in. which is sometimes seen growing luxuriantly on old walls. inaccurate illustration. alternately spaced. though the leaves may be disfigured by ice and heavy snow. LS to WS. in the most unexpected places. chest complaints. Hardy in zones 5 to 8. Spleenworts like abundant moisture. but all species listed tolerate dry conditions to some extent. toothed and serrated margins. it rolls up its fronds to conserve water during droughts. All species grown at Hosta Hill are of very easy culture. evergreen. North America. spaced closer. sterile fronds more numerous. deeply cleft between leaflets nearly to the midrib. where it pops up. It does not like soggy or wet soils and is best in elevated situations that guarantee good drainage. Some are difficult to establish—Asplenium ruta-muraria (wall rue). They do best in a light. other ferns. Once established. so it is best admired in its natural habitat. not erect. spore cases (sori) short. divided into alternate leaflets (pinnae) of oblong to rounded tips. running together. Infestations of foliar nematodes are usually not fatal. erect. spore cases (sori) few. with prominent earlike lobe at base. or on . to 10 in. it is abundant in the wild and prevalent in suburbia. At Hosta Hill. fertile leaflets narrowly oblong. Site where leaves will remain dry. lanceshaped. tapering at top and bottom. fertile fronds to 20 in. where its small size and charming looks are appreciated. west to Texas and the Rocky Mountains. with heavy substance. weedlike. and alkaline soils. south to Georgia. short. and as poultices for bruises and burns. ebony spleenwort. LS to WS. dry places. Like Polypodium polypodioides (resurrection fern). bending down. Asplenium is classified in the spleenwort family. evergreen to semi-evergreen in colder areas. usually ends in its demise. where they add greenery between rocks and along watercourses.Asplenium to its medicinal properties.

tapering gradually to a point. 1 in. Veins free. evenly undulate. greenish yellow fronds to 20 in. Hardy in zones 5 to 8. glossy light green above and duller below. evergreen. crested tip. Requires ever-moist. Asplenium scolopendrium. each branch toothed or irregularly margined). spore cases scattered over undersurface from base to tip. deeply folded and ruffled margin. eastern North America. The American form. Site this small conversation-piece fern where it can be observed closely: in mature specimens the leaf arches over. smooth green above. at which point new ferns sprout. veins free. mostly in pairs. ruffled margin. Hardy in zones 5 to 8. ridged leaves). brown and scaly at the base. alkaline. New Brunswick. fronds to 18 in. LS to WS. veins free. quickly tapering to a sharp tip. shiny green above and dull green below. Cultivars are widely available from wildflower nurseries. ‘Fimbriatum’. south to northern Georgia. supported by a short stalk. fronds to 30 in. Europe. evenly undulate and ruffled margin. heart-shaped at the base. At one time this extremely variable spleenwort was the rarest fern in North America. broad fronds to 14 in. Ontario. (50 cm) long. deeply and unevenly divided. Years ago. fronds to 25 in. with wavy edges. (5 cm) wide. hart’s tongue fern. Some sun. produced as single leaves to 7 in. networked. spore cases scattered over undersurface from . North America. fronds simple. MS to FS. each division with a spreading. (2. arching. (18 cm) long. (25 cm) wide. walking spleenwort. fronds to 30 in. slightly acid soils are occasionally tolerated. networked. heavily fringed. ruffled margin. produced as single leaves to 15 in. arching. fronds simple. New York.5 in. each ending in a flat crest. but not quite as hardy. creeping. ‘Kaye’s Laceratum’. leathery. Asplenium rhizophyllum. (35 cm) long with crest divided many times. only 1. leaves produced in crowns.5 cm) wide at base. walking fern. supported by a short stalk. tapering to a long. and acid soils to pH 6. is seldom offered. I saw these most unusual ferns flourishing on moss-covered limestone rocks in the Appalachian Valley of northeastern Georgia. ‘Crispum’ (wavy-frond hart’s tongue fern). incised. the mother fern had formed colonies of smaller ferns all around. fronds to 20 in. Sterile. add dolomitic limestone to acid topsoils. in European forms lobed. upright. fronds to 14 in. elongated strap-shaped. with crested tip. rock ledges—almost anywhere in the garden. Tennessee. each branch tip crested). heart-shaped at base. ‘Crispum Bolton’s Nobile’. neutral. ‘Laceratum Kaye’ (‘Kaye’s Lacerate’. Selected cultivars with similar features have been grouped as follows: Cristatum Group (crested tips). Asplenium resiliens (blackstem spleenwort) is similar. with glossy brown scales. var. and Ramomarginatum Group (fronds branched near the tip. Ramocristatum Group (fronds branched near the tip. brown and scaly. or often forked. upright. 2 in. Marginatum Group (toothed and irregular margins. fronds to 14 in. evergreen. alkaline to neutral soil. benefits from misting or overhead watering during droughts. hidden under the leaf bases. thin point that touches the ground as leaves mature. and its tips touch the ground. rhizomes short. but new colonies of rescued and propagated individuals have been reintroduced to the wild. hence the epithet (rhizophyllum = rootleaved) and common names. Hardy in zones 3 to 8. alkaline soil. It is now scarce in the wild and should not be collected. fronds to 20 in. ‘Angustifolium’ (narrow-leaved hart’s tongue fern).108 Asplenium base to tip. americanum. (75 cm) long. Requires moist. Prefers high humidity. Its stems are a true glossy black. (35 cm) long with crested tip. spore cases linear. west to Oklahoma and Minnesota. leathery. ‘Cristatum’ (cockscomb hart’s tongue fern). Kaye’s hart’s tongue fern). ‘Crispum Golden Queen’ (golden hart’s tongue fern). Ontario to Quebec. (63 cm) long and 10 in. rhizomes short. western Asia. (50 cm) long. leaves elongated triangular. (75 cm) long. ‘Capitatum’ (tasseled hart’s tongue fern). Often confused with ‘Undulatum’. zones 6 to 9. Occasionally grows in full sun. (50 cm) long. with more rounded and more opposite leaflets. ‘Digitatum’ (‘Digitatum Cristatum’). (35 cm) long. many-branched. elongated. either blunt. (4 cm) wide. evergreen. shredded. (45 cm) long. ending uniformly distant from edge. (38 cm) long. ‘Crispum Moly’.

‘Sagitocristatum’. to 18 in. darker green than ‘Crispum’. tapering at top and bottom. elongated heart-shaped leaves. arrowhead-shaped fronds to 18 in.Aster ‘Marginatum’ (hart’s tongue fern). but in shade. fronds to 30 in. Europe. with dark brown scales. Gorgeous flowers are their glory. Cultivars with in- . leaflets (pinnae/pinnules) triangular and deeply incised. fertile leaflets round to oval. dark green. fronds arrowhead-shaped like ‘Sagitatum’. fronds to 4 in. Other woodland asters also seed prolifically. but I found the flowers ragged and unkempt—so no longer are there wood asters in my woods. fronds produced in rosettes. (2 m). fronds to 6 in. Years ago. running together. I did like the nice. requiring the gardener’s endless attention during fruiting. fronds arrowhead-shaped like ‘Sagitatum’. To increase bloom count. they are somewhat larger and grow here in granitic. spaced apart toward the base. Fertile. lobes produced at the base. ‘Speciosum’. Incisum Group. opposite. ‘Greenfield’. I do grow Aster tataricus (Tatarian aster) in the southeast corner of the garden. erect. Incisum Group. with wavy. as the classical generic name indicates (aster = star). It grew near the path. ‘Undulatum’ (undulate hart’s tongue fern). Incisum Group. Incisum Group. evergreen to semi-evergreen in colder areas. rhizomes short. (45 cm) long. fronds to 4 in. (45 cm) long. frond terminals crested. an elevated site in the rock garden or between limestone rocks near a path would be ideal. to 18 in. (10 cm) long. ‘Sagitocrispum’. leaflets (pinnae/pinnules) linear and deeply incised. tightly spaced in upper half. In gardens with acid soils. forming two blades. sterile fronds usually flat on the ground. (45 cm) long. Hardy in zones 5 to 8. ‘Ramocristatum’. obliterating more attractive. (35 cm) long. (35 cm) long. short. fertile fronds 4–7 in. fronds to 18 in. lowgrowing and still topped with white flowers. In a few years. upright. more acid soils. maidenhair spleenwort. (15 cm) long. so I collected seeds from a few heads gone over. ‘Sagitatum’ (arrowhead hart’s tongue fern). a selection of Asplenium trichomanes subsp. Asplenium pinnatifidum (lobed spleenwort). divaricatus (white wood aster). where it gets full sun from morning until noon. frond terminals crispate. It grows in alkaline soil and does not like soggy or wet soils. the wood aster had seeded itself all over Hosta Hill. 109 cised fronds are combined in the A. spore cases (sori) few. (15 cm) long. fronds to 14 in. I cut it back in early summer to about half its ultimate height of 7 ft. divided into 2 branches. on an outing to North Georgia in late October. fronds to 6 in. leaflets (pinnae/pinnules) branched with frond tip (leaflet) on branches crested. alkaline soil. dark green. Cosmopolitan in North America. branched. showy woodland plants. but it must be deadheaded constantly to prevent its taking over. This dainty. slightly toothed. Aster Asters are primarily plants for the sunny border. can be substituted. divaricatus is a candidate for lightly shaded areas of the garden. ‘Trogyense’. less undulate margins. deeply folded and pleated. (10–18 cm) tall. montanum (mountain spleenwort). fronds to 14 in. ‘Incisum Moulei’ (‘Moulei’). (35 cm) long. and A. fronds to 14 in. but I figured it was in considerable shade during the day. ‘Cristatum’. ‘Incisum’. LS to FS. and Asia. leaflets (pinnae/pinnules) with the capitate frond tip (leaflet) only crested. with more triangular leaflets. narrow fronds to 18 in. with lobed leaflets. (45 cm) long. pleated and wrinkled surface. (75 cm) long. trichomanes Incisum Group. Adiantum capillus-veneris. pretty fern requires a special position in the garden to be fully appreciated. Its flowers are beautiful. where the woods opened up somewhat. fronds to 6 in. veins on all leaflets are free and forked. creating elongated. (10 cm) long. The common name comes from the resemblance of the leaflets to those of the southern maidenhair fern. they stop blooming. pachyrachis. ‘Ramocristatum’. ‘Muricatum’. A good Asplenium trichomanes. like lavender-blue stars. ‘Ramosum’ (twin hart’s tongue fern). (15 cm) long. with branch terminals crested. leaflets (pinnae/pinnules) triangular and deeply incised. lacking the earlike projections of Asplenium platyneuron. deeply lobed margins. (13 cm) long. Certainly A. I found A. leaflets (pinnae/pinnules) triangular and deeply incised. (45 cm) long. fronds to 5 in.

Hosta Hill now has a specimen of this wonderful native backing up Japanese anemones and toad lilies at the base of a loblolly pine. rhizomatous. aphids. some people use them dried in flower arranging. but it is a giant at 8 ft. With well over a thousand species in the garden. biternata.5 m) and therefore hard to place in a garden of usually low-growing woodlanders. (1. I feature Astilbe ×arendsii ‘Cattleya’ prominently around the patio in the rear garden of Hosta Hill. moist soil. red. ferns. foamflowers. Chinese mayapples. In late spring. The nomenclature of these hybrids is confused. its pink flowers continue the show started by ‘Pink Pearl’ azalea. A. All are well adapted to shady. umbellatus (flattop aster). a great. I am also quite fond of one of our two native North American astilbes. I have listed all cultivars under these latest species affiliation. and A. the long-lasting panicles remain upright. biternata in the North Georgia mountains. (2. There it is combined with hellebores. the flowering panicles require no staking. ×arendsii ‘Diamant’ brighten up the shady borders. japonica ‘Deutschland’ and A. Another for light shade with some sun is A. A. hostas. Astilbe simplicifolia ‘William Buchanan’ has deeply one is A. the flowers are very small. Astilbe Astilbes have been favorites since the importations of Thunberg and Siebold in the late 1700s to early 1800s. as a large background plant for shady corners. though after a hard rain they may droop a little.or heart-shaped. davidii. they are indispensable—a “must have” for every shady garden. thunbergii) but those contributed by hybridizers in France. like hostas. I no longer grow asters here: they are subject to all sorts of fungal diseases. and provide attractive garden highlights throughout the winter. its imposing plumes of white to yellowish white flowers and shrublike proportions cannot be missed. nevertheless. named for German nurseryman Georg Arends. astilboides. Astilbe ×arendsii now includes not only Arends’ complex crosses (which he made between 1900 and the 1930s using A. either ovate to lance. chinensis var. and in larger gardens. Individually. One of these I like very much is Astilbe chinensis var. arise directly from the rhizome. depending on the hybrid’s parentage. variegated Hakone grass. The medium to dark green leaves. and serve as a host for nematodes. naturallooking border that provides plant contrast and color all year. longlived perennials of the saxifrage family. but they drift above the leaves in large plumes of white. Most gardeners will forgo the precision and simply refer to it as Astilbe ‘Deutschland’. The compound mass of toothed foliage provides an excellent contrast to the bold leaves of hostas and native mayapples. They are compound. japonica. Their crowning glory are the plumelike panicles wafting above the leaf mound. By far the largest of the several groups of hybrids in commerce is Astilbe ×arendsii. turn brown. originating in moist woodlands of North America (two species) and Southeast Asia (all others). pumila. Each leaflet is toothed and. usually 2. the Netherlands. Many of the available hybrids form large. Tall as they are. growing to 5 ft. Elsewhere the pure white spires of A. and purple. I remember seeing a blooming colony of A. I prefer astilbes with white flowers because they stand out more in a shady garden. they can be massed with grand effect. slowly spreading clumps resembling subshrubs. with each leaf divided into three to five leaflets. After the flowers fade and the leaves die back in autumn. Many previously considered A.or 3-ternate. Both are of easy culture in moderately acid. white petals with yellow or pinkish centers carried umbrellalike atop the stems.110 Astilbe Several interesting species recently imported from the Far East have been added to those of Chinese origin. and other countries. and they become more appealing to me with each passing year. and epimediums to form a loose. pink. and of course the smaller ones fit into half-acre Hosta Hill much better. A. and I shall never forget that sight. tataricus. slugs. Saxifragaceae. small companion plant for miniature hostas.5 m). ×arendsii have been reassigned to species with which they are ostensibly more closely associated—for example. A. I have grown astilbes in my shady garden for several decades. lateriflorus (calico aster) with white or pale purple flowers. . moist conditions. I can do without plants that become a burden rather than a joy. which have been in commerce for some time. Other than the incredibly sturdy A. ×arendsii ‘Deutschland’ is now A. which has ragged. attract mites. Astilbes are herbaceous. and snails. japonica ‘Deutschland’. which in some varieties show a bronze to reddish tinge.

(60 cm) wide. 30 in. 111 Astilbe ×arendsii. and its creamy white plumes combine well with a group of small. ‘Cattleya’. 32 in. ‘Amethyst’. ‘Hyazinth’ (‘Hyacinth’). white flowers. 36 in. 36 in. early. Be- ware of ordering duplicate plants under both the original German cultivar name and its English translation. bright red flowers. Astilbes must have water. (60 cm) wide. dark green leaves. (80 cm) tall. (90 cm) tall and 24 in. (90 cm) tall and wide. ‘Ceres’. midseason. (1. 36 in. my established clumps come through periods of hot Southern drought without damage even when I am not there to water them. Because pine bark mulch and chips contribute to the drainage. ‘Else Schluck’. leaves dark. (75 cm) tall. ‘Salland’. To me. (Successful gardeners pay attention to their plants. midseason. however. and other water-retaining organic components. early. Watering is by buried soaker hoses. 6 ft. (1 m) tall. 32 in. as the case may be. a feature easily more conspicuous. I dig the rhizomes with a large ball of soil attached so as not to disturb the roots. late. (45 cm) wide. midseason. (45 cm) tall. Some species can be propagated by seed. ‘Irrlicht’ (‘Jack o’ Lantern’. Most thrive in zones 4 to 8. ‘Brautschleier’ (‘Bridal Veil’). (90 cm) tall. nodding flowers. ‘Gloria’ (‘Glory’). dark pink flowers. after the ground thaws. the kind made out of recycled automobile tires. pine bark. 30 in. early. midseason. Although astilbes can be grown in full sun when situated in a boggy site. the leaves of some species are quite shiny. here in late June. 4 ft. midseason. division is a lot easier. but the seeds are short-lived. salmon to carmine-red flowers on narrow panicles. The genus name Astilbe (= without shine) refers to the flowers’ lack of brilliance. 36 in. the native acid clay soil has been amended with liberal amounts of peat moss. (80 cm) tall. early. McConnell’. (90 cm) tall and 24 in. midseason. 32 in. 32 in. (90 cm) tall. (1. early.Astilbe toothed. This is the easiest way to keep astilbes and other perennials with thirsty roots and rhizomes happy and healthy. reddish pink flowers. Not paying any attention when plants “talk” can result in losses and disappointment. 18 in. ‘Bergkristall’ (‘Mountain Crystal’). salmon-pink flowers. A very few of this group of garden hybrids are limited to zone 5. ‘Rosa Perle’ (‘Pink Pearl’). (90 cm) wide. (90 cm) tall and wide. ‘Obergärtner Jürgens’ (‘Headgardener Jürgens’). white flowers. 32 in. midseason. ‘Lilli Goos’. crimson-red flowers. dark bronze-tinted leaves. early. ‘Granat’ (‘Garnet’). carmine-red flowers. (45 cm) wide. bronze-tinted leaves. after which the plants recover rapidly. (90 cm) tall and wide. ‘Glut’ (‘Glow’). (80 cm) tall and 24 in. dark red flowers. late. (90 cm) tall and 18 in. which begin to droop as soon as there is a lack of moisture at the roots. it flowers fairly late. and carry as much of the attached soil as possible along to the new location or the pot. dark crimson flowers. (60 cm) wide. 36 in. (80 cm) tall and 24 in. (60 cm) wide. I have learned to pay attention to their emerging panicles. (60 cm) wide. (60 cm) wide. Propagate by dividing the completely dormant rhizome in late autumn. and gardeners in zone 4 may have to use extra protection to push their limit. (80 cm) tall and 18 in. (90 cm) tall and 24 in. or in spring. ‘Bressingham Beauty’. . light pink flowers. white. This unmistakable signal requires immediate action. late winter. ‘Rotlicht’ (‘Red Light’).8 m) tall.) Wherever astilbes are placed at Hosta Hill. early. ‘Fanal’. (60 cm) wide. Astilbes are reliably winter hardy. ‘Feuer’ (‘Fire’). white flowers. 36 in. light pink flowers. bronze-tinted leaves. ‘Anita Pfeifer’. 40 in. lilac flowers. (80 cm) tall and 24 in. (75 cm) tall and 24 in. 40 in. white-margined Hosta ‘Allan P. late. 32 in. early. I do not use sand. Garden hybrid. remaining viable for less than three weeks. carmine-red flowers. (1 m) tall and 24 in. lilac to pink flowers. Leaf spot and powdery mildew are reported but never—not in 50 years—seen here. in shady corners their water requirements are considerably reduced. lilac flowers. 36 in. carmine-red flowers. 36 in. ‘Diamant’ (‘Diamond’). ‘Grete Pungel’. ‘Will-o’-the-Wisp’). dark pink flowers. (60 cm) wide.2 m) tall and 36 in. compost. 36 in. early to midseason.

south to Georgia. (1. (1. ‘Weisse Gloria’ (‘White Glory’). divided into ovate leaflets with sharp. most have medium green foliage. (60 cm) wide. ‘Veronica Klose’. serrate edges. 8 in. early. dark green. Japanese astilbe. (90 cm) wide. leaves small. narrow. open. leaves small. truly grand astilbe appears to be the Chinese analogue of our native Astilbe biternata. plant 30 in. LS to MS. Hybrids involving this species were bred in Germany (note the geographical names). very small. tiny white to light yellow flowers carried on tall. 4 ft. tiny white to creamy white. dense. rocky streambeds and ravines. ‘Peter Pan’. Sun. with bronze-tinged foliage and reddish purple flowers on tall. dark green with red tint. ‘Venus’. 36 in. ‘Purpurlanze’ (‘Purple Lance’) also has darker. (50 cm) tall and 18 in. leaves dark. leaves 2. needs abundant water and some sun. 3-ternate. (90 cm) tall and 18 in.2 m) tall and 36 in.2 m) tall and 24 in. 18 in. dwarf Chinese astilbe) has lilac flowers on short. leaves 2. hairy. large dark green leaves divided into leaflets with sharply toothed edges. ‘Perkeo’. At 8 in. plant to 6 ft. midseason.and 3-ternate. Sun. only larger. Kyushu. Another excellent. feathery. (45 cm) wide. plant 24 in. (25 cm) tall and 9 in. Astilbe japonica. pink flowers. 24 in. bright pink flowers. slender panicles. (20 cm) tall and wide. (1. An excellent. white flowers on open. Kentucky. (60 cm) high and wide. deep pink flowers. (90 cm) tall. Garden hybrid. (25 cm) tall and 9 in. shell-pink flowers. glossy dark green. false goatsbeard. (23 cm) wide.5 m) wide. (60 cm) tall. (45 cm) wide. reddish green leaves. (90 cm) wide. plant 10 in. (90 cm) wide. sun-tolerant. (23 cm) wide. late. Astilbe biternata. dark green. giant Chinese astilbe. 20 in. a great companion plant for miniature hostas. A handsome native. Sichuan. spectacular. doubly serrate edges. salmon-pink flowers. midseason. margins toothed. 28 in. creeping. Japan. 20 in. ‘Liliput’. late. Grows in moist. 24 in. southern Honshu. ‘Purpurkerze’ (‘Purple Candle’). Sun. late. more vivid flowers. early. . intense magenta flowers on tall. (20 cm) tall and 9 in. occasionally light pink flowers carried on massive panicles. brownish stems. LS to MS. ‘Bonn’. plant to 4 ft. It is a late-flowerer and good for covering small patches of ground. this aptly named.112 Astilbe ‘Superba’. dense panicles. dark green with bronze tint. Japan. Astilbe chinensis. reddish green leaves. (60 cm) wide. carmine-red flowers. (45 cm) wide.8 m) tall and 5 ft. pink to pinkish red flowers. Sun. so an excellent companion for Hosta longipes (rock hosta). salmon-pink flowers. white flowers. later dark green leaves. Available Astilbe chinensis cultivars are all hardy to zone 5. Suited for dry regions with periods of drought. (45 cm). (23 cm) wide. early. plant 6 ft. Astilbe ×crispa. (60 cm) tall and 18 in. midseason. 18 in. Southwest China. A majestic astilbe for the background. (75 cm) high and 24 in.8 m) tall and 36 in. darker. (45 cm). 24 in. narrow panicles. ‘Finale’. dark pink to pinkish red flowers. Korea. Variety davidii has pink flowers on tall. (50 cm) tall and 18 in. Virginia. (1. (45 cm) wide. slender panicles. 10 in.2 m) tall and 36 in. LS to MS. midseason. very light.and 3-ternate. Collected by plantsman Dan Hinkley in 1998. Outstanding. ‘Spätsommer’ (‘Late Summer’). North America. ‘Intermezzo’. ‘Visions’ has dark raspberry-pink flowers tightly clustered on flowerstalks to 14 in. large pubescent brownish. leaves 2. drought-tolerant cultivar. (35 cm). Needs space. dark pink flowers. LS to MS. ‘Serenade’. drought-tolerant cultivar. 36 in. An attractive. (70 cm) tall. (1. (90 cm) tall. Shikoku. ‘Spartan’.and 3-ternate. salmon-red flowers. larger than the species. vigorous garden plant with creeping rootstock. China. (60 cm) tall and 18 in. bright pinkish red flowers. 36 in. pinkish flowers on open. 4 ft. drooping panicles. var. ‘Spinell’. columnar panicles. small. Astilbe grandis. deep red flowers. (1. Chinese astilbe. pumila (‘Pumila’. Variety taquetii (‘Taquetii’) is smaller. ‘Bremen’. (45 cm) wide. more vivid flowers than the type. late. conical panicles held by strong.

12 in. Shikoku. (30 cm) tall and wide. Korean astilbe. slender. bronze foliage. midseason. late. plant 12 in. Korea. drooping panicles. (70 cm) tall. ‘Carnea’. reddish pink flowers. early. ‘William Buchanan’. LS to MS. margins toothed. bronze foliage. open panicles. nodding flowers. small. (35 cm) wide. dark pink flowers. white flowers. ‘Bronze Elegance’ (‘Bronze Eleganz’. 113 Astilbe koreana. ovate. (45 cm) wide. 12 in. white flowers. 28 in. (30 cm) wide. ‘Praecox’. Sun. (20 cm) wide. sikokumontana (Japan. (45 cm) wide. ‘Red Sentinel’. 12 in. (30 cm) tall and wide. (30 cm) wide. early.Astilbe ‘Deutschland’ (‘Germany’). Japan. ‘Mainz’. pale pink flowers. (45 cm) tall and 24 in. white flowers. salmon-pink flowers. lilac-pink flowers. Japan. ‘Inshriach Pink’. (30 cm) tall and wide. wildflowers. 12 in. bronze foliage. Shikoku) is similar but with doubletoothed. 20 in. ‘Sprite’.and 3-ternate. (60 cm) tall and 18 in. Sun. (45 cm) tall and 12 in. dark brownish green. (60 cm) wide. Rare in the wild and in cultivation. 24 in. from Pakistan to Yunnan in southwest China. Astilbe rivularis. early. (2 cm) tall and 9 in. (45 cm) tall and 12 in. this species nevertheless passed on its . 24 in. ‘Gnom’ (‘Gnome’). and ferns. (90 cm) wide. (40 cm) tall and wide. Honshu. (50 cm) tall and 14 in. reddish green leaves. (70 cm) tall. early. LS to MS. (30 cm) high and wide. 12 in. (23 cm) wide. ‘Koblenz’. 14 in. (30 cm) tall and wide. deep pink to salmon-red flowers. midseason. (60 cm) tall and 18 in. deep pink flowers. northern China. All cultivars are excellent companions for small hostas. (45 cm) wide. pubescent. (30 cm) tall and wide. peachy pink flowers. pubescent. (50 cm) tall and wide. light pink flowers. flowers pink in bud.5 m) high and 36 in. on red leafstalks. central Honshu) is similar but with doubletoothed. Variety fujisanensis (Japan. (35 cm) high and wide. early. low growth habit to the many hybrids involving it. midseason. (70 cm) tall. A fine rock garden subject. midseason. Red-tinted pubescent leaves are nicely serrated. white flowers. Himalayan astilbe. (60 cm) tall and 18 in. bronze foliage. ‘Gladstone’. deep crimson flowers. (35 cm) wide. midseason. early. midseason. pale pink. midseason. 8 in. ovate. Outstanding leaf color for shady gardens. Himalayas. (60 cm) tall and 18 in. ‘Rheinland’. early. 24 in. 24 in. large. white flowers. (30 cm) tall and wide. LS to MS. leaves 2and 3-ternate. lance-shaped leaves. white flowers. ‘Möwe’ (‘Seagull’). ‘Europa’ (‘Europe’). ‘Aphrodite’. early. purplish pink flowers. salmon-pink flowers. bronze foliage. (45 cm) wide. China. Sun. ‘Praecox Alba’. ‘Peach Blossom’ (‘Drayton Glory’). ovate. 18 in. deep red flowers. The species and its Astilbe simplicifolia. ‘Emden’. yellowish white flowers on tall. 20 in. yellowish white when open. 24 in. 18 in. Sun. ‘Montgomery’. red flowers. ‘Köln’ (‘Cologne’). 28 in. nodding panicles. ‘Atrorosea’. (35 cm) tall and 12 in. leaves simple. white flowers. (50 cm) tall and 14 in. loosely arranged. plant 14 in. 28 in. early. 24 in. bronze foliage. 12 in. plant 20 in. (30 cm) wide. bronze foliage. (70 cm) tall. rose-pink flowers. rigid leaves.and 3-ternate. 12 in. green. glossy bright green. ‘Rosea’. white or pink flowers on slender. (1. leaves and leafstalks hairy. (30 cm) tall and wide. ‘Snowdrift’. early. midseason. Astilbe thunbergii. (30 cm) tall and 8 in. early. 16 in. ‘Bronce Elegance’). (50 cm) tall. bronze foliage. plant to 5 ft. early. margins coarsely toothed. LS to MS. (45 cm) wide. ‘Dunkellachs’ (‘Dark Salmon’). Thunberg’s astilbe. leaves 2. dark brownish green. early. midseason. 20 in. (60 cm) tall and 18 in. (30 cm) tall and wide. early. early. (45 cm) wide. white flowers on slender. salmon to pink flowers. pale pink flowers. ‘Hennie Graafland’. 12 in. nodding panicles. light pink flowers on dense spikes. reddish pink flowers. bright pink flowers. midseason. (60 cm) tall and 18 in. Honshu. ‘Washington’. 18 in. 12 in. 28 in. var. midseason. ‘Peter Barrow’. midseason. leaves 2.

5 m) wide. 36 in. with hairy cover. (60 cm) wide. resulting in many distinct hybrids—a second gift from nature. The genus Athyrium consists of many gardenworthy and decorative ferns. Here Petasites japonicus is much better for size and stature but not as well behaved—a thug running all over the place. . midseason to late. Maintain soil moisture content with supplemental water during droughts. Even the contractor’s bulldozers could not wipe out all the lady ferns formerly carpeting the woodland floor. and a short time after we moved in. (60 cm) wide. long-lived ferns and find them to be of very easy culture. both are plants of great architectural value in the shady garden. LS. which resemble an umbrella blown inside-out by the wind. (1 m). Eastern China. Astilboides tabularis (shield-leaf Rodger’s flower) is now the only species in the genus Astilboides. (60 cm) wide. I cut the broken stems and shortly new ones rise up. In cultivation it is usually not as grand. The epithet tabularis (= like a table) comes from the resemblance of the leaves to a round table held on stout stems. the emerging buds that appear at soil level. white. Although it requires moist soil. 36 in.2 m) tall and 36 in. leaf stems stout. which impart a tropical flavor. to 36 in. it will not tolerate waterlogged soils: do not place the rhizome below water level when siting on a pond embankment. A. and I explained that botanists use the flowers as a point of comparison. Astilboides is classified in the Saxifragaceae. rounded in outline but with large. often deeply incised. Propagate by dividing the rhizome before growth starts in very early spring. even when planted near water. plant to 36 in. Here the Japanese painted fern has hybridized with the native lady fern. (90 cm) tall and 24 in. with new fronds reddish pink and soft bluish gray. The taller lady ferns do not like high winds. Nevertheless. Over the years. so it is not surprising this species dislikes the hot Southeast. including the very popular variegated Athyrium nipponicum ‘Pictum’ (Japanese painted fern). these persistent denizens of the Georgia woodland resprouted between the roots of pine trees. ‘Moerheim’ (‘Moerheimii’). North Korea. Suitable for cultivation in zones 4 to 7. They propagate by spores on regular Georgia red clay. Absolutely spectacular in flower.8 m). In fact. and the flowerstalks reach 5 ft. A great accent plant near a water feature or as a background grouping in open woodlands. filling the gaps. light green. it grows in moist woodlands and along lakes and streams. Sow seed in a cold frame in autumn. Athyrium Some lucky gardeners inherit native plants. This fast-growing character is very useful in windy gardens. disfiguring the leaves. I have grown many clumps of these delightful. midseason. white flowers. filix-femina. our gusty spring thunderstorms flatten much of the young growth on taller clumps. tiny creamy white flowers carried on large panicles reaching to 6 ft. (1. At Hosta Hill. Army worms and striped caterpillars feed during summer nights. It gets cold in its natural habitat. tall flower spikes with clouds of white flowers. upright. ‘Straussenfeder’ (‘Ostrich Plume’). All the lady ferns I grow are rugged and very hardy. nodding flowers. much like Astilbe only larger. (1. June–August. A visitor once asked me why a plant with such large leaves is called astilboides (= like an astilbe). leaves shieldlike. the inflorescence is stately and composed of plumelike panicles of tiny white flowers. shield-leaf Rodger’s flower.114 Astilboides Morning sun. toothlike lobes. midseason. and even mature leaves. are outdone only by the impressive. In the wild this species grows to immense size: the leaves. ‘Professor van der Wielen’. on improved soil. The large leaves. (90 cm) long. (1. Large slugs and snails can damage young leaf growth. as I did at Hosta Hill. varieties are rare in cultivation but have produced a race of garden hybrids. and even in the cracks between brick edgings. They return every spring Astilboides tabularis. further south it languishes. salmon-pink flowers in open. 4 ft. (90 cm) tall and 24 in. Native to China and Korea.5 m) or more. (1. anchoring plantings of hostas and ferns. herbaceous. a specimen of long standing is puny when compared to those I have seen in the cool and rain-rich gardens of western North America. feathery arrangement. Astilboides Formerly placed in the genus Rodgersia. (90 cm) tall and 5 ft. getting to about half that size. rounded. reach 40 in.

branching rootstock to form large clumps of upright stalks bearing delicately divided fronds. with pale wine-colored stems. but neutral to slightly alkaline soils also suit them. Lady ferns make great companion plants for wildflowers. scaly at the base. is a literal translation of the epithet. almost total shade. Fronds are produced throughout the growing season. leaves 2. including a green-stemmed variant and one with red or brownish stems.5 maintained moist at 70°F (21°C). Lady ferns thrive in our very acid soil. Other lady ferns are a little less hardy but robust nevertheless. lady fern. subleaflets deeply cut and toothed. spore cases (sori) roundish. the stems become brittle and often break. This is not to say that they will not withstand some drought if grown in shade and given supplemental water. it frond are narrower with leaflets more widely spaced. Athyrium 3-compound. Athyrium filix-femina is very winter hardy. Hardy to zone 4 but short-lived in hot humid regions. so wind. The lady ferns are endemic to the temperate and subarctic regions of the northern hemisphere with some southern locations in South America. grooved. usually narrow. subleaflets deeply cut and toothed. angustum and var. This is the ubiquitous. leaves 2. (30 cm) wide. The spores must be sown as soon as they are ripe on a coarse commercial mix with a pH of 7 to 8. Propagate by dividing the creeping rhizome in autumn after the fronds have dropped or in very early spring. grooved. stalk either green or reddish brown. Here they show up and grow in the darkest corners of the garden. veins forked. curved. humid southern regions of North America it tolerates adverse conditions such as some drought and considerable heat. In the hot. in alpine situations. also South America. spore cases (sori) short. leaning with age. Their height makes them good subjects to fill in a background. fronds deciduous. Athyrium is classified in the Woodsiaceae. All the lady ferns here have naturalized and propagate without my intervention. hence robust rhizomes and fronds. sometimes horseshoeshaped. expanding slowly by means of a creeping. leaning with age. (20 cm) long. temperate and subarctic zones. when fronted by lower-growing companions like the gingers Asarum canadense or A. Few ferns can beat them for grace and beauty. Iceland. arifolium. 115 Athyrium distentifolium. Variety asplenioides (southern lady fern) is found in southern North America. is sometimes available.Athyrium without fail. ‘Kupferstiel’ (‘Copperstem’) has red stems. Lady ferns are prone to rusts. but I have not experienced this in my own plantings. pointed at top. LS to FS. scaly at the base.or raindamaged fronds are quickly replaced by new growth. either green or reddish brown. also Europe. and hostas. Species and cultivars listed are herbaceous and lose their top growth in winter. to 10 in. produced in rosettes on slender stalks emerging directly from the rhizome. They do best in a light. Propagation by spores is also relatively easy under the right conditions. Many different forms exist in the wild. easily cultivated lady fern. North America. The genus name comes from the Greek atharos (= good breeder). yet they also stand considerable sun. alpine lady fern. light green fronds composed of thin leaflets (pinnae). as is the cultivar ‘Rotstiel’ (‘Red Stem’) with a more . well-draining woodland soil. Endemic to the alpine regions of North America and Eurasia. other ferns. The common name. northern hemisphere. Cosmopolitan. to 8 in. sometimes tightly horseshoe-shaped. Nor do insects seem to bother them. light green composed of thin leaflets (pinnae). Alaska. which seems to pump them up. var. (1. veins forked. rich in organic matter. so I simply remove young ferns from spots where they are not wanted and transplant them or give them away. mostly blunt-pointed. erect. mostly blunt-pointed. in gardens it has proven hardy in zone 4. alluding to the reliable viability of the spores. produced in rosettes on slender stalks emerging directly from the rhizome. LS to FS. michauxii in northeastern North America. erect. They require moisture. Forma rubellum. narrow. native to protected areas of zone 3. and var. when drought conditions persist. lady fern. Canada.2 m). Variety americanum has been separated from the European alpine lady fern. californicum and var. (25 cm) long. (90 cm) and 12 in. cyclosorum in western North America. and Asia Minor. to 36 in. pointed at 3-compound. I recommend removing the broken fronds. fronds to 4 ft. I have seen lady ferns growing around the Georgia woods in very deep. common lady fern. to allow delicate new growth to emerge unhindered. wedge-shaped. wedge-shaped.

another is almost gray in spring and turns almost black in early summer. turning a soft gray later. narrowleaved spleenwort. fronds repeatedly branching. Many have the erect stature of A. competing with all comers. to 12 in. veins forked. This Asian lady fern also shows good color. ‘Fieldii’ (‘Fieldiae’). The Japanese painted fern is a colorful. Mrs. LS to FS. composed of leaflets (pinnae). (30 cm). Spreads vigorously by spores—delicate little Japanese lady ferns come up all over Hosta Hill. adjacent leaflets are suffused with reddish to bluish hues. China. (50 cm). coming to a point. ‘Metallicum Pictum’. resulting in a unusual. green composed of leaflets (pinnae). (50 cm). pointed or blunt at tip. ‘Frizelliae Cristatum’. grooved. nipponicum ‘Pictum’. ‘Victoriae’. wedge-shaped. pictum. Coloration in sporlings is variable. some are pink all over when young. Quebec south to Georgia and Louisiana. Frizell’s lady fern. charming addition to the garden. the differences in the shapes of the fronds are considerable—and quite significant to collectors. Taiwan. whether summers are cool or hot. North America. ‘Frizelliae’ (spiral staircase lady fern. others may be deep gray. especially in new fronds. ‘Acroladon’. American glade fern. Cultivars have been grouped as follows: Cruciatum Group (crested fronds). to 5 in. very short leaflets shaped into rounded lobes resembling tatting. to 20 in. filixfemina) volunteer all over Hosta Hill. scaly at the base. Rhizomes and fronds are robust. Japan. spore cases (sori) linear. small lady fern) makes a dense rosette. and Plumosum Group (3. to 12 in. The following cultivars are not heavily crested and are therefore suitable in the open garden. ‘Minutissimum’ (dwarf lady fern. leaves 2. Korea. LS to FS. Japan. (8 cm) long and 1 in. paired leaflets of a ghostly gray on reddish brown stems. light gray. and are separated by only minor botanical details. Hardy in zones 4 to 8. possibly the most popular lady fern around. Japanese painted fern. Japanese lady fern. Not quite as colorful as Athyrium nipponicum ‘Pictum’ but larger and more impressive in the garden. narrow. metallic gray toward the tips—a distinct bar effect. (45 cm). . either green or greenish brown. (50 cm). similar to ‘Frizelliae’ but with the main frond forked into a 3-tipped top. the crested fronds get waterlogged and so weighted that they break the brittle stems at ground level. produced in clumps on slender stalks emerging directly from the rhizome. reddish stem. One of the best ferns for the garden. to 40 in. wedge-shaped. (30 cm). ball-shaped clump. (75 cm). All are hardy to zone 3. 3 with protection. stalk to 18 in. Cristatum Group (toothed. fronds to 30 in. tatting fern). arching. green to greenish gray. produced in rosette-shaped clumps on slender stalks emerging directly from the rhizome. filix-femina but show one or more of the attractive colors of 4-compound fronds with finely divided leaflets and subleaflets). (13 Athyrium pycnocarpon. Hybrids (A. The attractive ‘Pictum’ ( 3-compound. paired leaflets forming a checked pattern. The stem is wine-red to purplish red. leaves 2-compound. (35 cm). changing to a lighter. Hardy in zones 5 to 8. and good-looking. Some are a blackish gray. veins forked. to 30 in. ‘Ghost’. By contrast. a tall form with narrow. fronds to 14 in. but most are too outlandish for garden settings. pointed at top. darker near the base. A few of these extreme forms might serve as accents here and there. grooved. some are similar to the mother fern. Athyrium nipponicum. Korea. is slightly smaller than the type. Japanese silver painted fern). ‘Setigerum’. heavily crested fronds). tall and strong-growing with paired leaflets forming a cross pattern. Most specimens offered have a beautiful wine-red color on the stalk and petioles with greenish gray leaflets. Distinctive. scaly at the base. to 20 in. toothed and slightly lobed. Athyrium otophorum. finely cut. During heavy rains. leaflets reduced to very slender segments. stronggrowing. west to Kansas. subleaflets deeply cut and toothed. ovate. China. arching. stalk either yellowish green or wine-red to purplish brown. nipponicum ‘Pictum’ × A. or reddish gray. (75 cm). narrow. (1 m). Makes an elegant and unusual statement in the garden. Its colorful fronds and stalk (stipe) are simply radiant in spring and remain distinct and beautiful well into autumn.5 cm) wide. 2 with protection.116 Athyrium cm) long. to 20 in. ‘Metalicum’. to 3 in. (2. only elaborate support structures can prevent this. a handmade lace. narrow.

spore cases (sori) long. southeastern Canada. more arching. hairy. dark and scaly at the base. On taller plants the rose-red underside of the leaves shows here and there. spore cases (sori) narrow. Unwanted seedlings and plants are easily removed. mostly the rhizomatous tropical and subtropical beauties now gathered in the Begonia Rex-Cultorum Group. I put up with it because its subtle fragrance perfumes the air and its soft pink flowers grace the garden from August until the first freeze cuts the plants down. (8 cm) long. 4 with protection. with sharp tips and rounded base. It has a soft. hostas and the larger ferns do fine as companions. Obviously. no other pests or diseases are experienced here. Trilliums do not mix well with hardy begonias. silvery glade fern. which. margins wavy. a hundredfold and more. having withstood several nights of −10°F (−23°C) in my garden. Begonia Over the years I have grown various begonias. More than three decades ago. sterile fronds longer. stays in place until the plant dies. Fine. but leaning with age. covered with plastic. Begoniaceae. yellow hairs impart a bright glow. south to northern Georgia and west to Missouri. dull green color. so color is present throughout the growing season. moist conditions and do not like sun. Hardy in zones 5 to 7. mostly blunt-pointed. light green. silvery at first. Propagation is easy: I let the plants do what they want. emerging directly from the rhizome. . scaly at the base. this show commences long before the plants start flowering. combining with the soft green and distinctive red veins of the upper surface. contributes to its gossamer effect when waving in a spring breeze. when the fronds turn a seasonal reddish brown. silvery spleenwort. and arranging watering during our Appalachian jaunts has become bothersome. 117 Athyrium thelypteroides. it spreads by both seeds and bulblets (tubercles). pointed at top. together with the many prominent silvery spore cases on the backside. (90 cm) long and 6 in. A strikingly different fern for the woodland garden or border. straight. subleaflets deeply cut with wavy margins. and in autumn. when the soft. fertile fronds narrower and more erect. fronds to 36 in. but at times I have used a systemic herbicide to keep the population down: I place a large cardboard tube around the begonia so as not to affect adjoining plants and carefully paint its leaves with the herbicide. later light brown. Bulblets reach flowering size quickly. wedge-shaped. veins 1. Begonia grandis is hardy to zone 6. except during morning hours. filix-femina but useful in more southern regions of zone 6. (90 cm) long and 6 in. to 6 2-forked.Begonia LS to FS. leaves 2-compound. stout and erect. narrow. stalk green. narrowing toward the base. usually sometime in December. narrow. it is an attractive addition to my woodlands in spring. That plant’s offspring are still with me. a hardy begonia. Resembles the common lady fern. this begonia is truly hardy and perennial. veins not forked. Why would anyone want to propagate hardy begonias when they do it so confidently and successfully all by themselves? Slugs and snails can damage new growth emerging in spring. hence its epithet (thelypteroides = like a lady [fern]). LS to FS. light to yellowish green. North America. lance-shaped with sharp pointed tip. green above. Now I grow them less and less: they need a lot of care. a patron of botany. Easily cultivated. tapering toward the base. (15 cm) wide. emerging in rosette-shaped clusters from the rhizome. The genus was named for Michel Bégon. where their grandiose leaves added bright accents. very narrow. green leaves have a luminous quality. Easily cultivated and makes an attractive addition to woodlands and the wildflower border. pointed at tip. colonizing wherever it wants. Unlike the tropical showpieces. Usually classified as a tuberous begonia. slightly curved. (15 cm) wide. (15 cm) long. They are adapted to shady. from midvein to margin. It is classified in the begonia family. any broken fronds are quickly replaced by new growth. leaflets (pinnae) with no stems. The tube. Not as hardy as A. The fronds are produced continually during the growing season. fronds to 36 in. not toothed. a neighbor gave me Begonia grandis. they were in pots on the patio. silver glade fern. 5 with protection and depending on microclimate. leaves 3 in. but underground bulblets may survive somewhat colder weather with protection from hard freezes.

somewhat dry. MS to FS.2 in. more a light pink. ‘Claret Jug’ is virtually identical to the type. avoid siting where less vigorous plants might be overwhelmed. Malay Peninsula. 1. with the same pink color. Iridaceae. they detest constantly moist or wet soils. underneath bright reddish pink with the veins projected and dark red. (13 cm) wide. The bright orange. The genus name was adapted in Latinized form from the Asian native vernacular. and ferns. flowers larger than the type. southern China. with a hint of pink. which begins in July. Hardy to zone 5. and the bright yellow flowers of ‘Hello Yellow’ are like beacons. hardy begonia. shiny black berries was just the thing. where they occur in sandy. The seeds are extremely viable. many-branched stalks with a flower terminating each branch. ‘Alba’ (var. It is classified in the iris family. But when I discovered the yellow-flowered B. in light to dappled woodland shade. In spring. Belamcanda flabellata is more shade-tolerant. branched. in an elevated position with good drainage. where their simple beauty lasts all winter in arrangements. alba) has flowers that are almost white. Belamcanda These short-lived perennials like the hot. chinensis are a little too much for my taste: orange is a hard color to place in the woodland garden. Leaves are lighter than the type’s on the underside. Begonia grandis. to 36 in. hanging down on loose. (90 cm). I just had to accommodate it. pink to bright red at the nodes. male flowers with 4 unequal tepals. female flowers with 2 broad tepals and pink ovaries. fruit 3winged. Belamcanda flabellata is hardy and lasting if the stout rhizomes are planted shallow and not kept too wet. ‘Simsii’. Both the pink. light olive-green above with veins red-tinted. are yellow and black—yellow flowers followed by longlasting. Elsewhere I have observed plants with little or no fragrance and a much lighter leaf color on the underside. leaves are red on the underside. flabellata ‘Hello Yel- . Propagate by sowing the large seeds produced in abundance. The coloration fades a little as flowering time approaches. contrasting with the white fruit of baneberries. Both adapt to lightly shaded conditions and will bloom in open shade. irislike leaves add texture to the garden. Slugs and snails can damage new growth emerging in spring. red-spotted flowers of B. southern Japan. (20 cm) long and 5 in. stout succulent stems upright. Evan’s begonia. in succession. it is a favorite plant in areas that receive a bit of sun in the morning but are in open shade during the heat of the day. soft pink. Not quite as conspicuous. Throughout its long bloom time. I simply bury seeds where I want another clump and within a few seasons. Its elegant. and it mixes well with epimediums. broadly ovate. flowers lightly fragrant. new plants are in bloom. They are natives of eastern Asia. the veins are outlined in a darker color. Its tall stature allows groups of it to be put here and there in open woodland gardens. Crown rot or other fungal rot can be expected where the soil does not drain well or in areas of soggy winter soils. the delightful black berries add color to early fall. so the overall effect lasts for several weeks. Sometimes yellow blooms are juxtaposed with just-opening black-berried seedpods on the same plant. particularly as to leaf coloration and fragrance. Podophyllum pleianthum. the variant I grow at Hosta Hill has deep red leaf undersides with the veins very dark red underneath and red on the top. Leaf spot and anthracnose are reported. The berried pods are great for bringing inside. Its flowers are pink. August to frost. I have it poking up between Chinese mayapples. no other pests or diseases are experienced here. though a place with some morning sun is appreciated. yellowish green. hostas. admittedly. Perhaps it is because the flag colors of my birthplace. dry summers at Hosta Hill. Although each flower lasts only one day. Here it is planted in soil that is barely improved. Both species of the genus have been used medicinally by the Chinese to treat ailments of the chest and liver. (3 cm) across. A variable species. it might be more floriferous in full sun.118 Belamcanda low’. I have grown Belamcanda flabellata (blackberry lily) for years. several bloom at the same time on the branched flowerstalks. leaves to 8 in. and more important. Division of older clumps also leads quickly to plants of flowering size. but for me it blooms enough.and whiteflowered forms are prolific. heart-shaped at the base with one lobe much longer and tilted (oblique) toward the other. Munich. fast-draining soils.

erect fronds accent my . the stems become brittle and collapse. Sun. (70 cm). unspotted or spotted. Northern India. to 8 in. fertile leaves erect. During hot. fronds produced in rosettes on slender stalks emerging directly from the rhizome. tapering from the center to both top and bottom. upright. LS to WS. July–September. 6 tepals opening wide. MS to FS. medium green. Blechnum is classified in the Blechnaceae. It does best in a light. leaves basal and placed on the stem. shiny black berries grouped to resemble a large blackberry. Blechnum nipponicum. Hardy to zone 4. forming a rosette around the fertile fronds. with the lobe tips blunt. Most plants offered in commerce are orange with dark red or maroon spots. erect. not evergreen but persistent. Japan. (20 cm) long and 0. Japan. I have seen colonies in northwest and central Georgia growing along the roadside and in open scrub and fields. LS to WS. flowers bright orange or orangered. spore cases elongated. scaly at the base. (5 cm) across. to 12 in. stout.5 cm) wide. the classic name for a fern. sterile leaves to 20 in. ‘Freckle Face’ has yellow flowers spotted with maroon specks. shiny black berries. Among its several cultivars are ‘Cristatum’ (tips of the leaflets branched) and ‘Serratum’. sword-shaped. Blechnum spicant.Blechnum 119 Belamcanda chinensis. sword-shaped. evergreen. Propagation by spores is also relatively easy. hosta plantings and larger areas of groundcover. Cultivars come true from seed if isolated.5 in. dry summers it benefits greatly from supplemental water. filaments deep red to purple. sometimes bright yellow. Western North America. (45 cm). Deer fern is very tolerant of deep shade and requires moist. In temperate gardens. Several more cultivars have been gathered in the Blechnum Serratum Group. which open wide and have white filaments. fruit 3parted capsule. Propagate by dividing the creeping rhizome in early spring. it is best to remove the fronds in late winter or very early spring to enjoy the beauty of fresh growth. stems green. If the soil is allowed to dry out. sow spores as soon as they are ripe on a coarse commercial mix with a pH of 5. plant clump-forming. the epithet alludes to the tufted nature of a typical clump. Belamcanda flabellata. tapering from the center to both top and bottom. China. blackberry lily. acidic garden soil. whose long. This variable fern forms a neat. medium green. rhizomatous. inclined to the horizon. well-draining woodland soil. Exposure to sun may scorch the fronds. China. sometimes blunt or notched. dark green composed of closely spaced leaflets (pinnae). Has naturalized in central and eastern North America from seed carried away from gardens by wildlife. usually unspotted or sometimes spotted with dark red to maroon in the center. to 18 in. so site in medium to full shade. (2. Variable flower color. fruit 3-parted capsule with many grouped. but slugs can injure the emerging young croziers. deer fern. 1. Although somewhat evergreen. stems green. filaments white. Smaller than Belamcanda chinensis but with slightly larger flowers. to 36 in. Sun. leopard flower. rhizomatous. to 28 in. flowers light yellow. Asia Minor. rising after the fertile fronds. Keep soil moist to hasten reestablishment. the only truly hardy species—and the only one I have cultivated—is Blechnum spicant (deer fern). ‘Hello Yellow’. spaced apart. spotted with dark red to maroon. rich in organic matter. blackberry lily. a popular selection with pure yellow. leaves basal and placed on the stem. stalks dark green. unspotted flowers. it is up to the gardener to experiment and determine which shady area can still produce flowers. a recent Blechnum Most ferns of the genus Blechnum are tender and suitable for greenhouses and indoors only. stout. (2 cm) wide. upright. (4 cm) across. angled out almost horizontally. Deer fern is prone to rusts and leaf spot.8 in. Japan. Insects do not seem to bother it. (90 cm). Adaptable to some shade.5 to 6 maintained moist at 70°F (21°C). plant clump-forming. tolerates shade particularly well. compact clump and is useful in many places of the garden. 6 tepals opening angled upward with the lobe tips pointed. 3 with protection. eastern Siberia. Europe. dark green composed of thin leaflets (pinnae). (30 cm) long and 1 in. July–September. a form with reflexed and deeply serrated leaflets that are densely arranged. but I have not experienced these. hard fern. (50 cm). The genus name comes from the Greek blechnon. 2 in. Deer fern is a great companion plant for larger wildflowers and other ferns.

soggy soils may cause rot of the pseudobulbs. fragrant. preferring shaded positions. to 24 in. upright. Gardeners long for such rare magnificence. sometimes incorrectly as Bletilla striata ‘Ochracea’. the splendid lady slippers (Cypripedium spp. but the tender nature of orchids makes them elusive in open. unless increase is desired. I plant bletillas much deeper than recommended. Slugs and snails can damage new growth emerging in spring. at least 10 in. LS to WS. (30 cm) long and 1 in. in sheltered spots at woodland margins and clearings. rosepurple. stout. heavily pleated. Most plants offered have magenta to rose-purple flowers. striate. oblong lance-shaped.5 cm) wide. This is best done in early winter after the leaves have died down. Propagate by digging up the pseudobulbs and severing the connecting rhizomes. Obviously. Hardy to zone 5 Bletilla ochracea. flowers 3–6 per stem. fragrant. If the leaves should surface prematurely. Bletilla is classified in the Orchidaceae. Late freezes can damage early-rising leaves and blooms. Eastern China. LS to WS. which verifies the rugged. to 18 in. (2. These orchids emerge very early. It is readily available from many commercial sources and is of easy culture. to 1 in. I prefer the form with the dark yellow lip. from rhizomatous. a moisture-retentive. no other pests or diseases are experienced here. Under cultivation some morning sun is appreciated. from rhizomatous. Happily. but their sweetly scented blossoms must be close to be appreciated. Bletillas grow in their native eastern China and Japan at higher elevations. plant clump-forming. stems green. (25 cm). the plant fares much better when placed in improved soil. oblong lance-shaped. bletillas make a great subject for potting and can be overwintered in a cold but frost-free inside area. Japan. Flower color is variable. upright. destroys the developing blossom. temperate zone gardens. plant clump-forming. to 1 in. (60 cm). Bletillas are fragrant. Bletilla striata. flattened pseudobulbs. undemanding nature of this hardy terrestrial (ground) orchid. stout. pleated magenta lip. to 15 in. an exotic orchid hailing from eastern Asia that can easily fulfill a desire for orchid blooms in the garden: Bletilla striata. however.) and other hardy orchids native to North America can partially satisfy a gardener’s dreams of orchid grandeur. Still rare but available. I have not found it necessary to dig and divide. but the orchids of North American woods are in the main less showy and have much smaller flowers. flowers 3–6 per stem. leaves basal and placed on the stem. heavily pleated. To safeguard against this.5 cm) across. medium green. The genus name honors Spanish apothecary Louis Blet. friable garden soil that does not dry up in summer is best.120 Bletilla with the protection of a deep leaf or pine straw mulch. early emergence may be a problem in sites where the late-winter sun warms up the soil prematurely. leaves basal and placed on the stem. The epithet striata (= ribbed) characterizes the beautifully pleated leaves and lip of the flower. Eastern China. May–June. The only complaint I have is the bletilla’s habit of coming up very early in spring. importation from Japan. Bletilla The exquisite beauty of tropical orchids is admired by all. so division in spring is risky. May–June. since early rising soil temperature triggers spring growth here in the South. In more northern climates. This usually delays the emergence of leaves and has had no detrimental effect on the plants. (45 cm). I have grown this orchid for years in both improved soil and pure Georgia red clay. Constantly wet. (2.5 cm) wide. The root system is a series of pseudobulbs connected by thick rhizomes.5 cm) across. pleated lip either dark yellow or flushed with light lavender. ‘Alba’ (f. however. (25 cm) tall. There is. if the flowerstalks have already pushed up. and the clump slowly expands. medium green. striate. light yellow to whitish yellow. New bulbs are added each season. (38 cm) long and 1 in. A late freeze damages the leaves and. flattened pseudobulbs. stems green. alba) has white flowers with a faint flush of purple on the . its fronds emerge with a bright yellowish red color in spring and eventually rise to 10 in. I use a thick layer of pine straw for protection. is fully evergreen and hardy to zone 6. (2. (2. Japan. to 12 in. The only things it does not like is dry soil and too much sun on its back. I keep my somewhat finicky specimen in a pot so I can keep my eye on it. eventually forming a large group of plants.

(8–13 cm) above ground. The largest was Botrychium virginianum (rattlesnake fern). bunched like grapes on branched laterals. dissected grape fern. and poison ivy and kudzu vine invaded the now sunlit areas. horizontally branching and spreading. semi-leathery. dissectum (cutleaf grape fern) and B. they should not be dug up unless a rescue situation presents itself.Botrychium lip. often held parallel to the ground. Grape ferns are among the most primitive ferns. But before the invasion. and all slugs and snails in the neighborhood know about these juicy morsels. Natural beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. held on separate erect stem. MS to FS. spore cluster (sporophyll) at the stem tip. Grape ferns do best in a light. elongated leaflets. Slugs and snails can be devastating to young growth and the finely divided fronds. It should be twice as wide as the plant is high and transplanted into garden soil unbroken and at the same depth as found. to 2 in. white margin on the leaves. I also found B. Botrychium alabamense is very similar but has shorter leaflets with more rounded lobes. and the leaflets of var. then separate. At Hosta Hill they grow in groups together with diminutive wildflowers and dwarf hostas. 121 Botrychium Exploring the wooded. as their sterile leaves appear in early winter. No other pests or diseases are reported or experienced here. All are much alike. fleshy roots spreading horizontally all around. erect. In such a case. rich in organic matter and containing some acid. Variety tenuifolium is less divided. Hurricane Opal felled several tulip poplars and loblolly pines. obliterating all native undergrowth. Ophioglossaceae. (5 cm) long. Eastern North America and eastern Canada. All grape ferns are deciduous and form new shoots each year. (23–38 cm) tall but often much shorter. and I tend to be more grateful for the small wonders in a garden. An extremely variable species in terms of leaf shape and divisions. grape ferns can be fussy if a complete change of soil takes place during planting. Botrychium is classified in the adder’s tongue family. Botrychium dissectum. Most are not showy and require a place up front to show their unusual and unique features. spore cases yellowish. 9–15 in. I had admired there several species of grape fern and was hooked on these dainty beauties. leaf triangular. some roots were over 4 in. 3–5 in. Gardeners are on their own to face this challenge. all could serve the same purpose in gardens. cutleaf grape fern. coarse. fleshy. It is essential to eliminate slugs from the area. with narrow. alabamense. to 3 in. Hardy to zone 4. My rashes are long gone. 3–6 in. fleshy. Although I had previously explored wild areas around the world. Needless to say. The terrestrial grape ferns are endemic to eastern and western North America. bronze in winter. toothed. Rarely seen in gardens. rocky ravine near my home has brought me immense satisfaction. but the grape ferns persist in my garden. rootstock erect. Sadly. but some species may be considered semi-evergreen. (8 cm) long. well-draining woodland soil. singular. native soil. being able to reach an absolute treasure chest of native plants within a few minutes’ walk from my home was a dream come true for me. (10 cm) deep in the ground. whose broad and finely divided sterile frond could not be missed above the forest litter. from dark bluish green to light green. Eurasia. All were transplanted with a ball of native soil. and scalloped. I have seen slugs strip the entire frond in a single night. ‘Albostriata’ (‘Albomarginata’) has a thin. and Australia. fertile stem green. sterile frond. Propagation of grape ferns is problematic: unlike other ferns. Sometimes it is not easy being enamored of plants. All the grape ferns I dug up grew in dense Georgia red clay from a rootstock with a few thick. and I have tried propagation by spores with dismal results. divided into 3 leaflets. remove a large ball of native soil containing the roots. I rescued all I could find as the area was being overtaken by poison ivy—and paid for this by being assailed by the vicious juices of that scourge. (8–15 cm) high. f. the succulent ferns. fertile and sterile segments have a common stem at or below ground level. obliquum arise more obliquely from the stalk. The generic name (botrychium = like a grape) alludes to the shape of the gathered spore clusters. Although not rare in the wild. if possible. lacy grape fern. ‘First Kiss’ combines the flowers of ‘Alba’ with the leaves of ‘Albostriata’. they do not seem to naturalize in my garden. . Newfoundland and Nova Scotia south to Georgia and Alabama. lacy cut and intricately lobed. elongatum has much elongated leaflets.

dry soil and too much sun on its back are not appreciated. to 0. rising another 12 in. MS to FS. gritty soil. preferring shaded positions. contribute in their own dainty way to garden color. (30 cm). horizontally branching and spreading. Here the fertile deciduous segment rises in early autumn and matures November–December. only more rounded. Though I have diligently searched in Georgia. no other pests or diseases are reported or experienced here. It is difficult in open gardens. a group makes a wonderful. Most boykinias. so a single plant. stem and leaves hairy. Unfortunately. disappearing soon after the spores ripen. purchased at a certified wildflower nursery. erect. LS to WS. true. are hardy to zone 5. flowerstalks 10–20 in. rootstock erect. has subleaflets that are wider and almost touching. Eastern North America. As with many other wildflowers. sterile frond deciduous. Eurasia. with the exception of some of the western species.or kidney-shaped. total height to 24 in. Virginia grape fern. it is of easy culture. flowers small. shallowly bell-shaped. fleshy. and its many flowers. heart. rhizomatous. but they are held in great bunches above the leaves so make themselves known. topped with a terminal spore cluster (sporophyll) to 2 in. moist. an eminent field botanist from Georgia. divided into 3-compound leaflets. leaves medium green. is eminently suited to such a natural garden. must do for Hosta Hill. upright. which resemble those of aconite (hence the epithet). (18 cm) wide. (5 cm) long. has leaves like a heuchera. spore cases yellowish. fertile and sterile segments have a common stem. green.5 in. They grow at higher elevations in sheltered spots at woodland margins and clearings. (30 cm) above ground level. It looks great when interplanted with Solomon’s seal. margins coarsely and irregularly toothed. light green. 6–21 on each branch. I do not have the space to emulate such gorgeous wild groups. Boykinias are native to North America. (30 cm) wide. (25 cm). 5 rounded petals. The evergreen sterile fronds carry on through the winter. with 5–7 lobes. and Japan. best for an alpine house or in a shady part of a rock garden. There it has survived severe Boykinia aconitifolia. (25–50 cm) tall. astilbes. Appalachians from West Virginia south to Georgia. July–September. native to the Rocky Mountains from Alberta to Wyoming. not leathery. plant clump-forming. an eastern North American native that is unjustly overlooked by many shade gardeners. rattlesnake fern. (1 cm). branched raceme. with 4–10 minor lobes. (15 cm) long and 7 in. leaf triangular. (25 cm) long and 12 in. Hardy to zone 3. The genus was named to honor Samuel Boykin. I have never seen a wild population of Boykinia aconitifolia there. Seed sown in a cold frame usually germinates successfully. brook saxifrage. to 10 in. leaf stems green. to 10 in. Slugs and snails can damage new growth emerging in spring. (60 cm). The flowers are not very showy. though small. It flowers here from July until late September. fertile stem emerging at leaf junction. Eastern North America. The Japanese and Chinese boykinias are now in the genus Peltoboykinia. Given a fertile. on open. Botrychium virginianum. of thin substance. Disappears when exposed to direct sun. hostas. . North Carolina is another matter: there I saw several fairly large populations in a few isolated mountain valleys. slowly spreading. and all manner of larger wildflowers. near watercourses. where water is underneath and not far from the rhizome. lacy display in the fern glen or among wildflowers. stout. At Hosta Hill. Boykinia The shady garden depends largely on leaf texture to create a diverse portrayal of nature. That is why it is closer to a natural model than sunlit flower borders. turning bronze after the first frost. whitish with yellow centers. Boykinia aconitifolia (brook saxifrage).122 Boykinia drought and stifling heat. and all are hardy to zone 4 with protection. western China. Hakone grass. Propagate by dividing the rhizome in very early spring before growth starts. and their leaves. growing in the pond margins. Variety intermedium. This species is much larger than the other grape ferns and completely deciduous. to 6 in. contrast well with ferns. Boykinia jamesii (Rocky Mountain boykinia). a nice clump reigns near a shaded water feature. and purple-violet flowers. It comes up early in spring. one of several distinct forms that exist in the wild. and is classified in the Saxifragaceae. bunched like grapes on branched laterals. held on erect stem 12 in.

creamy white margins. round. or other water features. western boykinia. ‘Betty Bowring’ has white flowers. green leafstalks. plant clump-forming. to 0. to 0. It flowers earlier and is larger than Boykinia aconitifolia. their bright purplish blue flowers. Boykinia rotundifolia. I string mine along. rootstock large with thick. heart. flowers blue. some morning sun is appreciated. felted. flowers blue. Its heat tolerance is low. worth seeking out. In the North. on open. heart-shaped leaves with 4–10 minor lobes. In spring. thriving in zones 3 to 6. Soils of both high and low fertility are accepted. Brunnera macrophylla. (45 cm) high. Still. Cultivars with variegated leaves must not be exposed to direct sun. dark green to grayish green. held above the leaves. Brunnera macrophylla is classified in the genus Brunnera. heart. The genus was named to honor the Swiss botanist Brunner and is classified in the borage or forget-me-not family. stem leaves small. so long as they are cool. it is essential that the soil stay constantly moist yet well drained. by giving them plenty of water. branched raceme. shady corner. Sow fresh seed in summer in a warm seed tray. has rounded. Wherever it is grown. leaves have a margin irregularly and sparsely spotted with silvery white spots.or occasionally kidney-shaped leaves with 4–10 minor lobes. flowerstalks 24–36 in. leaves are large and irregularly spotted with many large silvery white spots. a clump-former. Brunneras make wonderful groundcovers in places and climates to their liking. Brunnera Like most gardeners. . hairy. (60 cm) wide and 18 in. 6–21 on each branch. Hildegarde. sometimes also spotted creamy white. leaves dark green. but I must admit: Brunnera macrophylla (Siberian bugloss) is not a plant for gardens in the hot South unless it can be grown in very shady spots along the banks of ponds. (0. as its epithet indicates. Hardy to zone 8. transplant seedlings in late autumn. many. A large and vigorous cultivar. to 10 in. add greatly to the overall palette of the garden.5 in. They are never vigorous enough to grow into the leaf-meshing groundcovers I have seen in northern gardens. much more pronounced than in ‘Langtrees’. The large leaves of Siberian bugloss gave rise to the specific name macrophylla (= large-leaved). Endemic to the western Cascades. Boykinia occidentalis. to 24 in. shallowly bell-shaped. but it has been and still is sold in commerce as Anchusa and Myosotis. I bought this plant at a local nursery as Anchusa myosotidiflora. in considerable shade. irregular. Bugloss is an ancient name applied to several genera of boraginaceous plants. LS to MS. (25 cm). green. A good foliage plant. (60–90 cm) tall. even a short exposure will brown the lighter leaf areas. Hardy to zone 7 with protection. leaf stems green.5 cm). I take pride in growing plants to perfection. stout. Western North America. Morning sun. It has distribution further north to Vancouver Island in British Columbia and south to southern California. (20 cm) long. basal leaves large. LS to WS. likes their flowers very much. lance-shaped. they do look pretty and my wife. margins coarsely and irregularly toothed. Now my label bears the correct name. where moisture in the soil is plentiful and constant. slowly spreading. so in the South it is best placed in a cool. on branched panicles to 8 in. and indeed the flowers look much like those of a forget-me-not. has. flowers blue. July–September. 5 roundish petals. ‘Dawson’s White’ (‘Variegata’). during the heat of the day. Siberian bugloss. April–June. Plants are relatively free of pests and diseases. It is reliably winter hardy. ‘Hadspen Cream’. Caucasus to western Siberia. Propagate by taking root cuttings of the dormant rhizome in late autumn or very early spring for fastest increase. irregular. rounded. Boraginaceae. flowers small. sitting on top of tapering. ‘Silver Wings’. some shade is preferred. Oregon south to California. 8–10 in. plant clumpforming. mountain boykinia.2 in. upright. to 8 in. rhizomatous. flowers small. (1 cm). with 5–7 lobes. (20 cm) long. leaves have wide. bright blue to purplish blue or white. a spreading species from California. flowers blue. streams. white with whitish yellow centers. so I put up with their lassitude.or kidney-shaped with a pointed tip. dark roots. and the variegated forms make great accent plants in the woodland. creamy to yellowish white margins. ‘Langtrees’ (‘Aluminium Spot’). (20–25 cm) long and wide. leaves have narrower.Brunnera 123 Boykinia major.

in an elevated container. stout. Slugs and snails can damage the delicate flowers in spring. tall bellflower). mature flowers very white. Most have bright yellow tepals with white lips. sieboldii has bright yellow tepals. oblong lance-shaped. and Japan. Calanthe is classified in the Orchidaceae. Korea. The western harebell. bell-shaped flowers of campanulas grace many sunny gardens. the tepals are rose-pink. a floriferous clone. like Campanula americana (American bluebell. to 1. and annual species. izu-insularis). open shade. Calanthe discolor ‘Eco White’.5 in. ‘Takane’. . stems green. var. This position also keeps it safe from slugs.5 in. April–June. The soil should never dry out. (30 cm) long and 1–1. The genus has been known to horticulture since Thunberg collected the first species in Japan in the mid-1770s. Gardeners in zone 7 can grow these most cherished and gardenworthy representatives of the orchid family in the open garden. scouleri. Calanthe discolor. yellowish white tepals with white lips. upright. The species hybridize freely. (2. (4 cm) across but usually smaller. Of primary interest to gardeners are the species from Korea. a lanky native annual of eastern North America. calanthes benefit greatly from supplemental water.124 Calanthe Some sun. The leaves of these hardy species remain evergreen where temperatures stay above 15°F (−10°C). The genus includes perennial. Propagate by digging up and separating the pseudobulbs after flowering. eastern China. the brown-pink combination is seen more than others. light lavender to pink or white. so I can enjoy the early-spring blossoms up close. tropical ground orchids native to eastern Asia. have at last found their way into Western commerce. They do best in a light. has mixed flower colors. they make excellent container subjects. leaves basal. from flattened pseudobulbs. Campanula The beautiful. Variety bicolor looks much like the type but with light yellow tepals. tepals chestnut-brown to greenish brown to green. daily watering is a must for outdoor potted plants. well-draining woodland soil. discolor. which grow at higher elevations in sheltered spots at woodland margins and clearings. Site calanthes where their small but splendid flowers can be appreciated. sieboldii with mixed flower colors. is widespread from Alaska to northern California. Dainty as they are. To give adequate bloom. Variable flower color. which I have seen in bloom along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Appalachians. ‘Eco Rose’. slightly spoonshaped. others succeed in partially shaded places but demand a dry soil during summer. ‘Kozu’ (‘Kozu Spice’). The native C. so gardeners further north can also enjoy these beauties and overwinter them in a frost-free place. but some early morning sun is appreciated and increases flowering. lip broadly 3-lobed. Japan north to Izu Peninsula. 3–6 per stem. and South America and suitable only for the greenhouse. and the lip is white with a bright yellow spot at the base. to 20 in. I grow only one. a natural hybrid (Calanthe discolor × C. most of them thriving in full sun only. biennial. ‘Eco White’. preferring shaded positions. and most of the commercial offerings are hybrids. is well adapted to very light. long cultivated in Japanese pot culture. flowers to 20 per stem. rich in organic matter. Some species are suitable for the rock garden. China.5–4 cm) wide. a group of hybrids with or possibly selections of var. Most calanthes are tender. (50 cm). rose-tinged tepals with rosy white lips. dry summers. placed on the stem to 12 in. More robust than its parents and easy to grow. Madagascar. Several hardy cultivars are in commerce. Calanthes tolerate considerable shade. medium green. Seed propagation is for experts only. also frequent in the Smoky Mountain National Park. easy to cultivate. pleated. During hot. Calanthe The lovely hardy terrestrial orchids of the genus Calanthe. divaricata (southern harebell). C. a vigorous multiplier. Calanthe izu-insularis comes from the southern Izu Islands and may be a local variant of C. slightly fragrant. no other pests or diseases are experienced here. Fungal leaf spot and mosaic virus are reported. plant clump-forming. I have seen it in zone 6 gardens with considerable winter protection. The genus name comes from the Greek kalos (= beautiful) and anthos (= flower). after flowering the leaves may become horizontal. Polynesia. who have a much more sinister interest in these miracles of nature. LS to WS.

where they reach for the sparse sun and. Butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars) and various beetles. Taller varieties require staking when grown under shady conditions. stems upright. upper progressively shorter. humid weather. lest they spread by seed all over the place. Rootstock can be divided in late autumn. heart-shaped. they particularly like the flowers. Many pests and maladies plague campanulas grown out of their primary habitat. basal. Caucasus. but very flat. if not supported. All this makes the selection of Campanula species for shady woodland gardens difficult. after the plants become dormant. Asia Minor. Certainly. Caucasian harebell. 0. Low-growing C. has escaped many gardens and naturalized in parts of North America. August to frost. Collected seed should be sown in spring.Campanula most campanulas require at least six hours of full sun—an impossible condition in most shady gardens—and many upright-flowering species resent the hot. as does the generic name (campanula = little bell). flowers many. I consider their inclusion in my garden as temporary experiments: part of the fun of gardening is to see how successful one can be with certain plants under demanding conditions and in particular microclimates. Campanula alliariifolia (ivory bellflower) and C. it should not be planted. a Eurasian perennial. they are not the carefree. Propagate by letting the plants do what they want—they seed all over the place. Many campanulas must be deadheaded or cut back. for it may overpower other. white bellflower. or in very early spring. plant clumpforming. They are prone to develop rust. Campanula alliariifolia. A general-application insecticide may be the only way to solve these problems. powdery mildew. so staking may be necessary. low-maintenance plants most shade gardeners wish for. topped with a one-sided flowerstalk. Slugs and snails can be damaging to young and old growth alike. abundant. nodding to one side. The common name harebell is a reference to the plants’ meadow habitat. less vigorous woodland neighbors. Campanulas should be grown in well-drained. somewhat rhizomatous. their counterparts in zone 6 and colder have better success. simply flop over. Some sun. densely covered with hair. portenschlagiana (Dalmatian bellflower) do a good job of covering ground even in medium shade. 24–36 in. they are damaged by excess moisture. Campanula rapunculoides (creeping garden bluebell). ivory bellflower. grayish green. best results are achieved by using a cold frame. Notwithstanding. hardy in zones 4 to 8. Cutting back entirely encourages a second flush of flowers. gray-green.or starshaped. It should do better in the higher elevations of southeastern North America but needs more sun further north. particularly when grown in some shade. (5–10 cm) long. systemic insecticides should be used as a last resort and sparingly. cooler elevations of northern Georgia has good success with it in light shade. whitish dense hair beneath. but it does not flower abundantly. white. (2 cm) long. caused by white silk fungus (white mold fungus). southern summer nights. Deadhead unless you want it all over the garden. persicifolia (peachleaved bellflower) might be tried. with long. moist soil of neutral to alkaline reaction. LS. which coincides with that of hares. poscharskyana (Serbian bellflower) and C. when temperatures do not fall below 75°F (24°C) for weeks on end. I tried to grow it but failed: it does not tolerate hot. Many southern gardeners consider campanulas shortlived and difficult in the shade. lower stem leaves on long petioles. The name bellflower obviously acclaims the shape of the flowers.8 in. fungal leaf spot. although they must have considerable sun for liberal blooming. a friend gardening in the higher. The genus is classified in the bluebell or harebell family. and their grubs can also damage plants. Most species suitable for shady gardens are hardy to zone 3. saucer. leaves 2–4 in. the flowers of some species are 125 not at all bell-shaped. Since most wildflowers and woodland plants are moisture-loving. it is a real challenge to place them among the many woodland plants that require acid to very acid soil. Campanulas are native to the north temperate zone. This species is floppy. very heat-tolerant. margins toothed. and crown rot (southern blight). (60–90 cm). tubular bellshaped. All listed here have been grown in lightly shaded areas with some success. spurred bellflower. spurred petal tips. Save some seed to perpetu- . Campanulaceae. leafy. site selection and choice of companion plants for campanulas should be given considerable thought. particularly weevils. Many species and cultivars come true from seed. seeds tiny.

(38 cm). flowers very large. ‘Weisse Clips’ (‘White Clips’). stems many. ‘Wedgwood Blue’. toothed. (30 cm) tall. light sky-blue flowers. (20 cm) tall. ‘Violetta’. ‘Blaue Clips’ (‘Blue Clips’). I found out that even with a lot of watering it disappeared below ground in late June. light grayish blue flowers. broadly and openly bell-shaped. spreads prolifically by seed under the right conditions. Campanula carpatica. (25 cm) tall.8 in.and white-flowered cultivars. 8 in. (20 cm) tall. violet-blue flowers. (5 cm) long. (20 cm) tall. saucer-shaped. (20 cm) tall. they never seem to look like Mother’s. grayish green. nodding flowers are produced in bunches on several racemes and blend well in a shaded garden. ‘Isabel’. cobalt-blue flowers. to 2 in. to 2 in. upper leaves more triangular. 10 in. tussock bellflower. dark sky-blue flowers. Very soon. The many cultivars offered are better in gardens than the species or its variety. 7 in. ‘Spechtmeise’ (‘Blue Tit’). medium green. 15 in. Deadheading is required. somewhat rhizomatous. (20 cm) tall. ‘Chewton Joy’. leaves medium to dark green. 15 in. having seen wild populations of this dainty plant in pinkish white spring bloom. Not only in the South but also in northern gardens . (20 cm) tall. 8 in. white. Admittedly. seeds tiny. (18 cm) tall. very light blue flowers with darker petal margins. Its unusually colored. Southeastern Europe in the Carpathians and the Transylvanian Alps. Campanula takesimana. dark blue flowers. (18 cm) tall. (45 cm). dark blue flowers. 8 in. ‘China Cup’. LS. violet flowers with white center. southern exposure. (20 cm) tall. as long as a cool root run and good drainage is provided. some may be intraspecific hybrids. Korean bellflower. ‘Wheatley Violet’.126 Cardamine and Pachyphragma ‘Karl Foerster’. ‘Jingle Bells’. ‘Karpatenkrone’ (‘Crown of Carpathia’). white. abundant. cobalt-blue flowers. bright blue or white. Some sun. tubular bell-shaped. plant clump-forming. bellshaped flowers. (20 cm) tall. saucer-shaped. white flowers. 0. turbinata (‘Turbinata’). basal leaves rounded to heartshaped. ‘Kobaltglocke’ (‘Cobalt Bell’). (15–20 cm) tall. (20 cm) tall. grayish violet-blue flowers. Carpathian bellflower. leaves 3 in. Some sun. ‘Blue Moonlight’. August to frost. saucer-shaped. 6–8 in. 8 in. stems upright. 8 in. (5 cm). 8 in. flowers many. ‘Blaumeise’ (‘Blue Titmouse’). comes true from seed. 8 in. ‘White Star’. 12 in. 8 in. ate this short-lived perennial. Somewhat smaller is var. light blue flowers. blue-violet flowers. compact plant. large. (8 cm) long. white flowers. upright. ‘China Doll’. ‘Elizabeth’ thrives here with quite a bit of morning sun and heavy shade during hot summer afternoons. 8 in. bell-shaped flowers. (38 cm) tall. violet flowers. I mulch it heavily to keep the soil underneath as cool as possible. The flowers are very sensitive to a hot. (20 cm) tall. bright blue flowers. heartshaped. ‘Queen of Sheba’. ‘Alba’. ‘Flore Pleno’ has double flowers. saucershaped. silvery white flowers. flowers many but solitary. ‘Riverslea’. margins toothed. (20 cm) tall. ‘Bressingham White’. 7 in. to 18 in. basal. (20 cm) tall. 8 in. heart-shaped. leafy. (30 cm) tall. leafy. 12 in. 8 in. blue-violet. creamy yellow flushed with purple outside and spotted red inside. compact plant. This species. seeds tiny. (5 cm) across. (20 cm) tall. Here it definitely needs shade during hot afternoons. white flowers. 8 in. upturned. ‘Ivory Bells’ is much like the type but with creamy white flowers. (20 cm) tall. comes true from seed. deep blue flowers. My mother had some lovely blue. ‘Zwergmöwe’ (‘Little Gull’) 8 in. (2 cm) long. 8 in. (20 cm) tall. Carpathian harebell. plant clumpforming. (38 cm) tall. LS. to 2 in. abundant. acclimated to cool elevations. hairy leaves. is a good garden plant even in some shade. ‘Jewel’. Cardamine and Pachyphragma Years ago. July–September. 8 in. I obtained a plant of Cardamine diphylla (two-leaved toothwort) from a wildflower nursery in North Carolina. (20 cm) tall. 8 in. ‘Wedgwood White’. to 15 in. Korea. blue and white flowers on the same plant.

Seed sown in a cold frame usually germinates successfully. and it seems to do much better.6 in. Can stand up to some dryness in the soil. Cruciferae.5 in. (1 cm) across. Propagate by dividing the rhizome in very early spring or after flowering. comes from the plants’ use as a popular but ineffective salve for toothaches and also alludes to the rootstock’s crinkled shape. so is of limited use in smaller shady gardens. plant rhizomatous. The small flowers are packed tight and on older plants cover the ground almost solidly with white masses. LS to MS. however. which resembles teeth (this gave rise to still another common name. It does not go summer-dormant in zone 7. Thus toothworts rank pretty low on the scale for good. toothwort. I include this species. evergreen in zone 7. flowerstalks leafless. glossy. plant rhizomatous. Greece. slowly spreading. pepperroot). or reddish violet. dark green. Southeastern Europe. dark green. Occasionally. (1. to 5 in. northern Italy. 3 angularly rounded leaflets. trifoliate bittercress. white. in tight clusters of 6–13. horseradish. Toothworts are cosmopolitan in the north temperate zone. (13 cm) across. even tolerating some dryness. or cabbage family. Balkans.5 cm) across in many tight clusters of up to 24 each atop multiple. Turkey. many. and its evergreen leaves form a nice groundcover. Sun. Slugs and snails can damage new growth emerging in spring. April–June. (45–80 cm) tall. to 0. The commonest common name. Some gardeners. large flowers. flowers to 0. Germany. evergreen in zone 7. which is classified in the mustard. flowerstalks 18–32 in. Cardamine trifolia. 3–7 rounded leaflets.8 in. I remember one evergreen toothwort from earlyspring family excursions in the Bavarian woods. (2 cm) across. (20–25 cm) tall. it likes large plots to expand in. with trepidation. I have it growing near a water feature. Native North American C. Many native toothworts were once classified under Dentaria but have been moved to the genus Cardamine. This is an excellent addition to the moist woodland garden. Cardamine trifolia. waldsteinii. It is the threeleaf toothwort. including one with beautiful.Cardamine and Pachyphragma do most toothworts fade away just when they are counted on to add texture and greenery to the garden. . LS to MS. growing in moist meadows and woods and other situations. Rarely seen in North America. Pachyphragma macrophylla. the foliage contributes much to the color and texture of the garden. white or pink with yellow anthers. Plants offered in commerce are usually pink-flowered. crinkleroot). Gardeners with plenty of room should give this evergreen toothwort a try. leaves to 3 in. I have moved it to a spot with more shade. The mountain people of the Appalachians used Cardamine trifolia in salads called creases or cresses (hence. crow’s toes) evaporates after flowering. but supplemental water is necessary during very dry summers. suffused red beneath. leafy shade garden plants. Pachyphragma macrophylla. slowly spreading. Southeastern Europe. branching stems to 16 in. It did not perform for me initially. (40 cm). bowl-shaped. Hardy to zone 5. June–July. 8–10 in. The peppery roots were grated and used like horseradish (hence. roundish. held in tight. plants develop rust or powdery mildew. 4–6 in. as do many of the European species. plant rhizomatous. where runoff keeps the ground moist most of the time. (10–15 cm). pure white. I am also describing a plant closely related to Cardamine that has had the misfortune of being passed among several genera. flowers many. With snow still on the ground in shaded places. May–June. Central Europe. because its tolerance to shade is not yet fully determined. (8 cm). Unfortunately. flowers to 0. leaves compound. In winter. flat bunches facing up. cress). may want to try it. C. this matforming species with snow-white flowers almost passed for another patch of snow. threeleaf toothwort. letting me know in no uncertain terms that it was just too darned hot or dry. margins toothed. or by taking root cuttings. Hardy to zone 5. Has been cultivated under the name Cardamine asarifolia in the British Isles. Many Cardamine species were used to spice up food. slowly spreading. 127 Cardamine raphanifolia. where it has naturalized in some areas. lilac. laciniata (cutleaf toothwort. or both. northeastern Turkey into the Caucasus. LS. leaves glossy dark green. threeleaf bittercress.

Carex Carex is a genus with well over 1000 species. but its habitat in Taiwan indicates it may not be as hardy as C. where they add glowing accents. Seed is rarely produced. white sepals. with a sharply tapering tip. I saw an illustration of Cardiandra alternifolia in Siebold and Zuccarini’s celebrated Flora Japonica. floral structure similar to hydrangeas. fertile and sterile flowers in terminal clusters on branched flowerstalks. like Carex siderosticha. erect. Kyushu. pinkish white aging to greenish white. medium to dark . Cardiandra alternifolia requires deep. most sedges. it must be sown fresh and as soon as ripe in containers in a cold frame.128 Cardiandra green. a Carex cultivar is ready to fill it. branched. Like the grasses. No matter how small or large a bare spot in the garden. composed of 3-sepal lobes. For many years. linear. Hardy to zone 5 with protection for the perennating rootstock. Sedges come in all sizes and shapes and in a wide range of colors. Cardiandra is classified in the hydrangea family. inhabit sunny habitats. toothed. I have grown various sedges in the shade—all are troublefree and easy to use. After years of looking for it. (1 cm) across. Another Japanese species. ‘Flore Pleno’ from Japan is the most desirable form. and the handsomely leaved clumps bring novel texture to the shady garden. stems 18–24 in. (45–60 cm) tall. fertile flowers centrally arranged. plant clump-forming. are deciduous. leaves alternate. Japanese cardiandra. Hydrangeaceae. but the specimens in commerce are definitely light pink. amamioshinensis. helped Siebold with plant identification and first described Cardiandra alternifolia in the late 1830s. one of those passionate and generous explorers who share their experiences and their plants. broadly lance-shaped to oblong. the specimen I grow behaves like an herbaceous perennial. and Dan rediscovered it for gardeners further north in central Honshu. rather than alternate as in the other species. others from mild climates. which describes the approximate the geographic range of this genus. sterile flowers marginal. moist. many. Many sedges are evergreen or semi-evergreen in warmer regions of their habitat. I finally found it in Dan’s Heronswood Nursery catalog. but a few species are indispensable in the shady garden. Now. C. where seedlings can grow on. Slugs and snails can damage new growth emerging in spring. In the early 1980s. Ohio. from red to brown. but the perennating rootstock can be overwintered with good protection where the soil does not freeze hard permanently and deeply. All these latebloomers provide a modest but long-lasting floral display in late summer to early autumn. With long. I do not grow C. so this technicality did not prevent me from including it in this work. sometimes Cardiandra alternifolia. and in every imaginable shade of green. its sterile flowers have somewhat larger. This species was first described as having white flowers. the sedges provide the trim. has glossy. LS to WS. alternifolia. 3–5 in. distinctly veined. Propagate by taking softwood cuttings very early in the growth cycle. alternifolia. dark green leaves that are opposite. small. (8–13 cm) long.5 in. September– October. but I had never seen it in gardens. it has sterile double flowers with 6 sepals. It was also described as a subshrub. a Bavarian botanist. If viable seed is available. and these are particularly useful in shady corners. Zuccarini. Some species have produced attractively and brightly variegated sports. gray to silvery white. Cardiandra The great plant hunters of the past are being emulated by modern Siebolds like Dan Hinkley. many gardeners have an opportunity to grow this “new” plant. Many of their “discoveries” show up in nursery catalogs first and in A-to-Z works later. thanks to Dan. central Honshu. orange to coppery. but well-drained woodland soil with an acid reaction. probably due to the absence of dedicated pollinators. formosana. I have not seen fungal or viral infections. most become deciduous. Further south. to 0. In areas with cold winters. but it is otherwise similar to C. Shikoku. If hostas are the keystones of the shady garden. as they are commonly called. while doing literary research for my work on the genus Hosta at the Holden Arboretum in Cleveland. Sedges are the best filler plants. Joseph G. Cardiandra formosana (Formosan cardiandra) brings forth flowers of a deeper color. Southern Japan. Siebold found Cardiandra in southern Japan on the island of Kyushu. margins finely toothed. pink.

sedges provide a rich texture to the garden that is unlike any other. tufted. any runners that spread out of bounds are easily removed.Carex skinny leaves. it does this either slowly or quickly.1 in. smut. flowers inconspicuous. Flowers are described only if outstanding. (8–13 cm) long.1–0. Most variegated sedges produce allgreen offspring. plantaginea (plantain-leaved sedge). This sedge can get untidy and needs “combing out” frequently to clean debris from the clump. The genus Carex is cosmopolitan. most species are endemic to the temperate and arctic regions. Soils of both high and low fertility are accepted. This tiny sedge is a slow grower and will not get unruly when planted . This sedge is for the boggy ground at the water’s edge. Many species creep vigorously. It is classified in the sedge family. 0. sometimes curly tips). Carex conica. Some sun. foot-long leaves liberally cover any given bare spot. inconspicuous flowers are so noted. C. One is the very good-looking C. evergreen leaves sword-shaped. hair sedge. All are tolerant of considerable shade. flowers spikelike. but sadly I do not have the space or the wet soil to let them roam. as in the case of groundcovers. Broad-leaved sedges prefer some shade during the heat of the day. its attractive. clumping species. LS to WS. so increase can be achieved every spring by removing unwanted rhizomes from the periphery of the planting. like C. yellowish to whitish green. and the elegant spires of Solomon’s seal. and leaf spot are reported. The several subgenera. tufted. evergreen miniature sedge. wide blades of the broadleaf sedges. a handsome variegated form of the creeping broadleaf sedge. cylindrical. Depending on available moisture and soil fertility. Their grasslike appearance adds diversity and juxtaposes well with the lacy fronds of ferns. so division is the best way to obtain variegated increase. morning sun is appreciated. At Hosta Hill. thin-leaved sedges—like C. short 3–5 in. it flourishes here in areas of considerable darkness. Drainage is of secondary importance. but I have not experienced such maladies here. New Zealand hair sedge. Some sedges require marshy conditions. grayi (mace sedge).2 in. Cultivars include ‘Bronze Mound’ (bronzy brown leaves) and ‘Frosty Curls’ (leaves whitish with white. comans ‘Frosty Curls’ and found it has good lasting qualities. Rust. but it never becomes invasive. Sedges do best in permanently moist soil. siderosticha. buchanii (leatherleaf sedge) and C. inconspicuous. Sow seed of cold-region species in a cold frame. to 18 in. nevertheless. and Vignea. plant clumpforming. Large slugs and snails can damage new growth emerging in spring. LS to WS. The rich. and it likes more sun than shade. Carex is the classic Latin name for a species of sedge. plant clump-forming. To make a creeping sedge grow quickly. creamy white bordered. Carex comans. Primocarex. Gardeners interested in natural gardening with native plants will be pleased to learn that several very native North American species are gardenworthy and readily available. Light to medium shade is tolerated. as long as 129 there is no stagnant water in the ground. like Carex plantaginea and C. (3–6 mm) wide. Propagate by dividing the dormant clump or creeping rhizome in very early spring before growth starts. comans (hair sedge). 6 with protection. whose fruiting stems rise well above the dense leaf mound and carry drooping seedheads that look much like the catkins on a birch tree. some groundcover tasks are left to C. 0. Another much-appreciated noncreeping. the bold leaves of hostas. really appeal to me and make an even better statement in woodland gardens. from medium to even deeper shade. Some sedges. I have grown C. evergreen leaves almost hairlike. Japan. is native to the eastern forests of North America and therefore very much at home in shady gardens. Wiry. miniature sedge. and all have survived brief temperature drops to 0°F (−18°C). they tolerate prolonged periods of dry soils. New Zealand. are based on differences in flower morphology. Many are long-lived and vigorous as long as moisture is in constant supply. Hardy to zone 7. both from New Zealand—are appealing indeed but reportedly short-lived. apply a slow-release fertilizer to give an extra boost to development. arching. siderosticha ‘Variegata’. pendula. Cyperaceae. though I have seen it prosper in gardens that receive considerable shade during the day. (3 mm) wide. Some sun. including Eucarex. The sedges listed here have been grown at Hosta Hill for decades. dull dark green. (45 cm) long. Korea. have attractive fruiting bodies that last for months.

longitudinally keeled. (3–6 mm) wide. usually evergreen in zone 7. brown. clump-forming. C. drape elegantly along the ground. to 0. plant rhizomatous. inconspicuous. Some authorities classify it in the genus Cymophyllus. flowers overtopping leaf mound. ‘Aureovariegata’ (Carex hachijoensis ‘Evergold’.2 in. (1 cm) across. Variegation holds best in some shade. variegated miniature sedge) has leaves margined and striped with silvery white. The leaves stay fresh and attractive all during the hot summer. It is rare and protected in most if not all of its habitat and should never be collected in the wild. Japan. (5 cm) wide and 10–24 in. but many yellow-leaved cultivars are in commerce. tufted. 24 in. brown. stricta ‘Bowles’ Golden’. Carex elata. LS. to 0. All forms require constantly moist soil and some direct exposure to sun. Eastern Europe. Easily one of the most outstanding sedges in the garden. but much shorter in shade. striate lengthwise but lacking a prominent midrib. greenish changing to a rich brown when ripe. ‘Silk Tassel’ has very narrow white-variegated leaves forming a silky clump. (0. Hardy to zone 5. tufted. tapering toward tip. undulate. plant forming dense clumps. The type is rarely offered. flowers overtopping leaf mound. (25–60 cm) long. ‘Ice Dance’. creamy white with more sun. (30–60 cm) long. ‘Aurea’ has yellow-margined leaves. here it grows in woodland shade. oshimensis ‘Evergold’) has a broad. Carex fraseri. Carex flava. the margins are narrow and dark green. golden tufted sedge) has bright yellow leaves. The type is rarely offered. . evergreen leaves sword-shaped. center is yellow in shade. spring snow sedge. moist corners. further north with protection. stiff sedge. The most shade-tolerant sedge available and most attractive during flowering. 12–24 in. it is mean-looking but gentle to the touch and very unusual and attractive. (60 cm) long. ‘Gilt’) has creamy white center banding in the leaves. expanding but not invasive.5 in. to 2 in. ‘Himekansuge’ (‘Snowline’. rhizomatous. but cultivars with variegated leaves are common.5 cm) across the spikes. Hardy to zone 5.25 in. C. plant forming dense clumps. Japanese sedge. galax.6 cm) wide. plant forming dense clumps. expanding. strap-shaped. creamy white to greenish white. A slow grower but well worth the time to see it mature. ‘Marginata’. evergreen leaves broad. Makes a great addition to the wildflower border in company with small ferns. ‘Silver Scepter’. evergreen leaves swordshaped. Eastern North America. longitudinally pleated. shaped like a spiked club. Some sun. to 6 in. The widely available ‘Bowles’ Golden’ (‘Bowles’s Golden’. Fraser’s sedge. elegant. LS to WS. elegant. mace sedge. (15 cm) tall. ‘Bowles’ Golden’. similar to ‘Variegata’ but rhizomatous. LS to WS. Some sun. clump-forming. (1 cm) wide. Carex grayi. The greening depends on the amount of shade at a given location. and at Hosta Hill they seem to do best in this situation. 1 in. ‘Fisher’s Form’. Appalachians from Pennsylvania to Georgia and Tennessee. All do best in constantly moist soil.5 in. C. ‘Knighthayes’ (‘Knighthaye’s Form’) has all-yellow leaves. Its ball-shaped fruit. tufted. deciduous leaves swordshaped. longitudinally keeled along center rib. flowers 1–2 on leaved stalk overtopping leaf mound but surrounded by short. I have several growing in woodland shade. bractlike leaves. Hardy to zone 5.1–0. white-edged. LS to MS. showy. (45–60 cm) long. ‘Variegata’. (2. turning yellowish green to light green by midsummer. Self-seeds and makes a wonderful give-away plant.130 Carex in small plots or trough gardens. these emerge with a bright yellow leaf color. more white than creamy. and dwarf Solomon’s seal. (95 cm) in sun. flowers on solitary stalk. 0. Thrives in shady. covered with up to 30 white scales and white threadlike bodies. more sun tends to maintain the yellow color. of heavy substance. One of the best and very long-lived sedges for the shady gardens. as much as 38 in. ‘Goldband’ (‘Fisher’. Hardy to zone 5. In spring. green. tufted sedge. lower female part ball. thinly margined with light green to green. Eastern North America. leathery. Fisher’s Gilt’. recalls a medieval battle flail. arching. Considerable shade is tolerated. Its dark green leaves. Best in some sun. to 0. from the Greek kyma (= wavy) and phyllon (= leaf). upper male part like an upturned brush. green. adorned with fiercelooking spikes. Carex morrowii. whitish yellow center in the leaves. f. Some sun. Hardy to zone egg-shaped. morning star sedge. bright green. 18–24 in.

plantain-leaved sedge. flowers inconspicuous. 7–10 in. otherwise deciduous and herbaceous during prolonged hard freezing. forming dense clumps with dozens of leaves. Some sun. forming dense clumps with dozens of leafstalks. It tolerates considerable shade. it could be used as a substitute for sun-loving grasses. the leaves. with some leaves more white than green. midrib projected underneath. The very popular ‘Sparkler’ has irregular (some wide.5–0. with leaves emerging along the length. flattened toward tip. (2.5 cm) wide. Japan. In shady gardens. longitudinally keeled along the midrib. dark green. (1. Makes a wonderful companion plant in the shady woodland garden. this species is for northern gardeners who have difficulty growing the Japanese sedges. Hardy to zone 3. it makes an . narrow.5 cm) wide. white stripes in the Carex plantaginea. tufted clumps of basal leaves. spreading. midrib projected underneath. forming a zigzag cross section through the leaf. Some sun. palmlike. midrib projected underneath. Another species native to Eurasia is Carex sylvatica with yellowish green leaves to 40 in. (1 m). coming up here and there. some narrow) white stripes in the leaves. increasing laterally (to one side) 6–12 in. with the central vein recessed like a ship’s keel and the two adjacent vein pairs elevated. flowers blackish brown on spikes. leaves emerging laterally from the creeping and slowly expanding rhizome. evergreen broadleaf sedge. ‘Spring Snow’ has yellow leaves in spring with a neat dark green border. so not as useful in a garden with smaller plants. LS to WS. 7–9 in. Hardy to zone 6 with protection of the rhizomes. creeping broadleaf sedge. 131 Carex phyllocephala. These can be used as groundcover in light to woodland shade and have become popular grasslike plants in the shady woodland garden. tapering and narrowing continuously. are viridescent and turn all green in summer. ‘Variegata’ has creamy white. (1–2 cm) wide. (18–25 cm) long. striated lengthwise. New Brunswick south to Georgia and Tennessee.8 in. here it grows with some morning sun but is shaded for the remainder of the day. to 1 in. slowly expanding. Planted in tight groups. a cosmopolitan weed in North America. plant rhizomatous. striated. broadest toward tip and flattened.or sword-shaped. to 8 in. lance. forming a zigzag cross section through the leaf. (2. pleated (not flat) along most of their length. narrow margins with occasional irregular. (18–25 cm) long. evergreen. but not invasive. (30 cm). plant rhizomatous. Carex siderosticha. with the central vein recessed like a ship’s keel and the two adjacent vein pairs elevated. ‘Island Brocade’ has yellow edges with occasional irregular. (15– 30 cm) per year. All require moist conditions and spread fairly rapidly. Very attractive and a good garden sedge. but the seeds produce plain green leaves. thin. (20 cm) long and 1 in. pleated along most of their length. It has naturalized at Hosta Hill.or sword-shaped. Japan. Some sun. 0. rhizomatous. providing a striking contrast to the emerging yellow leaves.5 cm) wide. leaves sword-shaped. evergreen in zone 7 in mild winters down to 15°F (−10°C) for short periods. It is much larger than C. Japanese palm sedge. striated lengthwise. leaves lance. otherwise deciduous and herbaceous during prolonged freezing temperatures. Site in a protected area in northern gardens. (2. striated lengthwise. Seeds around.5 cm) wide. longitudinally keeled along the midrib. to 0. leafstalks to 12 in. plant rhizomatous. flowers blackish brown on spikes. (18–23 cm) long. leaves evergreen. noticeable but not showy. The epithet (siderosticha = lateral row) is a reference to the plant’s growth habit: leaves emerge in a lateral row from the creeping rhizome. becoming more closely spaced toward top.Carex ‘Variegata’ is the common white-variegated form with thin white margins. yellow stripes in the leaves. noticeable but not ornate. (20 cm) long and 1 in. Native to the moist forests of eastern North America. finally tufted and whorled at the top. it is clump-forming. longitudinally keeled along the midrib. first light green. forming dense. Hardy to zone 4. later dark green. LS to WS. The epithet was derived from the resemblance of its leaves to the narrow-leaved plantain. 7–10 in. the leaves are to 8 in. Eastern North America. Several variegated cultivars are in commerce. broadest in the center tapering toward base and tip. excellent groundcover. dark green. evergreen in zone 7 in mild winters down to 15°F (−10°C) for short periods. No garden should be without this shade-tolerant sedge. plantaginea and more coarse. Hardy to zone 6 with protection. grouped with small ferns and small to medium hostas. more keeled toward the base. LS to WS.6 in.

Many years ago. 6 pointed sepals. I grow mine in deep shade. Caulophyllum thalictroides has a counterpart in eastern Asia. Chamaelirium Cades Cove is one of the few places where one can take a giant step back into American history. The cultural conditions of the natural mountain habitat must be approximated as closely as possible if Caulophyllum thalictroides is to be successfully cultivated. 3. clump-forming. Georgia. about 3000 ft. heat resistance is limited if the soil is allowed to dry out.” I particularly like the whitish gray dusting that covers the entire plant in early spring. instead. and I finally found a responsible nursery source. each leaf divided into many leaflets 1–3 in.). MS to FS. and it was an indispensable aid during childbirth. (2. Caulophyllum thalictroides var. leaves. eastern Siberia. Plants are common at high elevations. green to dark green. in the Great Smoky Mountains. The small group of plants now gracing Hosta Hill are mostly Caulophyllum thalictroides. flowers 5-lobed.5 in. The genus is classified in the Berberidaceae. hooded petals. April–June. electric light bulb plant. to 0. Very similar to the North American wildflower and as yet scarcely available. 6 shorter. but large colonies can still be found. leaves usually 2 on the leafstalk. so patience is advised. add finely ground compost to the soil before planting and every fall. particularly in the Appalachians. As with many other North American species. clustered together on a branched raceme. flowers small. each leaf divided into 9–27 leaflets 1–3 in. Time has stood still here since the early 1800s. another below. The flowers are ordinary. after the plants become dormant. The cluster’s refined charm made a lasting impression on me. robustum. a diminutive wildflower native to the eastern half of North America. (900 m). One of them. one near the flowers. (1 cm). increase is slow. rhizomatous. April–June. Fungal leaf spot is reported. How else can this historic place be truly experienced? I feel sorry for the visitors who rush through this Shangri-la by car. One of these is Chamaelirium luteum (blazing star). center leaflets 3lobed. another below. (2. do not turn up as often in shady gardens. Propagate by taking rhizome cuttings in very early spring. northern Japan. they may stop at a few of the old homesteads.5–8 cm) long. like Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh). The flowers are tiny. This eastern wildflower deserves to be planted more frequently. (20–45 cm) long and to 1 in. to 0. but others. 6 shorter. I discovered a colony of this beauty along Cades Cove Road. but they miss the little wonders along the many footpaths. Eastern . covered with whitish dusting in spring. six-pointed stars with a yellowish center and usually greenish brown.5 cm) wide. These attractive fruits are poisonous—children should be warned about them. In some areas it is rare. Sakhalin. I usually leave my car behind and walk for miles to get a real feel for the past. Its mundane flowers are replaced in early autumn by bright blue berries covered with a waxy. Korea. the leaves are 8–18 in. sometimes coppery. leaves usually 2 on the leafstalk. papooseroot. and when I visit this remote hollow in the mountains. medium shade in southern gardens.5 in. Tibet. Western China. green. The generic name and epithet in combination allude to the similarity of the stem and leaves to that of meadow rue (Thalictrum spp. they are not as lush and vigorous here but provide a yearly display of berries without fail. Do not fertilize. var. Caulophyllum American Indians knew many different plants as cohosh. one near the flowers. but neither pests nor diseases have bothered the blue cohosh here. Fresh seed can be sown in the ground or in a seed tray.5–8 cm) long. (2. robustum. while walking with my parents. Cimicifuga racemosa (black cohosh). whitish bloom. 6 pointed sepals. clustered together on a branched raceme. American Indians used the underground parts of this species to treat rheumatism. clump-forming. rhizomatous. further north in light shade. all were used for medicinal purposes.132 Caulophyllum North America. Hardy to zone 3. (1 cm). plant herbaceous. MS to FS. hooded petals. squawroot. Being a “leaf guy. is well known. Keep soil moist at all times. Site in cool. and Alabama. New Brunswick south to the mountains of South Carolina. plant herbaceous. but its bright blue berries add color to the autumn garden. blue cohosh.

6 yellow stamens. which. native to the eastern half of North America.5 cm). It requires moist. (20 cm). it bleaches to a yellowish green. fairy wand. smooth. although it may not flower or become a large clump—which may be a benefit for most gardeners. though slugs take an occasional bite out of the groundhugging leaves. rattlesnake root. I have also seen it grow in the wild in rocky muck along a streambed. on long. In shade. The generic name (Chamaelirium = ground [creeping] lily) is a reference to the appearance of immature plants. its roots penetrate deeply into pure Georgia red clay.8–1. I interplant them with Amianthium muscaetoxicum (fly poison). 133 like a squirrel’s tail. The grass grew rapidly into a clump and started producing seed the second season. 3 petals. LS to WS. small hostas. Its showy. which have a more showy display than the female forms. squirrel tail. for the yellowish flowers. I started with one plant and now have several. It does best as a group of 3 to 5 in company with small ferns. numerous. like Chamaelirium luteum. when the flowers turn greenish yellow. (0. In the hot. 3-valved capsule. Later in summer. Massachusetts. The epithet comes from the Latin luteus (= yellow). Here at Hosta Hill. Eastern North America. It tolerates considerable shade but prefers a more open site with light shade and some morning sun. It even withstands the salty breezes along the coastal regions. it definitely appreciates shade. Seed propagation is difficult. The local flower shop may take the surplus flowerstalks with many thanks. Hardy to zone 3. leaves in a basal rosette are elongated. and other wildflowers. I started with a tiny seedling in a small pot. Chamaelirium is classified in the Melanthiaceae. (8–20 cm) long and 0. Supplemental water is required during hot. wooded areas. versatile grass grass a permanent and easy-to-cultivate addition to shady corners. darker green color. west to Michigan. No pests or diseases affect my plants. this grass develops a much richer. on elongated raceme to 8 in. south to Arkansas. male and female flowers on separate plants (dioecious). with raceme tip drooping. first erect. This grass will grow in deep shade. Ohio. and 3 sepals. The culms are wide-bladed. as they are a mainstay in floral arrangements.Chasmanthium male plants. (75 cm). and gardeners with salt in their soil and air will find this attractive. The only way to control this bounteous harvest is to cut off the flowering spikes before the ripe seed starts to distribute itself. blazing star. where it seeded itself. Some sun. little bunches of grass seedlings were coming up all over the place. 3–8 in. drooping flowers are shaped much like those of oats grown for food (Avena sativa). in mountains from Pennsylvania to Georgia. acid soil with a pH of 5 to 5. The Appalachian people thought the male flower spike looked . humid areas of southeastern North America. usually in late autumn after the seedheads turn a nice coppery color. male flowers more showy. This easily cultivated species should never be planted as a single specimen. southern Ontario. (2–4 cm) wide. May–June. Purchase plants from propagated stock to maintain wild populations. rendering it extremely drought-tolerant. Chasmanthium One of the few grasses that can be grown in the shade is Chasmanthium latifolium (wild oats). the bent-over flowering spike and raceme remain on the plant and make a modest but interesting early autumn display. spoon-shaped. dry periods. south to Florida. Propagate by division in very early spring. green. Illinois. induces vomiting and causes severe dizziness. and the following spring. then bending. female flowers creamy white with pistils. I left the attractive seeds hanging on the grass. flowers tiny. Chasmanthium latifolium endures just about any mistreatment and any soil. and occasionally thickets. wild gingers.2 in. to 30 in. in both sunny and shady places.5 in. coming off yellowish white. with tuberous root. other common names were meant as warnings to avoid the extremely bitter taste of the raw root. leafy. in sun. blunt-tipped. to 0. full sun sunburns the grass. on flowerstalk with small bractlike leaves to 24 in. Chamaelirium luteum thrives in open woods. clumpforming. devil’s bit. upright spike.5. plant herbaceous. which blooms a little earlier (a succession of bloom can be had from mid-May until late June by mixing these two species). New York. (60 cm) long. The one disadvantage to growing these ornamental oats in gardens is their prolific nature. requiring the planting of adjacent male and female plants for proper fertilization and seed production. when ingested.

European greater celandine. providing a colorful late summer display. nothing affects it. ‘Flore Pleno’. asiatica. spangle grass. But as my mother found out years ago. sightwort) is a Eurasian species. west to southern Illinois then south to Florida and west to New Mexico and northern Mexico. Propagate by digging up and transplanting the many seedlings this grass produces. in my experience. Chelidonium majus is one of those pretty pests our grandparents used to grow. only minor differences distinguish it from var. Seedlings are easy to remove while they are very small. killwort. aggressive grasses. leaves evergreen. To flower abundantly. it is not desirable. LS to WS. It looks like the much-better-behaved Stylophorum diphyllum and has an attractive double-flowered form. which soon fell prey to the voracious appetite of the birds. Chasmanthium latifolium is classified in the grass family. lyonii. I know. This grass seems immune to most known garden pests and diseases. Chasmanthium latifolium. 5–12 in. Never should it be allowed to enter smaller gardens.134 Chelidonium come to spread itself. medium green. northern sea oats. have dug it up in the wild and brought it home. Division of older clumps is also a quick way to increase. for its stomach-soothing properties) does not take to shade too well. In Aristotle’s version. In this case. flowers overtopping leaf mound.5 in. unfortunately.) for another four weeks of autumn flower color. swallows bathed the eyes of their young in the plant’s juices to strengthen their eyesight. 0. my plant gets about two hours of morning sun and open shade for the rest of the day. (1 cm) wide. where this interloper is wel- . C. and as wetlands disappear. Chelone glabra (balmony to early settlers. Gramineae. but an extraordinary effort is required to uproot them once they have anchored themselves in the ground. This alien has escaped from many gardens and can be found in the wild in many areas of North America. breaking up and releasing seed in late autumn to early winter. like so many other. Remove seedheads before they release seeds to prevent its becoming weedy. North America wild oats. but here and there colonies can be found. (1 cm) long. This very ornamental grass is clump-forming and does not spread by rhizomes or stolons. Chelidonium Consider this entry a warning rather a recommendation. Its common names allude to its similarity to food oats. its Asian counterpart. Its yellow flowers prompted herbalists to use it as a cure for liver problems. this event was important to my great-grandfather and other farmers in the area as it portended the quick demise of various insect pests. angled away from the stems at right angles or less. Flowering time usually coincides with the arrival of certain species of swallows on European farms. wild oats. small bamboo. lanceshaped. on drooping stems. looking for a plant that would tolerate Georgia red clay. They particularly like wetland soils with a clay base. so I tried the red turtlehead. It flowers for about four weeks each September. it should not be planted. and herbalists used the juice as a cure for sore eyes. Species of the genus Chelone are not frequent in Georgia. Hardy to zone 5. (13–30 cm) long. Chelone I found turtlehead on a wildflower rescue mission. celandine poppy. It is the only turtlehead I am able to grow under mostly shaded conditions. Combine with toad lilies (Tricyrtis spp. northern wild oats. I am following my mother’s advice: unless a large land area is available. so do the turtleheads. upland sea oats. plant forming dense clumps. wild sea oats. Unfortunately. I have observed it frequently along wet stream banks in open. this species seeds itself around with unwelcome gusto.5 in. green turning yellowish green to bronze. North America. Some sun. sunny coves of the Appalachian mountains in the Carolinas and Tennessee. I know of gardeners who. turning yellowish green in autumn. Northern gardeners retain the grass to provide winter interest. starting the cycle all over again. greater celandine poppy. The generic name comes from the Greek chelodon (= swallow). Chelidonium majus (greater celandine. with the leaves angling away from the stem at almost right angles. and although it is well adapted to shady gardens and woodland conditions. southern Canada to New Jersey. because I helped Mother rid her garden of this handsome weed. fruit oatlike spikelets to 0. all turtleheads need some sun.

Gardeners should expect some selfseeding. moist open woods. Appalachians. white turtlehead. balmony. 3–6 in. plant herbaceous. (5–15 cm) long. ovate to lance-shaped with sharply toothed margins. I do nothing to maintain pipsissewa. ‘Hot Lips’ has bright pink flowers and purplish bronze new leaves. but the spreading is easily controlled. snapdragonlike. snakehead. Leaf spot. glabra refers to the smooth character of the leaves. 135 Chelone lyonii. turtle) comes from the Greek. its evergreen leaves gracing the garden all year and its white flowers brightening up its place in early June. carried in terminal clusters on erect flowerstalks to 40 in. south to Georgia. North Carolina. a tiny plant that was growing there in small colonies between the projecting roots of large loblolly pines. turning dark green. Scrophulariaceae. Eastern North America. They require moist. Chimaphila and Pyrola The first few times I explored the neighborhood ravine. ovate to lanceshaped with coarsely toothed margins.5 in. Hardy to zone 3. constant moisture is a requirement for best performance Provide supplemental water during hot. Turtleheads will not endure dry clays. and in certain microclimates it may be successful as a perennial for shady gardens. acid soil with a pH of 5 to 5. July–September. surviving temperatures to 0°F (−18°C) for short periods. plant herbaceous. West Virginia. (8–15 cm) long. west to Tennessee. July–September. and worm medication. Turtleheads grow in wetlands. Given a better place in my garden with more light and freedom to spread. Slugs and snails can be a problem. dry periods. snakehead. Variety elatior has a deeper purple coloration in the throat. turtlehead. I completely overlooked Chimaphila maculata (pipsissewa). Hardy to zone 4 with protection. mildew. smooth. (2. (2. Some sun. shellflower. lower lip 3-lobed with beard. I spotted something white and went to investigate. carried in terminal clusters on erect flowerstalks to 36 in. The epithet lyonii honors its discoverer. Seedlings usually flower in their second year. dark green leaves marked with a grayish white stripe along the midrib. large. hanging in nodding pairs from upright stems. 1–1. many winged seeds. Eastern North America. 2lipped.Chimaphila and Pyrola The generic name Chelone (= tortoise. .5 in. beard white. LS to WS. leaves on a stalk and opposite on the stem. tubular. many winged seeds. tubular. This time I did not hesitate and dug up a portion of the struggling. fruit in capsule. My plant stands up to considerable cold. It must like this because it just keeps going on. pink turtlehead. 2-lipped. escaped from nearby gardens. Worth a try. beard yellow. red turtlehead. medium green. clumpforming. Brushing aside the forest litter and encroaching ivy. an allusion to the fancied likeness of the flower to a turtle’s head. shellflower. tinged lavender near tips. and along stream banks in the mountain valleys. Newfoundland south to Georgia. and basically just leave it alone. American Indians used these herbs medicinally for the treatment of liver and gall bladder ailments and as a purgative. laxative. (90 cm). supply no fertilizer. Chelone is classified in the snapdragon or figwort family. Sow seed in a cold frame in early spring. notched upper lip arches over lower lip. along with a sufficient amount of native soil. snapdragonlike. no extra water. and rust are reported but not experienced here. west to Minnesota and Missouri.5–4 cm) long. Propagate by division in very early spring. LS. Turtleheads tolerate considerable shade but prefer a more open site with light shade and some sun. I uncovered whorls of leathery. flowers purple to pinkish red. What I saw were the most precious waxy white flowers I had ever seen. In the wild I have seen Chimaphila maculata all Chelone glabra. 1–1. turtlehead. but during one earlyspring excursion into the gulch. flowers white to pinkish white. smooth. notched upper lip arches over lower lip.5 and thrive in heavy soils as long as they remain moist or wet. fruit in capsule. It does best in constantly moist soil and under favorable conditions provides a long bloom period in late summer. (1 m). The dark green leaves in camouflage dress blended perfectly with dead pine needles and leaf scatter. green. I have seen the species flower in gardens with considerable shade. 2–6 in. leaves short-stalked and opposite on the stem. John Lyon. large. lower lip with beard. partially covered colony. my pipsissewa group has delighted all comers for over two decades now. clump-forming. stems square.5–4 cm) long. stems square.

Chimaphila umbellata. Available from many wildflower nurseries. although it is reported to be frequent in the Southeast. southern Ontario and Quebec south to Georgia and Alabama. frequently hiding at the base of large pines. Cascades. like galax and autumn ladies’ tresses (Spiranthes cernua). Chimaphila maculata. I prefer it. where the delicate flowers and attractively marked leaves can be closely observed. to 0. leaf margins finely toothed or smooth. I have never spotted C. (15–25 cm) tall. urinary ailments. Good companion plants for both are the smaller native wild gingers (Asarum spp. Rarely offered. it is no improvement over Chimaphila umbellata. (10 cm) and leaves broadly lance-shaped to 1. pipsissewa. and heavy soils seem no obstacle to the deeply rooted. flowers 1–5.5 in. They require very acid soil with a pH of 4. wintergreen. and aches and pains. creeping. producing leaves at intervals. western prince’s pine. hot summers. Pyrolaceae. Rarely offered. Japanese wintergreen. but Pyrola is difficult—take along considerable native soil to guarantee success. spotted wintergreen. an allusion to its evergreen nature. flowers 1–2. Both genera thrive in moist to dry coniferous forests in rich woods soil. rheumatism. creeping rhizomes. with stems to 4 in. Frequently characterized as a cool-summer plant. leathery dark green with grayish white markings along the midrib (hence maculata = spotted. Pyrola is the diminutive of pyrus (= pear). flowers wide open. A widespread species in western North America. and with limited space in my garden. Western North America. prince’s pine. Supplemental water is not essential but probably appreciated during prolonged droughts. wintergreen. no other pests or diseases are experienced here. usually 2.136 Chimaphila and Pyrola consuming. common pipsissewa. Chimaphila is hardy to zone 4. Pipsissewa is a Creek Indian name based on the belief that the juice of Chimaphila maculata reduces kidney stones. in tiers of loose whorls. Eastern North America. (1. southern Ontario south to Georgia and Alabama. umbellata in Georgia. west to the western Cascades. This species is more showy than other wintergreens. The generic name Chimaphila (= winter-loving) comes from the Greek. borne on terminal pendent branches atop erect stems 6–10 in. they benefit from some dappled light and seem to bloom better that way. Japan. LS to FS. Chimaphila and Pyrola are classified in the wintergreen family. waxy white. I have found Chimaphila tolerant of dry. toothed. LS to FS. Notwithstanding. possibly elevated spot. striped wintergreen. Tennessee. of thick substance and slightly fragrant. and they are happy in heavy shade. in more open areas sometimes with a pinkish hue. American Indians and early settlers throughout the Southeast used its leaves as a component to produce root beer. evergreen. flowers 1–3. (2. drooping. partially underground. rheumatism root. Also not seen in Georgia is what I call the northern pipsissewa. Chimaphila species turn up frequently at local rescue sites and are available in commerce from propagated stock. with most populations concentrated in the Cascades. south to Kentucky and Tennessee. A group of several of these small plants is much more showy. western prince’s pine.5–5 cm) long. Seed propagation in a very acid growing medium is possible but time- Chimaphila japonica. west to northeastern Illinois and Michigan. Its many herbalistic uses include the treatment of colds. fruit in brown capsule persisting through winter. late May–early July. dragon’s-tongue. Chimaphila is easy to transplant. Propagate by dividing the rhizome in winter or very early spring. blotched). plant rhizomatous. Pyrola americana.6 in.5 to 5. over southeastern North America. LS to FS. Slugs and snails can damage new growth emerging in spring. striped pipsissewa. particularly Alabama. . Chimaphila menziesii. stems woody. Pyrola is more suited to cool northern areas. northern and eastern Europe. sharp-tipped. little prince’s pine. and right in my own backyard. for the fancied resemblance of its leaves to those of a pear tree. which I have observed near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Shenandoah National Park. leaves 3–4. waxflower. lance-shaped.5 cm) across. but Pyrola is only occasionally available. 1–2 in. otherwise almost identical to Chimaphila maculata but smaller. (4 cm) long. 5-petaled. Stem cuttings may also be rooted in sand over winter. Japan. Both should be planted in a shady.) and other wildflowers. North America. Eurasia.

July–August. rotting easily if too much moisture is present. roundleaf wintergreen. leaves 4–7. evergreen. Indian lettuce. stems woody.5–5 cm) long. to 0. spirally arranged on erect stems 10– 12 in. nor do I water it unless it displays signs of distress during droughts. but gardeners have long called it green and gold (and goldenstar is the new favorite). plant rhizomatous. wild lily-of-the-valley. fruit in brown capsule persisting through winter. creeping. it is vigorously rhizomatous and makes a good groundcover. Propagate by taking runners (stolons) and rooting them in good garden soil. borne on terminal pendent branches. basal. Variety cisatlantica has solid green leaves with conspicuous veins on the leaf underside. pink. (1. American pyrola. I neglect it as much as adjacent plants allow. 5-petaled. Goldenstar is frequent in the Piedmont region of the Carolinas and Georgia.5. without markings. lance-shaped. I do not fertilize it. June– August. and even when they are not. and are sometimes toothed. to 0. (1. is similar but slightly smaller. Goldenstar requires circumneutral soil with a pH of 6 or slightly higher. This species is happy in light shade. creeping. It does best in an open situation where it can receive dappled sun during the day.5 cm) across. petals 5. waxy white. it contains aspirinlike substances (salicylates) and was used by American Indians in a shin plaster applied to burns and wounds. partially underground. Both are occasionally offered in commerce. It tolerates the hot. (8 cm) long. broadly elliptic. flowers wide open. Most Pyrola species are for special garden situations only and are definitely not for novice gardeners. solid dark green. Chrysogonum virginianum is fine and fitting for botanists. Flowers are greenish white to cream on a red stem. The leaves . flowers wide open. leaves in whorls of 3–6 in 2–3 tiers. The type is often mixed up with its varieties in commerce. deep green. canker lettuce. 1–2 in. drooping. North America. var. picta (white-veined wintergreen) has the best leaves. daisylike flowers are produced in great quantity in spring and sporadically in summer. Pyrola americana. Seed propagation is not necessary and too slow. fragrant. flowers 3–7. be sure to dig up sufficient native soil along with the plant in such cases. thick. round with long stalk. 1–2 in. evergreen. filaments swollen. Asteraceae. with the midrib and side veins distinctly marked with white. flowers 5–20. leathery. fruit in brown capsule persisting through winter. shiny. The pretty yellow. (2. gardeners and suppliers are quick to find new ones. None of these plants should be removed from the wild unless a rescue situation arises. The genus name (Chrysogonum = golden knee) is a Greek combination alluding to the yellow flowers and jointed stem. consumption weed. elliptica (shinleaf. Its Eurasian counterpart. protruding curved style. dry summers of southeastern North America and prefers dry soils. lesser wintergreen.5 cm) across.6 in. Chrysogonum Whenever Latin binomials are difficult to pronounce. thick and leathery. (30 cm) tall. It spreads by stolons and makes a tight cover in relatively little time. where it grows along the edges of woods and in forest clearings. I have several expanding clumps growing among a patch of Silene polypetala (fringed campion). It will tolerate somewhat more acid soils. as they were in a colony of these dainty plants I observed near the Columbia River Gorge in the western Cascades of Oregon. (25–30 cm) tall. LS to FS.6 in. occidentalis lacks these veins. Chrysogonum is classified in the daisy family. Its flowers are arranged to one side on the stem. drooping. The European and western North American P. Supplemental water is necessary only during prolonged droughts. roundleaf American wintergreen. rarely light pink. stamens 10 with bright yellow anthers. 137 look very much like those of Chimaphila maculata. borne on terminal pendent branches atop erect stems to 12 in. Also smaller but similar is P. toothed. broadest above the middle. to 3 in. plant rhizomatous. (2. British Columbia to Washington and Oregon east to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and south to Pennsylvania and West Virginia. except they are basal.5–5 cm) long. waxflower pyrola) with very waxy flowers of greenish white. producing leaves at intervals. my clumps are growing in improved (one-half of pine bark by volume) clay soil with a pH of 5. Pyrola secunda (onesided wintergreen) is widespread in North America and the most frequently seen species in the wild.Chrysogonum LS to FS. dark green. and I have seen it growing and blooming in considerable shade. Pyrola rotundifolia.

Propagate by taking soft cuttings from the plant in early spring and rooting them in good garden soil. hairy. central Ohio and Pennsylvania south to Georgia and Florida and west to Mississippi. do not have golden flowers. Chrysosplenium As one would expect of members of the vast family of saxifrages. most from eastern Asia. I am still not certain how to use these newcomers. ‘Pierre’. tetrandum. dry summers of southeastern North America are difficult for the golden saxifrages used to moist and cool forests. LS to WS. Chrysogonum virginianum. Chrysogonum virginianum. opposite on stems. heart-shaped. Leaves are either smooth or have toothed margins. Saxifragaceae. so supplemental water is required to keep the top layer of the soil from drying out during prolonged droughts. a form with overlapping yellow rays and almost round leaves. Chrysogonum australe. (2. green and gold). sometimes notched. a bright. 1–1. is less suitable for groundcover applications but makes a nice companion plant in the open woodland border. although flowering may diminish. creeping. 5 outer green bracts alternate with the rays (hence. Soil fertility does not seem to be very important. with its more erect. April–October. medium green.5 in. ‘Eco Lacquered Spider’. I expect them to be much more vigorous in areas of cool summers. almost overlapping rays. and in the wild many populations grow on poor soils. softer green leaves and long bloom duration. to zone 1 or 2. as Chrysosplenium species are sometimes called. plant stoloniferous.138 Chrysosplenium to partial shade. where they grow in upland mountain valleys of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces in western China. virginianum’s range. Many species are self-layering. An extremely variable species: some forms have long. They are abundant in eastern Asia. and widely separated rays (lobes). I suggest placement in shaded areas where the soil stays cooler. I have small specimens growing and blooming in considerable shade during the day. but it can be inferred from other genera endemic to these regions that zone 6 may be the northern limit for all but the Japanese species from central Honshu and those from Korea. moist evergreen woods south of the Bio-Bio River. Chrysosplenium valdivicum. others have broad. composed of 5 broad. taller habit. but they are also found in the moist. bog garden. a dwarf form with leafy stolons. Golden saxifrages thrive in moist but well-draining acidic soil with a pH of 5 to 6. During mild winters it is evergreen at Hosta Hill. leaves 1–4 in. is at home in southern Chile. (2. are stoloniferous indeed and must be allowed some room to stake out their territory. Alternatively. They are. in the cool. yellow. A species from northern Scandinavia and arctic Finland. Slugs and snails may take a bite out of newly emerging leaves. green and gold. they carry on bravely. Eastern North America. but it is scarcely available. Golden saxifrages have not been fully tested for cold hardiness. but their spreading habit suggests suitability as groundcovers. deciduous forests of Korea and Japan. They adapt well . ‘Greystone Gold’.5–4 cm) across. is much hardier. Hardy to zone 5. and at least one. yellow rays. has a more creeping habit and produces many runners. Here they struggle somewhat during hot. Some sun. The species are shallow-rooted. or wildflower border or near a pond or water feature. The hot. with a few hours of morning sun. but as long as they remain in shade during the heat of the day and supplemental water is supplied. bloom period somewhat shorter than the type. and propagation is easily accomplished by transplanting rooted sections of the stems. leafstalks reddish.5–10 cm) long. evergreen south. sometimes shiny greenish yellow with somewhat darker bracts giving a marvelous two-tone coloration. with central disk of yellow florets. flowers smaller. many Chrysosplenium species are spreading plants. the purple color runs into the leaf bases and the leaves are unusually glossy. golden star. flowers many but solitary on each branched stem. a colorful form with very long. ‘Allen Bush’. The few species suitable for shady gardens. narrow. deciduous north. depending on microclimate. dry summers. which occurs in the southern part of C. nevertheless. C. goldenstar. golden knee. Golden saxifrages. purple stolons. They like an open situation in a woodland setting. plants Pests and diseases have not damaged my plants. but this is only a minor problem with leaf increase so rapid.

golden saxifrage. showy panicles of white flowers. as the epithet indicates. which. Early settlers. covered with a coating of fine hair underneath. tetrandum from the arctic regions of northern Europe. Bugbane (bane = to kill) is another common name and one I find equally baffling since flies. central Honshu. I espied a white glow in the distance (candles of the woods. leaves opposite. LS to WS. many new species and cultivars of this genus have appeared in commerce—a dream fulfilled—but my first love is still C. Another species from western China in Sichuan province. opposite. flowers many. (6 cm) long. easily over 7 ft. leaves small. American Indians. margin scalloped. may be hardier with protection. plant prostrate. deciduous. creeping by means of underground rhizomes. has large. 139 Chrysosplenium davidianum. Some sun. greenish yellow. (4–5 cm) across. forming dense mats of groundcover. stoloniferously creeping. Another species from south-central Honshu and Korea is Chrysosplenium macrostemon. racemosa. but the larger bracts are a bright green. flowers many.5 in. may be hardier with protection. hoping to drive away bedbugs and other nasty pests. South America. Chrysosplenium alternifolium is similar but has alternate. Some sun. Its flowers are small compared to other species and greenish yellow. Some sun. medium green. rounded and broadly heart-shaped. Variety . The generic name Cimicifuga is derived from the Latin cimex (= bug) and fugere (= to drive away).Cimicifuga can be divided in very early spring. deciduous. as the epithet indicates. (5–6 cm) across.5 in. Slugs and snails enjoy the moist. shady environment under these groundcovers and may damage young leaves. attracted to the offensive odor. April–June. May–July. deciduous. particularly Scandinavia and Finland. but rounded. with margin toothed. are the primary pollinators of bugbane. stoloniferously creeping and self-layering. plant low growing. Shade gardeners with some sunny spots may want to try its adaptability to shade. plant prostrate. LS to WS. rosulare is primarily grown as a groundcover and requires watching to be kept in bounds. architectural plant of great beauty with tall. to 2. just as growth commences. rounded bracts giving a two-tone appearance. Chrysosplenium valdivicum. Hardy to zone 6. In the past decade. My reverent admiration of the magnificent colony started me on a lifelong love of native plants and gardening with wildflowers. Hardy to zone 6. plant prostrate. showy stamens. and the combination makes a charming display.5–2 in.5 in. a stately. Japan. alpinum is rarely offered in commerce. terminal on branched axillary flowerstalks.5 in. deciduous. LS to WS. rounded bracts. A third European species. to 1. green and felty above and purplish underneath. it is native to Eurasia. LS to MS. southern Chile. in terminal clusters.5–1. Korea. has large leaves. macrophyllum. leaves 0. 2–2. clustered in the leaf axils. medium green. Yunnan. Western China.5 in. during a visit to the Appalachians. rounded leaves. (2 m) tall. (4 cm) long. flowers many. smooth. rounded and broadly heartshaped. No other pest or disease problems are reported. Chrysosplenium oppositifolium. (1–4 cm) long. self-layering. All require a delicate balance of sun and shade to perform best and are worth a try in shade gardens. Europe. is C. C. Hardy to zone 7. This species is in commerce but still rarely seen in gardens. April–June. greenish yellow with large yellowish green. broadly triangular. (6 cm) long. 5 with protection. which. 1. I saw this magnificent wildflower for the first time almost 50 years ago. Cimicifuga One of the first native North American wildflowers I ever planted was black cohosh. Cimicifuga racemosa. stoloniferously creeping. used Chrysosplenium japonicum. used this native herb to treat snake bites. who were well acquainted with Cimicifuga racemosa. common in the British Isles and on the Continent with some populations extending to Siberia. flowers many. inconspicuous. greenish yellow with bright yellow. leaves opposite. to 2. larger-flowered than Chrysosplenium davidianum. the mountain people call it) and fought my way through the underbrush until I stood before a group of towering plants. var. is extremely hardy.

on stalks. sharp knife for cutting. shedding. Fresh seed can be sown in small pots in a cold frame. I have never had to stake them. and apply a dusting of fungicide to keep cuts free of smut or rust. with their deep-rooting habit. Most variegated forms are unstable. rounded. I grow and flower it successfully in medium shade. leaves twice divided into 3s. 4–5 sepals. Japan.). tufted. a few seedling always emerge. (1 cm) wide. long-lived perennials classified in the Ranunculaceae. For best anchorage. Check plants often for telltale black fungal deposits at the emerging stems. the soil should not be too loose. as young plants do not divide well. well-draining. Further distinguished by its several pistils. pistils 3–8 on stalks. leaf smut. tolerate a considerable lack of moisture. toothed. tufted. American bugbane. Place them against a darker background so the light flowers stand out. smooth. stamens numerous. they are well adapted to shady.140 Cimicifuga it much easier to simply strip the seeds from the fruiting panicles and bury them where I want new bugbanes to come up. I have maintained the Linnaean order.5–8 cm) long. petals minute or absent. erect. petals absent. I see occasional weevil damage. and provide attractive garden highlights throughout the winter. dark green color into early fall. topped with several flowering panicles on branched raceme. Some species flower in spring. with each leaf divided into three leaflet segments three times over. Clumps occasionally develop leaf spot.5 in. the North American species. with large. The leaf mound is dense and shrublike. erect. turn brown.9–1. . to 0. Employ a clean. and its roots are used as a diuretic. flowers white to pinkish white. bushy. bristled racemes. A good garden plant. These are fungal diseases. rich in organic matter. whereas C. the tall spires withstand considerable winds during heavy spring thunderstorms. Originating in moist woodlands of almost the entire north temperate zone. acid woodland soil. basal leaves. and my plants receive the same treatment.5 in. (2. with large. stamens numerous. racemosa usually has only one sessile (unstalked) pistil. to 0. dried bugbane in their mattress stuffing. in remote Appalachian areas. Notwithstanding. others raise their panicles in early summer. Cimicifuga racemosa thrives in considerable shade. heart-shaped. small. and medium and large hostas. inushoma (Jap. but other insect pests do not seem to bother the plants. The nomenclature of this genus is in a state of flux. bushy. fragrant. an extra supply of water during prolonged droughts is appreciated. Most are hardy to zone 5. It likes cool soil. 3. and entire plants can be affected unless fungicides are employed. leaves ternate or twice divided into 3s. summer cohosh. flowerstalks to 40 in. wildflowers.8 m). The genus Cimicifuga contains many handsome. Similar to Cimicifuga americana. fruit in small capsules. but too much shade prevents its 5-lobed. The species of the genus Cimicifuga are herbaceous. moist conditions. Pennsylvania south to Georgia and the Carolinas and west to Tennessee. July–September. Leaflets retain their bright. Eastern North America.or redtinted. but I find Cimicifuga americana. dark green. (0. August–September. shedding as flower opens. (1 m). Bugbanes do best in a light. Variability of flower color may be due to differences in microclimate. tall plants for the shady garden. erect. dark green. fruit in small capsules. This method is less productive but with many seeds available. stem topped with several flowering. flowerstalks 3–6 ft. The leaf mounds are elaborately composed. leaflets 3–9. heart-shaped. Cimicifuga biternata. In gardens. a tea made from the leaves treats diarrhea and rheumatism. Delay division by at least three years. or black rust. basal leaves. Japanese bugbane. 4–5 sepals. flowers white. Even now. wild plants in Georgia grow in soils containing large amounts of heavy clay. small. leaflets rounded. with pointed tips. lobed and sharply. clump-forming. Propagate by dividing the rhizome in very early spring. but it succeeds in warmer regions if ample moisture is available. finely toothed and incised. 1–3 in. Their crowning glory are the tapering panicles of white or pinkish white held high above the loose leaf mounds. sometimes pink. with leaves ascending stalk. (1 cm) wide. mountain bugbane. it mixes well with shorter ferns. The panicles remain upright. LS to FS. Because it does not grow as tall as Cimicifuga racemosa and its flowers are more refined. LS to FS. Its best companions are other tall wildflowers and ferns. With this good footing. densely spike-shaped.

9–1. LS to FS. elata is common. Northern China. Aruncus dioicus. small. petals absent.5 in.8 m). fruit in small capsules. (25 cm) long.5 in. hairy. compound racemes. LS to FS. flowerstalks 4–7 ft. with lobes lobed again and toothed. 4–5 sepals. flowerstalks 4–6 ft. A good garden plant if one can overlook the fetor during bloom season. and has notched petals in the flowers. as it expands in time. all leaves basal. leaves twice or thrice divided into 3s. leaflets rounded to heart-shaped and lobed at base. fruit in small capsules. leaflets 9–25. Its very tall flowering spikes have multiple branches emerging along their length. It is rarely available. its sepals are oval and shedding. A distinctive. fruit in small capsules. (1. with each branch clothed in flowers and up to 10 in. and is distinguished by its short-clawed. northern Japan. with white or creamy white flowers. responsibly propagated from seed. stem remotely topped with dense racemes.5 cm). erect. to 0. Eurasia. dark green. rounded. sometimes tinged pink.2 m). tufted. Oregon. (2. LS to FS. Mongolia. eastern Himalayas. another western species. (1. small. stamens numerous. basal leaves. fruit in small capsules.Cimicifuga Known to horticulture since its importation from Japan by Siebold the 1830s. leaves twice or thrice divided into 3s. and much more showy and satisfying in gardens. hairy. flowers greenish white with unpleasant odor. with 3 leaflets per leaf. simple or divided toward top. eastern Europe. found in central Korea. leafy. The individual flowers are larger and more separated on the stems than in other species of Cimicifuga. this species makes a nice flowering accent in the early autumn garden. dark green. sepals shedding. Mongolia to eastern Siberia. (Arizona bugbane) from the higher elevations of the southern Rocky Mountains in Arizona. all leaves basal. stinking bugbane. bushy.8 m). petals absent. growing in the High Cascades near Mount Hood in Oregon. but with flower spikes more defined. arizonica Cimicifuga heracleifolia. stem topped with panicles of distinctly separate flowers with short pedicels subtended by bracts on a many-branched raceme. Siberia. where the individual flowers blend together into a whitish column or spike. divided. Give it plenty of room. female plants frequently have many simple racemes. if not refined. stamens numerous. which are widely propagated. robust species that will add much to Western gardens. to 0. Washington. bushy. A third and equally rare western species is C. shedding. leaves twice or thrice divided into 3s. erect.5 m). (0. Western North America. shedding. (1. and its flowers are pure white to a creamy or yellowish white. dark green. topped with a single raceme or several panicles on branched raceme. Cimicifuga laciniata is rare in its native habitat but has recently become available. terminal leaflet 3-lobed. Hardy to zone 3. small. Cimicifuga elata. The leaflets have good substance. broadly ovate. with pointed tips. sometimes pink-tinted. deeply and finely toothed. is ternate only. 3-lobed. leaves twice divided into 3s. flowers white. which do not give the cloudlike effect of the male plant’s compound racemes. Cimicifuga foetida. shedding. flowers white. leaflets small. (1 cm) wide. only C. flowerstalks to 8 ft. tufted. and better garden specimens. tufted. flowerstalks 3–4 ft. as the epithet indicates. August–September. Cimicifuga laciniata has hairy flowerstalks to 6 ft. smooth. Oregon bugbane. Male plants are larger in all respects. green. western bugbane. it looks almost like a goatsbeard. I saw this species on a visit to the Columbia River Gorge and Cimicifuga laciniata. fetid bugbane. Variety bifida. small. It too has flowers with petals but has smooth leaflets. August–September. stem topped with several lax. petals present. leaflets oblong. Of the three western species. base heartshaped. flowers white to creamy white. all leaves basal.2–2 m). stamens numerous. heartshaped and covered with fine hair. easier to cultivate. 3-lobed. northern China. more floriferous. If I had room for only one exotic species in my garden. European bugbane. Korea. tufted. petals resemble inflated stamens. with large. smooth margin. A dioecious species and a most unusual bugbane—to me. erect. (1 cm). 4–5 sepals. (1. dark green. toothed and divided. 2-lobed petals and longer pedicels. to 0.6 in. LS to FS. The average gardener is better served by the eastern North American species. August–September. erect. . Siberia. stamens numerous. 4–5 sepals. 141 Cimicifuga dahurica. Komarov’s bugbane. The leaflets are sharply incised. July–September.2–1. finely toothed. this would be it.

stem topped with flowering panicles on branched raceme. in the provinces of Sichuan. erect. resembling those of the brambles (Rubus spp. (20 cm). leaflets broadly ovate. green. not rounded. Leaflets are wider. ‘Atropurpurea’. erect. shedding as flower opens. has glossy leaflets somewhat larger than the type. . Japan. Canada.5–8 cm) long. Variety acutiloba from central Honshu. with large. this is a bugbane no garden should be without. July–September. rattletop. I hope this unusual bugbane eventually finds its way into Western gardens. Hubei. fairy 5-lobed. finely toothed. but already it shows great garden potential. black snakeroot. shedding as flower opens. though I usually cut them down during autumn cleanup.9–2. southwestern China. with a depressed network of veins giving added texture to the leaflets. stamens numerous. dark green. I can see why taxonomists elevated the former Cimicifuga racemosa var. Other species from China are still rare and seldom seen in gardens. for 4 to 5 weeks.) frequent in the area (hence the epithet). 3-lobed. I have grown it for only a short time. August–September. Siberia. Korea. leaflets rounded. Sichuan. heart-shaped. Widely distributed in commerce. stem topped with several flowering. and its 2–4 racemes per stalk are more cylindrical. pistil 1. as long as the soil is not allowed to dry out. dark green. erect. Chinese bugbane. Leaves are 2-ternate but have lateral shoots with 2 leaflets. pistils 3–8 on stalks. seeds with scales.5 in. Purple-flowered C. fruit in small capsules. Yunnan. hot. basal leaves.5 m).5 in. with the terminal leaflets usually 3lobed. dark green. with heart-shaped bases. fruit in small capsules. enduring long. flowers yellowish white. and sessile (unstalked). Its creamy flowers are not as tall as in C. flowerstalks to 8 ft. LS to FS. Cimicifuga rubifolia. resulting in a total of up to 9 leaflets per leaf. A vigorous species characterized by simultaneously flowering spikes. (1 cm) wide. Eastern North America. (2. 3–4 in. (1 cm) wide. sharply toothed. with leaves ascending stalk. The best bugbane for the garden. (60–90 cm). giving it a shrublike appearance. LS to FS. stamens numerous. to 0. southern Ontario. (15 cm) and flowerstalks to only 8 in. Eastern North America. Pistils are 1. has deep purple leaves in spring. which are 5–8 in. flowerstalks 24–36 in. (2. 4–5 sepals. with a rounded rather than a spike-shaped top. leaves twice divided into 3s. fruit oblong. LS to FS. with pointed tips. 4–5 sepals. (8–10 cm) long. with unpleasant odor. small. Rarely offered. all leaves basal. which may be part of the Cimicifuga simplex Atropurpurea Group. tufted. leaves twice divided into 3s. with no leaves ascending stem. small. all leaves basal.142 Cimicifuga Cimicifuga japonica. (13–20 cm) long and have an attractive reddish blush in spring. tufted. 5to 7-lobed. with sharply pointed tips. Japanese bugbane. densely arranged panicles on branched raceme. sessile. Tennessee. Hardy to zone 3 with protection. rarely 2. cordifolia to species status. and Guizhou. 1–3 in. having observed this plant in Tennessee. Cimicifuga racemosa. heart-shaped. the fruit is short and round (hence the epithet). petals minute or absent. racemosa. 3. toothed. dry summers with no ill effects.5 m). Its large leaflets make an impressive mound. snakeroot. They make a nice display until the first freeze. (0. Georgia. purpurea grows further east in China. China. flowerstalks 3–8 ft. Cimicifuga yunnanensis has an unbranched raceme of yellowish flowers and a multitude of small leaflets. with pointed tips. It is smaller in all respects except for the size of the leaflets. these plants have a clump size of 6 in. LS to 5-lobed. Cimicifuga brachycarpa has a multibranched raceme of yellowish flowers. bushy. The majestic flowerstalks bloom before all other species. they green up later but keep a dark coloration throughout the season. base heartshaped. Korea. flowers white. Lobes are pointed. black cohosh. shedding. June–September. their grandeur encourages one to forget the unpleasant odor they exude. leaves twice divided into 3s. and the seeds are without scales. described in Thunberg’s Flora Japonica in 1784. bramble-leaved cohosh. flowers white. Cimicifuga mairei. In mild winters they stay up all during the cold season. rarely 2. bushy. leaflets rounded. tufted. A dwarf form of the type occurs on Cheju Island. 4–5 sepals. bushy. New England south to Georgia and west to Tennessee and Missouri. with sharp tips. Very similar to Cimicifuga americana and may be its Asian counterpart. petals absent. 3. stamens numerous. to 0. topped with several flowering panicles on branched raceme. small.

leaves basal and sometimes on the stem. with pink anthers. tulips. ‘Braunlaub’ (‘Brownleaf’). leaves 2. and white or pale pink petals with dark pink veins. small. yellow nectaries. Claytonia Spring ephemerals grace the Appalachians. Keep your eyes open during the first chilly garden strolls. stems to 4 ft. cylindrical racemes of dense. Atropurpurea Group. blackish purple leaves fading to very dark brownish green in autumn. (20 cm) long racemes. flowerstalks to 4 ft. (2. contains variants with purple leaves). of course. white flowers on tall racemes. Hardy to zone 3. and then. A selection of var.5 m). ‘Atropurpurea’. Japan. white flowers. pale green leaves.) because they are harbingers of spring.5–8 cm) oblong. announcing the start of a new season. open woodlands in the higher elevations. greenish buds opening to pure white flowers on mostly simple. but those who have a small shady corner along a path where small ferns and hostas already grow can tuck a few spring beauties in here and there. sometimes 3-lobed. A selection of var. pale green leaves. very dark. Mongolia. usually bloom abundantly. stamens numerous. fragrant. Nothing is more spectacular than a field of spring beauties in bloom. they are well adapted to cool. eastern Russia. In the wild. stews. (1. They come early. white flowers. Claytonia caroliniana (Carolina spring beauty) and C. Spring beauties are short-lived but spread vigorously by self-seeding. fruit in small 3ternate. American Indians and early settlers used them in soups. Along the road to Clingmans Dome in the Smoky Mountains. reddish purple. Korea. Siberia. stem remotely topped with dense racemes to 12 in. fragrant. a pioneer botanist in Virginia. ‘Armleuchter’ (‘Candelabra’). who wrote a major work on the Japanese flora. Heattolerant. white flowers on very tall racemes. Named for John Clayton. purple stems. spring beauty is found all over North America. August–September. It has a very long bloom period. and salads. flowers white. opening to white flowers in loose. In the sunny garden. simple or branched. Atropurpurea Group (a very important group horticulturally. as if to signal they have run out of energy. virginica (Virginia spring beauty). arching racemes. sepals small. ‘Elstead’ (‘Elstead’s Variety’). which relies so heavily on foliage for its paradisian look throughout the season. petals present. very fragrant. and other bulbous plants announce spring’s arrival. (30 cm). is a later-blooming Japanese form. matsumurae. fragrant.2 m). white flowers. particularly in the large Appalachian populations. honoring J. striking green leaves. smooth margin or slightly 2-lobed. and spring beauties will be there. feathery racemes on purplish stems to 5 ft. covered with fine hairs toward top. It’s hard to duplicate this effect in a garden. Manchuria. matsumurae. These fleeting plants are difficult in a shady garden. white flowers on long stems with multiple racemes. Portulacaceae. All parts of the plant are edible and nutritious. I have included the spring beauties (Claytonia spp. Nevertheless. their habitats frequently overlap. fragrant. white flowers on long racemes. Western China. (1. dark green. Kamchatka Peninsula. 1–3 in. and this conjunction can be emulated in gardens. Matsumura.Claytonia 143 Cimicifuga simplex. open woodland shade and moist conditions. fade away for another year. daffodils. ‘Prichard’s Giant’. LS to FS. thousands of individual blooms carpet the land like huge pink snowflakes. matsumurae. tufted. A selection of var. Two species represent the genus in gardens. ephemeral perennials in the purslane family. autumn snakeroot. brownish green leaves. green leaves.2 m). but in the shade this task falls to wildflowers. buds dark pink to purple. barely fragrant. Flowers are small but charming. coppery leaves fading to brownish green in autumn. ‘Brunette’. dark reddish purple leaves fading to brownish dark green in autumn. Variety matsumurae. leaflets small. yet they can be planted where summers get very hot because they have disappeared underground by the time high tempera- . Sakhalin. lavender-tinted white flowers on compact 8 in. green leaves. ‘Frau Herms’. I have grown a small colony of them for years and always enjoy their enthusiastic flowering during the early warm days of March. A popular species characterized by attractive. nutlike flavor. Species of the genus Claytonia are herbaceous. very late bloomer. and the corms especially have a sweet. erect. always deeply and finely toothed. (1. ‘Hillside Black Beauty’. Originating in moist. ‘White Pearl’.

but the leaves are edible and taste like cucumber. It should be planted together with permanent groundcovers. stems leaves 2–6 in. Occasionally aphids may be bothersome. LS to FS. usually 2 only. with dark pink to red veining. providing low-growing leaf cover in deeply shaded areas. wideleaf spring beauty. just as fresh and bright green as the previous spring. ‘Lutea’ has orange-red flowers with dark red veining.8 in. Only its narrow. red-tinted. 5 petals. (35 cm). (5 cm) long and 0. the epithet umbellatus refers to the umbrellalike arrangement of the flowers. small. Eastern North America. My bead lilies keep company with highly shade-tolerant wild gingers and uvularias. wideleaf spring beauty. flowers white to pink. heart problems. Mildew can be a problem. to 0. on the stem with distinct leafstalks. fruit in small capsule enclosed by 2 sepals. 5 petals. a naturalist and governor of New York. Virginia spring beauty. 2 sepals. Unfortunately. on the stem with no distinguishable leafstalk. Claytonia caroliniana. opposite. where summers are cool. which contain an anti-inflammatory. oval to oblong. Seed can be sown in the open in autumn. I returned to the same spot in late summer and found the leaf crowns. Even without flowers. glossy green. mayflower. grassflower.8 in. Clintonia gets its name from DeWitt Clinton. with flowers to 1 in. (2 cm) wide. still occasionally snow-covered. spring beauty. basal leaves usually absent but occasionally many. Clintonia The first time I saw a bead lily was in very early spring. barely pleated leaves do carry on. fruit in small capsule enclosed by 2 sepals.144 Clintonia shaped leaves distinguish it from Claytonia caroliniana. The epithet borealis indicates a bead lily that is at home in northern (boreal) forests. leaves usually 2. flowers white to pink. tures arrive. but this mountain dweller needs constant moisture and deep shade to perform on my shady hillock. it rarely flowers. like small ferns and small hostas. (5–15 cm) long. other species have white berries. Eastern North America. (2 cm) across. I purchased a few Clintonia plants from a Carolina wildflower nursery and planted them in a moist. the species serve the garden well. The fruit is said to be toxic. plant clump-forming. smooth dark green. ‘Robusta’ is a clone larger than the type. topped with glistening dark blue berries. succulent racemes. bead lilies do exceedingly well. to 0. where I have observed it many times in very early spring in shaded woods. to 0. 4 with protection. blunt-tipped. This species is frequent in the Appalachians. 5 stamens with pink anthers. that emerge later and cover the areas left open by it. March–May. to treat infections. with dark pink to red veining. the balsam fir forests that they and other boreal wildflowers prefer as habitat are rapidly disappearing from the Appalachians.8 in. good-morning-spring. although the nice. Obviously. Missouri. 2 in. American Indians and early settlers used the roots. Hardy to zone 5. before flowering. near Rainbow Falls in the Smoky Mountains. arising from a corm. 5 stamens with pink anthers. and I found out quickly that. The genus is classified in the Convallariaceae. Some bead lilies have bright. opposite. and the same companions are recommended for it. One was Clintonia borealis. but closer examination revealed the colony’s true nature. (2 cm) wide. due to beetle infestations. 3–17 flowers on short. Minnesota east to southern Quebec and New Brunswick south to southwestern Georgia and eastern Texas. 2 sepals. succulent racemes. diabetes. burns. March–May. narrowleaf spring beauty. but I have not experienced it. lance- . and rheumatism. which are Claytonia virginica. Plants self-seed. in the mountains from eastern Canada south to Georgia and the Carolinas and west to Tennessee.5 cm) across and flowerstalks to 14 in. common spring beauty. 3–17 flowers on short. LS to FS. (2. plant clump-forming. arising from a corm.8 in. Carolina spring beauty. goodmorning-spring. A frequent species in the Smoky Mountains. and Minnesota. mayflower. red-tinted. shady corner of the garden. (2 cm) across. Further north and higher up. even in such a spot. shiny porcelainblue to blackish blue berries. Clintonia umbellata flowers. narrowly lanceshaped. small. No plants should be taken from the wild. watering during droughts increases a corm’s chance of surviving. our stifling summers did not appeal to it. smooth dark green. grassflower. I chanced upon what I thought was a patch of lily-of-the-valley.

and Minnesota. Wisconsin. (40 cm) tall. plant herbaceous. 5–8 in. yellow clintonia. yellow woodlily. some to zone 3. Ubiquitous in gardens. consequently. black to bluish black berry. basal. LS to MS in the North. lateral flowerstalks occasionally subtend the main stalk. Georgia. not sufficiently heat-tolerant to do well in zone 8. to 16 in. leaves 2–5. but this is a difficult. Propagate by dividing the rhizome in very early spring. 3–9 per stem. (13–20 cm) long and 2–2. shiny pure blue berry. borealis and has lovely. LS to MS. to 1 in. the attractive. but even without flowers (and. west to Michigan. to dark pink and lilac. LS to MS in the North.5 in. fruit. They require constantly damp. basal. The striking blue berries are poisonous. (40 cm) tall. The western bead lilies have counterparts in eastern Asia. or. dog plum. leaves 2–6. (2.5–2. 5–29 per stem. bluebead lily. eastern Himalayas. plant herbaceous.5 in. spotted with green and purple. Clintonia andrewsiana (western blue bead).Clintonia carried in an umbel. slowly spreading. star-shaped. May–August. The leaves. at the top of the flowerstalk. May–August. Clintonia uniflora. other than slugs and snails disfiguring new growth. white. rhizomatous. (13–20 cm) long and 1. smooth but with minute hairs on the margins. bell-shaped flowers of deep rose-purple to purple flowers. and Tennessee. one. rarely 2. rhizomatous. Bead lilies thrive in the cool-summer climate of northern forests. to yellowish green. wild corn. speckled wood lily. fruit. The only bead lily I recommend for zone 7. erect. corn lily. Widespread in the western mountains and along the coast. on long flowerstalks originating at a common point on the raceme’s stem. watch children around this attractive nuisance. (2. their ultimate southern heat tolerance and range of cultivation is zone 7a. with 3 petals and 3 petal-like sepals. mostly erect but some drooping. smooth but with minute hairs on the margins and beneath.5 cm) long. slowly spreading. New York.5 in. I have seen no disease or insect damage. (5–6 cm) wide. FS in the South. flowers small. flowers small. at the top of the slightly hairy flowerstalk. oblong-elliptic. arranged singly. bluebead.5 cm) across. FS in the South. time-consuming process: patience is advised. borealis. It has done reasonably well here in zone 7a. bride’s bonnet. Eastern North America.5 in. 6 long stamens. 6–15 in. occurs in Siberia. pure white. queencup. May–August. which resemble a cow’s tongue in shape. and New Jersey. Be sure the division has a growing tip for the new season’s growth. but they also do well in the higher elevations of the southern Appalachians. It too is similar to C. 6. lateral flowerstalks occasionally subtend the main stalk. Another western species. (5–6 cm) wide. fruit). 5–8 in. at the top of the flowerstalk. slowly spreading. to 1 in. (4–6 cm) wide. 6 long stamens arranged umbrellalike. Transplants may be slow to establish. acid soil with a pH of 5 and cool soil temperatures. 145 Clintonia umbellata. is somewhat larger than C. better. rhizomatous. Clintonia borealis. but its flower color can vary from white. smooth but with minute hairs on the margins. drooping bell-shaped with 3 recurving petals and 3 petal-like sepals. Western North America. udensis (Asian bead lily). slightly keeled along the midrib. (13–20 cm) long and 2–2. Alaska to California. and Tennessee. in the mountains south to the Carolinas. Japan. shiny medium to dark green. Hardy to zone 4. 6 long stamens arranged umbrellalike. Clinton’s lily. Georgia. to 0. Labrador to New England. speckled clintonia. 5–8 in. shiny medium to dark green. keeled along the midrib. last all season. (15–38 cm) tall. It too has blue berries. oblong-elliptic. 16 in. New York. queen’s cup. basal. fruit. The fruit is a blue berry. May not be any better adapted to southern gardens than its eastern relatives. New Jersey. They tolerate considerable shade but prefer a more open site in light shade. dark blue to bluish black berry. . leaves 2–3. and probably Korea. star-shaped. flowers small. cowtongue. with 3 petals and 3 petal-like sepals. C. (1 cm) long. Fresh seed can be germinated with the pulp removed and sown in small pots in a cold frame in autumn. All Asian bead lilies are rare in the trade and share their North American relatives’ love for cool summers. broadly oval to elliptic. shiny medium to dark green. plant herbaceous. greenish yellow to whitish yellow. long-lasting leaves add texture to southern gardens. Eastern North America. in the mountains south to the Carolinas. My experience in zone 7a shows that bead lilies may not flower when shade is increased to keep them cool. keeled along the midrib.

except for an occasional bite taken out of the leaf margins by weevils.5–8 cm) wide. cool spot can be Convallaria majalis. and scrubby mountain slopes. Lily-of-the-valley tolerates full shade but prefers a more open site in woodland shade. flowers strongly fragrant. Native North American species Convallaria montana —not to be confused with the false lily-of-the-valley. Propagate by taking runners with growing tips. Hardy to zone 2. to 0. slightly keeled and folded . surplus can be planted elsewhere in the garden or be given away to friends with an appropriate warning as to its wanderlust. mountain meadows. 2–10 in. Anthracnose and mold fungi are reported but not experienced here. I have seen it in small patches in North Georgia forests. LS to FS. from the underground rhizomatous network. They are the first fragrant flowers I remember as a small child. (1. leaves 2–3. 5–15 per stem. Further south. it languishes and rarely flowers unless a very shady. widely spreading. lily-of-the-valley. hence the common names lily-of-the-valley and May lily. Reported along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here unfortunately. they were her favorite “weed. majalis. for forcing in the home or display on the patio. lily-ofthe-valley has been known for centuries. I have not seen any disease or insect damage. it has escaped from gardens and is naturalized in the Shenandoah Valley and elsewhere in North America. they do not grow as abundantly. because lily-of-the-valley is considered a weed by many northern gardeners.6 in. The striking. Flowering subsides over time as the dense network of rhizomatous roots becomes crowded. strongly veined leaves carry on from early spring until the first hard freeze cuts them down. 6 segments and recurving tips. plant herbaceous. small. 6–12 in. where it will flower abundantly. Seeding is too slow and not practical in light of the fast production of vegetative propagating pips. When grown in large patches. of the arching flowerstalk. including woodlands. smooth. Eurasia. Under the right conditions. Convallaria To me.5 cm) across. the European species. its small but long-lasting and showy white flowers fill the garden with delicious fragrance. (15–30 cm) tall. any species of lily-of-the-valley will spread and propagate in the wild. The genus is placed in the Convallariaceae. On the other hand. Its name turns up in medieval poetry. where they spread unmercifully. called pips. conspicuously veined. Mother immediately included them in her Detroit garden. They must receive occasional attention to be kept in bounds. the planting must be dug up and renewed by separating the young propagating pips and replanting them in fresh or amended soil. at Rocky Knob. albeit a very charming one. May lily. and in bygone days. broadly oval to elliptic. and several Appalachian states have listed it as a protected plant. becoming more civilized and turning into a clump-former rather than an aggressive runner. it now appears to be very rare in the wild. arising solitary in the axis of the basal leaves. with frequent branching nodes. Gardeners with large patches occasionally move entire clumps of the planting elsewhere. there were always more.146 Convallaria provided.” and no matter how many she cut to bring inside to spread their heavy fragrance. The epithet of our native species (montana = mountain) refers to its preferred habitat. it was used as a covering scent for a soapless society. Pandemic in the north temperate zone. it does well in zones 6 and 7. Growing abundantly in my mother’s Bavarian garden. (4–25 cm) long and 1–3 in. rhizomatous. shiny medium to dark green. Plants make a superb groundcover in shady corners and can be used as edgings or specimens. May–June. children should be forewarned that these enticing berriers are poisonous and will produce a monumental case of stomach upset. acid soil and cool soil temperatures and can become invasive in such an environment. hanging from one side. Flowers are followed by attractive red berries. Lily-of-the-valley thrives in the cool-summer climate of Eurasia and is found in many different habitats. The binomial Convallaria majalis is from the Latin convallis (= valley) and majalis (= flowering in May). if flowering is of primary importance. Maianthemum canadense—is smaller but otherwise very much like C. (2. basal. When she moved to the United States. Many gardeners use potted plants. lilies-of-the-valley will always have a romantic association. drooping. bellshaped. It also tolerates full sun if plenty of moisture is supplied during droughts. In zone 8 and warmer. It does exceedingly well in constantly moist. particularly the showy variegated forms. waxy white. This may be a blessing in disguise.

Germination in a cold frame is difficult and slow unless the right conditions can be met. according to the books. It and its close relative Cornus suecica are the only herbs in the genus. ‘Flore Pleno’ (‘Plena’) has white double flowers. some taxonomists have assigned them to the genus Chamaepericlymenum. occasionally grotesque. and clayey soils will contribute to a speedy demise. leaves that are spotted with yellowish white. LS to FS. is similar to the type. Infrequent in most of its natural range. Pennsylvania south to Carolinas and Georgia and west to Kentucky and Tennessee. on a branched inflorescence. Eastern North America. ‘Variegata’). life in the clumps had ceased and I had added another fact to my gardening experience: C. The plants dutifully leafed out in early spring and looked fine for a while. Once gardeners believe they know all there is to know about gardening (and I remain prone to such temerity). Read catalog descriptions carefully. The total absence of any traces of lime is a must. the southernmost points of its habitat are in the high elevations of the West Virginia mountains and in the Rocky Mountains. Forma picta has filaments spotted purple at the base. ‘Aureovariegata’ (‘Lineata’. ‘Fortune’s Giant’). a goal not easily met in gardens. I saw great patches of this lovely wildflower in upper Michi- gan and vowed to duplicate such exhilarating display. . which new unpronounceable generic name gardeners may eventually have to learn to pronounce. The widely propagated and available C. division is much faster. a variegated selection with leaves closely striped with white or clear yellow. Cornus canadensis (bunchberry) is a case in point. The striking. Propagate by taking runners or sods in late autumn or very early spring. Most important is a very acid. Variety keiskei from Japan has very short flowerstalks. accumulated acid woods soil that is loose and friable and stays constantly moist. Bunchberry thrives only in very cool-summer climates. rosea has pale pink to rose-pink flowers. keiskei with large white areas in the leaves. var. of uncertain origin. ‘Hardwick Hall’. It is doubtful the plants occasionally offered in commerce are the true species. ‘Hikage Nishiki’ (= sun shade brocade) is a variegated selection of var. lily-of-the-valley. (8 cm). but in general it does well in zone 5 north. ‘Prolificans’. natural. leaves striped along the veins with white. but as the first. canadensis will not grow in the hot summers of the South. Another form has leaves with yellow margins. majalis offers greater horticultural value than this rare mountain lily. with large white flowers (actually bracts) followed by clusters of bright red berries. bunchberry becomes a magnificent. Bunchberry is a northern plant. Cornaceae. Leaf spot and mildew are reported. ‘Fortin’s Giant’ (‘Fortin’s’. vigorously spreading groundcover for shady areas. ‘Albostriata’ (‘Albistriata’). similar to Convallaria majalis but smaller and by some considered synonymous. broad. The genus Cornus is classified in the dogwood family. failure is certain to follow. whorled leaves carry on from spring until the first hard freeze. a robust selection with wider leaves. ‘Fortune’. fruit. to 3 in. Some successes are reported from West Coast. ‘Striata’. dark green leaves with pale greenish yellow margins. it is also seen in bogs across the more northern polar regions. Many years ago during a visit to my parents’ home. It grows in deep. Cornus Experience is the gardener’s greatest teacher. acidifying my alkaline gray clay soil with peat moss and compost.Cornus along the midrib. development came to a halt and no flowers were produced. mountain lily. I did all things right. By the end of the summer. Since several references stated this species could be grown from zone 7 north. flowers prolific but small. transcaucasica. almost hot spring days arrived. Sow seed with the pulp removed immediately after ripening. This is the lily-of-the-valley grown in gardens the world over. shiny red to red-orange berry. When given a garden environment to its liking. I presumed it was cool enough in my former zone 6 garden in central Tennessee to maintain a small planting. var. friable humus soil. 147 Convallaria montana. another. appearing double-flowered. possibly zone 6 if all other required growing conditions can be faithfully duplicated. and planted my mail-order bunchberries in autumn. ‘Rosea Plena’ has pink double flowers. ‘Vic Pawlowski’s Gold’. leaves narrowly striped yellow along the veins.

creeping dogwood. including woodlands. For those who garden in cool summers (northwestern and upper midwestern climates). The genus takes its name from the Greek korydalis (= crested lark). But C. fruit cluster of red berries. which I had seen luxuriating across the Atlantic. and he is still fighting to control it. (10–20 cm) high. It is native to the northern temperate regions. Circumpolar in the north temperate zone. shady gardens. May–July. ferny foliage and the captivating rose-pink flowers produced on tall stems. I include a reference that describes some of the older as well as the newer Asian species of Corydalis. scouleri soon spread deeply and everywhere in his almost bottomless topsoil. Many species self-seed. but their sudden demise in midsummer left holes in my garden. like ‘Blue Panda’ and ‘Père David’. and sunken veins curved into an arc. Most species listed as suitable for partial shade require considerably more sun than shade. LS to WS. told me about C. setting up housekeeping in the wildflower garden. puddingberry. crackerberry. It is classified in the bleeding heart or fumitory family. so seedlings are usually available. A friend of mine. That is the first fault I find with the genus: many species are ephemeral and go summer-dormant soon after flowering. and the Amur and Yalu river regions of eastern China and North Korea. best of all. rhizomatous. the bright green sprays of lacy leaves remained fresh all season. Propagate by taking runners from rhizomatous species or offsets from bulbous species. Cornus suecica (northern dwarf cornel). a reference to the look of the spur of the flower. ovate. Do not remove from the wild: chances of a successful transplant are slim to none. in North America. scrubby and rocky mountain slopes. 1–2 pairs of vestigial on the stem below the main leaves. Widespread in northern gardens. Cornus canadensis. and we are united in the opinion that one should forget about planting corydalis where summers are hot. Fumariaceae. I chose Corydalis lutea and C. because they were recommended for use in partial shade. flowers centered in a ball-shaped cluster. which I deplore. underground woody but herbaceous. And worse was yet to come: ants spread their seed far and wide. ochroleuca. and the only way to get rid of this menace was to rebuild several areas of the garden and use chemicals. and the Rocky Mountains.5 in. He had planted this species in his shady garden in southern Indiana and at first praised its wonderfully dissected. shady rockeries and screes. and some of the newer varieties are suitable for the shady garden. somewhat shaded rock gardens. Corydalis Having seen and admired the enigmatic Corydalis in the wild and in both sunny and shady gardens in England and Germany. and eastern China. eastern Siberia. flowers composed of 4 large. northern North America from Alaska to Labrador and southern Greenland south to Pennsylvania and West Virginia in the mountains and west to Michigan. whorled at the top of the stem. to 1. I did enjoy the floral display of yellow and whitish flowers and the finely cut foliage. It thrives in the cool woods of Eurasia and is found in many different habitats. scouleri. pointed tip. yellowish green to yellow. peripheral white bracts. (4 cm) across. with frequent branching nodes. bunchberry. Europe. the Himalayas. widely spreading. I give these negative comments with apologies to those who like and grow some of the new Asian species of Corydalis and more well-behaved cultivars with attractive blue flowers. Plants that spread so perniciously and then leave holes in the green land- . Kamchatka. Minnesota. and in spring. it does not survive dry storage for an extended period. green. I have talked to many southern gardeners. mountain meadows. Some species occur in South Africa. Russia.5–3 in. but it is difficult to find companions to take over for the corydalis in midsummer. (4–8 cm) long. Many species are small and suitable for sharply drained. seedlings came up all over the place. and in open areas along the shores of lakes and stream banks. dwarf cornel. Sow seed when it is very fresh. My delicate natives had no chance against such weeds. aware of my dilemma. I thought I’d try this genus in my own garden. native to the Cascades and Olympic Mountains in northwestern North America. and a most attractive groundcover for shady areas. is extremely difficult to establish and cultivate. northern Japan.148 Corydalis scape are not welcome in most small. Not all species and cultivars are perennial. broadly ovate. Another herbaceous species from a similar habitat. so check catalog descriptions carefully before ordering. 1. plant 4–8 in. leaves 4.

also known as Persian violets. such conditions should be replicated in the garden as much as possible. In cultivation lady slippers do not fare well. these cyclamen did well the first season but rotted in short order when adjacent plants needed supplemental water. an evergreen and highly fragrant plant that my grandfather collected for his garden in Austria many years ago.” In The Explorer’s Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials. dry summer dormancy. In the absence of suitable pine needle materials. to which I add a little gritty builders sand and processed pine bark. particularly in eastern North America and Asia. and admiration. Never purchase bare-root orchids: they may have been dug from wild populations and have no chance of survival in the garden. In short. Portland. My mother kept several varieties in pots. many purchased orchids survive but a few seasons and then depart the garden with haste. and sadly. and specialty nurseries now offer these exquisite orchids from time to time. where the requirements for cultivating most other plants are at odds with those demanded by the cyclamens. Cypripedium Lady slippers are incredibly beautiful. The relative abundance of Cypripedium acaule (pink lady slipper) in the dry pinelands of southeastern North America is indicative of its preference for coniferous forest land with soil composed primarily of decayed pine needles. where all their cultural requirements (limey soil. Daniel J. Acid-loving orchids require a pH of around 5. Cyclamen The ubiquitous florist’s cyclamens are well-known tokens of love. and protection from cold) can be met—should certainly consider including these attractive plants. I have an abundance of acidic pine needle compost for orchids that require acidic reaction. it is difficult to cultivate cyclamens in small shady gardens. Oregon: Timber Press. Christopher. The soil must be loose and friable but should be pressed down after the roots are planted to make good contact. all thriving and multiplying in thick accumulations of loblolly pine needles. coum. In the wild.Cypripedium Rust and downy mildew are occasionally bothersome. Recommended reading 149 Grey-Wilson. 1 part ground peat moss. 1997. I have had short-term success siting several hardy cyclamen under protective tree canopies or as underplantings in the shrub border. the shade provided by tall pines is open and light. decomposed pine needle soil over a rock substrate as a base for cultivation. Gardeners with larger properties—who can provide a separate location for cyclamens. Even these have exacting cultural requirements. another ingredient in the soil of natural pine forests. Potting hardy cyclamens is another way to achieve this isolation and makes the planting portable when inclement weather or other adverse conditions threaten. which make perfect beds for the shallow-rooted orchids. Some lady slippers are still common. and they added color to her shady patio. friendship. All this points to a relatively thin layer of acid. It survived several mild winters under a large loblolly pine but gradually declined in vigor. are not violets at all but members of the primrose family. I chose C. possibly zone 5 with dependable snow cover. “Corydalis: Jewels in Many Hues. Horticulturists. Requiring a fairly dry summer dormancy. 2 parts ground oak or beech leaf mold. Several Cyclamen species are hardy to zone 7 and warmer. 1999. Portland. Cyclamens. most experts recommend a mix of 2 parts sterilized loam. adding much lime to sweeten the soil here was not feasible. Oregon: Timber Press. hederifolium and a few corms of C. . Slugs and snails can damage young growth and later flowers. For orchids that require alkaline conditions. with azaleas and other acid-loving wildflowers nearby. Cultivated specimens are well established in gardens around Atlanta and several places in neighboring western Alabama. For my second attempt. Primulaceae. and Botanists. I add turkey grit made from crushed seashells. Cyclamen: A Guide for Gardeners. It probably did not appreciate the acid soil I had sited it in. The first species I tried was Cyclamen purpurascens. and 1 part coarse grit or sand (turkey grit for varieties requiring alkaline soils). Recommended reading Hinkley. Seed-raised or tissue-cultured plants fare much better because they are usually shipped potted in a correct soil mix.

C. usually solitary. . from a slender rhizome. Noah’s ark. established. Cypripedium is classified in the Orchidaceae.5. Propagate by dividing large. it is similar to C. and C. Occasionally. greenish brown to maroon. lady slippers resent deep planting. Set the bud top of the transplanted division just below the soil surface. finely hairy and silvery beneath. Plants should be checked frequently for gray mold or rust in early spring when new growth emerges. and I urge beginning gardeners not to buy these beautiful jewels unless they have the knowledge and experience to keep them alive and happy—not an easy task. in huge numbers. C. Saskatchewan to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Many lady slippers are being imported from Japan and China. acaule (pink lady slipper) does reasonably well but does not increase much in my garden. Lady slippers native to North America are occasionally offered in commerce. debile. C. elliptic. Seed propagation is next to impossible: seed is nearly microscopic. the high monetary value of these orchids has caused wholesale collection from the wild with disastrous effects on wild crimson-pink to rose-purple. seed microscopic. candidum (small white lady slipper). California lady slipper). wavy. leaves basal. Eastern North America. C. yunnanense. then spreading. fruit an erect capsule. LS to WS. pouchlike to 2. Rust is sometimes seen. starting as spots on the leaves. reginae and I hope can eventually take its place. rose. May–August. C. Unfortunately. and divide the clump between stems. Optimum pH is 4 to 5. I also give Asian native C. himalaicum. pink lady’s slipper. and C. from dry. The entire clump must be carefully dug and removed with as much soil as possible remaining attached to the fleshy roots.150 Cypripedium agated commercially before they commit to a purchase. pink moccasin flower. medium green. C. C. fasciculatum from northwestern North America. responsible gardeners will wait until these species can be prop- Cypripedium acaule. multistemmed clumps in very early spring. squirrel shoes. Among these Asiatic species are C. usually 2. rarely 2. The generic name comes from the Greek kypris (= Venus) and pedilon (= sandal)—a lady slipper indeed. and the most difficult is C. Locate the clump’s connecting nodes by feel. flavum. I have not seen any slug or snail damage. macranthum. open pine forests in the South to cool. guttatum and its var. yatabeanum. Botrytis cinerea (gray mold fungus) threatens these valuable plants. Some are extremely hardy plants that can stand up to the rigors of winters as cold as zone 2. through New England south to Georgia and South Carolina. which flowers one year and not the next. montanum (mountain lady slipper). flower on a leafless stalk 6–15 in. but these are not in commerce. I hope my admonitions about their care contribute to saving these orchids (many still wild-collected) from death in cultivation. Hardy in zones 3 to 7. reginae (showy lady slipper). lance-shaped. these species are rare and protected: admire them in their wild habitat or in botanic gardens. sepals and petals on both sides. (15– 38 cm) tall. C. lip petal inflated. (6 cm) long. with a deep furrow in front. pink lady slipper. twisted. pubescens. None of these orchids are easy garden plants. west to Minnesota and Illinois. Average gardeners will be best served by propagated stock of Cypripedium calceolus var.5 in. plant clump-forming. C. Among these are C. Besides being small and inconspicuous. passerinum (sparrow’s egg lady slipper). californicum (western lady slipper. I have seen rare forms in the wild with a white lip petal. irapeanum from Mexico (which is too tender). dark green above. The easiest lady slipper to grow and maintain—and the only one I can recommend as a “starter” orchid to average gardeners—is Cypripedium calceolus (yellow lady slipper). whippoorwill shoe. minimizing soil disturbance. parallel veins and ribbed. apply a fungicide immediately. The lady slippers range throughout North America and Eurasia in a variety of habitats. a fine dust. japonicum a home. and south to Alabama and Tennessee. stemless lady slipper. C. two-leaved lady slipper. but gardeners with larger slugs report flowers being cut off as they open. only systemic fungicides seem to work. when plants are still dormant. which is relatively easy to take care of and also much more showy in gardens than some of the minor native species. moist deciduous woods and bogs further north. pointed. spreading. Lady slippers are regal plants that add a special quality to the garden when successfully established. kentuckiense (Kentucky lady slipper). veined with red and pleated. only to revive itself again or suddenly disappear. I have not been able to find an environmentally friendly cure that is really effective.

planipetalum. south to New England and New Jersey and west to Minnesota. leaves alternately on the stem. pointed. lady slipper. pointed side petals narrowly lance-shaped. lip petal inflated. with a blunt. dark green. parallel veins and ribbed. on shorter stalks to 18 in. in the mountains south to Georgia. all are variable. ram’s head lady slipper. in huge numbers. Cypripedium kentuckiense is very similar. LS. spirally twisted. Newfoundland west to southwest Quebec and Manitoba. seed microscopic. and differs also by the greenish yellow of its sepals and petals. lady slipper orchid. This is a very long-lived species. Several varieties occur in the vast range of C. yellow Indian-shoe. small golden-slipper. sometimes spotted or veined red or maroon inside. leaves less hairy. Michigan. lady’s slipper orchid. pouchlike. Northeastern North America. whippoorwill shoe. isolated in Alabama and Louisiana. sepal and petals streaked dark maroon. eastern Asia. LS to WS. all sepals are free. green striped brown or maroon. 1. elliptic. I have seen distinct populations of the two within a few miles of each other. golden-slipper. Venus-shoe. 3–4. seed microscopic. Eastern North America. fruit an erect capsule. twisted. Of interest only to the collector who must have one of everything. North America. (45 cm). top sepal lanceshaped. small yellow lady slipper. Noah’s ark. from a slender rhizome. Minnesota. Its cultivation requirements are impossible to duplicate in gardens. pubescens. nerveroot. Adaptable to a variety of soils. The ubiquitous yellow lady slipper and by far the most easily cultivated lady slipper in gardens. atop leafy stalk 10–20 in. usually solitary. (20 cm) tall. plant clump-forming. New York. large yellow moccasin flower. twisted. east to the Caucasus and Siberia.5 cm) long. Northeastern North America. lip petal white veined with crimson and lined with silky white hairs. parviflorum. northern yellow lady slipper. Its flowers are much smaller than those of other species. Cypripedium calceolus. purplish brown or rarely greenish brown. April–August. ramshead lady slipper. with a heat tolerance of zone 8. on the stem. from a slender rhizome. central and eastern Europe. (2. leaves 3–4. I saw large populations of it in remote northern Michigan. small yellow moccasin flower. Commercial sources have met the high demand with propagated stock. south to New England. medium green above and beneath. and it is not at all showy in gardens. pointed.5–2 in. whippoorwill shoe. It is considerably smaller than the type. plants are still offered. medium green. to 8 in. flower fragrant. top sepal lance-shaped. pubescens and indeed intermingled with that variety in overlapping areas of habitat.Cypripedium 151 Cypripedium arietinum. Sun. Cypripedium henryi. Occasionally considered the northern version of var. American valerian. I saw this rare and protected species on Flint Ridge Road in Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park. yellow lady slipper. stem-clasping. elliptic. yellow lady’s slipper. green to greenish purple. although some collected Cypripedium calceolus var. fruit an erect capsule.5. with a large lip and reddish brown sepals and petals. is very similar and can be grown from imported Chinese stock. (4–5 cm) long. pleated and with a deep furrow in front. calceolus. short. LS to WS. bright yellow to greenish yellow. Cypripedium calceolus var. flower solitary. and in the west from . pointed. not twisted. Optimum pH is 5 to 6. funnelshaped. umbilroot. The petals are flat. large yellow lady slipper. northwest to Minnesota and the Dakotas. ribbed. rarely 2. all are hardy to zone 3. an Asian counterpart occasionally offered. I am listing it chiefly to let gardeners know this orchid should not be bought (most commerical stock is wild-collected) or dug in the wild unless a rescue situation presents itself. (30 cm) tall. the same plants have been cultivated in some botanic gardens for over 70 years. conical extension pointing down. Closest to the type. This modest and rare lady slipper inhabits damp northern woods and cedar swamps. parviflorum. resembling a ram’s head. LS to WS. (25–50 cm) tall. Newfoundland west to British Columbia. eastern Canada south to New England and New York. with a lip petal to 1 in. this rare variety inhabits grassy areas of the open limestone tundra north of the habitat of var. in the mountains south to Georgia. plant clump-forming. Cypripedium calceolus var. in huge numbers. on leafy stalk to 12 in. May– July. Optimum pH is 5 to 6. side sepals petals narrowly lance-shaped. deep parallel veins. hence the varietal name. fragrant flowers smaller than the type. North America.

from a slender rhizome. Optimum pH is 5 to 6. through New England in the mountains south to the Carolinas. lance-shaped. and a worming treatment. leaves distinctly hairy. (5–6 cm) long. (10 cm) long.152 Cypripedium Alaska. on tall stalks to 28 in. (20 cm) long and wide. Philip E. and Christopher Bailes. 3–7. flower emerging between and held above the leaves on a leafless stem to 20 in. Hardy to zone 4b with protection for the shallow-rooted rhizome. hence the varietal name. it was collected to near extinction in some areas and is now protected. veined with deep pink or red and pleated. as did its medicinal uses: American Indians used the dried and powdered roots and sometimes a tea made from dried leaves as a sedative. leaves 2. duplicating its native habitat. (30–90 cm) tall. pouchlike to 2. top sepal lance-shaped. northwest to Missouri. Taiwan. ———. the shade that keeps it cooler in southern gardens also minimizes flowering. Oregon. fruit an erect capsule. lip petal inflated. This is the largest and most eye-catching native orchid. Oregon: Timber Press. (70 cm). fairly wide furrow in front. from a slender rhizome. larger than the type. Easily the most outstanding Asian lady slipper. Tennessee. pointed. showy moccasin flower. but the lip petal is more closed and the furrow more craterlike. seed microscopic. LS to WS. Natural populations of this variety are intermingled with var.5 in. The most widely grown and showiest variety of yellow lady slipper. Under no circumstances should it be removed from the wild. with creamy white to ivory lip petals (pouches). dark green. Keenan. plant clump-forming. spreading. plant clump-forming. sepal and petals pink to rose-pink. wrinkled. large. LS to WS. which is unnecessary and unfortunate. a remedy for insomnia. The leaves are as interesting as the flower. . (6 cm) long. with a deep furrow in front. by some considered its southern form. June–August. This species adapts easily to Western gardens but requires some time to become established. LS to WS. Oregon: Timber Press. Japan. Available from propagated stock. held above and clear of base on hairy stem. resembling hand fans held horizontally away from the stem. spreading wide. The leaves are deeply pleated. Its shoelike inflorescence prompted a host of local names. to 4 in. This northern orchid does well in northern gardens as long as it is grown in constantly moist. China. Minnesota. where it inhabits swamps. Variety album. Recommended reading Cribb. pouchlike. Cypripedium reginae. bending down. sepals and petals on top and both sides white tinged soft pink or pure white. fragrant flowers. Because of its outstanding beauty. 1998. with a deep. Saskatchewan to Newfoundland. parallel veins and ribbed. usually in the top 1–3 leaf axils. in huge numbers. side petals waxy white. Ask questions to determine if plants offered are in fact commercially propagated. deeply pleated. Portland. (8 cm) long. The hairs of the leaves cause a rash in people who are sensitive to the plant. and in the mountains to Arizona. medium to dark green. 8 in. to 4 crimson-pink. showy lady slipper. parviflorum in many areas of habitat. is uncommon and seldom offered. and it may be difficult to grow it as gloriously as it does in the wild. flowers 1–3 on a twisted. Yukon region. rose. to 3 in. Phillip. Wild Orchids Across North America. and Georgia. mostly white but rose. 1997. pointed side petals narrowly lanceshaped. Portland. Oregon: Timber Press. It does not fare too well in the South unless given a location in considerable shade and a wet footing. The Genus Cypripedium. Japanese lady slipper. south to British Columbia. (50 cm) tall. and North Dakota. formosanum is likely less hardy. the southern form from Taiwan. Cypripedium japonicum. May–August. leafy stalk 12–36 in. elliptic. leaves alternate on hairy stem. Hardy Orchids. also offered from wild stock originating in China. with a lip petal 2–2. bogs. solitary. common in the states around the Great Lakes and infrequent in the southern Appalachians. deep muck. Unfortunately. lip petal very inflated. spotted with red and pleated. providing striking texture even without flowers. crimson-pink in front. (10 cm) across. Both forms are propagated in Japan and have long been available albeit expensive. is very similar. Portland. and moist to wet forests. broadly round and fan-shaped. large. Variety formosanum. var. 1989. Eastern and central North America.5 in.

Many years ago. smooth or slightly toothed. but the underground parts have been tested for cold hardiness in zones 6a and 5b with some success. The fiddleheads on these ferns rise early. moist position. I remove the old fronds in spring to let the new. of course. Place holly ferns in a shaded position. very shiny dark green above. Over the years. but with good protection and some snow cover. In northern gardens they become deciduous. (15 cm) long and to 1. and I consider them among the best ferns for the shady garden. leathery. (4 cm) wide. Slugs and snails are no problem here. and in moist shade the bricks. rich in organic matter. Here in sheltered areas. In the last three decades. but root rot and fungal spots are reported. they should be sown as soon as they are ripe on a coarse commercial mix with a pH of 7 to 8. and Japan. arching. where no direct sun reaches during the heat of the day. stalk shiny green. Japanese holly fern. a cardboard box or sheet draped over the emerging ferns will usually bring them safely through the cold period. Many northern gardeners consider these ferns too tender for garden use. holly fern. well-draining. All are best grown in a sheltered. I started with one clump of Cyrtomium falcatum ‘Rochfordianum’. because the soft fiddleheads come up early when nighttime temperatures are still low and the mollusks inactive. In spring. they have survived temperatures to 0°F (−18°C) for short periods without protection. humid southern regions of North America if supplemental water is supplied during droughts.). Malaysia. bright green fiddleheads rise up unimpeded. I installed a lot of mortared brick curbing. They make great companion plants for larger hostas and other bold-leaved perennials. Holly ferns acquired subsequently. (25 cm) wide. the ferns do their own propagating. dull grayish green below. it has been cut down by freezes only four times. They do well in the hot. leaflets (pinnae) 6 in. Early morning and filtered sun is tolerated. where they grow in wet or moist locations in forests or along banks of lakes or rivers. wedge-shaped. which is evergreen here during all but the coldest winters. and they compete well with smaller azaleas.Cyrtomium 153 Cyrtomium Holly ferns are prolific at Hosta Hill. abruptly narrowed toward tip with upswept tip bending more or less . (90 cm) long and 10 in. like C. usually during the middle part of April. to 36 in. although I admit that the fronds looked terrible after this onslaught. Propagation by spores is also successful. India. Established clumps usually make up the loss by sending up new growth. Holly ferns are also great for containers. I have never had to resort to dividing or sowing spores. The generic name comes from the Greek kyrtos (= arched). The American genus Phanerophlebia is listed as synonymous in some references. LS to FS. they can be grown in the open garden. they can be plunged in the ground in prepared positions and will carry on until the first hard freeze arrives. In many cases. Southern Japan and China. macrophyllum (large-leaved holly fern) and C. Cyrtomium falcatum. and each spring brings a new crop of Japanese holly fern to be transplanted or given away. some now covered with moss. China. They do best in a light. acid woodland soil. Cyrtomium is classified in the Dryopteridaceae. rounded base. Propagate by dividing the creeping rhizome in autumn or in very early spring. This original clump has spread spores all over my garden and beyond. shady. Korea. slightly scaly at the base. fronds produced in rosettes on slender stalks emerging directly from the rhizome. second only to lady ferns (Athyrium spp. Other pests and maladies do not bother the holly ferns here. leaves pinnate. and by midspring no trace of the early damage is noticeable.5 in. Later the fronds become leathery. Species and cultivars listed form slowly expanding clumps. hollylike on short leafstalks. so are endangered by late frosts and freezes. and I have not observed any damage. Taiwan. Their ornamental value is extremely high. are a perfect nursery for spores to develop into young ferns. Asian holly ferns are native to northern India. have proven just as prolific and are exquisite additions to shady gardens. suggesting the arching habit of the fronds. Many southern gardeners simply let the ferns fend for themselves and tolerate some losses among the early fiddleheads. fortunei (Fortune’s holly fern). although good protection is a must in these locations. which can be brought in and overwintered in cool basements after they become dormant.5 maintained moist at 60–70°F (16–21°C).

‘Rochfordianum’. but here it seems to like the light shade provided by loblolly pines. fronds are forked and have terminal crests. It can be potted and brought inside further north to make a splendid houseplant or overwintered in a cold basement. but other species have similar cultural requirements. this fern. dull greenish gray below. bending down. ‘Mandaianum’. densely scaly at the base. it is in shade after 10:00 a. veins imperceptible on top. leathery. Fortune’s holly fern. and North American gardens. (45 cm) long and 7 in. dull dark grayish green above. Dactylorhiza elata. perhaps because people think hardy orchids are difficult to cultivate. on short leafstalks. leaves pinnate. I grow only one species. stalk green. Unlike many finely divided ferns. specimens of D. 3. smooth but irregular. contrasts attractively with yellow hostas. (18 cm) wide. Thanks to some pioneering work by British gardeners. arching. Evergreen here. obviously. (4 cm) wide. (60 cm) long and 8 in. to 24 in. sickle-shaped except terminal leaf cleft. slightly wavy margin. sicklelike to one side. leaflets (pinnae) opposite on lower stem. marsh orchids are also quite adapted to shady gardens. fronds produced in rosettes on slender stalks emerging directly from the rhizome. With limited space. dark brown scales at the base. just to try it. alternate toward top. less further up. veins dark and protruding underneath. arching.5 in. they are not in the standard nursery trade. broader leaflets and a midrib not as distinctly purplish. tapering toward tip with upswept tip bending to one side. fronds produced in rosettes on slender stalks emerging directly from the rhizome. a vigorous form. to 18 in. leaves pinnate. slightly wavy margin. but older garden books make little mention of them. Korea. it seems to appreciate shade in the hot afternoon sun. Asian. LS to FS. tapering toward tip with upswept tip bending to one side. Native British species Dactylorhiza praetermissa (southern marsh orchid) and D. lobed. I can experience but a small sample of nature’s many wonders. and high temperatures must be counteracted by plenty of moisture. nor will it endure deep shade. Dactylorhiza Marsh orchids are rarely seen in North American gardens. Evergreen here during milder winters. and this marsh orchid is a splendid one indeed. at least three. and marsh orchids are finding their way into European. These striking hardy orchids are now available from specialists. leaflets glossy. LS to FS. It definitely does not like dry soil. oval. a dwarf form. (20 cm) wide. ‘Butterfieldii’. Dactylorhiza aristata. leaflets have crests. one ought to have several. less scaly further up. dark green with coarsely toothed or slightly lobed margins. midrib conspicuously brownish purple above and slightly less underneath. (5 cm) wide. ‘Mayi’). Some of the most outstanding marsh orchids from southwestern Europe and the Atlas Mountains in North Africa have been known since the early 1800s. Hardy to zone 7a with protection. and its shiny leaf mound highlight its position in the garden. and their earlier introduction has led the way for other marsh orchids. covered densely with large. Southern Japan and China.154 Dactylorhiza and slightly less underneath. large-leaved Japanese holly fern.m. a rich. others on short leafstalks. leaflets (pinnae) 4 in. dull grayish green above. Southern Japan and China. with noticeably dark purple stems and midribs on the leaflets. purpurella (northern marsh orchid) are truly gardenworthy. elata. slightly projected underneath. dull grayish green below. Korea. deep. Overwinter in containers in northern gardens. I grow it with a few hours of morning sun. stalk brownish purple and shiny toward top. Commonly considered sun-loving plants. I purchased a single plant of it. Hardy to zone 6b with protection. (10 cm) long and to 1. oval. Similar to Cyrtomium fortunei but with fewer and larger. outstanding in the garden. and moisture-retentive soil is a must. Accustomed to a more northern latitude. bending down. This fern has a striking habit. but to make a real statement in the garden. drawn-out tips. whose tall spikes of purple flowers are spectacular in bloom. a North American marsh orchid seen Cyrtomium fortunei. this supposition is changing. leaflets are triangular with fringed margins. ‘Cristatum’ (‘Cristata’. smooth but irregular. ‘Compactum’. Cyrtomium macrophyllum. (9 cm) long and to 2 in. midrib brownish purple above . It will not grow in clay soil. sickleshaped.5 in. leaflets have toothed margins and long. leathery.

Dactylorhiza foliosa (Madeiran orchid) is very similar. North America. flowerstalks 8–24 in. branched tuberous rhizome.Danae only in Alaska. mauve. I have not seen any insect damage on my marsh orchids. Mostly. Not all species are truly orchids of the marsh but also inhabit meadows and grasslands with a moist subsoil and headlands. Dactylorhiza maculata (heath spotted orchid) from the British Isles is very similar but with a 3-lobed lip petal and much shorter midlobe. lance-shaped. elata has survived several very hot. or maroon. Dactylorhiza fuchsii. Among the tallest and showiest orchids in the genus and very popular in Europe. side sepals turned down. equally hardy. I received a small plant of Danae racemosa as a gift. Corsica. Central Europe east to Mongolia and Siberia. green spotted with purple. 6–14. plant clump-forming. from a slender. Some species are still sold under the generic name Orchis. . evergreen accent is needed. only relatively hardy species are included here. 30–44 in. given marshy conditions. but some direct morning sun is required for successful flowering. it requires some sun. on a tall leafy. North Africa. pale rose-pink. (20–60 cm) tall. Sicily. Morning sun. Cold hardiness varies. It remains in the pot and still gets moved around. Not knowing exactly what I had (this sole member of the genus—also written with diaeresis. southern France. purple. airy soil of compost. peat moss. in a tightish raceme. Dactylorhiza is from the Greek daktylos (= finger) and rhiza (= root). green. narrowly elliptic to lance- Danae In 1994. common spotted orchid. light shade. Hardy to zone 6 in sheltered locations. Woodland shade with filtered sunlight is tolerated. and obviously only propagated orchids. Further north. flowers small. Marsh orchids are relatively easy of culture if given the right conditions. and coarse sand. lance-shaped elliptic to oblong. Heat tolerance seems to be good. spotted or streaked with purple or deep red. side sepals turned down. pointed. Danaë—did not look like much). LS to WS. To rip these beauties from their natural habitat is unconscionable. plant clump-forming. southwestern Europe. figuring I would move it around until I found a good spot for it. from a slender. provide some cover during winter in exposed areas. Propagation by division should be attempted only on larger clumps. leaves on the stem. an allusion to the fingerlike tuberous rhizome. purple-striped. 5b with protection and in a sheltered spot. the commercially propagated European species are much more showy and better garden plants. robust marsh orchid. lip petal smooth or barely 3-lobed. (75–110 cm) tall. diseases are rare. flowers small. produced on a leafy flowerstalk. Slugs and snails can be a problem on young plants and just emerging young shoots. Dactylorhiza elata. It is crucial to keep this soil moist at all times. 155 shaped. marsh orchids succeed better. LS to WS. lance-shaped. Those described later will thrive in an open. erect. Those with limited space and an equally limited budget should seek this one out. or white. and my D. in a tightish raceme. leaf mold. they require a duplication of the wet seepages or mucky marshes they frequent under wild conditions. Grown under correct conditions. The genus is classified in the Orchidaceae. even the pesky weevils leave them alone. with shorter stems to 24 in. erect. and acidic soil (as its common name might suggest to savvy gardeners). progressively smaller toward raceme. Spain. lip petal deeply 3-lobed with the center lobe elongated and pointed. should be purchased. I planted it in a large pot. pink. leaves on the stem. expensive though they may be. Morning sun. alternate. June–August. gracing various spots in the garden—wherever a beautiful. branched tuberous rhizome. spotted marsh orchid. progressively smaller toward raceme. rare in northern Ontario and Newfoundland. alternate. add dolomitic limestone or ground seashells (turkey grit) to reach the neutral to alkaline conditions this species requires. Hardy to zone 6. many. May– August. (60 cm) and fewer (4–5) leaves. Algeria. Quickly it grew into a shrublike architectural plant. 7–12. Great strides have been made in the commercial propagation of rare orchids. hardy to zone 7. Tolerates some summer dryness but not the heat of the South. in any case. Will not abide acid soils. many. pointed. has little chance in the lower 48 states. dry summers given frequent watering with a trickle system to keep the soil moist.

broadly elliptic but asymmetric. this species is the backbone of the winter garden. rapidly elongating. It can take full morning sun. it makes no sense to get emotional about it. it may germinate as early as autumn. Seed can be sown in small pots in a cold frame. If the cold takes them. comes from the lands of Alexander the Great (in Greek legend. flowers very small. Superficially. usually in midspring. The genus is related to Ruscus (butcher’s broom. bright. like Astilboides tabularis. unfortunately. I have it growing in a mix of clay.” Darmera is classified in the Saxifragaceae. May–August.156 Darmera tous. I cut off stems weathered by falling ice. box holly). Darmera Lately of the genus Peltiphyllum. but it may take several years before the seedlings reach acceptable garden size. but it does need more shade here than in its native habitat. it shows signs of stress during zone 7 summer heat. and I am thankful for it. LS to FS. Its flowers are tiny. Darmera peltata will grow in partial shade but appreciates some sunny mornings. (1. site it on the embankment of a pond or by a stream bank to duplicate natural conditions. Each spring. no slug is able to rasp it. Native to western North America. pointed. Hardy to zone 6 with protection. Maybe next year—and so I have another thing to look forward to. During periods of drought. true leaves on the stem. I grow this species and other large. umbrella-leaved plants. primarily for their bold leaves. greenish yellow. almost everlasting (florists love to use them in their arrangements). (2. No garden should be without it. orange-red berries that add interest later in the season. D. It is endemic to Turkey and Iran in woodlands and shrubby areas. (4 cm) long and 1 in. peltata is better suited to southern gardens than the much larger A.5 in. Alexandrian laurel. leathery and margins turned down. The bright glossy leaves (actually cladophylls. as this species is commonly called. Some caution may be required in early spring. Seed must be gathered when fresh. tabularis. late frosts and freezes can damage their pristine. but. first erect and later gracefully arching. inconspicuous. the stems make a shiny green bouquet when brought inside during dreary winter days. which add great texture and tropical character to the shady garden. bright orangered berries. provide supplemental water to maintain soil moisture content. It requires constantly moist. Darmera peltata (umbrella plant) has been placed back in the genus under which it was first described. glossy green. plant clump-forming but slowly spreading. Together with hellebores and evergreen shrubs and trees. The dense habit of the plant makes it ideal for the shady woodland garden. but in the South the freshly emerging shoots may be burned if exposed to all-day full sun. Propagate by division in late autumn or very early spring.5 cm) wide. Nothing bothers my Alexandrian laurel. to which it contributes winter or summer with equal aplomb. Turkey. Widely used during the Italian Renaissance. Propagate by dividing the rhizome before growth starts in very early spring. rhizoma- . Danae racemosa can be used in full shade and in gardens with considerable sun peeking through the branches. specialized pseudo-leaves) are exceedingly striking and truly evergreen. Alexandrian laurel. much like the shoots of asparagus. it looks like a shrub. even boggy soil. The epithet (peltata = shieldlike) refers to the leaf shape. persistent leafy cladophylls. it is now enjoying its own renaissance in shady gardens. but it is actually an evergreen perennial. Danaë was the daughter of King Acrisius of Argos and the mother of Perseus). terminal racemes on stems to 4 ft. I installed all kinds of contrivances to protect the blooms from the cold. The older generic name Peltiphyllum too means “shieldlike leaf. alternate. Iran. such pruning in no way hurts the vigor of the plant. moisture-retentive soil. but now I accept things as they are. Its flowers are striking and command attention when they rise up from bare ground before the leaves come to life. when the soft shoots attract slugs and snails. in summer it adds architectural interest and later. and a little grit. Once the stems harden. Danae racemosa. Suitable for cultivation in zones 5 to 7. It is classified in the Ruscaceae. 5–8 on small. At their best. early deciduous. 1. ground bark. When I was younger. close to the stem and less conspicuous than the shiny.2 m) tall. I enjoy the starry flowers if nature lets me. It is not fussy but does prefer a light. The stems develop below ground and emerge in spring. early-spring beauty (if they don’t cut them down altogether).

a dwarf form to 24 in. to 24 in. (60 cm) in height. Morning sun. rounded lobes with grayish blue to blue stamens. pinkish white or pink. hairy. They cannot abide heat and drought. 2-lobed. southern and central Honshu. they may not attain the luxuriant growth seen in the wild. umbrella plant. Suitable for cultivation in zones 5 and 6. waxy blue to violet-blue. star-shaped. LS to WS. humus-rich soil that will not dry out. leaf growth. leafless stems. heavenly hued (hence the epithet) flowers with equally showy leaves. Gather seed when fresh and sow in small pots in a cold frame. shiny medium to dark green. flowers small. Siskiyous and northern California. The genus name. leaves umbrellalike. Deinanthe Almost unknown to Western gardeners. The flowers are attractive but temporary. this species combines showy. also useful as an anchor for plantings of grasses. leafstalks to 24 in. are slowly making an appearance and are being appreciated by more than just the collectors. If not cross-pollinated by the type. in cultivation leafstalks to 36 in. in which family the genus is classified. LS to WS. (25 cm) long. noting that the flowers are abnormally large for Hydrangeaceae. (60 cm). army worms. has much smaller leaves. long-lasting leaf show. A great accent plant near a water feature or as a background grouping in open woodlands. from the woodlands of Japan and China. such a wonderful spread of handsome foliage adds much textural interest to a shady garden. leafstalks to 18 in. and even mature leaves. ‘Nana’. crinkly and coarse-textured with deeply grooved veins. the species of the genus Deinanthe. In summer. April–May. and ferns. flowers in terminal clusters. the Atlanta Botanical Garden has had some luck with this genus. leaf stems stout. 5-lobed. well-drained. both fertile and sterile.9–1. Japan. Deinanthes have magnificent large leaves. shiny light green. crinkly and coarse-textured with deeply grooved veins. and other moth larvae feed during the night. tip pointed.5 in. hairy. (4 cm) across. to 8 in. blue deinanthe. Gardeners in persistently cool. leaves opposite in pairs. it is the leaves that make this a good plant for shady gardens. Deinanthe bifida. southwestern Oregon. A great foliage plant for cool-summer gardens. tip notched. thick. Excellent for adding bold leaf texture to smaller gardens. The large leaves can be damaged by high winds.8 m). in dense clusters on red-tinged. often deeply incised. so these relatives of hydrangeas earn their keep by providing a striking. . in the wild to 6 ft. Though I did not. Deinanthe caerulea. expect germination to be as slow as the growth rate of the seedlings. fleshy white with yellow stamens. sometimes incorrectly translated as “flower of the gods. May–August. Northwestern North America. (0. (90 cm) tall. May–August. (45 cm). Its flowers are modestly showy. 3–4 ft. Seed may not be produced when grown under garden conditions. toothed margins. (60 cm) across. In autumn.Deinanthe Large slugs and snails can be very damaging to emerging. For cool-summer gardens only. with hairy cover. hairy. (23–30 cm) across. 157 Darmera peltata. deeply veined and furrowed all over and toothed or lobed along the margins.” is from the Greek deinos (= strange) and anthos (= flower). hostas. Hubei. reestablishment may be slow. toothed margins. hence the epithet. but even then. LS to WS. Indian rhubarb. shiny medium to dark green. so site plants in a sheltered spot. striped caterpillars. Both species of Deinanthe grow in light to medium shade in cool-summer areas and require moist. flowers in terminal clusters.2 m) tall. so I will try again. Spectacular in flower. 9–12 in. (1. Large slugs and snails can disfigure emerging young growth and even mature leaves. (20 cm) long. moist climates are lucky: they will be able to successfully cultivate deinanthes. soft flowerstalks. leaves opposite in pairs. upright. with flowers smaller accordingly. divided into 2 lobes (bifid). adding interesting texture and rich color. Sierra Nevada. disfiguring the leaves. its coppery leaf color adds to the yellows and oranges of the Japanese maples and hostas. to 10 in. but occasionally notched. its seeds come true. Propagate by dividing the rhizome before growth starts in very early spring. to 1. China. depressed in the center and rounded in outline but with 10–15 lobes.

particularly here in zone 7. this is it: its creeping rootstock spreads 3-compound. where adjacent shrub limbs can support the brittle stems during heavy rain and wind (fortunately. LS to FS. leaves or flowers may emerge very early. tapering at the tip. Propagate by dividing the creeping rhizome in autumn or in very early spring. These lovely wildflowers are now rare in many areas. scaly and dark brown to black at the base. fronds to 30 in. Other than providing it a little moisture during droughts. upright. No other pest or disease bothers them here. they thrive in the temperate climate of zones 3 to 6. I leave it alone. produced singly or in small groups at frequent intervals . and late frosts and freezes may damage the new growth. This fern’s fresh color brightens up dark corners in the shady garden. shiny yellowish green. later duller. oblong. stalk green. I contain its spread by cutting and digging the roots at its perimeter. It forms a solid groundcover in loose. On a spring outing to the Smoky Mountains. They dislike the very warm temperatures of the south temperate zones but can be found in the cooler habitat of the higher elevations of the southern Appalachians and the Piedmont. narrow. During warm periods in late winter. Hardy to zone 4 and found in zone 8. hayscented fern. leaflets (pinnae) wedge-shaped. Eastern North America. Heat tolerance is fairly high as long as water is available in the soil. The species is epilithic. If any fern could be called aggressive in its growth habit. moist position. reminiscent of a freshly mown lawn. Native and exotic bleeding hearts are perennials for shady positions. new fronds arise quickly to replace any that do break). Propagation by spores makes no sense. Bleeding hearts are native to the northern temperate regions of North America and Asia. division is much faster and yields mature divisions. Georgia. pointed. and they have been growing at Hosta Hill ever since. take preventive measures to reduce the damage. Both species contain alkaloids that have a mildly poisonous effect if ingested. Dennstaedtia This large genus of attractive subtropical and tropical ferns has only one species hardy enough to be planted in temperate zone gardens: Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hayscented fern). Fresh or dry. lance-shaped. Watch children around these beautiful but baneful plants. The genus is placed in the Dennstaedtiaceae. south to northern Georgia and west to Arkansas. opposite. A high sugar content in the tuberous rhizomes makes most species reliably winter hardy. deeply cut and toothed. to 16 in. (40 cm) long and 8 in. hayscented fern was variously classified in Nephrodium and Dicksonia. (75 cm). and it does not mind neglect. Some of the exotic species brought into Western cultivation by Robert Fortune in the 1840s are still fashionable. the epithet punctilobula (= small dotted lobes) refers to the shape of the sori on the subleaflets (pinnules). eastern Canada. where it could become a nuisance. canadensis. Many in our woods are ephem- Dennstaedtia punctilobula. Slugs like the soft fronds of hayscented fern. moist soils. The generic name honors German botanist August W. leaves 2. so quite resistant to heat. delicate flowers of dutchman’s breeches. the fronds exude a pleasant aroma. the cattle of early settlers were poisoned by grazing on their emerging leaves. I became enamored with the beautiful. victims of habitat loss and unscrupulous poachers. and better in the woodland than the border. (20 cm) wide. I have seen most of the eastern species in the wild. brittle.158 Dennstaedtia emerging directly from the widely creeping rhizome. and I saw it again in patches on the Appalachian Trail near Newfound Gap. here it meanders through heavy Georgia red clay without any problems. growing on moisture-retaining sandstone rocks in the boulder-strewn ravines of the Southeast. Dennstaedt. and native species have come into favor with many North American shade gardeners as part of a campaign to plant native plants. lacy leaves and unusual. subleaflets (pinnules) numerous. pointed top. In 1969. where it grows intermixed with D. to 20 pairs. Best grown in a sheltered. sending up solitary fronds all along its length. but the latest placement in Dennstaedtia appears to be firm. Known since 1803. I rescued several clumps before they were wiped out by the urbanization of outer DeKalb County. veins prominent. shady. not stalked. Dicentra cucullaria. Dicentra Bleeding hearts have long been popular flowering plants for the shady garden. opposite. Take precautions to protect the plants.

root a stout. root a cluster of pink oval tubers. little girl plant. staggerweed. yet retain moisture. chilly outside temperatures promote germination. staggerweed.8 in. triangular. pointed spurs.5. 2compound. 2-compound. 2-compound. with 4 petals. white to creamy white.5 to 7. April–May. leaves basal. heart-shaped.8 in. turkey corn. (2 cm) long. Tennessee. and 2 smaller. golden eardrops. Missouri. April–May. This summer-dormant species (seen in photo of Arisaema triphyllum) makes a wonderful display in the spring garden.8 in. The soil itself must be well draining. Seed must be gathered as soon as ripe in spring and sown in small pots in a cold frame or in a flat outside. (40 cm) tall. plant usually to 18 in. leaves basal. referring to the flowers. plant large. incised leaflets. leaves basal. 4 petals. plant to 16 in.” to 0. resembling “inverted dutchman’s breeches. deeply lobed. leaf spot. deeply incised leaflets. squirrel corn. provided it receives plenty of moisture. In general. taking a long hiatus during summer: their contribution to summer foliage in the shady garden is nonexistent. flowers 4–40. triangular. to 0. not fragrant. hanging from arching. triangular. flowers 4–12 on leafless stalk. tipped red. and wilt are reported but not seen here. pale bluish green beneath. (2 cm) long. south to New England and in the mountains to the Carolinas and northern Georgia. WS to MS. divided into linear-elliptic. Nova Scotia. the 2 outer ones forming adjoining. which have two enlarged spurs. with 4 petals. Quebec. deep rose-pink to pink. reminiscent of “an elongated heart or girl’s bloomers”. staggerweed. more poisonous and not fragrant. rounded spurs. the 2 outer ones forming adjoining. scaly rhizome. inner ones (the “blood drop”). eastern Kansas. Larger than Dicentra canadensis. Barely hardy to zone 7a. (45 cm) tall but well-cultivated specimens have reached 36 in. in the mountains in New England south to the Carolinas and northern Georgia. Oklahoma and North Dakota. Dicentra is classified in the Fumariaceae. bloomer plant. turkey corn. little boy plant. isolated in western North America in eastern Oregon and Washington. fertile. tipped purple. North America. keeps its striking leaves even during the hottest weather. Nova Scotia. “forming the waistline. the 2 outer ones adjoining. with 4 petals. sparsely leaved. Dicentra cucullaria. tipped yellow. west to Tennessee and West Virginia.5 m). (30 cm) tall. Dicentra canadensis. Dicentra eximia. I add a handful of turkey grit to my plantings. LS to MS. Downy mildew. California. . until it becomes summer-dormant. west to Alabama. divided into linear-elliptic. rounded spurs. (1. fragrant. leafless flowerstalks. rust. pink. up to 75. Most bleeding hearts are available in commerce from propagated stock. wild bleeding heart. though it makes up for this Dicentra chrysantha. and light. and 2 smaller ones white. Eastern North America. deeply lobed. pale bluish green. flowers many. Slugs and snails may damage new growth. although it might succeed in protected areas. flaring. (2 cm) long. dutchman’s breeches. V-shaped. west to Alabama. WS to MS.” and 2 smaller ones. with heart-shaped inflated spurs. New York south to the Carolinas and northern Georgia. to 10. Propagate by dividing the rhizome when dormant in later summer or fall. the 2 outer ones forming adjoining. replant divisions immediately. reminiscent of corn kernels. bleeding hearts prefer a neutral to slightly alkaline soil with a pH of 6. North America. yellow. and North Dakota. not fragrant.Dicentra erals. root an elongated rhizome with numerous yellow bulblets. flowers 4–10 on leafless stalk. Its pink heart-shaped flowers are similar to those of Dicentra spectabilis but a little lighter in color. to 0. Tennessee. incised leaflets. 159 to 5 ft. fruit an elongated capsule. little blue staggers. WS to MS. with a pungent odor. April–May. Missouri. plant to 12 in. 2 inner ones yellow. tipped yellowish white. divided into linear-elliptic. April–May. The genus takes its name from the Greek dis (= two) and kentron (= spur). pale bluish green. but equally useful in the spring garden. white. Quebec. green above. eastern Kansas. depending on microclimate. The very best native species for shady gardens: it does not go summer-dormant like other native species but. white to creamy white. (90 cm). bleeding hearts quickly degenerate in constantly wet or heavy soils. fringed bleeding heart. carrying on until late summer and early autumn with occasional sporadic flowering.

All these western species and subspecies come from specialized and drier habitats and are not easily transplanted. The correct attribution of cultivars to either D. showy flowers. vigorous. western bleeding heart. An improved ‘Alba’. It is common in the Appalachians but should be left alone in the wild. snow-white flowers. much larger than the species. ‘Adrian Bloom’. arching stalks. rhizomatous. much larger than the species. ‘Bountiful’. terminal leaves with tendrils. Some sun. reported in Massachusetts) and by some considered its western form. delicate bleeding heart growing in snow beds in well-drained. Western North America. and bending down. silvery graygreen leaves. dry summers of zones 8 and 9. spreading. fernlike bluish leaves. ‘Silversmith’. leafless. quite tolerant of hot summers. heart-shaped. the many cultivars in commerce are better garden plants. WS to MS. Another western species. pure white flowers. ‘Margery Fish’. grayish green leaves. Dicentra pauciflora (shorthorn steer’s head) also from California and similar to D. creamy white flowers with light green leaves. spreading. ‘Stewart Boothman’ (‘Boothman’s Variety’). both differ only in minor details from the type. 0. Himalayas. Dicentra formosa. yellow or yellowish white. ‘Coldham’. flowers very white. and most floriferous: the one I grow has climbed up a fence. Washington. by having more of them. This species and the Nepalese annual Dicentra torulosa are the only climbing bleeding hearts. clumpforming. the 2 outer ones adjoining. leaves bluish green. formosa (western bleeding heart) as D. much larger than the species.160 Dicentra ‘Zestful’. deep pink flowers. medium green leaves. eximia. make inquiries before purchasing. much larger than the species. Flowers of some populations have a yellowish cast with pink overtones. rhizomatous. red-tinted stems. eximia (some hybrids involving D. A choice cultivar. long-lasting deep rose flowers. clump-forming. sometimes tipped with pink to purplish pink. Dicentra formosa has diverging regional populations. ‘Snowflakes’. eximia: most do well in cool summers but suffer in the very hot. crimson-red flowers. A vigorous species. much larger than the species. LS to WS. formosa is uncertain. burgundy flowers. spreading.8–1 in. larger than the type. western China. has strawyellow to deep creamy white. very light creamy white flowers flushed pink. Their long-lasting qualities during summer points to D. leaves medium to dark green. ochroleuca from California. ‘Aurora’. eximia or D. and Idaho is a small. involving one or the other of these very similar species. vigorously spreading. some of the cultivars listed here are hybrids. uniflora. Dicentra uniflora (longhorn steer’s head) from northern California. Choose instead from the cultivars listed under D. climbing. formosa). ‘Spring Morning’. flowers white. flowering spring and later in summer. Nevada. a darker-flowered (almost rubyred) seedling of ‘Bountiful’ with a longer bloom period. deep pink flowers. rhizomatous. mingled with Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quin- . D. subsp. medium green leaves. Subspecies oregana occurs in Oregon. while the other subspecies have bluish green color on both sides. purplish pink flowers. April–October. eximia. medium green leaves. Here in zone 7a they do well in considerable shade with supplemental water. California. very similar to Dicentra eximia (indeed. ‘Bacchanal’. grayish green leaves. The leaves of the type are green on top and a dull grayish blue-green beneath. ‘Sweetheart’.5 cm) long. plant veining. Dicentra scandens. its flowers have spreading outer petals and paired inner ones (hence the common name). purple-tipped flowers. red-tinted stems. flowers red. rhizomatous. ‘Alba’. climbing yellow bleeding heart. late-flowering. finely divided bluish gray-green leaves. (2–2. clumpforming. flowers 2–14 hanging from fleshy. ‘Luxuriant’. Many nurseries sell D. British Columbia south to Oregon. longer-lived garden plants with larger. they should be left alone and admired in the wild. with 4 petals. Flowers in early summer. which are better. flowers white tinted pink. has deeply heart-shaped pink flowers. spreading. nevadensis (Sierran bleeding heart) in Nevada. clump-forming. somewhat later than D. grayish green leaves. rocky soils. ‘Pearl Drops’ (‘Langtrees’). elongated.

Korea. flaring. 0. humus-rich soil that stays moist all year. with 4 petals. moist conditions and are mostly in medium to full shade. they like cool. leaves triangular. (760 m) above sea level and higher. it tolerates considerable sun if given constant moisture. I grow mine in deep shape by the side of a water feature that overflows into an area planted with other moisture-loving plants. leafless. tough and long-lived. in North America it is a favored plant for late-winter forcing in time for Valentine’s Day.8–1. I encountered a rarity in a deeply shaded cove near Balsam Mountain. peregrina. it looked almost like the umbrella plant (Darmera peltata). and 2 smaller. Hardy in zones 6 and 7. which. where the ground stays wet most of the time. a variable species from eastern Asia with white to purple flowers. but small heads of white flowers rising above the leaves told me otherwise. WS to MS. 161 Diphylleia On excursions into the Smoky Mountains. but I would correct this to “rarely seen. I am always on the lookout for handsome plants growing in deep shade. Diphylleia is classified in the Berberidaceae. Although a summer-dormant species. An anticancer component has recently been discovered in it. (13–40 cm) long. The generic name comes from the Greek dis (= two) and phyllon (= leaf). (1.” because one has to get out of the car and hike into remote mountain areas to see it. much like grapes on the vine. April–May. American Indians used Diphylleia cymosa medicinally. so be patient. It takes some time to mature. Several other Asian species are occasionally available. and the search is on for a synthesized equivalent. scaly rhizome. It is considered rare. but its cut stems have a disagreeable smell so this use was curtailed. One early spring. where they provide a striking spring display of hanging flowers. Where the environment is to its liking. For a time it also appeared as a cut flower. It has larger flowers than most native species and forms a sizable clump of fernlike grayish green leaves. whose unusual yellow leaves and pink flowers make a great color combination in spring. deeply incised leaflets. will be overtopped with white flowers held in clusters (cymes. fill in the blank spaces it leaves with annuals. and not invasive. tipped red and white. growing on a rocky slope that had water seeping from above. Assign it a sheltered spot to avoid wind and storm damage to its large leaves. at elevations of 2500 ft. held high on a branched leafstalk. This species is the common bleeding heart of gardens. 5 with a heavy winter mulch. but they are more suited for collector’s gardens. Asian bleeding heart.2 in. Diphylleia cymosa is an excellent shade garden plant. At first sight. pale green beneath. ‘Rosea’ (pink flowers). pink. ‘Pantaloons’ (similar but more vigorous). it is a climbing plant for the fence row or trellis. plant usually to 4 ft. Umbrella leaf grows in the southern Appalachians. root a stout. with heart-shaped inflated spurs. macrantha. and D. spectabilis include ‘Alba’ (white flowers). deep rose-pink to purplish pink. or late-emerging perennials. flowers 3–15 hanging from fleshy. cooling sprays on really hot. dry summer days. Dicentra spectabilis. Gardeners will want to grow this wildflower for its architectural prominence in the garden.Diphylleia quefolia) and blooms from spring until autumn. ‘Athens Yellow’ offers hundreds of yellow flowers in equal everblooming succession. Cultivars of D. and later in autumn. Japan. and I help it along with frequent. a yellow-flowered species from eastern China. and with that plentiful moisture. 5–16 in. Among these are D. its two strikingly tropicallooking leaves. Siberia. old-fashioned bleeding heart. the 2 outer ones adjoining. after which it became a fashionable garden plant. common bleeding heart. umbrella leaf shows considerable heat stress here in zone 7a. its blue fruit covered with a thin waxy white bloom. inner ones (the “blood drop”). arching stalks.2 m) tall. in spring. hence the epithet). divided into linear-elliptic. Site it in shade in deep. . and until July or August further north. its small but outstanding flowers. even so. I had discovered a colony of Diphylleia cymosa (umbrella leaf). fairly large populations exist. container plants. The original plant from China first flowered in Europe in 1847. (2–3 cm) long. China. bleeding heart. 2-compound. its leaves can be preserved until early summer here in the South. Plants are usually found along rocky mountain streams and seepage areas on rocky slopes. Hardy to zone 6. and ‘Gold Heart’. for the two leaves per stem (nonflowering plants usually have only one leaf).

Seed must be gathered when fresh and sown in a cold frame. it has smaller leaves. in dense clusters (cymes) above the leaves. but I love to feel the leaf texture. Site where their well-defined. May–June. (60–95 cm) tall. leafstalks.162 Disporopsis the success of my first Disporopsis species. where they thrive in a soil pH of 5. becoming lighter green above. disfiguring the leaves. fewer flowers. fuscopicta. Diphylleia grayi. (Many gardeners admire their plants with their eyes only. My first acquisition was Disporopsis pernyi. Disporopsis I first became aware of Disporopsis several years ago. 24–38 in. which are not as deeply lobed. as a background grouping in open woodlands. Stems are densely purple-spotted at the base. it made a nice clump within a few seasons and is now planted among its relatives. leaf stems stout. flowers small. easy of culture. deeply cleft along the centerline. Its almost yellow flowers. but the several other species known in east- Propagate by dividing the rhizome before growth starts in very early spring. is very similar. They do withstand temporary periods of heat and drought but prefer constantly moist soil. deeply grooved veins can be observed and their leathery leaves touched. to 24 in. division is much more productive. each half with 5–7 smaller. providing plenty of room for growth. They are well adapted to shady. moist conditions. as an offering in a plant catalog. This plant is also evergreen but seems to be less coldtolerant than D. Spurred on by . white. Both disporopsis resemble and can be used like evergreen. reddish. it now has two dozen. originating in moist woodlands. MS to FS. slowly expanding. umbrella leaf. or bring them into the house and admire them in a cool to cold room. Eastern North America.5. army worms. emerging growth.5 to 6. are marked inside (fuscopicta = dark painted). the leaves and stems get burned and bruised by frigid nights and falling ice. pernyi. along their slightly zigzagging length grows a crop of glossy. they bring year-round garden interest. and other moth larvae feed during night. I do not know what their ultimate cold tolerance is. Disporopsis pernyi is taxonomically well established. wide. Large slugs and snails can be very damaging to exposed portions of the rhizome. southern Appalachians. Variety grayi. A great accent plant near a water feature. but gardeners in colder areas can easily grow both species in containers. I acquired a clone of D. Thick stems rise from a slowly creeping rhizome that gets larger every season: my plant had two stems at first. 5 petals and sepals. dark green leaves that look as if they are made of wax. which has been growing here for several years now. so I remove the old stems before new growth appears. As such. In summer. which have a brownish purple edge. Diphylleia cymosa. Propagate by dividing the dormant rhizome in late autumn or very early spring. leaves umbrellalike. and resistance: much can be gleaned by touching plants. and stems suffused with more red. My lifelong interest in the Polygonatum/Disporum complex was piqued. When completely dormant. Overwinter containers in an area where the temperatures do not fall below freezing. The genus is placed in the Convallariaceae. medium green. usually 2 leaves per stem. Solomon’s seals (Polygonatum spp. plant clump-forming from a stout rhizome. but during severe winters. and well adapted to southern heat and dryness. 6–10. I grow several clumps in the woodland garden. coarsely toothed lobes. and even mature leaves. upright.) and fairy bells (Disporum spp. and I ordered all there were to be had. which turned out to be a graceful garden plant. from the Yunnan Plateau of western China and in the higher elevations of the Japanese Alps of Honshu and further north to Hokkaido. fruit a large blue berry coated with a waxy white bloom. cup-shaped. with 6 yellow stamens. the roots can be removed without native soil and divided with a clean. substance. Some botanists rank it as a species. Seed propagation requires a cold frame. striped caterpillars. Large slugs and snails can damage very tender young growth in spring. (60 cm) across. Virginia south to northern Georgia and Alabama and west to Tennessee. sharp knife. Very heat-tolerant as long as adequate soil moisture is maintained. Both var. It is evergreen here in zone 7a. I have found the plants to be free of pests and diseases. or as a companion to moisture-loving ferns. Disporopsis are native to the temperate and subtropical regions of Asia. succulent Solomon’s seals.) Blackish berries in autumn add to the garden merit of disporopsis.). grayi and the type are available in commerce.

China. appearing in the upper half of stem. stout stems brownish purple at the base becoming lighter and greenish above. originated as a reference to the wispy petals of another native. arisanensis but longer. On another late-summer trip. (2 cm) long. Disporopsis pernyi. flowers 1–3. leaves alternate. fuscopicta clone I grow has a stem height of only 24 in. unbranched and slightly zigzagging between leaves. hairless. (4–6 cm) wide. 4–6 in. to 6 in. May–June. hairless. (10 cm) long. projected below. and finally. bell-shaped. broadly elliptic. produced on short pedicels in the leaf axils. unbranched and slightly zigzagging between leaves. recurving. There their delicate beauty. Taiwan. lobe extensions purplish. this species reportedly has a stem height of 36 in. Gizhou. 1–1. China. hookeri. tubular. a name generally applied to the species of this genus. fairy bells (Disporum spp. and the true identity of commercial plants is still in doubt. and in the end the creamy purple-spotted flowers gave its identity away: it was the archetypal North American species D. dark blue to bluish black. More field work is required to sort this out. Originating in moist woodlands. In the meantime.5–2. upright but arching. Some larger species may attract attention. grooved capsule. maculatum (nodding mandarin). the recent trend toward natural gardens and importations of new species of fairy bells from Asia have renewed interest in both native and exotic members of the genus. with reflexed. the pot can be set on the ground or plunged among hardier companions.) have been banished to a dark corner. (25–40 cm) tall. (90 cm) based on observations in the wild. they are well adapted to shady. If future offerings are as exciting as those now in commerce. has graced Hosta Hill ever since. and the plants—by whatever name— are striking additions to shady gardens. 1. 10–16 in. dark blue to bluish black. May– July. pointed tip. (2.5–0. we gardeners have a lot to look forward to.5 cm) long. which must be observed closely to be appreciated. The D. but they are smaller. Guangxi.Disporum ern and southern Asia are in a state of nomenclatural flux. moist conditions. white to creamy white. leaves alternate. (20 cm) tall. Yunnan. grooved capsule. 0. Although smaller than some of its relatives in the Polygonatum/Disporum complex. What a pity. some germinated. upright but arching. to 4 in. During spring and summer. is wasted. tubular. inside purple-spotted or greenish. together with Solomon’s seals. flowers 1–3. broadly lance-shaped with reflexed. Fairy bell. which was used medicinally by American Indians and early settlers. I collected a few seeds from a second fairy bell. produced on short pedicels in the leaf axils. This Chinese species has been known to and appreciated by gardeners north and south for some time as a contributor to a multitextured garden scene. stems thick. this species is evergreen during mild winters in zone 7a and so a valuable plant in the garden. Luckily.5–4 cm) wide. 3 principle veins deeply impressed above. pointed tip. Disporum In most gardens. 6- .6 in. fragrant. but smaller ones get lost in a mass of foliage. I have always admired fairy bells. several clones are in commerce. fruit a round. bell-shaped. similar to those of Solomon’s seal. fruit a round. LS to FS. the dainty native North American species are getting the recognition they deserve.8 in. drooping on long flowerstalks. finely purplespotted at the base becoming lighter and greenish above. veins parallel. (10–15 cm) long. As many as 20 species may exist in China alone. arisanensis. Many years ago. (15 cm). 0. I bought a plant from a wildflower source. It adapts well to containers large enough for its eventual spread and can be cultivated this way further north with great success. Hardy to zone 5. 163 Disporopsis arisanensis. Disporopsis fuscopicta is sometimes sold as D. 6-lobed. The whitish to creamy white spring flowers are like little bells. LS to FS.5 in. (1–1. so expect additional importations.5 in. to 8 in. They die down Disporopsis fuscopicta. remove to an overwintering spot before the deep freeze arrives. I found a colony of Disporum languinosum (yellow mandarin) in full bloom during a woodland walk in the North Georgia mountains. white to creamy white. Fairy bells are rhizomatous herbaceous perennials native to the temperate regions of North America and Asia. and the spidery beauty of its yellow flowers. D. (60 cm) and leaves as wide as D. LS to FS. particularly Korea and Japan. which resemble the wings of a fairy. lobed with lobes pointed and spreading.

Western China. which grows much larger than native fairy bells. has deep rose-red flowers and makes a great addition to gardens. Expect some losses during extreme winters and some divergence from the descriptions: Disporum species show considerable variability in the wild. Large slugs and snails can damage young growing tips emerging in spring. clothed with glossy. architectural value to wildflower gardens. hairless. (1. Site fairy bells where their well-defined leaf veins can be observed.5 cm) long. in the leaf axils. collected in northern Thailand. but with heavy winter mulching. hairless. MS to FS. a giant among fairy bells and therefore suitable as an accent or background plant. alternate.5. Thai fairy bell. green leaves. But for the sturdy branched stems. bell-shaped. more branches emerge. with lovely pink flowers and blue fruit. broadly lance-shaped. My favorite variant. D. to 1. produced on long. Nepal. they are brownish near the ground and turn progressively to light green at the tips. Species and cultivars listed are herbaceous. hence the differences in flower color. (1. though they are not quite as large as some. and this multiplicity of stems. Propagate by dividing the dormant rhizome in late autumn or very early spring. May–July. Unless otherwise noted. Its stout. was collected by intrepid plantsman Dan Hinkley in western China. Japan. Possibly several subspecies (or species) are involved. with singular. have not touched them here.2 in. but fairy bells are otherwise relatively free of pests and diseases. Evergreen in zone 7 and warmer. in some forms grooved veins. to 5 ft. large garden plant resembles a Solomon’s seal.5–1 in. MS to FS. branched pedicels in multiples in the leaf axils. May–July. If there is room for only one fairy bell. Stems lean somewhat so the effective height is less—even so. in some cases. (13 cm) long. 1 in.5 cm) long. flowers yellowish. to 6 ft. their hardiness range can be extended. (2. 6-lobed. ball-shaped fruit is blue to bluish black or red. further expeditions to southeastern Asia should settle the question. the roots can be removed without native soil and divided with a clean. confers outstanding architectural garden value upon it. Even more exciting is ‘Aureovariegata’ from Japan. Fairy bells have the same garden uses as Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum spp. 0. As many as a dozen branches emerge from the stem. is somewhat smaller. tubular. Disporum cantoniense. brownish red. an allusion to the reproductive anatomy of the genus (each chamber of the ovary contains two seeds). but here in zone 7a it is herbaceous. with sufficient moisture. root division is much more productive. most thrive in zones 4 to 7 and can be grown in zone 3 or colder. I grow the native species in my woodland garden together with small hostas and ferns. western and southern China. produced on pedicels in umbels of 3–7. a real pest on other plants. stems upright. tubular. this outstanding. deep rose-red. are pure white with attractively contrasting yellow stamens (and anthers not exserted). its glossy variegated leaves are carried on sturdy stems to 36 Disporum bodinieri. (1–2. its very strong stems have withstood some nasty spring hailstorms here. The nomenclature of this recently collected species is muddled. manybranched. (3 cm). Disporum cantoniense (DHHC 724).). flowers variable. When completely dormant. when red or blackish berries add to their garden merit. Seed propagation is difficult and slow. smooth. stout stems. North American species are very hardy. sometimes higher. which add great charm and. all can be grown in zones 6 to 9. They do not like very dry conditions and prefer a constantly moist soil. Disporum megalanthum from Sichuan is similarly useful in the garden. Weevils. sharp knife. in autumn. (2 m) tall. white to pink. Variety cantoniense (BSWJ 5290). occasionally to 7 ft. The genus is placed in the Colchicaceae. (15 cm) long. to 7 ft. its stems reach almost as high. or even purple. round stems grow to an average of 5 ft. They thrive in soil with a pH of 5. cantoniense (HWJCM 069). 5 with protection.5 m).164 Disporum thers protruding. In each of the branch axils. and its larger flowers. 6-lobed. narrowly to broadly lance-shaped. Their culture too is similar.8 m). bell-shaped. upright but leaning. Asian species have not been fully tested. an- . (2 m) tall. many-branched. (1. Another multibranched form. I am excited about the larger Asian species. but indications are they are hardy to zone 6.5 m). they will last longer into autumn. Northern Thailand. glossy green leaves to 5 in. with green leaves to 6 in.5 to 6. choose Disporum flavens from Korea. Disporum (= twin seed) is from the Greek.

liverberry. One must get really close to see the small marvel that is var. 6-lobed. 0. with alternate. Attractive flowers followed by redorange. flowers creamy white. (60 cm). ovate to broadly lance-shaped. the branches also branched. Disporum hookeri. tubular. 2. sometimes taller. (13 cm) long. green leaves to 5 in. alternate. just as it occurs in nature. The stems are not as stiffly erect as in other species but just as vigorous. branched. veins conspicuous. which has. with clasping. MS to FS. Korean fairy bell. May–June. (1 cm) long. for best effect. to 32 in. (1 cm) long. spotted disporum. downy. many-branched.5 cm) long. native in Oregon and north and east to Montana. (6 cm) wide. (30 cm). clasping. hairless. May– June. MS to FS. bell-shaped. flowers pure white. All become herbaceous in colder regions and are probably evergreen in zone 7. red-orange fruit. Protect with dry mulch. bell-shaped. in the leaf axils. A unique native in that the sepals and petals emerge separately from the flower base. downy. flowerstalks very erect. ovate to narrowly ovate with pointed tips. Recently collected but occasionally available. with downy. tubular. Korea. 165 Disporum flavens. British Columbia to Oregon and northern California east to Montana. to 24 in. besides hairy style and ovary. 1 in. clasping. (2. broadly ovate to heartshaped. stems erect but leaning. for best effect. solitary in the lower part of the main stem. fruit red and hairy. ball-shaped fruit is blue to bluish black. Very similar to Uvularia grandiflora. flowerstalks erect but leaning. MS to FS. Keeping distance in a garden serves the overall impression but ignores all the little wonders. medium green further up. multiple branches. like arrowheads with a short extension. Disporum nantauense. 6-lobed. ovate to narrowly ovate with pointed tips. Taiwan.5 cm) long. hairy fairy bell. to 24 in. shiny above and downy beneath. stems low-growing. The elegant.5 in. flowers bright yellow. MS to FS. (10 cm) long. upper stems downy. to 4 in. to 36 in. the added charm of exserted anthers hanging down below the flower’s lobes. to 12 in. tubular. eastern Canada through New England to northern Georgia and Alabama and west to Arkansas. MS to FS. with depressed veins. plant in groups and site where the deeply veined leaves can add to garden texture after the spotted (hence the epithet) flowers are gone. anthers projecting from the perianth. usually single. (90 cm) tall. glossy beneath. 6-parted. (2. May–June. Gives a stunning display year after year: 2 weeks of dazzling yellow flowers followed by black. sometimes creamy to greenish white. Eastern North America. with downy green leaves to 5 in. to 0. branched. 0. North America. in the leaf axils. in the leaf axils. Tolerates considerable morning sun but requires afternoon shade. 6-lobed. liverberry. All these forms give but a meager indication of what is to follow. nodding mandarin. drops of gold. oreganum.5 cm) long. with singular.5 in. produced terminally on long pedicels in umbels of 1–3. (10 cm) long. produced on long pedicels. dark green. deeply nodding flowers are ephemeral and all but hidden by the terminal leaf tufts. brownish near the base. branched pedicels in umbels of 1–4. (1–2. stalkless. slightly pointed fruit make this native a good garden subject. May–June.5 in. multibranched stems clothed with attractive leaves. produced on long. forming drips. south- . tubular. hairless. with separate sepals and petals. branched. (60 cm) tall. shiny above and downy beneath. Eastern and central North America from southern Michigan and Ohio to northern Georgia and Alabama. May–July. stems erect but leaning. attractively veined leaves to 6 in. yellow mandarin. with the veins deeply sunken on the surface and projected underneath. oblong fruit. Long in cultivation and a favorite of mine for its attractive flowers (one common name alludes to the yellow silk court color of the mandarins) followed by oblong. produced terminally on long pedicels in umbels of 1–2. wavy. (90 cm). to 1 in. with the leaf tips extended. (13 cm) long. leaves matte dark green above. northern Michigan. pointed tepals. Plant in groups.Disporum in. Taiwan fairy bell. flowers creamy white with purple spots. (15 cm) long.5–1 in. produced on short pedicels in umbels of 1–6. flowers yellow with long. (80 cm) tall. dark. bell-shaped. and its flowers are white. in the lower part heart-shaped. Disporum maculatum. glossy dark green leaves to 4 in. Makes a slowly expanding clump of upright. forming little thickets of attractive leaves Disporum languinosum. green. narrowly lance-shaped. spotted fairy bell.

May–June. 1 in. MS to FS. sometimes branched. these treasures should be grown where they can be most appreciated. and its fairly large flowers contribute to its garden value. black. to 24 in. 6-lobed with recurved tips. although the Japanese prefer to grow such unusual plants in pots. Disporum sessile. (10 cm). ‘Kinkaku’ (= golden pavillion) has yellow leaves with streaky green stripes. 1 in. In Japan. but a little straying is welcome in most gardens. leaves shiny dark green. mostly short. arching pedicels in umbels of 1–3. Disporum pullum. sometimes branched. other variously variegated forms of D. ‘Aureovariegata’ has glossy leaves with dazzling yellow stripes and a yellow tip in spring.). 1 in. stems erect. fruit spherical. flowers creamy white. but I prefer the narrow-leaved ‘Variegatum’ because it allows a better view of the spring flowers. flowers greenish purple. but it becomes herbaceous. stems erect. Japan. inobeanum are available. flowers creamy to greenish white. spotted with red. I consider it downright invasive (digging the roots at Hosta Hill would mean disturbing an adjacent planting of native trilliums). pointed. usually solitary. leaves smooth. Its epithet is the diminutive of the ancient Greek name for the greenbrier vines (Smilax spp. (2. sometimes larger. As with all garden forms. broadly elliptic. small. the extremes of variegation can range from leaves mostly white with green stripes to leaves mostly green with white stripes. rarely 2. Japan. forking into 2–5 side branches.5 cm) wide. later in the season the variegation becomes creamy white. leaves shiny dark green. Korea. May–June. with wavy-margined green leaves to 5 in. ‘Ki-no-Tsukasa’ (= yellow chief) has a yellow margin and yellow streaks growing from the tip into a green leaf. its variegation is changeable and anything but cleanly white-striped. ‘Dai Setsurei’ (= large snow mountain) has white leaves with green stripes. (8 cm) long and 2. elliptic. A form with considerably wider leaves covers the ground even better. to which this species is broadly related. Japan.5 in. The typical all-green species is rarely seen. The species has been known for almost 200 years but is seldom seen. tubular. produced on long. (6 cm) wide.5 cm) long. to 4 in.5 in. in the lower part heart-shaped. clasping. white edge. The available cultivar ‘Variegatum’ has leaves margined with a wide. Its rhizomatous root system branches prolifically and spreads far afield. large-flowered fairy bells. stems erect. (13 cm) long. (2. Disporum smithii. branched pedicels in umbels of 2–4. Occasionally incorrectly offered as a selection of Disporum pullum. (1 cm) long. bluish black.166 Disporum with showy veins. starry. Disporum smilacinum.5 cm) long. Western North America. wavy. hairless. branched. 6-lobed. small. On the same plant. mostly short from 30 in. it makes a lovely groundcover or accent group. but subsp. ‘Seiki-no-Homare’ (= pride of the century) is similar to ‘Kinkaku’ but with more yellow in the leaf. 2 per flower. flavens. and the dwarf var. May–June. bell-shaped. matte dark green. these forms are probably too weak for garden purposes. China. Hardy to zone 7. sessile. MS to FS. particularly in the darker corners of the garden. ovate to broadly lance-shaped. to 1 in. MS to FS. Japanese fairy bell. ‘Kinsho’ (= golden wing) has bright yellow leaves with delicate green striping. it is a spreader. (2. smilacinum discovered in Japan are gradually making their way into Western nurseries at a reasonable cost. but its charm should make this habit welcome. 6–20 in. to 4 in. to 24 in. stalkless. are collected by aficionados with enough money to buy them. flowers green-tipped white. (60 cm) tall. Long used in Japanese gardens. red fruit. ‘Ginga’ (= milky way) has whitish leaves with green flecks and spotting. (10 cm) long. stems erect but leaning. primarily used in pot culture. mostly terminally. (60 cm) tall. Fre- . and the type’s white-variegated sport ‘Variegatum’ (variegated fairy bell) has found worldwide acceptance. (2. anthers protruding. The typical all-green species has wide-ranging rhizomes that expand slowly to make a dense groundcover. May–June. produced terminally on short. to 3 in. good winter protection with a dry mulch extends its range northward. (15–50 cm) tall. The many variegated sports of D. MS to FS. mostly white and therefore lacking chlorophyll.5 cm) long. bell-shaped. tubular. (75 cm) tall. with yellow flowers. 0. lance-shaped. British Columbia south to Oregon and northern California. fruit spherical. expanded bell-shaped.

Dracunculus quently confused with Disporum hookeri var. oreganum, which is similar but with an unbranched stigma: D. smithii has a 3-lobed stigma. This species is threatened by the clear-cutting of its native forest habitats and should be obtained from responsible sources only. A relatively rare white-margined form of it is sometimes seen in gardens. Disporum trachycarpum, which also has a 3-lobed stigma, is differentiated by its rough-surfaced fruit (trachycarpum = rough fruit), first yellow then bright red; it also differs by not having drooping leaf tips. It ranges from British Columbia south to Oregon and in the higher elevations from North Dakota to Arizona and western New Mexico. Both species should be sited where they can be observed closely.


Disporum uniflorum. Western China, Yunnan.
MS to FS; flowers large, 1.5 in. (4 cm) and longer, creamy white, bell-shaped, tubular, 6-lobed, produced on very long pedicels, to 2.5 in. (6 cm), in multiples of 2–7 in the terminal leaf axils; May– July; stout stems, upright but leaning, hairless, to 40 in. (1 m) tall, branched, with wavy green leaves to 6 in. (15 cm) long, broadly lance-shaped. The acquisition of this outstanding, large garden plant deserves special efforts. It is distinguished by its very large (for the genus) flowers, which (according to photographs taken in Lijiang) hang conspicuously on pedicels that are much longer than the flowers. Sometimes mentioned in connection with D. flavens, whose large yellow flowers are borne on short pedicels.

and subshrubs cover them, and then fade away for another year. One such temporary wonder much admired by me in its native habitat was Dodecatheon media (common cowslip, prairie pointer). The few plants I obtained to try in my shady garden did well for the first two seasons, blooming faithfully if briefly in spring and disappearing shortly thereafter, but after a couple of years, they began to decline and finally disappeared altogether. I was disappointed and decided that in future I should visit and admire them in the wild, where large patches make a gorgeous display in early spring. A few in the garden just do not give justice to their great charm. Best adapted to meadows and grassy prairies (and even there they are short-lived plants), they should not be planted where evergreen trees and shrubs shade them out during their earlyspring growing cycle. Also, they require a slightly alkaline soil with a pH of 6 to 7.5, something that is difficult to provide in a shady garden, where most plants need high acidity. A few can be tucked in here and there where there is almost full sun before the trees leaf out, but remember: their loveliness is fleeting, and they do not provide the lasting display of attractive foliage so necessary for successful shady gardens.

Shady gardens are green gardens by nature. Flowers spice up the scene from time to time, but the canvas of the gardener’s art is green. For added excitement, I like plants that not only contribute a temporary splash of color but are also weird and wonderfully attractive. Dracunculus vulgaris (dragon arum) is certainly one of these: its bizarre flower attracts people even as its stench draws flies. Found all around the Mediterranean region, it may not be very hardy, but it can be potted and grown outdoors in northern gardens. In Detroit, my mother grew one on her patio and overwintered it dry in her basement; it bloomed year after year until an early hard freeze turned it to mush. I grow it for the same reason I grow snake palms (Amorphophallus spp.): it combines a beguiling flower with interesting, long-lasting foliage. Hardy to zone 7a; provide some winter mulch in exposed locations. I have it poking up among Solomon’s seals, its tuberous root planted at least 6 in. (15 cm) deep; even a short, hard freeze does not penetrate that deep, so

Disporum viridescens. Korea, Japan.
MS to FS; flowers large, greenish white, drooping, star-shaped; May–June; branched stems to 30 in. (75 cm) tall; leaves green, small, to 3 in. (8 cm) long, elliptic; fruit spherical, black. A recent introduction, notable for its flowers. In time the vigorous underground rhizomes expand to make a pretty colony or groundcover. Disporum lutescens is a similar yellow-flowered species from southern Honshu and Kyushu in Japan. Both are seldom available.

The mountains of northern Georgia are home to many spring ephemerals. They bloom early, store up energy before the trees leaf out or the grasses


Dryopteris Dryopteris celsa (log fern) is worth seeking out but seldom offered. It and D. cristata (crested wood fern) are both from eastern North America and very hardy. Dryopteris arguta (western wood fern, coastal wood fern), which occurs in Oregon and Washington, is limited to zone 7 and warmer. Ferns in the genus Dryopteris are endemic to the north temperate zone. The generic name comes from the Greek dryas (= oak) and pteris (= fern), an allusion to the common habitat of northern, deciduous oak forests. Fern taxonomy is ever in flux, with genera and species shifted in and out of the various families, but for now Dryopteris is in the Dryopteridaceae. Dryopteris ferns are easy to grow as long as moisture is available to them and they are located in medium shade. Some native species grow in fairly deep shade in the Georgia woods, but occasionally they occupy sites that receive considerable sun. In order to withstand any direct sun during part of the day, they must be grown in moist, fertile soil, and in the South, they must have some shade during midday and afternoon, when the sun is burning hot. They do best in a light, well-draining but constantly moist woodland soil, rich in organic matter. Acid, neutral, or slightly alkaline soils all suit these adaptable ferns. Once established, they tolerate very dry soils for extended periods. Dryopteris ferns make great companion plants for wildflowers, other ferns, and hostas. Planted in groups, the taller species make good background plantings. Propagate by dividing mature rootstocks in autumn or in very early spring. Propagation by spores is also relatively easy under the right conditions. The spores must be sown as soon as they are ripe on a coarse commercial mix with a pH of 7 maintained moist at 70°F (21°C). Most species grown here have naturalized and propagate on regular Georgia red clay, on improved soil, and in the cracks between brick edgings. I simply remove young ferns where they are not wanted and transplant them. Dryopteris ferns are prone to rusts, but I have not experienced this in my own plantings. Fungal spot and leaf gall have also been reported but have not occurred here. Insects do not bother these fern; neither do slugs or snails. Species and cultivars listed form slowly expanding clumps. All are rugged, most hardy to zone 4,

I forgo the mulch. The soil must be well drained and dry in summer; in areas of wet summers, it is better potted. Withhold water after the leaves die down, and add a slow-release fertilizer at the leaf emergence. Dracunculus (= dragon) belongs in the Araceae. Propagate by separating tuber offsets in autumn or very early spring. Diseases and attacks by insects are uncommon.

Dracunculus vulgaris, dragon arum. Mediterranean
region, Asia Minor. Morning sun, LS to WS; spathe large, 24–36 in. (60–90 cm) long, spathe tube pale green to greenish white outside, spathe blade (hood) broad and flaring, purple inside, dull greenish white or green below, margins wavy and turned down; spadix erect, as long as the spathe limb or slightly longer, shiny dark purple, almost black, foul-smelling; June–July; plant tuberous; leaves fan-shaped, 6–8 in. (15–20 cm) long and 10–14 in. (25–35 cm) wide, with 9–15 segments, middle one largest, all lanceshaped, pointed, dark green, with whitish markings; leaf stems purple-spotted, thick pseudostem, flowerstalk exceeds leafstalks. Not for those with sensitive noses, this species nevertheless fills the craving for weird plants some shade gardeners have.

Ferns are essential in the shady garden, and the genus Dryopteris, which at one time encompassed over 1200 species, contributes prodigiously to the ranks of gardenworthy ferns. Many are classics, outstanding garden ferns of tall stature, and some are even evergreen, providing a conspicuous accent in an otherwise bleak winter landscape. The evergreen Dryopteris erythrosora (autumn fern) from Japan, one of my favorites, has naturalized at Hosta Hill. This penchant for naturalizing is shared by D. affinis (golden shield fern) from Eurasia, one of the primary ferns in public gardens; its vase-shaped form fits well into the landscape. Very similar is D. filix-mas (male fern), a North American native that here turns a wonderful yellow in autumn. Easily the most unusual fern in my garden is D. sieboldii, from southern Japan and Taiwan; its fronds have a strange look, and its outline is anything but typical. Some visitors do not even recognize it as a fern.

Dryopteris and they adapt well to the dry, hot conditions of the South.


Dryopteris affinis, golden shield fern, scaly male fern.
Europe, Scandinavia south to the Alps and the Mediterranean, southwestern Asia. LS to FS; fronds 3–4 ft. (0.9–1.2 m) tall and to 12 in. (30 cm) wide, elliptic with tapering or blunt base, produced vase-shaped on slender stalks emerging directly from a knoblike crown, covered with yellow scales, stalk clad in dark orange scales, erect, leaning with age; leaves 2-compound, light pale green fronds composed of thin leaflets (pinnae), wedge-shaped, narrow, pointed at top, 3–6 in. (8–15 cm) long and 0.8–1.5 in. (2–4 cm) wide; subleaflets deeply cut, lobed, and toothed, base blunt, tip pointed; spore cases (sori) roundish, kidneyshaped. A robust, gardenworthy fern that comes true from spores. Here in zone 7a the fronds are evergreen; further north they remain green well into winter. Hardy to zone 6 with protection; will take full sun in northern gardens. Similar but larger-growing is Dryopteris wallachiana from India, China, Taiwan, and southern Japan; in the wild its fronds reach to 7 ft. (2 m). Both it and D. affinis are beautiful, evergreen ferns for background plantings, but D. wallachiana has a wider spread as the tall fronds bend down. ‘Congesta Cristata’, Cristata Group, a crested dwarf form with congested growth; 8–10 in. (20–25 cm) tall and wide. ‘Crispa’, Crispa Group, dwarf, congested growth; to 8 in. (20 cm) tall and wide. ‘Crispa Barnes’, Crispa Group, like ‘Crispa’ but more open, strongly crisped, and taller, to 30 in. (75 cm). ‘Cristata’ (‘Cristata the King’), Cristata Group, strongly crested, gracefully drooping fronds and strongly crested leaflets; to 40 in. (1 m). ‘Cristata Angustata’, Cristata Group, a ‘Cristata’ with narrower fronds, shorter leaflets; to 32 in. (80 cm). ‘Cristata Grandiceps Askew’, Cristata Group, strong grandiceps form with multibranched crests; to 36 in. (90 cm). ‘Cristata Ramosissima Wright’ (‘Ramosissima’), Cristata Group, very divided branched crests, with leaflets forked repeatedly and ending in a crest; to 32 in. (80 cm). ‘Furcans’, Cristata Group, strong form, similar

to the type but with multibranched crests; to 40 in. (1 m). ‘Pinderi’, a thin form of the typical species with very narrow, tapering fronds; to 28 in. (70 cm). ‘Polydactyla Dadds’, Cristata Group, grandiceps form with multibranched crests; to 32 in. (80 cm). ‘Polydactyla Mapplebeck’, Cristata Group, strong grandiceps form with wide, multibranched crests; to 40 in. (1 m). ‘Revolvens’, a form with leaflets curved backward and rolled under, creating tubular-shaped fronds to 32 in. (80 cm).

Dryopteris carthusiana, narrow buckler fern, spinulose wood fern, spiny wood fern, evergreen wood fern, fruitful wood fern, fancy fern. North temperate zone, Europe, eastern North America, Newfoundland west to Ontario and Iowa and in the mountains south to Georgia and Alabama. LS to FS; fronds to 30 in. (75 cm) and 12 in. (30 cm) wide, some reaching 36 in. (90 cm) in length, produced in rosettes on slender stalks emerging directly from the rhizome, scaly and brown at the base, stiffly erect, leaning with age; evergreen but becoming deciduous in severe winter; leaves 2- to 3-compound, light lime-green or pale yellowish green, composed of 10–25 pairs of thin leaflets (pinnae), wedge-shaped, usually narrow, pointed at top, 3–4 in. (8–10 cm) long and 0.8–1.5 in. (2–4 cm) wide; subleaflets deeply cut and toothed, mostly blunt-pointed; veins forked; spore cases (sori) short, curved, sometimes horseshoe-shaped. This extremely variable species is the park fern of Europe, frequently seen planted in large groups. The North American variant known as the evergreen wood fern or fancy fern has 3-compound fronds, with finely divided subleaflets, which explains its frequent use by florists and flower arrangers. Given good soil conditions and plenty of moisture, all variants make good garden subjects, but they can be invasive. I prefer Dryopteris affinis or D. filix-mas, which are less spreading. Hardy to zone 5.

Dryopteris clintoniana, Clinton’s fern, Clinton’s shield
fern, swamp fern. Eastern North America, Wisconsin to southern Quebec south to northwestern Georgia and northern Alabama, west to Tennessee. LS to FS; fronds light green, to 38 in. (95 cm) tall and 8 in. (20 cm) wide, oblong, lance-shaped with long tapering tips (which distinguish it from the


Dryopteris ‘Standishii’, leaflets very narrow, open appearance; to 16 in. (40 cm).

closely related Dryopteris cristata); produced in bundles on slender stalks emerging directly from a thick rhizome covered with large, glossy, blackish scales, stalk chaffish at the ground, clad in dark scales, erect, slightly leaning; leaves 2-compound, evergreen fronds composed of 10–15 pairs of leaflets (pinnae), oblong to lance-shaped, pointed tip, 3–5 in. (8–13 cm) long and 0.8–1.5 in. (2–4 cm) wide; subleaflets deeply cut, lobed, and toothed, base blunt, tip pointed; spore cases (sori) roundish, kidney-shaped, close to midrib. An outstanding, vigorous evergreen fern that requires supplemental moisture during dry periods and is better in cool northern gardens. A good specimen fern, it likes a sheltered spot that protects the tall fronds from being laid flat by high winds. Hardy to zone 4. Some consider it to be a naturally produced, perpetuating interspecific hybrid species, D. cristata × D. goldiana.

Dryopteris erythrosora, autumn fern, Japanese shield
fern, copper shield fern. Southern China, Taiwan, Philippines, east to Korea and Japan. LS to FS; fronds evergreen, coppery red when young, turning dark green, to 38 in. (95 cm) tall and 12 in. (30 cm) wide, oblong, lance-shaped with long tapering tips; produced in vase-shaped bundles on slender stalks emerging directly from a thick rhizome covered with reddish brown scales, stalk glossy reddish brown, erect, slightly leaning; leaves 2-compound, evergreen fronds composed of 8–20 pairs of leaflets (pinnae), oblong to lanceshaped, pointed tip, 3–8 in. (8–20 cm) long and 1.5–2.5 in. (4–6 cm) wide; subleaflets deeply cut, lobed, and toothed, tip pointed; spore cases (sori) roundish, kidney-shaped, in pairs. An outstanding, slow-growing, robust fern, indispensable for gardeners with limited space. New fronds emerge during late spring and early summer, providing an eye-catching mix of coppery new and older green fronds. Even the spore cases (sori) are red, hence erythrosora (= with red sori), often misspelled erythrospora (= with red spores). Established clumps withstand all kinds of weather, including long periods of heat and drought. To keep these ferns showy, provide supplemental water when the soil dries out and site in medium to full shade. The leathery fronds remain upright even during frequent spring storms, but they do appreciate a spot that shelters them from high winds. Slightly more tender than some of the native shield ferns but more hardy than originally thought; I have seen it successfully cultivated to zone 5 in sheltered areas. Variety cystolepidota is similar. ‘Gracilis’ is a highly decorative selection of the species, and ‘Purpurascens’ (var. purpurascens, Dryopteris purpurella) offers very red to purple coloration.

Dryopteris dilatata, broad buckler fern, mountain
wood fern. North America, Eurasia, South Africa. S to FS; fronds 12–38 in. (30–95 cm) and 4–15 in. (10–38 cm) wide, some reaching 6 ft. (1.8 m) in length, triangular with long tapering tips; produced in rosettes on slender stalks emerging directly from a thick rhizome covered with brown scales, stalk clad in brown scales, erect, slightly leaning; leaves 2-compound, evergreen fronds composed of 10–15 pairs of leaflets (pinnae), oblong to lance-shaped, pointed tip, 3–5 in. (8–13 cm) long and 0.8–1.5 in. (2–4 cm) wide; subleaflets deeply cut, lobed, and toothed; spore cases (sori) roundish, kidney-shaped, few, at tip of veins. A large, vigorous garden fern, similar to Dryopteris carthusiana. Hardy to zone 5. Cultivars may be better for the smaller garden. ‘Crispa Whiteside’ (‘Crispa’), uniformly crisped fronds; to 16 in. (40 cm). ‘Grandiceps’, fronds with large, terminal crests; to 20 in. (50 cm). ‘Lepidota’, leaflets with very thin segments giving an open, lacy appearance. ‘Lepidota Cristata’, petioles and midrib (frond stalk) grooved and covered with yellowish brown scales, leaflets crested, appearing forked; fronds to 16 in. (40 cm) tall and 6 in. (15 cm) wide. ‘Lepidota Grandiceps’, similar to ‘Grandiceps’ with leaflets thin and crested; fronds to 16 in. (40 cm) tall and 6 in. (15 cm) wide.

Dryopteris filix-mas, male fern. Cosmopolitan in the
cool regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. LS to FS; fronds deciduous, medium to dark green above, light to medium green beneath, 3–5 ft. (0.9–1.5 m) tall and to 20 in. (50 cm) wide, oblong elliptic, with long tapering tips; produced in vase-shaped bundles on slender stalks emerging directly from a thick rhizome covered with brown scales, stalk scaly, erect, slightly leaning; leaves 2-

Dryopteris compound, deciduous fronds composed of 16–30, usually 25 pairs of leaflets (pinnae), oblong to lance-shaped, pointed tip, 3–8 in. (8–20 cm) long and 1.5–2.5 in. (4–6 cm) wide; subleaflets lobed and toothed; spore cases (sori) round, kidney-shaped, very large, near midvein. An extremely variable species with many cultivars. It is easily cultivated under a variety of conditions, but moist soil and medium shade suit it best. Hardy to zone 4. Dryopteris crassirhizoma from Asia is similar to but not as hardy as D. filix-mas, probably to zone 6. ‘Barnesii’, a tall form with very narrow fronds, the leaflets are tilted forward with the subleaflets overlapped, giving a crisped appearance; to 40 in. (1 m) long and 6 in. (15 cm) wide. ‘Bollandiae’, a tall, feathery, often ill-formed but vigorous selection; 16–32 in. (40–80 cm). ‘Crispa’, Crispa Group, crisped fronds composed of densely overlapping leaflets and subleaflets; to 20 in. (50 cm). ‘Crispa Cristata’, Cristata Group, fronds crisped and crested; 12–20 in. (30–50 cm). ‘Crispa Jackson’ (‘Cristata Fred Jackson’), Cristata Group, a tall large-crested form; to 32 in. (80 cm). ‘Crispa Martindale’, Cristata Group, an uncommon, tall, small-crested form with leaflets curving toward tip of frond; to 24 in. (60 cm). ‘Cristata’ (English crested male fern, king of the male fern), the original crested male fern developed in England, with crests on the tips of the leaflets only. It has been surpassed by cultivars that are more crested and branched. ‘Decomposita’, a tall, feathery form with muchdivided subleaflets, appearing almost 2-compound; 24–32 in. (60–80 cm). ‘Depauperata Padley’, a small, dark green form with the leaflets merging and combining toward the tip of frond, 8–12 in. (20–30 cm). ‘Furcans’, like the typical species but with leaflets divided at the tip. ‘Grandiceps Willis’, large, multibranched form, tasseled terminal crests, with leaflets also tasseled at the tips; 20–28 in. (50–70 cm). ‘Incisa’, a huge, vigorous selection of the type, to 5 ft. (1.5 m), with fronds to 16 in. (40 cm) wide and narrow leaflets to 1.5 in. (4 cm) wide with long, narrowing tips, incised and cleft. ‘Jervisii’, a grandiceps form with tasseled frond tips and leaflets; to 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall.


‘Linearis’, very narrow, crisped, finely divided leaflets; 24–28 in. (60–70 cm). ‘Linearis Polydactylon’, very narrow, crisped, finely divided leaflets and branching in the frond tips and leaflets; 24–28 in. (60–70 cm). ‘Lux-lunea’, terminal crests and variegated leaflets; to 20 in. (50 cm).

Dryopteris goldiana, Goldie’s fern, giant wood fern,
Goldie’s shield fern, Goldie’s wood fern. Eastern North America, Wisconsin, Great Lakes region, New Brunswick to Ontario, in the mountains south to northeastern Georgia. LS to FS; fronds shiny dark green, later bronzetinted, leathery, to 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall and 12 in. (30 cm) wide, broadly lance-shaped with abruptly tapering tips and tapered toward base; produced in bundles on slender stalks emerging directly from a thick rhizome covered with tan scales, stalk, very scaly at base, less so further up, tan to straw-colored, erect, slightly leaning; leaves 2-compound, evergreen fronds composed of 12–16 pairs of leaflets (pinnae), oblong to lance-shaped, tapering at base and tip, pointed tip, short-stalked, backward-tilting, 4–6 in. (10–15 cm) long and 1.5–2.5 in. (4–6 cm) wide; subleaflets deeply cut, incurved margins finely toothed, base and tip blunt; spore cases (sori) roundish, kidney-shaped, widely spaced, nearer to midrib than the margin. This outstanding vigorous species (seen in photo of Heuchera villosa) is the giant of the native North American wood ferns. Its backward-tilting leaflets, which give it a somewhat coarse appearance, make it easily recognizable. It is rare in northern Georgia, but large colonies exist in northern states. In the South it requires supplemental moisture during dry periods but once established it is an excellent, long-lasting garden fern for the background and in a shrub border, where it uses the low branches of its neighbors as props during heavy rains. Singly, it makes good specimen fern. Hardy to zone 4, possibly 3, depending on microclimate.

Dryopteris ludoviciana, southern wood fern, sword
fern, southern swamp fern, Florida swamp fern. Southeastern North America, western North Carolina south to southwestern Georgia and central Florida and coastal Alabama, Louisiana, and eastern Texas.


Dryopteris invasive, it remains a slowly expanding clump; its large, knobby, aboveground crown of tightly rolledup fronds looks like a clenched fist. It appreciates supplemental moisture during dry periods, but once established it is an excellent, long-lasting garden fern: in 1970 I rescued a few clumps from a North Georgia wood that was facing development, and they still grow in my garden. Highly adaptable to acid or alkaline, light or even heavy soils, and tolerant of hot, dry summers. Hardy to zone 3.

LS to FS; fronds shiny medium to dark green above, lighter dull green below, leathery, to 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall and 10 in. (25 cm) wide, oblong, lanceshaped with long tapering tips; produced in a row on slender stalks emerging directly from a thick rhizome covered with beige to bronze scales, stalk chaffish at the ground, clad in beige scales, erect, slightly leaning; leaves 2-compound, evergreen fronds composed of 10–15 pairs of leaflets (pinnae), fertile in the upper half of the frond with the subleaflets longer, narrower, sterile in the lower half with subleaflets shorter, wider; subleaflets oblong to broadly lance-shaped with a blunt tip; spore cases (sori) roundish, kidney-shaped, midway between midrib and margin. In its natural habitat, this vigorous species frequents cypress swamps and wet, swampy woods so requires supplemental moisture during dry periods, especially in the South. Used to heat and humidity, it is a good fern for southern gardens. Same garden uses as Dryopteris goldiana. Hardy to zone 7.

Dryopteris sieboldii, Siebold’s fern. Southern Japan,
Taiwan. LS to FS; fronds dark verdigris-green above, lighter dull grayish green below and covered with felty hair, very leathery, to 30 in. (75 cm) long and 20 in. (50 cm) wide, usually bending down and becoming semierect to subhorizontal; produced in a row on slender stalks emerging directly from a thick rhizome covered with deciduous dark brown scales; evergreen leaves composed of 3–5 pairs of entire leaflets (pinnae), fertile in the upper half of the frond, sterile beneath, usually with a single, terminal leaflet at the tip, which is sometimes forked; leaflets are 6–10 in. (15–25 cm) long and 1–1.5 in. (2.5–4 cm) wide, lance-shaped with an acutely tapering tip, somewhat sickle-shaped in outline, with margins almost smooth to lobed or scalloped or toothed and turned down at the edge, rounded at the base and short-stalked or sometimes sessile, very irregular; spore cases (sori) roundish, kidneyshaped, large and conspicuous, in 2 rows, or partially as a single row along each side of the midrib. The epithet of this most unusual fern honors German physician and plant collector Siebold. Published illustrations frequently show regularly strap-shaped fronds with incised but even margins, but the clones that have naturalized at Hosta Hill are weirdly wonderful. It is reliably evergreen here, having survived brief, nightly dips to 0°F (−18°C) with a deep, dry mulch of pine straw. I have seen it grown in zone 6 gardens, but further north, the leaflets die and new fronds emerge in spring, provided a very thick winter mulch is provided. Where it is simply too cold for too long, it can be overwintered in a pot in a cool basement. Site this peculiar fern along a path where all comers can view and admire it; it is guaranteed to be a conversation plant.

Dryopteris marginalis, marginal wood fern, marginal shield fern, leatherleaf wood fern, leather wood fern, evergreen wood fern, fist fern. North America, Nova Scotia west to Ontario and British Columbia, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Great Lakes region, in the mountains south to Georgia and west to Oklahoma. LS to FS; fronds shiny dark gray to bluish green above and lighter medium green beneath, very leathery, to 36 in. (90 cm) tall and 10 in. (25 cm) wide, broadly lance-shaped with gradually tapering tips and slightly tapered toward base; produced in rosette from a large, swollen part of a thick rhizome covered with very long, to 1 in. (2.5 cm), tan to yellowish brown scales; stalk very scaly at base, less so further up, light green, leaning; leaves 2- to almost 3-compound, evergreen fronds composed of 14–22 pairs of leaflets (pinnae), fertile in the upper half, sterile below, not opposite, lanceshaped and tapering to pointed tip, 2–6 in. (5–15 cm) long and 0.8–1.2 in. (2–3 cm) wide; subleaflets deeply cut, not or barely toothed, base and tip blunt; spore cases (sori) roundish, kidney-shaped, very large and conspicuous, at the margin. An outstanding, vigorous native North American wood fern whose bluish green color and leathery substance make it an ideal accent fern for the garden. Unlike other Dryopteris species, which can become



A weed is sometimes defined as a plant that covers the ground and hinders the growth of superior vegetation. The crucial question for most gardeners is, what constitutes superior vegetation? In my garden, elephant’s foot is one answer. I first saw Elephantopus carolinianus, one species I grow, during a late summer outing in northern Georgia. A large colony was making a home in a clearing, covering the ground with rosettes of textured, dark green leaves. Smaller leaves came from several nodes further up the stem, and each branch of the raceme was topped with tiny purplish flowers surrounded by three large bracts. The overall impression was that of a lilac haze floating over an emerald sea, and hoping to recreate this pleasant apparition in my own garden, I returned in autumn to collect a few seeds. These I planted in a bare spot, in good soil, but nothing came up the following spring. A few stray seeds had landed on the adjoining walk, however, and there a few small plants emerged: this species abhors fine tilth, preferring to grow on and in heavy clay. Now, years later, it still comes up here and there, sinking its taproots deep into heavy soil and enduring heat, drought, deep shade, being stepped on, and all kinds of other unpleasantries. I even paint mature plants with herbicide from time to time, something I hate to do, but this is the only way to remove them. Digging and leaving a bit of root in the ground is like trying to eliminate dandelions by pulling the top off: the root will make another plant in a hurry. It is, after all, a cultivated weed, so I watch for it during my spring cleanup walks, removing small seedlings quickly where they are not wanted. But I still grow it—I like its attractive leaves at the edge of a garden path, its small but charming flowers, its unusual stature, and its gutsy independence. Several species are included in the genus Elephantopus, which name is from the Greek elephas (= elephant) and podos or podion (= foot). Most are available from specialty wildflower nurseries. Seed can be collected in the wild, but transplanting mature plants with deep taproots is difficult to impossible. Risk this with no wildflower, not even a weed. Elephantopus is classified in the Asteraceae. Propagate by letting plants self-seed. Leave the seed on the ground or collect and sow directly where plants are wanted. Transplanting chance

seedlings, which have not yet developed a taproot, is usually successful. Neither slugs, nor snails, nor any other pest or disease seems to bother these weeds, which we, as gardeners, have the power to elevate to the status of superior vegetation . . .

Elephantopus carolinianus, elephant’s foot, leafystemmed elephant’s foot, Carolina elephant’s foot, tobacco weed. Eastern North America, New England in eastern Massachusetts south to Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida, west to eastern Alabama, southeastern Kentucky, and southern Great Lakes region. LS to WS; flowers very small tubular florets, lilac to purple, sometimes white, with 3 heart-shaped bracts to 1 in. (2.5 cm) long and 0.6 in. (1.5 cm) wide; August–September; stems 10–36 in. (25–90 cm) tall, thin but sturdy, green to dark green and hairy, upright, branching near the top, with basal leaves elliptic to broadly lance-shaped, 4–10 in. (10–25 cm) long and 2–4 in. (5–10 cm) wide, stem leaves smaller and at the branching nodes; leaves shiny above and dull below, dark emerald-green, leathery, veins deeply impressed on top, leaf surface heavily and irregularly wrinkled and crinkled, folded along the midrib. The flowers of this “nice” weed are small but many and long-lasting, and its foliage adds season-long texture to the garden. Hardy to zone 5.

Elephantopus tomentosus, elephant’s foot, tobacco
weed. Eastern North America, Virginia south to Georgia and Florida, west to Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Texas. LS to MS; flowers very small tubular florets, rose-pink to light purple fading to white, rarely all white, with 3 heart-shaped bracts to 0.5 in. (1 cm); August–September. This species is almost identical to Elephantopus carolinianus but has only a basal rosette of leaves and no conspicuous stem leaves. It is common in the wild but not as abundant as E. carolinianus. The widely available E. nudatus has most attractive violet flowers and basal leaves only; another southeastern species, E. elatus, is rarely, if ever, offered. Both are limited to the Southeast and hardy to zone 6b.

(5 cm) across. The genus is classified in the poppy family. and painted the still emerging leaves with a systemic herbicide. carefully removing all bits of root from the environs. to 2 in. May–June. My host offered me a piece of it. and I went home the proud owner of a small clump. Propagate by dividing the rhizome in very early spring before growth starts. poppy of the dawn. I forgot all about it. with yellow centers of 70 stamens. or barrenworts. very conspicuous below. Epimedium Epimediums. At first it sat there. where it covers the banks of lakes and rivers. losing all its flowers and leaves. so I did not argue much with his interpretation. holding on to their leaves until the new growth in spring appears. eastern poppy. tiny piece of it should ever be discarded into the wild. that is to say “above average. the Greek name for another plant. no other pests or diseases are reported or experienced here. (15 cm) long and 5 in. they are increasingly included in woodland gardens and borders as groundcovers and fill-in plants. LS to WS. pungent. flowers 1–5. After a hot. but until recently only astute gardeners seemed to notice and plant them. and proceeded to dig. and not a single. remarked one day that it should be translated as epi (= above) and medio (= middle). Hardy to zone 6 with protection. This charming but potentially invasive poppy makes a solid groundcover with lovely white flowers in spring. usually in full sun or light shade. and there it remains. snow poppy. The genus name is from the Greek heoros (= eastern) and mekon (= poppy). trying to escape. but I decided not to give it up for dead. dry summer. a few soaking autumn rains brought a new crop of leaves. branched flowerstalk to 16 in. . light gray-green beneath. I did pot up a piece of the plant. Chinese snow poppy. as I now do. plant rhizomatous.174 Eomecon ing in spring. Many are evergreen. It should be planted in the ground only where it has room to expand. and I was pleased to see this sign of life. to 6 in. kidney-shaped with irregularly scalloped margin and a single deep cleft at the base. These modest plants have been around for years. I was bewitched by the umbrellalike. Seed can be sown in a cold frame in spring. and with the autumn cleanup. white. in small bundles along the rhizome. who treasures epimediums very much. (13 cm) wide. leaves dull. in more northern regions. in a soil that only rarely freezes to a depth of 3 in. Papaveraceae. Confine it to a large pot. Epimedium is placed in the Berberidaceae. for remembrance. straining at its limits. Eomecon I first saw Eomecon chionantha (Chinese snow poppy) on a spring visit to a distant garden. the epithet is from chion (= snow) and anthos (= flower). sap orange-red. but a learned friend of mine. long-lived perennials native to the woodlands and shady rockeries of temperate Eurasia and the Far East. grayish green leaves offset by gracefully nodding or upright. friable soil. (40 cm) tall. Northern gardeners need not worry—deeply freezing soil will kill it. Eomecon chionantha is native to eastern China. dark grayish green above. leaf stems light green. crystalline white flowers. Epimediums are rhizomatous. terminal on an open. particularly when planted in good. however.” I too like these wonderful plants for the shady garden. Little did I know. (25–30 cm) tall. (8 cm)—if at all. in mild years—the stealthy plant spread considerably. But over winter. quickly and often invasively spreading. it may overpower more delicate wildflowers in the woodland border. leathery. I placed soil dug from around its periphery on the compost pile. An early hard freeze in November cut down the fresh leaves. faster than I could contain it. I was literally off to the races with this small plant. assured that it would grow even when ripped out of the ground in full flower. veins projected on both sides. I admire it safely embraced by a decorative container on the patio. I finally dug the entire colony. I do not recommend this species for small gardens. Chinese bloodroot. Eastern China. and in short order it too sprouted snow poppies. I am telling this story to warn gardeners about the threat this pretty but crafty species poses in areas of mild winters. shallowly bellshaped. stout. unprompted. Once relegated to rock gardens. 10–12 in. this poppy can be a serious menace. Slugs and snails can damage new growth emerg- Eomecon chionantha. are easily the most unjustly underused perennial. Further south in zone 7 and even 6. The genus name may be traced to epimedion. upright.

A few species are in fact deciduous. At Hosta Hill. long-spurred flowers of E. through brownish beiges. For the remainder of the year it carpets its area with a foot-high. In another area of the garden. but waiting too long can also be detrimental. Here they grow in clayey soils. but sandy or even rocky ground poses no obstacle to cultivation. most are quite small. Propagate by dividing the creeping rhizome in late autumn or very early spring. usually twice-compound. It and many others sometimes listed as clump-forming actually form patches. but here even prolonged dry periods do not affect them adversely. I have my E. often larger-flowered epimediums will soon grace Western gardens. Flowers are cup. Some are heartshaped. finely textured groundcover. and weedpreventing groundcovers. borne for a few weeks on stems taller than the leaves. epimediums also succeed in frost-free southern areas. and their usually pink color is highly noticeable. This happens in late March or early April here. This truly spectacular barrenwort has larger leaves than most cultivars. horn-shaped appendages). the large. but lance. In spring at Hosta Hill. I enjoy the flowers when I can early in spring. but some species and cultivars are known for larger flowers. often with a bronzy tint. grandiflorum ‘White Queen’ light up a dark corner underneath azaleas in early spring.and arrow-shaped leaves also occur. Darrell Probst. Over the years. . with one to three leaflets per division. the acknowledged expert on the genus. the petals with or without spurs (distinct. Written records and reports are sufficient to put together brief summaries of most of these new marvels. but it is the leaves I really want. ×perralchicum ‘Frohn- 175 leiten’ in a well-mulched woodland setting underneath an azalea. and the thick canopy of old epimedium leaves should be removed beforehand so as not to obscure them. later further north. The timing of this leaf removal is crucial: it must be done just before the flowerstalks begin to rise. making sure each piece has a growing tip. but here all behave like evergreens during mild winters. a few of my patches take considerable southern sun in the afternoon without ill effects. reds. covering large areas of ground given the right conditions. to pinks. and purples. Nomenclature has been a problem for both the classic species and the influx of new discoveries. Their ability to reliably cover level and sloping ground with dazzling foliage—and do this under all conditions of shade throughout most seasons—makes them top choice for me. solid mass of splendid leaves. keeping the soil underneath moist and cool. emerging green. Epimediums can be grown in varying intensities of shade but are not sun-shy. because the young flowering stems might be cut off along with the old foliage. mottled pink in spring and turning mottled shades of deep green later. even if actual garden experience with them is limited. its large bright yellow flowers. and his efforts have been incorporated here. to 3 in. My very favorite is Epimedium ×perralchicum ‘Frohnleiten’. (8 cm). They adapt to a variety of soil conditions. Dig carefully and divide. these new. most are reliably hardy to about that. My epimedium patches have survived record-low temperatures of −10°F (−23°C) at Hosta Hill. turning unconvinced gardeners into epimedium aficionados or even fanatics.or saucer-shaped. Most epimediums favor moist conditions (some mulch is beneficial). Colors range from whites and yellows. always receive accolades from visitors. is sorting through this taxonomic nightmare. Mature leaves are stiff and leathery. Rhizomes are very shallow in the soil. I have come to the conclusion that I value epimediums primarily as excellent. Each leaflet is finely toothed. for a total of three to nine leaflets. solitary leafcutter bees take big chunks out of the soft barrenwort leaves. flowers usually emerge and open before the leaves arise in spring. where it gets medium shade. and colors up well in autumn. their modest yet beguiling floral display is definitely a bonus in spring. Extensive breeding in Germany and the United Kingdom has yielded hybrid cultivars that deliver outstanding garden value. Thanks to his extensive collections.Epimedium these may turn deciduous. It is hard for me to understand why epimediums are not included in more gardens. the leaves form a contiguous canopy that makes an excellent. The leaves arise directly from the rhizome and are compound. The genus Epimedium has more than doubled its former count of 20 or so species in recent years. where little or no winter chilling occurs. Flowering takes place in April and May. In established plants. Further.5 to circumneutral. from pH 5. attractive. Late frosts and freezes may cut down the young flowers once the protective old leaf canopy is removed. Better still. but lucky for us.

star-shaped. inner sepals red. evergreen. Unless otherwise noted. I have not experienced any fungal diseases with epimediums. and ‘Variegatum’ (white-mottled or -speckled leaves in spring. Sun. whichever is higher. flowers to 1. creating a bright accent in the shady garden. inner sepals dark red. Sun. (20 cm). slowly spreading. and their horizontal width increases constantly with the age of the plant. Sun. flowers to 1. short spurs. . Available selections include ‘Nanum’ (a dwarf form). LS to MS. flowers to 1 in. Epimedium acuminatum.5 cm). sepals bright red with yellowish petals. petals bright yellow with long spurs. Species and cultivars listed are hardy to zone 5. evergreen. plant to 12 in. LS to MS. pubigerum). red. LS to MS. China. and less spreading. later dark glossy green. narrow leaflets. LS to MS. LS to MS. flowers 0. Foliage is exceptional in spring. (40 cm) tall.5 in. but mosaic virus is occasionally reported. (4 cm).5 in. petals yellow with spurs. slowly spreading. plant clump-forming. LS to MS.5 in. Garden hybrid (E. plant height is measured to the tallest point. who scallop the leaf margins. China. Yunnan. Most species and cultivars listed are rhizomatous. leaves divided into 3 lance-shaped leaflets. Cold hardiness of many of the newer introductions from China is not yet fully determined.176 Epimedium even more widespread is the damage done by vine weevils.3–0. evergreen. One of the few deciduous species. Japan. (2. plant 8–12 in. Leaves are particularly attractive in spring but contribute to the diversity of garden foliage all during the season. to 18 in. plant to 12 in.5 in. spiny margins. bloom period is early to mid-spring. Sun. which appear in 3s with small lobes at the base. spreading. turning all green by early summer). LS to MS. Often confused with Epimedium leptorrhizum: the two are almost alike above ground. leaves single with 5–9 heart-shaped leaflets. bright green. (5 cm). Sun. Southern Europe. medium green mottled with red. leaves divided into 3–5 ovate leaflets. leaves divided into 2 leaflets. Sichuan. alpine barrenwort. mostly medium green. leaves divided into 2 leaflets. ‘Roseum’ (rose-pink flowers). but E. (4 cm). which overtop the leaf mound. flowers to 0. (30 cm) tall. leaves divided into many thin leaflets. bronze when young. later bright green. (30 cm) tall. depending upon location and microclimate. glaucous beneath. soft butter-yellow. The showy flowers are held above the foliage. inner sepals red. Epimedium brachyrrhizum. Epimedium alpinum. Epimedium diphyllum. Some plants have insignificant inner sepals. Epimedium chlorandrum. plant to 12 in. either flowerstalk or top of leaf mound. (1 cm). with spurs. flowers to 0. white. alpi- num × E. Epimedium brevicornu. Sichuan. Sun. Outstanding for its large flowers. plant to 12 in. (30 cm) tall. horizontal width is therefore not indicated in the descriptions. and even pink shading to yellow. spreading. almost yellowish green base color. reflexed spurs. some with creamy white petals. The selection ‘Shrimp Girl’ is smaller. with inner sepals white and petals rose-pink. leaves divided into 3 lance-shaped leaflets. China. This relatively new species from mountainous southwestern China is well known there for its dried roots. Guizhou. Sichuan. unless otherwise noted. slowly spreading. evergreen. brachyrrhizum has shorter rhizomes. China. Sichuan. plant to 12 in. leaves divided into leaflets. Several clones. medium green mottled pink. excellent for dry shade. later turning dark green.5 in. Epimedium davidii. China.9–1 cm). flowers to 2 in. evergreen. medium green mottled with pink. (0. sometimes white or light pink. flowers small. its many leaflets make it a bushy plant in the garden. spreading. are in commerce. evergreen to semievergreen. (30 cm) tall. deciduous. petals yellow. (30 cm) tall. plant to 16 in. LS to MS. numerous. flushed with red in spring. but most appear to be hardy to zone 6. (20–30 cm) tall. (45 cm) tall. an irregular reddish mottling over a pale. their blooms appear to be all yellow. to 8 in. Sun. white. (1 cm). evergreen. spurless. bicolored. Outstanding for its large-spurred light yellow flowers and long. which are used as a male aphrodisiac. Epimedium ×cantabrigiense. Forma rotundatum has more rounded leaves.

(25–30 cm) tall. longspur barrenwort. inner sepals yellowish white. emerging bronze. (2. with very large bright yellow flowers. as its many selections indicate. Sun. (5 cm) wide. Subspecies koreanum is among the largest garden epimediums.5 in. is a large form with light to greenish yellow flowers produced above the leaves. (5 cm). China. leaves divided into 3 leaflets. the upper leaf surface is covered with tiny hairs. green. petals yellow with narrow spread. dark red flowers with whitetipped spurs. Epimedium grandiflorum. This spreading species with large. the old leaves should be removed to expose the emerging flowers. Sun. flowers 2–3 in. spiny. LS to MS. leaves divided into 3 leaflets. many of these have yellow or greenish yellow flowers on a mound with bright green leaves: ‘Harold Epstein’. evergreen. Sichuan. sometimes yellowish green. (38 cm). cup and spurs white. plant 12–18 in. (8 cm) long and 2 in. later turning medium to dark green. Still too new to be planted at Hosta Hill. in mildwinter areas. leaves divided into 9 leaflets.Epimedium 177 Epimedium dolichostemon. Epimedium fangii. (5 cm). glossy green. flowers yellow. (4 cm) wide. As the Greek-based epithet indicates. this marvelous show is transitory. Hunan.5 in. but sadly. (8 cm) long and 1. flowers to 1. it too produces its flowers above the leaves. Many of the several cultivars in the Epimedium grandiflorum complex produce a second flush of taller leaves after flowering. petals red. dwarf with deep lavender flowers. flowers to 1. I have seen photographs. ‘Lilafee’ (‘Lilac Fairy’). purpletinted leaves in spring. clump-forming. Hubei. leaves dark green. with very large yellow flowers and arrow-shaped leaves. inner sepals broad.5 cm) long. bishop’s hat. China. in spring mottled with dark greenish gray. (4 cm). Consult catalogs for the latest listings. Named for Wen-pei Fang. Sun. . Sun.5 in. and the wonderful. (25 cm) tall. without spurs. spreads vigorously. spreading on long rhizomes. LS to MS. bicolored. vigorous. petals reddish purple with long spurs. rose-colored inner sepals. to 16 in. This floriferous species has up to 20 flowers per stem. plant to 12 in. deciduous. dark lilac flowers. rich yellow flowers form cloudlike masses in early spring. The leaflets are neatly margined with dark green on a light field in spring. ‘Koji’. making large. Epimedium franchetii. even diminutive. the noted Chinese author who produced a detailed flora of the environs of Mt. where leaves are evergreen. held above the leaves. to 2 in. China. as the Latin epithet indicates. Sichuan. plant to 10 in. (30 cm) tall. petals yellow with spurs. Subspecies coelestre.5 in. China. LS to MS. to 3 in. ‘Crimson Beauty’. tall. leaves divided into 3 lance-shaped leaflets. Epimedium epsteinii. from mountainous Japan and hardy to zone 3. LS to MS. and they are indeed. LS to MS. (4 cm). (5–8 cm). Probably the best known of all epimediums and outstanding for its large flowers (hence the epithet) with very long spurs. (40 cm). later light green. China. with long spurs to 1 in. Recent exploration of the native habitat has revealed various new forms. inner sepals red to brownish red. Japan. but others may list them as varieties. Subspecies higoense from Shikoku Island in Japan is usually small. Named for Harold Epstein. Sun. attractive flowers makes an excellent groundcover. leaves dark green. reddish coppery when young. with much smaller white flowers. bell-shaped. slowly spreading. I am maintaining them as subspecies. plant to 15 in. flowers to 1. plant 10–12 in. leaves tinted dark bronze in spring. LS to MS. (4 cm). inner sepals white. (30–45 cm) tall. long stamens are the identifying feature of this species. minute hairs cover both surfaces of the oval leaflets. Sun. ‘Nanum’. evergreen. China. Flowers are unique in that both sepals and petals form a truly bell-shaped perianth. to 3 in. Korea. dwarf with white flowers. The few flowers this species produces are nonetheless large and exquisite. the famous plantsman. Sichuan. Makes a good accent clump in the shady garden. evergreen. Omei in western Sichuan province. large white flowers with long. Some subspecies produce flowers among or below the leaf crown. white spurs. forms a large clump. spreading on long rhizomes. ‘Elfenkönigin’ (‘Queen of Elfs’). white. flowers to 2 in. Epimedium ecalcaratum. tight patches. spurless. and ‘La Rocaille’.

Hardy to zone 7. China. LS to MS. leaves divided into 3 leaflets. white to pinkish white. Epimedium perralderianum. with flowers to 2. silvery white flowers with long spurs. bright yellow on short stems. ovate. flowers to 1 in. slowly spreading. leaves tinted dark bronze in spring. (25 cm) tall. (2. LS to MS. rare but available. flowers 0. leaves tinted dark reddish bronze in spring. vivid rose-red flowers. Sichuan. Epimedium ×perralchicum. wavy leaflets are particularly attractive in spring. This vigorous species is being used for hybridizing in England. bright yellow. later green. making large. with long spurs. ‘Yubae’ (‘Rose Queen’). plant to 16 in. violaceum). white inner sepals with dark yellow to brownish yellow petals. to 14 in. leaves divided. sepals and petals bright yellow. spurs tinged reddish or brownish. Another of the recent accessions from western China. large. on 12 in. petal-like inner sepals. evergreen. The selection ‘Weihenstephan’ spreads faster and has larger leaves and flowers and deeper green. very large white flowers with long. ralderianum × E. pinnatum subsp. plant to 12 in. each with 1–3 large. broad. colchicum). wavy margin. ‘Tama-no-Genpei’ (= jewel of Genpei). flowers to 1.5 cm). Epimedium pauciflorum. very numerous. evergreen.5 in.5 cm).5 in. ‘Wisley’. Sun. each with 3 heart-shaped leaflets. green. white with broad.5 in. China.5 in. huge flowers to 3 in. ‘White Queen’. large dark red-purple inner sepals with white petals fading to lavender on the spurs. evergreen. (0. medium. LS to MS. flowers to 1 in. LS to MS. evergreen. held on stems to 16 in. plant to 8 in. spreading. small plant.5 in. Epimedium ogisui. ‘Violaceum’ (f. flowers to 1. dark rose-pink flowers with spurs. ovate lanceshaped leaflets. The large. flowers to 1. (5 cm). to 2 in. (60 cm) tall. wavy leaflets. heart-shaped. leaves tinted dark bronze in spring. Algeria. green. produced above the leaves. leaves divided bipinnate. (40 cm) stems. Guizhou. produced above the leaves and held in the upper parts of horizontally arranged stems. Named for renowned Japanese botanist Mikinori Ogisu. (40 cm) tall. dark reddish purple flowers with broad white-tipped spurs. (35 cm). LS to MS. (20 cm) tall. emerging reddish bronze in spring. luxurious foliage. evergreen. held on 16 in. ovate. (4 cm). pet- . glossy green. leaves tinted dark bronze in spring. slowly spreading. dark violet flowers with white-tipped spurs. it is remontant (reblooming) and floriferous—very gardenworthy. ‘Rose Dwarf’. dark rose-pink flowers with white-tipped spurs. shiny green. plant to 10 in. leaves divided into 3 leaflets. Sun. white spurs. inner sepals flushed rose-pink. slowly spreading. with spiny. leaves divided into 3 leaflets. leaves divided. 6 with good protection. China. ‘Silver Queen’. slowly spreading on long rhizomes. glossy green lightly flecked with pink. open patches. Epimedium myrianthum. this species is in the background of many good garden hybrids. dark lavender flowers.9–1 cm).178 Epimedium als white with narrow spurs. 5–12. LS to MS. conspicuously veined. the unusually shaped leaflets are bright green and thinly lance-shaped with a long. bright lemon-yellow. broad.3–0. (30 cm) stems. when their strongly mottled appearance approaches variegation. whitish pink petal-like spurs that spread widely. lobed leaflets. light green leaflets. (30 cm) tall. rose-pink flowers above bright. ‘Frohnleiten’. Although the flowers of this species are tiny. per- Epimedium leptorrhizum. (2. green. (20 cm) but usually smaller. petals white. streaked with pink. slowly spreading. North Africa. Garden hybrid (E. mottled reddish pink when young. (4 cm). slowly spreading on long rhizomes. plant to 12 in. ‘Saxton Purple’. In cultivation since the 1860s. ‘Red Queen’. Sichuan. ‘Queen Esta’. (8 cm) across. ‘Sirius’. deeply veined. var. (4 cm). leaves divided bipinnate into 3 leaflets. (30 cm) tall. Outstanding garden plant—a few small starts have made sizeable colonies at Hosta Hill. violaceum. with large spines along wavy margin. tapering tip. purpletinted leaves in spring. (6 cm). (40 cm) tall. inner sepals lilac. plant to 24 in. plant to 8 in. China. later dark. to 100 per stem. bronze when young.

borne on 18 in. tinged green.5 in. grandiflorum). ‘White Purity’. plant clumpforming. inner sepals white flushed rose. China. evergreen. (1 cm). ovate.75 in. quickly spreading. evergreen. evergreen. becoming all green later. plant to 15 in.5 in. (20–30 cm) tall. Epimedium pubescens.75 in. flushed with red in spring. (25 cm) tall. glossy green. dwarf form to 6 in. spiny. later green. (2 cm). leaves divided into 3 spear-shaped leaflets. compact rhizomes. ‘Candy Hearts’. (30 cm) tall. flowers to 1. to 30 flowers per stem. later green. flowers to 0. 10–20 in. white inner sepals with reddish orange (bronze) petals. green. cupped petals. leaves divided into 9 or more round to ovate. LS to MS. Sichuan. Epimedium sempervirens. heart-shaped medium green. evergreen. (15 cm) long. Also offered as Epimedium sempervirens (violet form). LS to MS. ‘Wudang Star’. Anhui. very glossy in spring. evergreen. showing white splashings in the leaflets early. white inner sepals with tiny brownish. Epimedium pubigerum. spiny. Japan. (4 cm). inner sepals expanded. up to 50 flowers per stem. yellow. evergreen. Epimedium sagittatum. is a superb clonal selection. LS to MS. short spurs. (1 cm). flowers produced above the leaves. plant 8–12 in. Outstanding for its striking foliage. starlike. Japan. up to 40. Northern Iran. (25–50 cm) tall. Sun. glossy green. flushed pink in spring. flushed pink in spring turning medium green. LS to MS. glossy dark green. Very floriferous and remontant (reblooming). red barrenwort.75 in. green later. inner sepals white. dark lavender flowers. to 10 flowers per stem. ‘Vega’. drought-resistant. plant to 10 in. Garden hybrid Epimedium stellulatum. slowly spreading. large leaves. pink spurs with white at the tips. China. (40 cm) tall. to 24 in. flowers to 0. glaucous coating below.5 in. Subspecies colchicum from Turkey and the Caucasus spreads faster and has larger leaves and flowers and deeper green. petals pink. large lanceshaped leaflets. leaves divided into 2 leaflets. plant to 10 in. broad in the lower half. Epimedium ×rubrum. spiny. plant to 16 in. large violet flowers. floriferous. plant clump-forming. flowers small. leaflets mottled bronze in spring. wavy leaflets. (2 cm). flowers to 0. creamy white to pale yellow. outstanding for its floriferous habit. A variegated form is known. plant to 12 in. leaflets flushed with rose in spring.75 in. large violet flowers. (50 cm) stems. on 20 in. (60 cm). concolor has yellow spurs. northern Turkey. with a more pinkish cast to the flowers. glossy. (38 cm) tall. pure white flowers. petals purple. evergreen. produced above the leaves. later dark. LS to MS. well above the leaves. large. with more contrasting brownish petals and lavish flowering habit. petals very small dark reddish to brownish purple with minuscule red spurs. southern Caucasus. with short spurs. (15 cm). flowers to 0. inner sepals bright red with yellowish petals. produced below leaves. flowers to 0. leaflets flushed with rose in spring. lanceshaped. China. ‘Cobblewood Form’ is a vigorous cultivar . evergreen. ovate. tinged reddish to brownish. dark green later. spiny margins.Epimedium 179 Epimedium pinnatum. LS to MS. Sun. ‘Aurora’. (25 cm) tall. dark green later. Southwest China. shiny leaflets with leathery substance. Shaanxi. medium to dark green. remaining so until late season. inner sepals dark rose-pink. edged pink when young. Eastern Balkans. Hubei. leaves with 2 leaflets. Shaanxii. cup and spurs white. leaflets heart-shaped. LS to MS. its f. Epimedium rhizomatosum. ‘Mars’. leaves divided into 3 leaflets. leaves divided into 3–9 ovate leaflets. long. (2 cm). which are produced well above the more rounded leaves. Sun. Hubei. LS to MS. (45 cm) stems. with spurs. pure white flowers. leaves divided into 9 leaflets. spreading. (E. petals yellow with short spurs and reddish inner sepals. ‘Hanaguruma’. to 6 in. spurless. alpinum × E. drought-resistant. inner sepals are rose-red with the spurs creamcolored. slowly spreading. Known since 1854. numerous. petals yellow. ‘Violet Queen’. leaves divided. flowers to 0. (2 cm). inner sepals broad pale pink.

‘Azusa’. petals yellow. Epimedium ×youngianum. ‘Sulphureum’ (E. leaflets green blotched red in spring. ‘Milky Way’. spiny. Garden hybrid (E. ‘Pink Blush’. white inner sepals pink-suffused. ‘Merlin’. (38 cm). and purple.5 in. sometimes pinkish small inner sepals. to 20 flowers per stem. slowly spreading. on tall stems. LS to MS. ‘Fukurasuzume’. with spurless lips. later medium green. Its truly unusual flowers will surely give rise to new hybrid epimediums for the garden. glossy. ‘Orangekönigin’ (‘Orange Queen’) has deeper orange flowers and is clump-forming rather than spreading. 50–100 flowers. the generic name is in fact the classical Greek name for these terrestrial orchids. slowly spreading. pale rose flowers. leaf crown to 24 in. leaves divided into 5–13 ovate. native to the Americas and Eurasia. macranthum var. Garden hybrid (E. vigorous. later medium green. plant to 12 in.8 in. flowers to 0. leaflets speckled brown. sometimes twisted stalks and appear in colors ranging from yellowish white to greenish brown. pinnatum subsp. are among the easiest to grow in temperate gardens. resulting in a doubleflowered look. flowers to 0. (50 cm) tall. ‘Versicolor’. ‘Yenomoto’ has the largest white flowers. If your color preference is toward orange flowers. pinnatum subsp. petals condensed into very long. purple flowers held above foliage. larger. leaves silvery on top. LS to MS. heart-shaped leaflets. mottled with purple in spring turning medium green. Epimedium sutchuenense. LS to MS. spiny-margined.75 in. turning orange in autumn. ‘Niveum’ (Epimedium macranthum var. rose-red flowers with inner sepals and petals of similar shapes. sepals bright red to orange with spurred yellowish petals on 14 in. to 6 in. coppery red flowers.5 in. the inner sepals and spurs are very long. diphyl- Epimedium ×versicolor. wavy margins. evergreen. ‘Beni Kuyaku’. rarely to 4 ft. flowers to 0. (2 cm). reddish orange flowers fading to a very pale salmon. larger. heart-shaped. ‘Roseum’ (Epimedium liliacinum. evergreen. later light green. green later. LS to MS. some to purple. pure white flowers with long spurs. from white to rose. to15 in.2 m). elongated. Sichuan. China. flushed with reddish pink in spring. Epipactis These hardy woodland orchids. sulphureum). plant to 20 in. (1. plant to 20 in. LS to MS. vigorous. ‘Neosulphureum’. plants are large. The flowers. (15 cm) in height. (2 cm). petals drooping. The leaves are lance-shaped and heavily pleated. (50 cm) tall. spurless. grandiflorum). arrowshaped. (1 cm). petals reddish purple. later medium green. (2 cm) or smaller. flushed with bronze in spring. . evergreen. good for situations where a spreading habit would interfere with adjacent plantings. (35 cm) stems. sometimes tinted brown. Garden hybrid (E. Revolutionary. leaves lastingly silvery on top. with or without spurs. flushed with reddish pink in spring.75 in. Sichuan. The genus has been known for thousands of years. (4 cm) wide. look for these cultivars. toothed. pale violet to very pale purple flowers. bright yellow flowers. mottled pink when young. China. numerous. inner sepals bright reddish orange. whitish flowers distinctly flushed rose-pink. recurving light orange spurs. longer spurs. ‘Cupreum’. E. usually to 36 in. orange-red. Many of the approximately two dozen species are hardy enough for gardens in zone 6 and warmer. white flowers with long spurs. a dainty plant. leaves divided into 2 leaflets. leaves divided into 3 leaflets. spiny margins. × E. slowly spreading.5 in. are borne on tall. flowers to 0. long spurs. not more than 6 in. Epimedium ×warleyense. (30 cm) tall. ‘Liliacinum’). evergreen. slowly spreading. colchicum). plant to 12 in. leaves divided into 5–9 ovate leaflets. (30 cm) tall. sometimes spurred. (1 cm). alpinum lum × E. flowers to 0. (15 cm) long and 1. deep wine-red. niveum) has pure white flowers. purpletinted leaves in spring. ‘John Gallagher’. white to yellowish white. white flushed with purple inner sepals. leaves divided into 3–9 narrowly ovate leaflets. providing Epimedium wushanense. Sun. (90 cm). darker yellow flowers.180 Epipactis (60 cm) tall. colchicum). grandiflo- rum × E. in colder areas they can be potted and overwintered inside.

green. sometimes strong-spreading. top broadly heart-shaped. green. With marshy ground and plenty of moisture during . has dark red stems and leaves. helleborine. stem-clasping. smaller and bractlike toward the top. The scarce Epipactis veratrifolia (marsh helleborine) from the eastern Mediterranean and Asia is similar but much too tender for most temperate zone gardens. Epipactis gigantea. Southwestern North America south to northwestern Mexico. Europe east to the Caucasus. Epipactis atrorubens. palustris. sepals green flushed purple. and constantly moist soil with a pH of 6. suitable only to zone 8 and warmer. lime-loving species. to 8 in. and a challenge even for experienced gardeners in cool. with a heart-shaped. LS to MS. short. pink or purple. red-tinged green. keeled in the center. humus-rich. stem upright. LS to MS. recurved top. (1 cm) across. No other pests or diseases bother these native orchids here. lip bottom concave. sometimes amber petals and sepals. July–August. on leafy racemes. often coated with fine hairs. (2. The easiest helleborine for gardens and also one of the most ornate. very small. usually in late spring or early summer. gigantea and E. stem-clasping. green. as these orchids are commonly called. Suitable for elevated and cooler regions. when the foliage begins to emerge. The soil must be kept moist during dry periods. triangular. hardy to zone 6. plant rhizomatous. pleated and keeled along the midrib and broadly lance-shaped. spiralling. triangular. leaves alternate. petals pale green to pink. sepals flushed purple.5 to 7 (I sweetened mine up by adding some dolomitic limestone). (25–80 cm) tall. Epipactis is classified in the Orchidaceae. 5 with protection. (20 cm) long. I grow these two species and find them to be of relatively easy culture. 3–10. (25–90 cm) tall. stem upright. stem upright. and seed propagation difficult therefore. pleated and broadly lance-shaped. The best and easiest for moist garden spots are E. small. creeping.5–10 cm) wide. 2 basal projections. New England. 2 side lobes yellow. stem-clasping. deep. Unlike other unassuming and often overlooked native hardy orchids. spreading. greenish yellow or green. flowers 10–50. spotted red. to 0. chatterbox. giant helleborine. (2. Try this one first. leaving at least one growing tip on each piece. Asia Minor. with larger flowers than other species. lip strongly veined and lined with purple or brownish red. Missouri. large and broad toward base.5 cm) across. and locally in the District of Columbia. each flower subtended by a leafy bract. often redtinged. darkred helleborine. 2–6 in. to 1 in. flushed purple outside. 181 Epipactis purpurata (violet helleborine) from Europe is similar but rarely available. Epipactis gigantea (giant helleborine) stands tall and is hard to ignore. pleated and keeled along the midrib and broadly elliptic. (5–15 cm) long and 1–4 in. giant stream orchid. LS to MS. 40 in. green. flowers 10–25. forming a sac with green interior. orange top lobe. ‘Serpentine Night’. giant orchid. one-sided raceme. 4–12. with reflexed. and other places. it quickly expired in the hot climate of Hosta Hill.5 in. short. A high-elevation. tepals veined with brownish purple. slowly creeping.Epipactis season-long texture for the shady garden. Eurasia. (1 m) tall. smaller toward the raceme. deep shade) and will spread and colonize in a fertile. It makes itself at home as long as moist conditions are maintained. Other helleborines. Seed is microscopic. smaller toward the raceme. leaves spirally arranged. lip with dark green margin. June– August. northern gardens. green. ruby-red to reddish purple. Propagate by carefully dividing the rhizome after flowering. flowers 3–15. Helleborines mix well with moisture-loving native wildflowers and are great in the moist woodland or even in a bog garden. They dislike being planted too deep. larger. gardeners as far north as zone 4b have tried it with some success. 2-parted. are equally outstanding and make a prominent display while in flower. sometimes smooth. Epipactis helleborine. Requires a rocky but welldraining alkaline soil. They require light to medium shade (in the hot South. Considered weedy by some. I have seen this stream orchid in naturalized conditions in botanic gardens in Switzerland. spreading. broad-leaved helleborine. plant rhizomatous. slowly creeping. leaves 3–10. a very desirable selection. 10–32 in. yellowish. plant rhizomatous. bastard helleborine. This vigorous orchid has naturalized in fertile ground in southeastern Canada. on leafy. 10–36 in. Slugs and snails can be a scourge during latewinter warm-ups. June–August.

(25– 50 cm) tall. leaves 4–9. and she replanted them right away so as not to dry them out.5 in. however. spreading. hot summers did not agree with them either. slowly creeping. and by the time the birds were fighting over the grape holly’s blue berries there was not a trace of them left. The genus gets its name from the Greek ar (= spring) and anthos (= flower). it is classified in the Ranunculaceae. smaller toward the raceme. where I have seen large colonies in April. even those that did not become permanent features in my small garden. just in time to bloom in concert with the grape holly’s gracefully Erythronium Easily one of the daintiest and most charming North American wildflowers. At Hosta Hill. the greens and textures that have transformed Hosta Hill into the shady. but even self-seeding did not contribute to any kind of persistence. including parts of North America. 0. and its escape into the wilds of North America testifies to its cold hardiness. Floriferous and often considered the prettiest helleborine. to zone 6. pleated and keeled along the midrib and lance-shaped. marsh helleborine. lined in deep pink inside. For those with plenty of room. sepals gray-green to deep reddish brown with red interior. they make a wonderful early-spring display.8 in. green. Europe. This is also a good way to get rapid increase. and they do well into zone 4. my planting in zone 7a was never as lush as Mother’s in zone 5. I prefer to plant Epipactis gigantea. summer. but its leaves add considerable texture to the garden. and the offending rhizomes are easily removed. 2–6 in. They do not.182 Eranthis bunched and drooping yellow candles. Finally I removed the stragglers and gave the space over to native ferns and wildflowers. In mild winter regions. Very small and unexciting flowers. My soil was way too acid for them. I am using the plural because one tuber is never enough: to make any kind of significant planting. None of these problems would be serious enough to remove them from my want list. so did they vanish. For showy flowers. 10–20 in. under shrubs and trees my soil dries up quickly. it does spread but never aggressively so. But as quickly as the winter aconites appeared. nodding. From her back window. Hardy to zone 7a. winter aconites seed freely. In the final analysis. Epipactis palustris. and our relatively warm winters and dry. although under good culture. spirally arranged. Over several seasons. 5 with protection. and winter aconites require a moist soil during their rest period. what ousted the winter aconites from my garden was their disappearing act. They have naturalized in many areas of the world. I was surprised to see the first flowers in the middle of our mild winter. large. plant rhizomatous. no harm is really done. early-rising slugs and snails may eat some of the leaves. still dormant from the winter cold. Winter aconites do not like to be disturbed and prefer a neutral or even slightly alkaline soil. a slightly acid soil. .5–4 cm) wide. flowers 4–18. I have tried several species. it looked like a gallon of bright yellow paint spilled on the edge of the lawn. for this species. it is necessary to buy dozens of them—not out of the question given the very low cost of the tubers. lip wavy. petals creamy yellow. 6b with protection. One autumn she sent me a bunch of tubers. which I planted in the shade under an open-limbed Oregon grape holly (Mahonia aquifolium). It is not my intention to discourage gardeners from planting winter aconites. I hope Mother looks down and forgives me. stem-clasping. hairy. Eranthis Winter aconites are shade garden plants. LS to MS. on leafy raceme. to separate the tubers. (2. but leaves are so abundant. provide the one thing I demand from my shade plants: showy leaves throughout the season. Also. marked or lined with maroon. its nicely mottled. Leaf smut has also been reported. Erythronium americanum is abundant in the higher elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains. restful paradise I wanted it to be. Mother had a whole patch of Eranthis hyemalis ‘Glory’ in her garden. (5–15 cm) long and 1–1. whitish with yellow at the base. (2 cm) across. The most important ingredient for success is moisture and. I remember Mother lifted them from time to time. This stream orchid is of easy culture. green. It is a lot of fun to see how plants perform and what their idiosyncrasies are in a cultivated environment. and I still remember the outstanding yellow mass of flowers. they showed up. stem upright. July–August. with orange spots and the top broad.

5–5 cm) across. and leaf spot are reported. some to zone 3. erect. leaving few people with the space for large woodland gardens. west to Tennessee. Some say the name came from the Cherokee Indians. Propagate by taking offsets or dividing clumps after flowering. 3–8 in. south through New England to Georgia and Alabama. 2–3 per stem. As one of the early harbingers of spring. slowly spreading. Erythronium gets its name from erythros (= red). where the ground does not have to be solidly covered with vegetation and bare spots are natural. and 3 recurving petals with a reddish brown or purple streak. Further north. propullans (Minnesota adder’s tongue) has pink flowers. but many gardeners complain that they are shy to flower. Slugs and snails can disfigure new growth in spring. Erythronium albidum (white trout lily. (2. Erythronium californicum. The more northern E. (8–20 cm). But gardens have gotten smaller. Coast Ranges of northern California and Oregon. they can be interplanted with later-arriving hostas and other perennials. brownish purple on the outside. rather than a dimple. A few of my Southern friends grow them nevertheless. yellow trout lily. bright sulfur-yellow inside. The best way and place to plant trout lilies may be as individual groups in the open woodland garden. Liliaceae. but rusts. but in warm regions. 183 The genus is classified in the lily family. blonde lilian. California fawn lily. the flowers usually get cut down.5 in. shiny dark green mottled with brownish red and grayish green. (10–25 cm) tall. who noted the lily’s flowering time coincided with the time trout were running in the streams. In gardens they prefer an open site with some sun in light or dappled woodland shade. and the raw tubers as an emetic. it is better adapted to southern gardens but ephemeral nevertheless. late February–early May. Eastern North America. LS. forming colonies. plant herbaceous. They will not tolerate medium to full shade and require fairly cool. purple-tinged on the outside and yellow at the base inside. Hardy to zone 4. with yellow anthers. fruit. north to Minnesota. LS. flowers 1–2 in. egg-shaped capsule with a dimple at its tip. creamy white with dark orange center . with 3 recurving petal-like sepals. others claim the name derived from the mottling of the leaves. (2. alluding to the reddish brown marbling of the leaves. trout lilies go summer-dormant. Erythronium umbilicatum is in most respects identical except that its fruit has a small beak at its tip. I liked this and other species of trout lilies in Mother’s garden (she always planted shallowrooted. yellow fawn lily. americanum. providing a nice display. which brings to mind the speckled brook trout. One of the most common early-spring flowers in eastern North America.Erythronium shiny leaves and bright yellow blossoms arrive early. sometimes during the last days of February. Mother called the plants she grew trout lilies (she preferred that name because my father liked trout fishing). summer-dormant. In the North the leaves last well into summer. which will cover the spots they leave vacant. rhizomatous. smut. Western North America. white dogtooth violet) has leaves that are narrower and not as prominently mottled and white to pinkish white flowers. Erythronium americanum. autumn-flowering annuals to cover the bare spots) but dislike their ephemeral nature here in the South. Up to four years are required to produce flowering plants from seed. 6 long stamens with yellow or reddish brown anthers. here it flowered better and more reliably than E. Arkansas.5–4 cm) across. basal. One local variant has amber flowers. solitary. and Oklahoma. amberbell. American Indians used the leaves in a salve to treat ulcers and as a potherb. The eastern North American species may be used in more shady situations. spotted at base. usually 2. yellow adder’s tongue. flowers 1–1. and long before the late freezes of spring in April and May. Trout lilies inhabit deciduous forests at higher elevations in open meadows with considerable early-spring sunshine. reaching into the deciduous woods of South Georgia. Ontario to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. I have not seen any disease or insect damage. leaves elliptic. the cooked tubers as a food starch. treating them as annuals and purchasing new tubers each fall. stem 4–10 in. trout lilies are definitely worth considering—if a suitable place can be found for them and their ephemeral nature is duly considered. Some sun. the available hybrids’ later emergence makes them good garden subjects. Some sun. Although frost-resistant to a degree. constantly damp soil with a pH of 5 to 6. Replant divisions or tuber immediately and do not let them dry out.

pinkish white. multiscapoideum (Sierra fawn lily) from the Sierra Nevada. Hardy to zone 4. leaves intensely mottled. greenish-lined flowers per flowerstalk. The western species share overlapping habitats and have specialized growing conditions that make them less fitting for eastern gardens. short trout lily. April–May. mottled leaves and larger. oreganum from British Columbia south to Oregon. lamb’s tongue fawn lily) and E. white. flattened filaments but is otherwise similar to E. stem 6– 14 in. pure white flowers. it Farfugium Many gardeners are ill at ease trying to vocalize (or even recall) strings of syllables like Ligularia tussi- . (10–15 cm) tall. erect. basal. late February–early May. 1. mauve to bluish purple flowers edged with white and marked with a deep brown in the center. californicum include ‘Pink Beauty’ (deep pink flowers that shade to lavender) and the vigorous ‘White Beauty’ (white flowers with a dark orange throat). mottled with reddish bronze. helenae. solitary. citrinum.5–3 in. white flowers with a dark brown or blackish purple center. pure white flowers. ‘White Splendor’ (‘White Splendour’). mottled with bronze. which has wide. white flowers tinged deep red. ‘Pagoda’. glossy. Eurasia. (15–35 cm) tall. E. leaves mottled. light purple flowers. and E. lightly mottled brownish green. white flowers. ‘Album’. erect. 4–6 in. dogtooth violet. Erythronium tuolumnense (mother lode trout lily). usually 2.5 in. leaves mottled with reddish bronze. which is 6–14 in. markings. avalanche lily. bulbous. sulfur-yellow flowers with darker yellow anthers and reddish brown shading in the center. with 3 recurving petal-like sepals and 3 petals. these include E. E. ‘Lilac Wonder’. E. site carefully so that its flowers will not be overshadowed by taller neighboring plants. Other western species are E. Erythronium cultivars All require cool soil and some shade. ‘Frans Hals’. showing up like a ring of darker color. deep rose-pink flowers. Some sun. howelii are also very similar but rarely available. (15–35 cm) tall. flowers 1. lacks vigor. plant herbaceous.184 Farfugium is short-lived. flowers early. ‘Pink Perfection’. (20–35 cm) tall. larger. leaves mottled. similar to ‘Pagoda’ but flowers later. European dogtooth violet. ‘Purple King’. Cultivars of E. LS. and E. (3–4 cm) across. up to 8 flowers per stem. bulbous. (10–15 cm) long. leaves elliptic. leaves shiny. which is 8–14 in. to 12 in. but unfortunately its heat tolerance is limited: in areas warmer than zone 7. 3–8 flowers per stem. Asian dogtooth violet. with multibranched flowerstalks. ‘Charmer’. purpurascens (purple fawn lily). basal. and E. (25–30 cm) tall. ‘Citronella’. (18–35 cm) tall. which is 7–14 in. a translation of its epithet and a reference to the tuber’s shape. (30 cm). flowers early.2–1. pink flowers. ‘Rose Queen’. ‘Snowflake’. which is 10–12 in. with sharply recurved petal-like sepals and 3 petals. Erythronium dens-canis. This common western species has a relative in central California. johnsonii from Vancouver Island to northern California. (5 cm) across. 4–10 flowers per stem. ‘Carneum’. and goes summer-dormant very early. leaves dark green. ‘Niveum’. mahogany fawn lily) and its pink-flowered var. true pink flowers to 2 in. creamy yellow flowers flushed pink. sulfur-yellow flowers with deep yellow anthers and brown centers. and 6 long stamens with purple or deep lilac anthers. 4–6 in. popular hybrid cultivar. shiny medium green. leaves mottled with dark brown. grandiflorum (glacier lily. usually 2. (4– 8 cm) long. a vigorous. leaves elliptic. best in zones 5 and 6. but mottling fades after flowering. ‘Joanna’. 6 long stamens with white anthers. californicum. bright lemon-yellow flowers with darker yellow anthers. taller than the type. up to 10 flowers per stem. or lilac. hendersonii from northwestern California and southwestern Oregon. Hardy to zone 2. plant herbaceous. ‘Kondo’. A very low-growing species with short flowerstalks. Species from the sunny slopes in western mountain ranges go summer-dormant early and require a fairly long rest period. revolutum (western trout lily. The first species described in the genus and the one that gave rise to the name dogtooth violet. with up to 7 bright yellow. small purple flowers with a deep brown spot at the base of the tepals.

and other fungal diseases to which leopard plants are subject and initially eliminates slugs and snails. The half-hardy species classified under Farfugium have been known since the plant explorer Siebold described them in the mid-1800s. The white-splashed var. which wilts the leaves considerably. woolly covering. leopard plant. all elicit questions and expressions of admiration from visitors. A constantly moist soil. friable. It did not occur to me to try it in the open garden until I spied the variegated F. glossy. but I call all forms of this species leopard plant —spots or no spots. (45 cm) high. add a dazzling accent to the late fall garden. japonicum ‘Argentea’ in a North Carolina garden. Obviously. Fungal black smut and black spot can be problematic in plants overwintered in the ground. atop erect. variably margined. leaves basal. All are potted in sterile potting soil. In the frigid North. potting permits the leaves to overwinter intact. Mother kept her potted specimen out on the shady patio during the warm season. 1.5–2 in. Korea. I was told it stayed in the ground during winter. in such spots. Keeping them in pots also allows me to change their positions every spring. Leopard plants tolerate deep shade and should not be exposed to the heat of the midday sun. they are ideal foliage plants for a shady garden. but they perish in frozen soil. Many gardener still refer to Farfugium species and cultivars as ligularias. coated with a white. lutchuense (shiro hakekomi fu in Japan) is not yet in Western commerce. Care must be taken to obtain pieces with growing tips. adding charm. to 24 in. 8–12 in. the plants survive very cold winter temperatures for short du- 185 rations. including ‘Argentea’. the yellow flowers. japonicum and three of its cultivars. September–November. instead of burying them in the ground.Farfugium laginea or Farfugium tussilagineum. I now grow F. heart. flowers daisylike with many rayed lobes. and sterile. Propagate by carefully dividing the rhizome in late winter or very early spring. to balance the high transpiration rate of the large leaves. smooth to deeply toothed. green leaf stems. It looks great among ferns and astilbes. texture. Here occasional self-sown seedlings are found and can be grown on if removed before winter arrives. Pot and overwinter them further north. ‘Argentea’ (‘Albovariegata’. this plant is sold as a houseplant. provide water quickly if leaves wilt and place a saucer under potted plants during hot days to retain water. I sink the pots into the ground during the warm season and overwinter them in my cold but frost-free garage. many are still in commerce as Ligularia and the even older name Senecio. Hardy to zone 7a as long as soil does not freeze. and color. black spot. ‘Variegata’. ‘White Wonder’) is the white-variegated form. large. Eastern China. The soil should be fertile. light yellow. Medium shade is ideal. The white can be an almost true white if the plant is sited in . the name originally bestowed by renowned English botanist John Lindley. (20– 30 cm). Farfugium japonicum. (4–5 cm) across. thus giving the plants a headstart in spring. japonicum. leafy plants all year. Wherever they are sited. Now it is properly F. Farfugium is classified in the Asteraceae. green with white woolly coating and conspicuous bracts. Japan. (45–70 cm) tall. bota fu (= blotched). but the generic name Ligularia is now applied only to a related group of hardy perennials. Slugs and snails attack the young growth in early spring. LS to FS. Typically it has large. and they are great for filling spots left vacant by summer-dormant ephemerals. glossy green. green leopard plant. protected by a thick layer of pine straw. coltsfoot. Taiwan. Fresh seeds obtained in autumn may be sown in a cold frame. I set them on top of it. The sterile soil deters smut. bringing a few in as houseplants. hence the common name.or kidney-shaped. well-draining. To me. both binomials applied to a species known as leopard plant. dark green to grayish green. surrounded by blue hostas and backed by tall. black-stemmed lady ferns. plant clump-forming. In the ground and protected. 6–14 in clusters on multibranched flowerstalks. others so toothed as to appear lobed. umbrellalike leaves with a host of round yellow spots of different sizes. held high above the handsome foliage. and chiri fu (= mottled). is a must. The all-green type makes a handsome groundcover or accent plant. it is variable in leaf form: some leaves are almost smooth-margined. rounded. but other forms selected by Japanese gardeners are now eagerly collected by Farfugium aficionados here. (60 cm) wide and 18 in. 18–28 in. gardeners in colder regions where the ground freezes solid can do likewise and enjoy these marvelous. including variegated types such as itofukurin (= thinly margined).

as is patience: seedlings take several years to mature. because each leaf is different. (90 cm). wand plant. the flower spikes are covered with tiny wands of white flowers. ‘Kinkan’ (= corona). Beetleweed is a single species in the monotypic genus Galax. ‘Chirimen’. light yellow. the species is remarkably drought-tolerant. to 18 in. but with good winter protection. The genus name comes from the Greek gala (= milk) for the milky white flowers. a very acid starting mix is a must. It is available from propagated stock. it clung to the mossy cushion atop a huge exposed rock. classified in the Diapensiaceae. Known for years but still expensive. The variegation is difficult to characterize. 2 in. I have tried propagating seed obtained from wild populations. Southern Appalachians. (45 cm) in diameter. they leave the plant alone. the white becomes an ivory with much yellow mixed in. Moisture is imperative while the flowerstalk elongates in spring. wandflower. Unlike everything else. reminiscent of fancy parsley. LS to FS. Slugs and snails may disfigure fresh growth. I have been growing this species for years now. Remove all soil so that parts with growing tips can be identified and correctly separated. The leaves contain shades of grayish or whitish green. ‘Crispata’ (‘Cristata’. a hybrid between ‘Aureomaculata’ and ‘Crispata’. Flowering increases in locations with some sun exposure. coltsfoot. flowers daisylike with many rayed lobes. leopard plant). smooth-margined.5. atop erect. uniform yellow margin. Division is a much faster way to increase. in clusters on multibranched flowerstalks to 36 in. leopard ligularia. (5 cm) across. parsley ligularia). A more “tropical” cultivar suitable for gardens in zones 8 to 10. and its striking leaves are reliably evergreen. Weevils may also take an occasional bite out of the young leaves. and it is now propagated to satisfy this demand. its rhizome is hardy here in zone 7a. beetleweed. Farfugium reniforme. large. localized in . In this open position with some sun exposure. The spots are randomly placed and variously sized. but once the leaf tissue has hardened. but it is more sectoral (pie-shaped) than mottled or marginal. a particularly interesting green form that has ruffled and crisped margins. leaves grotesquely deformed—what the Japanese consider a ryu (= dragon) form. ‘Green Dragon’ (dragon ligularia). leaves variegated like ‘Aureomaculata’ and margined like ‘Crispata’ but deeply lobed. Propagate by carefully dividing the rhizome in very early spring. but the species flowers reliably in medium shade. exposed colony was not covered up by dead leaves: Galax urceolata. the leaves had colored a deep purplish bronze. dry autumn periods. surviving long. described as a gold-ring type. For active growth and good flowering. leaves with a thin. enjoying the display it gives all year long. Mountain people still gather the bronze fall leaves for Christmas decorations. green leaf stems. the small.186 Galax with little or no soil. but many revert to the type and are all green. Confine to a container in most gardens and overwinter in a frost-free area. Adds great textural content to the garden. Galax I first saw Galax urceolata (beetleweed) during an autumn hike to Linville Falls in western North Carolina. kidney-shaped. ‘Aureomaculata’ (‘Kimon’. Replant divisions immediately. Once seed is set. it should not be collected in the wild. any drying during this time may abort flowering. some sun. beetleweed requires constantly moist soil of high acidity with a pH of no more than 5. They look so good. certain populations were decimated by overcollection of the exceptional heart-shaped leaves for floral decorations. Fungal and bacterial leaf spot are reported but not seen here in the 30 years I have cultivated these plants. In deep shade the leaves remain green and will not color in autumn. ‘Kimon Chirimen’. in the mountains from Virginia south to Georgia. Seedlings raised from this cultivar are occasionally variegated. showing characteristics of both. thick and glossy green. Southeastern Asia. even at high elevations. mostly in the mountains of the southern Appalachians. In late May. plant clump-forming with leaves basal. September–October. This delightful species has a limited habitat. the classic yellow-spotted leopard plant. ‘Kagami Jishi’. Somewhat smaller than the species but just as vigorous. in more shade.

leafless. white.5 to 7. even the species native to the northern Georgia mountains suffer here in zone 7a. Gentians as a whole are not easy plants to cultivate. The type is variable in leaf form. snails. (80 cm). On the other side of the Atlantic. seed propagation makes little sense. heart. woodruff. Most are suited to full sun situations in the border or rock garden. An excellent groundcover in moist. replant divisions immediately. plant clump-forming. central Europe to Siberia. it can become invasive. upright flowerstalk to 32 in. Seeds can be sown as soon as ripe in pots in a cold frame. are used to make Enzian Schnapps. Galium is classified in the bedstraw or madder family. comes from their past use as a mattress fiber. flowers many. 187 cm) high but usually less. large. tiny. given lots of moisture and fertile soil. to 36 in. wiry leafstalks 5–8 in. Blauer Enzian (= blue gentian. Propagate by dividing the rhizome in early spring. Gentianaceae. some leaves are more toothed than others. united at base. to 6 in. 0. which should be watered during hot. (5–10 cm). sweet woodruff. This may take a few seasons but keeps the plant roots undisturbed meanwhile. Naturalized in North America. fragrant. The genus name comes from the Greek gala (= milk). dense creeping groundcover of starshaped leaves with many clusters of equally starry white flowers. The gentians described are tolerant of lightly shaded gardens and accept a variety of soils. rhizomatous.5 in. Fungal and bacterial leaf spot and mildew are reported. June–July. glossy. Galium Bedstraw. Best suited to cool-summer gardens in zones 4 to 6b. American Indians used the plants as a tonic and to treat back pain. tiny. Slugs. Optimum pH is 5 to 6. either for the milky white flowers or the fact that in the past some species were used to curdle milk. to 18 in. slowly spreading. but I found out very quickly that central Tennessee was not the right location to raise a professed state flower of Bavaria. LS to MS. May–June. 5petaled. but. The genus is classified in the gentian family. dark green. (4 cm) long. leaves 1. leaves basal. New York. The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution and a long history: according to Pliny the Elder. vase-shaped. Most are weedy and have no place in the garden. Rubiaceae. Usually I keep difficult plants like gentians potted until I determine the best location for them. (45 . a high-alcohol aperitif whose healing properties and powers as a spring tonic are legendary among Bavarian country folk. 2–4 in. Further north it is much more vigorous and can be planted in medium shade. and cool soil is a must.5. and other pests rarely bother it. a tonic to purify blood.5 in. shady areas. arranged in whorls of 6–8 leaves on smooth. a sandy loam with some peat retains enough moisture and provides the required drainage. and early settlers followed suit and prepared spring bitters. Gentiana The images of two favorite flowers. vigorously spreading. Only a few are of easy culture and marginally fitting for shady gardens. star-shaped in clusters. LS to FS. plant rhizomatous. emerald-green. (13–20 cm) long. (20 cm) high. Seed germination is tedious.Gentiana the higher Piedmont. toothed margin on thin. Remembering the wonderful gentian displays in the Bavarian Alps. white. (90 cm) wide and 8 in. including G.or kidney-shaped. For good flowering. Eurasia. 5-petaled. In southern gardens it must have a sunny corner with soil that never dries out. the common name for several Galium species native to North America. it languishes in the shade. square leafstalks. Galium odoratum requires constantly moist soil with a pH of 5. Ohio. I tried to cultivate alpine gentians raised from seed sent by a friend there. and in the wild I have found polyploid forms with much larger leaves. flowers many. (1 cm) wide. They grow best in damp. With the plant’s vigorous spreading habit. are pervasive in Bavarian folk art. King Gentius of Illyria on the Balkan Peninsula discovered the medicinal value of the genus whose name honors him. The only one in general use is the Eurasian species Galium odoratum. gritty woodland soil. and southern New England. rounded. lutea (schnapps gentian). Gentiana bavarica) and Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum). Galium odoratum. many gardeners there use it to cover areas in full shade under trees. in a spikelike cluster on a green. which makes a nice. dry summers. (15 cm) across. The roots of some alpine gentians. Propagate by carefully dividing the runners in very early spring.

flowers pale blue. extending into Ukraine. Eastern North America. leaves form a basal rosette. They tolerate a variety of soils but grow best in damp. closed or nearly so at the lobe tips. The generic name is from the Greek geranos (= crane). in tight terminal clusters and in the upper leaf axils. 1–1. there along the trails were large groups of Geranium maculatum. petals 5. lance-shaped to oblong. sepals 5. bottlelike. Hardy to zone 6. a more northern species.5–4 cm) long. sepals 5. 1–1. unstalked. (30–60 cm) tall. which plant American Indians and early settlers used for its astringent and styptic properties and to cure diarrhea. central Europe to Italy and Greece. satisfy the increasing demand for these beauties. fused. Geranium is a wide-ranging genus of about 300 species found throughout the temperate zones. stems tall to 28 in. delicately cut leaves and attractive flowers have earned them a growing following. the lovely. . All are available from wildflower nurseries. flowers 2–5. tubular. blind gentian. bottle gentian. long-lived foliage perennial plants for the shady garden. or light blue. Gentiana clausa. ‘Alba’. The very rare native Gentianopsis crinita (fringed gentian) and G. lance-shaped to oblong. The white-flowered ‘Alba’ (f. (5–10 cm) long. ‘Knightshayes’. procera (smaller fringed gentian) are protected species almost everywhere. Hardy to zone 4. I first saw cranesbills during a trip to the Smoky Mountains in the early 1950s. (2.2 in. all white. with bluish white. LS to WS. sometimes white-tipped or all white. Gentiana linearis (narrow-leaved gentian). August–October. Saskatchewan to Ontario and Minnesota and through the Great Lakes region east to New England. the hardy cranesbills. This common native gentian is best grown in moist woodland shade in the South and in some sun and light shade in the North. in tight terminal clusters and in the upper leaf axils. has narrower leaves and more open flowers. plant herbaceous. it is well adapted to more southern conditions. south in the mountains to Georgia and west to Arkansas. Maintain soil moisture during dry periods. Eurasia. The best gentian for moist shade. dark blue with purple spots inside. closed gentian. on erect but leaning stems 20–24 in. Cultivated cranesbills evolved from such wild woodland species in Europe and North America. LS to WS. dry summers. heat-tolerant to zone 7. tufted. (70 cm). some of which. narrowly bell-shaped with pointed. willow gentian. Geranium I sometimes call the wild woodland plants of the genus Geranium by their common name. closed flowers that are blue-striped. (50–60 cm) tall. Gentiana asclepiadea. trouble-free and of easy culture as long as moisture is maintained. no basal rosette. dark blue. ‘Nymans’. (2. clump-forming. including both dry and moist shade. to avoid confusion with what most people think of as geraniums. smaller than the type. Their striking. the Caucasus. That they are low-maintenance plants only adds to the attraction. flowers dark blue with large purple spots inside. Eastern North America. petals 5. heat-tolerant to zone 7. flowers solitary or 2–3. friable woodland soil. windowdressing plants of the genus Pelargonium. are excellent. alba) is sometimes offered. Better for northern gardens is G. ‘Phyllis’. sometimes reflexed lobe tips. Gentiana saponaris (soapwort gentian) has leaves that resemble Saponaria and more open flowers.5 in. 2–3 in. unstalked. which should be watered during hot. stem leaves in opposite pairs on the stem below and in a whorl at the top. Saskatchewan to Ontario and Minnesota and through the Great Lakes region east to New England. dark green. Gentiana andrewsii. an allusion to the shape of the fruit. 2–4 in. dark green. Leaf spot has also been reported. and Asia Minor. and new cultivars. or red. which resembles a crane’s bill. plant herbaceous. leaves in a whorl at the top and many in opposite pairs on the stem below. Optimum pH is 5 to 7. on erect stems 12–24 in. flowers blue with white throat. south in the mountains to northern Georgia and west to Arkansas. plant large with arching stems. (5–8 cm) long.5–3 cm) long. including a few with variegated leaves.188 Geranium Slugs and snails can be a problem. tender. features practically identical to Gentiana andrewsii. decora (American mountain gentian). August–October. tufted. flowers white. they should never be removed from the wild. LS to WS. clump-forming. closed gentian. cranesbills. sometimes longitudinally whitestriped.

(5–15 cm) long.5 in. bigroot cranesbill. not as tall.5–4 cm) long. western France. 0. green to light green. pistil 1. By far the best cranesbill for southern gardens. sepals bright red. LS to WS. Seed collected from hardy varieties should be sown outdoors as soon as ripe. leaves basal. margined and splashed with creamy to yellowish white. 189 factor. to 24 in. fruit elongated. mat. Propagate by dividing the rhizome in early spring. flowers a muted pink. clump-forming. mediciney smell that some consider fetid. it makes an excellent groundcover. 5lobed. May–August. terminal on the branches. A Balkan selection. and snails can be a problem. beaked capsule. flowers 2–7. Geraniaceae. effort. happily enduring hot summers in zone 8. This popular and easily cultivated cranesbill has been in gardens since the early 1800s. beaked capsule. handsome foliage. Southern Europe. crowded. 2–6 in. 1–1. A Balkan selection. flowers lilac-pink. be careful not to cut off too much of the essential. It did very well in my mother’s southern Michigan garden. and it melted out completely during a particularly hot. and dexterity. ‘Velebit’. fruit elongated. shallowly bowl-shaped to flat. Geranium endressii. inflated. with thick. stamens 10. ‘Czakor’. The nice but temporary flowers can be gaudy. ‘Ridsko’. Cranesbills are subject to mildews and rusts. A taller selection of the species. It spreads by creeping rhizomes and by seed and bears watching. plant evergreen. leaves green.5 cm) across.5 in. (60 cm).Geranium Under these conditions they will colonize the bare spots in the woodland garden rapidly. ‘Spessart’. (15–20 cm) tall in shade. choose white or pink cranesbill cultivars when available. flower deep magenta-red. 6–8 in. sepals pink to light red. leaves grayish green. even aggressively. vine weevils take chunks out of leaf margins. The problem can be avoided if plants are cut back sharply after flowering. spreading by creeping rhizomes. LS to WS. mostly paired or in dense clusters. (30–45 cm) tall. petals 5. has salmon-pink flowers and petals more deeply notched. (18–20 cm) wide. fetid cranesbill. Pyrenees. The genus is classified in the geranium family. Geranium macrorrhizum. Endress’s cranesbill. indicating that reasonably cool summers may be the limiting . sepals pink. veined with darker pink. rather than introducing glaring magenta or fierce purple to the tranquil green embrace of a shady garden. dry summer.8–1. (2–2. ‘Variegatum’. bigroot geranium. dark red. 7–8 in. flowers deep magenta-red. sepals 5. each lobe again divided and unevenly toothed. flower petals white. scented cranesbill. many species give offspring true to type. conspicuously notched. petals 5. more deciduous. ‘Ingwersen’s Variety’. and more sun in northern gardens. taller in more sun. similar to ‘Album’. above the leaves. Should receive plenty of fertilizer and no more than light shade. The flowers appear over a long period. Europe. but cultivars do not always come true. plant semi-evergreen. naturalized in northern Europe and clump-forming. slugs. creeping rhizomes. Balkans. June–September or later. Here. Plants affected by a virus that distorts the flowers must be destroyed. terminal. on stems 12–18 in. rounded and separate. light pink or salmon-pink. Hardy in zones 4 to 7. flowers magenta pink. so I no longer grow it. trumpet-shaped. flower petals white with a faint blush of pink. cut into 5–7 lobes. and aphids. pistil 1. spreading by thick rhizomatous roots. flowers many. stamens 10. Crush a leaf to release the astringent. flowers soft violet pink. ‘Album’. sepals 5. magenta to reddish purple. small. by creeping rhizomes and exploding seed capsules. and the leaves make a dense groundcover. southeastern Alps. With good drainage and a spot in dry shade. leaves glossy green. flower petals deep magenta. veined with a deeper pink. Gardeners with small plots should think twice before they burden themselves with the task of weeding out unwanted cranesbill seedlings. very light green leaves. ‘Bevan’s Variety’. Hardy to zone 3. (2. petals light to dark pink or white. in the Carpathians and Apennines. plant smaller. above the leaves. ‘Lohfelden’. leaves turn purplish in autumn. ‘Wargrave Pink’ (‘Wargrave Variety’). Does best in dry shade in the South. but here in zone 7a it stopped flowering after the nights got too warm in late spring. Deadheading is another solution but requires more time. fragrant.

pistil 1. lightly veined. leaves shiny green. plant rhizomatous. flowers 2–5. 0. sepals 5. stem leaves. nearly evergreen groundcover. fruit elongated. bright green. dry and moist shade. A selection of var. Self-sows abundantly. 1–1. sepals 5. plant herbaceous. More of an accent plant than a groundcover. 5-lobed. album). Central and southern Europe. flowers dark like the species. sometimes faintly flushed pink. stamens 10. Takes both dry and moist shade. LS to WS. and Kansas. rhizomatous. clump-forming. It makes large colonies in time.5 cm) across. One of the few cranesbills that tolerates deep. (5–20 cm) long. (30–45 cm) tall. beaked capsule. Its selection ‘Album’ has white flowers. ‘Majus’. ‘Margaret Wilson’. well suited for moist woodland shade in southern gardens. southern summers than many European cranesbills as long as moisture is maintained. wild cranesbill. Central and southern Europe. (10–13 cm) wide. ‘Samobor’. its strong. leaves nicely variegated with dark greenish brown. Garden hybrid (G. endressii × G. robust. leaves lighter green. shallowly bowlshaped. flowers white. spotted wild geranium. but it is not as aggressive as Geranium ×oxanianum. rounded and separate. spreading by creeping rhizomes and seed. which makes an all-smothering. dusky cranesbill. central Balkans. ‘Taff’s Jester’. black widow. terminal.5 cm) long. The common wild cranesbill. to 30 in. leaves irregularly mottled with yellow or wholly yellow. nodding. lance-shaped. above the leaves. heat-tolerant to zone 8. some sun and light shade in more northern exposures.5 in. flowers similar to the type. Flowers are sparse but appear over a long period. sometimes all white. (10–20 cm) wide. which are long-stalked. ‘Langthorne’s Blue’. versicolor). pistil 1. onesided clusters. Must have good drainage. flowers violet-blue. Missouri. east to Bulgaria and Ukraine. Geranium ×oxanianum. more damp shade is required in hot-summer areas. terminal on the branches. fruit elongated.6 in. in loose. flowers 2–9. to 0. It seeds freely. clump-forming. 12–24 in. June–August. leaves 4–5 in. petals 5. effectively eliminating both weeds and delicate. on red-tinted stems 12–18 in. reflexed. southern France to central Italy. valuable woodland plants. LS to MS. in loose clusters above the leaves. yellowish white leaves. flowers 2–5. Does better in hot. LS to MS. (75 cm) tall.6 in. fruit elongated. to 36 in. (90 cm). beaked capsule. stamens 10. each lobe unevenly toothed. Geranium nodosum. and the leaves make a dense groundcover of glossy bright green. above the leaves. conspicuously notched. wedge-shaped. alumroot. 2–8 in. April–June. lilac-pink or pink. 3-lobed. spotted cranesbill. basal ones elliptic. lividum. shortstalked except basal leaves. dark maroon to blackish purple with a whitish spot in center. ‘Album’ (f. rounded. lividum. trumpet-shaped and erect. lavender to rose-purple. Geranium maculatum. beaked capsule. flowers larger and plant taller than var. southern Manitoba and Ontario to New England. (1. small. grayish green.5–4 cm) across. cut into 3–7 deeply toothed lobes. This hybrid spreads far and wide by seed and is too vigorous for . Hardy to zone 4. June–August. ‘Joan Baker’. leaves basal. Variety lividum has pale. cut into 7–9 lobes.190 Geranium all but very large gardens. (30–60 cm) tall. deep root system is virtually impossible to remove. but offspring are variable. Preferable to the dark-flowered type for brightening the shady garden. clump-forming. stamens 10. ‘Lily Lovell’. (2. dry shade. sometimes bluish lilac. wild geranium. sometimes with a very pale pinkish cast. Hardy in zones 6 and 7. sometimes marked purplish green in center. terminal on the branches. Once established. Eastern North America. It is usually represented by the century-old ‘Claridge Druce’. larger than type. heat-tolerant to cool-summer areas of zone 6b or 7a. flowers mauve. petals 5. (2. south to Georgia and west to Tennessee. (1. pointed. flowers pale lavender with darker ring in center. sometimes spotted (hence the epithet). pistil 1. LS to WS. petals 5. 4–8 in. sepals 5. anther bright yellow. with the proviso that its spread be carefully watched and contained. plant herbaceous. Geranium phaeum. mourning widow.5 cm). flowers dark like the species. to 1 in. sometimes white. Hardy to zone 4. rhizomatous. flat. plant vigorous. each shallowly lobed and toothed. small. Pyrenees to eastern Germany. dull lilac flowers. it should be used only for covering areas where nothing else will grow. Hardy to zone 4.

A more leafy plant and well adapted to southern gardens. Very similar to Geranium endressii and has the same garden uses. flowers 2–6. leaves 2–4 in. giving the leaves a 5-parted look. more sun in the North. Large. Bowman’s root was used medicinally by American Indians and early settlers. dainty North American native that deserves to be grown in more gardens. Propagate by careful division in late autumn or very early spring. Bowman’s root. it is suited for the lightly shaded rockery.5 in. south to Georgia and Alabama. green. as long as the soil is not allowed to dry out completely. it looks great planted between shrubs for support and mixes well with hostas and other bold-leaved shade perennials. Oregon: Timber Press. star-shaped. leaves irregularly splashed with cream and paler green and occasionally spotted with purplish green to maroon. Given the plant’s vigorous spreading habit. Indian hippo. flowers white with magenta veins. more sun in the North. dry summers are not to its liking. ‘Variegatum’. Southern Europe. Indian physic. bears violet flowers in early summer and has fuzzy. Eastern Europe to the Caucasus. Portland. holding three reddish green leaves at each node. southern Ontario to New York. and the twisted stems are many-branched. LS to MS. (4 cm) across. (1 cm) wide. The Gardener’s Guide to Growing Hardy Geraniums. on thin stalks in open clusters above the leaf mound. The sepals are not showy red. Eastern North America. 1994. and Arkansas. Hardy to zone 6. 24–36 in. turning greener in time. white or pinkish. Sow seed in trays in a cold frame in autumn. Geranium versicolor. a South American species with emetic properties. Gillenia stipulata (American ipecac. Indian physic). grayish green leaves. it is infrequently offered. ‘Terra Franche’. flowers dark like the species. adding color well into autumn. It adapts easily to different soil conditions. from southern New York west to Illinois and Ohio and south to Georgia and west to Kansas and Texas. The genus name honors the German botanist Gillenius. is very similar but with a pair of large bractlike leaves (stipules) at the leaf bases. 3-parted. and Joy Jones.Glaucidium splashed with yellowish green and marked with purplish green to maroon in the notches. false ipecac. deeply lobed. Glaucidium palmatum was only recently rediscovered and is now offered in commerce. Not prone to insect or mollusk damage. 191 Geranium renardii. a heat-tolerant cultivar for southern gardens. short-stalked. it is also called false ipecac.5 in. sharply toothed. Balkans. deeply lobed. Gillenia trifoliata. plant rhizomatous. Missouri. a widely available species represented in commerce by improved cultivars. Glaucidium Known to Western horticulture since Siebold and Zuccarini described it in 1845. west to Michigan. seed propagation makes little sense. American ipecacuanha. A good. crinkly leaves add great tex- . 5 sepals. sepals red. The red sepals remain on the plant after flowering. its leaves have slightly broader lobes. clump-forming. Hardy to zone 4. airy addition to the wildflower garden. persistent. Needs to be watched: it self-seeds freely and spreads by creeping rhizomes. Recommended reading Bath. short for ipecacuanha. twisted petals. hot. LS to WS. (5–10 cm) long and 0. Trevor. It is classified in the Rosaceae. rust is an occasional problem. Best in dry shade in the South. many-veined. fawn’s breath. so I must garden without this Japanese beauty. ‘Whiteknights’ offers white flowers with a pale lavender background hue and dark lilac veins in early summer. Unfortunately. with margins not as acutely toothed. to 1. 5 petals. uneven. LS. Takes some summer heat as long as it remains in shade during the hot afternoon hours. Some sun. (60–90 cm) high. leaves grayish green. Sicily. good variegated foliage but viridescent. with tiny bractlike leaf-pair at base. May–July. Best in dry shade in the South. Makes an excellent groundcover under trees. Lucky are the gardeners in more northern regions who can plant and enjoy this excellent and valuable shade garden plant. Gillenia Gillenia trifoliata (Bowman’s root) is a graceful. Its white or pinkish flowers have five unruly.

For best effect. Goodyera Finding hardy. formed like petals. northern Honshu. except Africa. May–June. An excellent plant for shady gardens with cool summers. British Columbia south through central California and in the Rocky Mountains of Arizona and New Mexico. flowers solitary. no sepals. forming a nice colony in time. in Japan variegated forms of these species. insignificant. but germination is slow and seedlings take several years to mature. hachijoensis. because they spread rapidly by creeping rhizomes.192 Goodyera to walks or in an elevated bed where they can be seen. Its members make attractive four-season plants in gardens where snow will not cover up the attractive leaves. Hardy to zone 4. for such a small plant is easily overlooked in the forest litter. North America. All are evergreen in the zones indicated. velutina. schlechtendaliana. leaves mapleleaf-shaped. and native wildflowers in the moist woodland border. and here they appreciate occasional watering during hot. crinkled and heavily veined. June–August. native woodland orchids practically in ones own backyard is exciting. with 6–10 lobes. Their heat tolerance is great. G. The species of Goodyera are variable. The genus name suggests its flowers resemble those of the sunloving horned poppies (Glaucium spp. to 20 in. these are among the easiest orchids to cultivate in gardens. The genus was named to honor the British botanist Goodyer and is classified in the Orchidaceae. Their flowers are tiny. green-leaved rattlesnake plantain. They should be planted close Goodyera oblongifolia. This is facilitated by most species. to zones 8 and 9. American Indians thought the leaf pattern resembled rattlesnake skin (hence the common name) and therefore used plants to cure snakebites. to 3 in. (8–10 cm) long. Expect considerable differences in the leaf markings and leaf color. except that slugs and snails may take an occasional bite out of young leaves. Propagate by carefully dividing the dormant woody rhizomes in very early spring. including G. Glaucidium palmatum. 5–10 in. giant rattlesnake plantain. Glaucidium palmatum enjoys cool summers. Slugs and snails are a real problem in spring when the new growth emerges. In zone 7 and warmer. Menzies’ rattlesnake plantain. Propagate by carefully dividing the rhizomes. terminal. light green. and G. These orchids grow in the top layer of moist. Japan. and I have seen them cultivated in zone 5. called brocade orchids (nishiki ran). Discovering Goodyera pubescens (rattlesnake plantain) in the rocky ravine near our house was an especially happy happenstance for me. In the wild. plantings should be considered experimental and probably will not succeed. in a tight basal rosette. heartshaped at the base. I grow several species. nothing in the way of pests or diseases seems to bother these orchids. have given rise to a new mania in pot culture. (50 cm). water in abundance and site in full shade in a position sheltered from desiccating winds. dry spells. 3–4 in. ‘Album’) has been known from the wild for many years but is rarely available. Glaucidium is placed in the peony family. Gardeners in mild-winter areas can grow species usually sold as terrarium orchids. (8 cm) across. Mealy bugs and aphids are reported but never seen here. many yellow stamens. Seed can be sown in the open in spring. MS to FS. flowers 6–30. ture to the shady garden. evergreen leaves present a striking contrast to wild gingers and other lowgrowing wildflowers. toothed and incised. Native to the mountains of northern Honshu. leaves 3–6. In my garden. Widespread in the temperate zones of Eurasia and North America. MS to FS. rhizomatous rootstock. lobed mauve to lilac tepals.). and they are much more hardy than most references indicate. Paeoniaceae. welldraining soil with a pH of 5 to 6. dark green . Where summers are hot and dry. leucanthum (‘Leucanthemum’. very small. nodding. but their distinctly and beautifully marked. some species occur in zone 4. they should be planted in groups. plant clump-forming with woody. it makes a great companion to hostas. greenish or yellowish brown. The woody. but snow cover spoils the winter interest. (13–25 cm) long. foliosa. astilbes. northern Maine into southeastern Quebec. one-sided or slightly spiraled on upright flower spikes with scaly bracts. with 4 wavy. no other pests or diseases are reported. G. rhizomatous rootstock spreads slowly. White-flowered f. in Aomori Prefecture. leaves at bottom are largest and diminish in size toward top. ferns.

northern rattlesnake plantain. Goodyera repens. Very similar is Goodyera velutina from the same habitat. dark green leaves that are checkered with lighter green. Hardy Orchids. Gramineae. matsumurana. June–August. 0. All need a sheltered spot and tolerate hot summers as long as moisture is maintained. lesser rattlesnake plantain. very small. (10–25 cm) tall. northern Eurasia. Recommended reading Cribb. The generic name is a combination of Hakone (its habitat in the mountainous Hakone region of central Honshu) and the Greek chloe (= grass). (1–2. to 2. (6 cm) long. Among the larger species in the genus. woolly spikes with scaly bracts and with flowers on all sides. Distinctly variegated leaves provide year-round interest.5–1 in. once the grass has matured in late spring or early summer. it too is dwarf. usually one-sided. central Europe. (2–4 cm) long. in a basal rosette. 2–3 in. 1989. Eastern North America. where one still finds Phragmites australis. 193 Goodyera pubescens. lattice leaf. and Christopher Bailes. but this growth is never invasive. hachijoensis var. Very similar and seldom seen is G. Portland. Minnesota. and this graceful. China. Taiwan. Oregon: Timber Press. June–August. and New England. with whitish flowers flushed pink. rattlesnake orchid. leaves 3–4. greenish. south to central Georgia. dwarf rattlesnake plantain. it endures incredible heat and drought. very small. Hardy to zone 4. with more distinctly marked silvery white veins in the small leaves. maroon underneath. Variety ophioides (= like a snake) is found from Newfoundland across Canada to Alaska as well as in Minnesota and in the Appalachians south to North Carolina. insignificant. This widely distributed species is much smaller than Goodyera pubescens and not as showy. dark bluish green with a network of whitish veins.5 in. the giant sun-loving reed grass native to North America. Hardy to zone 7b. smooth rattlesnake plantain). Many years later I saw a variegated form of it in a local nursery. Hakonechloa is classified in the grass family. Hardy to zone 7b. jewel orchid. tesselata (checkered rattlesnake plantain. (10–25 cm) tall. medium green. to 16 in.8–1. southern Ontario. Hardy to zone 5. MS to FS. Phillip. very small. in a tight basal rosette. Hardy to zone 3. growing with azaleas and Hosta longipes on the rocky banks of a tributary of the Tenryu River in Shizuoka Prefecture. its leaves are larger. with a velvety texture and a white midrib. Hakonechloa My search for the ideal small ornamental grass for shady gardens came to an end when I found Hakonechloa macra (Hakone grass). scrofula weed. dark grayish green with a prominent. slow-release fertilizers give an extra boost to development. adder’s violet. Hardy to zone 6 with protection. A rare species. a species with smooth. its flowers are larger and white or reddish brown and the leaves are of similar size. downy rattlesnake plantain. (40 cm). flowers many. Japan. 4–10 in. Tennessee. insignificant. Hakone grass requires abundant moisture during its initial spring growth cycle. silvery white central stripe and a network of whitish veins. on upright. 0.Hakonechloa with a conspicuous silvery green stripe on the midvein. Propagate by dividing the dormant clumps or creeping rhizomes before growth commences in very early spring. Korea. Stagnant water in the ground will cause root rot. cross veins not distinctly marked as in other species. (5–8 cm) long. dark grayish to bluish green with conspicuous network of silvery white principal veins and narrower cross veins. MS to FS. Goodyera schlechtendaliana. Eastern North America. it grows in eastern North America on both sides of the Canadian border. From Hachijo Island comes G. Alabama. July–August. elegant grass has been growing at Hosta Hill ever since. white or rose-pink. Plants were previously included in the genus Phragmites. 4–10 in. hardy to zone 6b. leaves 3–8. Quebec. and west to Missouri and Oklahoma.5 in. with a central splash of white and a network of white veins. The clumps expand slowly by means of creeping rhizomes. flowers numerous. Hardy to zone 5. broadly lance-shaped. leaves in a basal rosette.5 cm) long. . British Isles. sometimes slightly spiraled on upright flower spikes with scaly bracts. flowers many. I first saw it in the western Japanese Alps. Soils of low fertility are accepted. MS to FS. heat-tolerant to zone 9.

But hellebores are tough. hot summers of the southeastern United States. it is shown to advantage in front of tall-growing wildflowers like Solomon’s seals and fairy bells (Disporum spp. which opened into a nodding cluster of greenish flowers. Soils can be anything from clayey to sandy.5 to 7. linear lance-shaped with long. stems (culms) wiry. self-sufficient colony of yearround green plants.6 in. though I appreciate their striking foliage much more. In its third year. Hakonechloa macra. when it became drier and warmer. Ten years ago. irregular clusters. in dry soils they wither and become unsightly. I combat this by cutting most flowering stems before the seeds fully develop. central Honshu. Spring rains can be heavy in Georgia. acid clay soil here was not to the little hellebore’s liking. orientalis (Lenten rose) have the most colorful large flowers. each . and widely available. so I remove them. Evergreen hellebores are essential perennials for any shady garden. Helleborus Most species of hellebores originate in Eurasia. somewhat diminished vigor. ‘Alboaurea’. The following spring. providing color and interest when deciduous (herbaceous) plants are dormant. What makes them all so outstanding is their excellent winter character. with a pH of 5. in loose. the flowers turned more green. (25–30 cm) long to 0. and finally. blades smaller near the ground. Well adapted to shady southern gardens. then smaller again. including an imposing Helleborus argutifolius (Corsican hellebore) just off the terrace. foetidus dislikes are waterlogged soil and wet winters. My one little hellebore is now a thriving. (30–40 cm) tall. some yellow. flowers and seedpods terminal. It got very cold. it was the only thing in the area that survived the first hard freeze. but the flowers survived. A most graceful and elegant grass for a multitude of uses in gardens. some sun is appreciated in northern latitudes. The hybrids involving H. dull green beneath.) and is absolutely stunning in decorative containers. leaf blades mostly bright yellow. The all-green type is most vigorous and makes a refined addition to the garden where too much variegation might not be desirable. Hakone region. foetidus dies off after seeding. (1.194 Helleborus an asset. and it perked up in early summer. my uncle led me to a blooming group of H. leaf blades deciduous. larger toward the top. light green stem with fringes on top. in November. a cluster of brownish seedpods developed in the center of each. ‘Aureola’. and little green. The only conditions H. and the seed had scattered all over the place. and it stayed hidden (perhaps even forgotten) until the hostas went dormant late that year. Most available forms are variegated. slowly expanding by rhizomes. arching. light to medium green. green.5 cm) wide. Japan. In moist soils they turn a reddish bronze and provide winter interest. Even deciduous species have wonderfully segmented leaf crowns during summer. (50–65 cm) long. shiny on top. plant clump-forming. Many years ago. 20–26 in. that first night of bloom. tapering tip. smooth. with a few thin. People complain that H. many grow in the Balkan region of southeastern Europe. Most hellebores are evergreen and perennial. the flowering stem had turned black and died. and the wet. excellent. no diseases nor insect assaults have been noted. Hakone grass. Its dense leaf mounds combine exceedingly well with hostas and other bold-leaved perennials and make a nice accent in fern glades. leaving a few stalks to produce seed and to further naturalize my front garden. leaf blades striped with mostly ivory-white. The leaf blades remain on the plant during winter. I planted a small piece of Helleborus foetidus (stinking hellebore) on a northeastfacing slope in the front garden. Japanese reed grass. it pushed up a thick. in these it rots and dies. 6–12 in. Getting up close to admire it. green stripes. Before I realized it. ideal shade plants. to 11°F (−12°C). so making up for their lack of winter interest. niger (Christmas rose) in the mountains of my native Bavaria. Some sun. Other than an occasional bite taken by weevils out of leaf margins. 3–8 per stem. vigorous. clumps 12–16 in. I am able to grow its fine selection ‘Potter’s Wheel’ by giving copious amounts of water and adding dolomitic limestone to the soil mix. I have several growing in my garden. Nearby hostas overshadowed the small plant. Plants thus remain vigorous and produce more flowers the following seasons. LS to MS. ‘Albovariegata’ is similar but with no yellow. I detected the faint odor that gives this species its name. They are happy even in the dry.

niger). deep purple. to 10 in. overlapping. on the stem. with toothed. flowers many. spiny margins. low-maintenance species whose striking leaves give marvelous winter interest. flowers solitary or 2–3 in loose clusters. Remove the old stems to allow new shoots to develop and flower before summer arrives. sepals 5. woodland flowers. to 18 in. center one elliptic. (4–5 cm) across. sepals 5. Sardinia. Sun. leaves deciduous. reddish on the back. (90 cm) wide. totaling 9–13 elliptic segments. Macedonia. with widely toothed. incised. stamens many.Helleborus Hellebores tolerate a wide range of soil conditions as long as they get good drainage. stamens many. f. A great addition with striking. cupreus has reddish brown or gold flowers. 3–8 in. Corsica. plants may be smaller and flowering sparse. with very coarsely toothed. light green. Slugs and snails attack the young growth. With their finely divided leaves hellebores make excellent companions for hostas. grayish purple. Garden hybrid (H.2 m) tall and 36 in. It produces overwintering. turning dull. I once tried moving large seedlings from these seemingly inhospitable places to nice pots filled with superior potting soil. they will scatter in time. Its leafy overwintering flowering stems are evergreen in zone 7. dark green. 1. Hardy to zone 6 with good protection. on the stem. southern Bulgaria. An attractive. leathery. The several named botanical forms are rarely available: f. spiny margins. conspicuously veined. Greece. The selection ‘Janet Starnes’ has shorter leaves that are attractively speckled light grayish green. lateral leaflets rounded on the outside edge. Rarely seen and small. others tolerate almost full shade. The popular cultivar ‘December Dawn’ has white flowers flushed pinkish purple inside. divided into 3 leaflets. December– April. 24–30. shiny. totaling 9–11 or more elliptic segments. Albania. plant evergreen. saucer- . hircii has leaves to 15 segments. Flower shape places the genus in the Ranunculaceae. LS to MS. bowl. large. into 3–5 leaflike lobes. Grecian hellebore. Helleborus argutifolius. leaves dark green. (30 cm) tall and wide. leathery. and other shade plants during the growing season. shiny. sepals 5. (25 cm) across. (45 cm) tall and 12 in. (8–20 cm) long. they rewarded me by promptly expiring. light green. facing out or slightly down. facing out or slightly down. the 2 outer leaflets divided again. (25 cm) across. Mediterranean region. overwintering flowerstalks. almost basal. December–May. January–April. divided into 5 leaflets. green to yellowish green. conspicuously variegated leaves. white or white flushed with pink inside. 2–3 in. stamens many. Hardy to zone 6 with good protection. January–April. spiny margins. to 8 in. leaves deciduous. Seeds prefer to germinate in the cracks of brick paving or on minute soil patches in concrete paving: their Mediterranean heritage and liking for dry places is obvious. shiny. (30 cm) wide. (5–8 cm) across. LS to WS. flowers faintly scented. (40–45 cm) tall and wide. finely hairy underneath in spring. Sun. to 2 in. with finely toothed margins. incisis has leaflets more deeply toothed. sometimes greenish in center or rarely all green. yielding many small seedlings. flushed purple in spring. Sun. Corsican hellebore. leafy flowering stems and is evergreen in zone 7. In shadier conditions. Hellebores are susceptible to black fungal rot. Some like more sun. (5–8 cm) across. bold leaves of the Chinese mayapple (Podophyllum pleianthum) and assorted hostas and ferns. to 4 ft. overlapping. 4–7 in loose clusters. Helleborus cyclophyllus. on widely branched stems. stamens many. basal. to 10 in. flowers 3–4. Propagate by allowing seeds to ripen on the plants. large. plant to 12 in.5–2 in. it requires a place up front where its dark flowers can be appreciated. Northwestern Balkans. f. It mixes well with the soft green. large. Hellebores dislike dividing and transplanting. LS to WS. leaves deep green to deep bluish green with veins outlined in whitish green. turning purplish pink. 195 shaped. (55 cm) tall. plant 16–18 in. leathery. LS to MS. saucershaped. with overwintering flowerstalks. saucer-shaped. Helleborus ×ballardiae.or cup-shaped. leathery. facing out. Hardy to zone 5 and quite heat-tolerant once established. divided into 7 leaflets. lividus × H. divided into 3–5 leaflets. shiny. the 2 outer leaflets divided again into leaflike lobes. purple hellebore. large. (20 cm) across. (1. ferns. Sun. (5 cm) across. sepals 5. on stems 22 in. An impressive hellebore with great leaf in- Helleborus atrorubens. leathery. facing out or down. Southern Balkans. 2–3 in.

Italian. flowers many. istriacus. later sometimes turning pinkish. sepals 5. plant to 24 in. Spain and Portugal to Hungary. leaves deciduous. setterwort. like ‘Bowles’ Form’ but more floriferous. Sun. drooping. in loose clusters on overwintering stems. and Austrian Alps to Croatia. divided into leaflets. LS to MS. Subspecies hercegovinus has more than 100 segments. Majorca. 3–10. totaling 9–11 or more narrowly lance-shaped segments. sepals 5. Christmas rose. plant taller. (4–5 cm) across. erect. leaflets deeply serrated.196 Helleborus terest and well worth growing. ‘Bowles’ Form’. a dwarf form. veined in silver. Swiss. ‘Piccadilly’. shiny.5–2 in.5 cm) across. leaves darker. ‘Sopron’. although extremely variable. stinking hellebore. on the stem. except toward tip of leaflets. deciduous leaflets. Mediterranean region. divided into 7–9 leaflets. ‘Miss Jekyll’ (‘Miss Jekyll’s Scented Form’). with toothed or entire margins. flowerstalks with red tinting. December–April. leaves dark green. I grow subsp. leaves slightly fetid when crushed. cup-shaped. (23 cm) across. leaves very dark with grayish overlay. flowers green. The lacy appearance of these plants makes them outstanding additions to the garden. December–April.5–2. dark green or bluish with silvery white veining. 1. with fine and widely spaced teeth. which has adapted well to hot summers here and is slowly expanding into a striking plant. December–April. but I like the up to 13 fingerlike. divided into 3 leaflets. This wonderful hellebore from the Alps is hardy to zone 3 with protection. LS to MS. its flowers are the smallest in the genus. Western and central Europe. stamens many. winter rose. ‘Green Gnome’ (‘Sierra Nevada Form’). (45 cm) wide. in loose clusters on light green. Further north it makes a striking pot subject. to 3. leathery. the 2 outer leaflets divided again into leaflike lobes. Majorcan hellebore. leaves evergreen. leafstalks and stems red-tinted. ‘Tros-os-Montes’. 1. This rare but available species is hardy here in zone 7a in a sheltered spot. flowers scented. (60 cm) tall and 16 in. Its beautiful leaves. (45 cm) tall and 12 in. basal. ‘Ruth’. apple-green inside. Helleborus lividus. sepals 5. are well worth the extra effort. (80 cm). Helleborus multifidus. flowers yellowish green. (20 cm) tall. to 9 in. solitary or rarely 2–3 on purplish overwintering stems. heat-tolerant to zone 6. first light then darker or grayish green. Helleborus foetidus. very dark green. plant larger and vigorous.2–2 in. stinkwort. plant 8–12 in. Several botanical varieties have been named: var. Subspecies macranthus from the Italian Alps has huge flowers. All are hardy to zone 7. (40 cm) wide. stamens many. 0. Italy. deeply cut. ‘Wester Flisk’. bear’s foot. stamens many. bell. angustifolius with . snow rose. and 18 in. Hardy to zone 6 and very heat-tolerant once established. untoothed. leaves metallic. ‘Green Giant’. overwintering stems with conspicuous. egg-shaped. drooping. flowers with pinkish buds. heat-tolerant to zone 9. the tattered remains of which I remove each spring. (11 cm) across. leaves more finely divided. German. lacy hellebore. Christrose (Ger. leathery. where it has endured temperatures of 15°F (−10°C) for short periods.or cup-shaped. leafy bracts. as many as 40–70 segments. istriacus have fewer segments. medium green. Very hardy and a good garden plant once established. plant to 18 in. shiny. to 4.5 in. stamens many. Balkans. very slender. plant to 32 in.6–1 in. opening to white with a green center. it has overwintering rather than deciduous leaves. divided into many leaflets. (1. sometimes flushed purple at the sepal tips. ‘Sienna’. (3–5 cm) across. turning reddish in autumn. dungwort.). glossy dark green. about 20 and 12. flowers green and unflushed at sepal tips. leaves evergreen. remove to a frost-free area during the coldest part of the winter. Another striking species from southeastern Austria ranging across the upper Balkans to the Black Sea is Helleborus dumetorum. respectively. sometimes taller. bear claw hellebore. green to pale green. in loose clusters on overwintering stems. ‘Italian Form’. (9 cm) across. LS to MS. leathery. Helleborus niger. hairy beneath. 24–48. sepals 5. leaves evergreen. LS to MS. 8 in. (20–30 cm) tall and to 12 in. edged in reddish brown. which add grace to the leaf mound. United Kingdom. (30 cm) wide. (30 cm) wide. flushed pinkish purple outside. Cabrera. flowers 8–10.5 in. Subspecies bocconei and subsp.

(30 cm) tall and 24–38 in. LS. white or white flushed with pink inside. opening white. Many selections show some of these varietal features. 2–3 in. ‘De Graff’s Variety’. the 2 outer leaflets divided again into leaflike lobes. sometimes yellowish green. up to 30 or more. Blackthorn Group. and var. Helleborus odorus. basal and on the stem. (40 cm) across. var. ‘Louis Cobbett’. (60–95 cm) wide. flowers white. Corfu. ‘Sunset’. flowers white tinged pink. 4–12 in. shiny. very dark green leaves. The Balkan subsp. flowers many. Evergreen in zone 7. ‘Flore Roseo’. subsp. LS to WS. 3–4 in. flowers faintly scented. Hardy to zone 6. very longlasting. Lenten rose. heat-tolerant to zone 8. Some sun. ‘Potter’s Wheel’ (‘Ladham’s Variety’). Balkans. flowers white. to 16 in. stenopetalus with very narrow sepal lobes. abchasicus has flowers tinted with red. flowers white with green shading toward center. niger). flowers whitish tinting to green and cream. flowers with much pink in the white sepals. early. 197 with a bluish cast. to 3 in. flowers pure white to greenish white with green stripe in the center of sepal. ‘Alabaster’. flowers white flushed rosepink. flowers smaller. leaves tall. LS to MS. saucer-shaped. (8 cm) across. overlapping. ‘Trotter’s Form’. flowers double. The type and its subspecies are seldom seen in gardens. This group of garden hybrids has showy flowers and leafy flowering stems. plant smaller. overlapping sepals. shiny. argutifolius × H. saucer-shaped. to 4 in. flowers white with a green eye. January–April. leathery. ‘Eva’.Helleborus narrower leaflets and smaller white flowers. but the many orientalis hybrids. var. for a total 7–9 segments. ‘White Magic’. leaves light green. Blackthorn Strain. ‘Foliis Variegatis’. stem tall and darkish. (10–30 cm) long. (60 cm) tall and 20 in. flowers white suffused with deep pink. divided into leaflets. spiny margins. flowers late October–early November. sepals 5. 4–5 in. with widely and coarsely toothed. very dark green. ‘Madam Fourcade’. flowers pink. green. leaves medium to dark green. divided into 5–7 leaflets. Greece. with finely toothed margins. Helleborus orientalis. finely hairy underneath in spring. Turkey. stamens many. large white flowers to 4. flowers red in bud. false rose. (11 cm) across. plant to 24 in. large. branching stems. Garden hybrid (H. flowers with pink buds. turning pink. outside leaflets divided into 3–4 leaflets. overwintering flowerstalks to 12 in. leathery. (5–8 cm) across. protecting flowers. ‘Sunrise’. with up to 25 sepals. leathery. on overwintering stems. plant 16–18 in. later turning red. very dark green. ‘Hawkhurst’. sepals 5. the Caucasus. very white but flushed with green. sometimes gathered under the Helleborus ×nigercors. facing out or slightly down. white sepals flushed with red. leaves large. fragrant hellebore. ‘Wardie Lodge’. stamens many. guttatus has white flowers with a green center and prominently spotted with red or purple. Sun. (8–10 cm) across. humilifolius with smaller leaves on unspotted stems and larger flowers. ‘Beatrix’. stem marbled purple. flowers whitish turning pale rose. flowers large.5 in. white flushed with green. December–April. leaves narrow. Balkans. leaves evergreen. basal. dark green. (40–45 cm) tall and wide. stems dark. (10–13 cm) across. ‘St. pure white flowers. Brigid’. An impressive hellebore and well worth growing. I coddle this small plant successfully in full shade with morning sun penetrating its cool corner of the garden. on overwintering. hardy to zone 6 with protection. sometimes . slightly fragrant. totaling 9–11 or more elliptic segments. ‘Riverstone’. Sun. central leaflet undivided. (10 cm) across. large. mottled with greenish purple. finely toothed. more reddish outside. leaves variegated with cream in spring. ‘Marion’. facing out. Black Sea region. large. 3–5 in loose clusters. not large. divided into 3–5 leaflets. oblongifolius with a very long central leaflet that narrows abruptly toward its base. flowers white. ‘Praecox’ (All-Saints-Day Christmas rose). ‘Apple Blossom’. leaves medium green. (50 cm) wide.

so quiz your supplier carefully. pinkish speckled with darker pink inside. plant vigorous. so some landscape effect is derived from this character. flowers fully double. ‘John Raithby’. ‘Eco Golden Eye’. torquatus.5–2 in. flowers fully double. flowers bluish mauve with dark edges on the flat sepal lobes. flowers blackish purple with a glaucous coating. facing out. not opening flat. deep purple. green with pink streaks on the back. flowers uniform lilac with a distinct. flowers purple with blackish veins and speckles toward the sepal tips. flowers nodding. ‘Early Purple’. January– April. (10 cm) across. H.5 in. leaving a narrow band of clear pink at the sepal margins. stems reddish purple. Czech Republic. lighter green shading inside. to 10 in. inside deep pink with deep purple spotting in the center and a clear pink zone near the tips of the sepals. and even blackish. flowers metallic pink flushed outside. basal. H. nectaries yellowish green. plant herbaceous. toothed lobes. very pale. Hybridizers have had only limited success with developing more upright flowers on the orientalis hybrids. to 2. Central Europe into Poland. flowers tinted with red. rich pink backs. divided into up to 5 leaflets. flowers yellow in bud. opening to yellow outside with a rose-pink haze inside. floriferous. or red. ×hybridus or H. anthers bright yellow. flowers yellow.198 Helleborus ‘Dawn’. ‘Nocturne’. ‘Andromeda’. to 12 in. New leafstalks develop in early March. ‘Eco Bullseye’. sepals puckered. veined darker purple. ‘Amethyst’. ‘Snow Queen’. so I have sited some of my plants on a hillside above the walks. tinted pink outside and veined dark red. deep purple. All are outstanding and of the easiest culture. Most were selected for flower color—white. stems dark purplish green. ‘Günter Jürgl’. ‘Philip Wilson’. flowers white. but often smaller. many hybrids show their intense coloration on the back of the flower. flowers deep purplish red. flowers dark crimson-purple inside and out. flowers yellow in bud. large. taller. flowers nodding. (6 cm) across. (30 cm) tall and wide. ‘Citron’. Sun. later turning coppery red. opening to pure white with off-white veins. I remove the flowerstalks before the seeds ripen in April. (25 cm) across. Millet Hybrids. shiny on the back. early. greenish white. rose. (4–5 cm) across. hanging down. I have a white-flowered cultivar that comes true from seed. grayish purple to greenish dark purple. evenly dotted with dark red spots almost to the edge of the sepals. finely hairy underneath in spring. ‘Queen of Night’. flowers purple with darker veins. are widely available and very popular. flowers to 4 in. leathery. flowers white with a red center. cupshaped. Carpathians in Romania to western Ukraine. This species disappears totally at the onset of winter and pushes up new flowering stems in early spring. and the flowers usually remain closed for the coldest part of the winter. Hardy to zone 3 with protection. names H. inside pinkish. sepals 5. odorus. . light green. each with 2–5 narrow. opening flat to creamy yellow. Helleborus purpurascens. as with other hellebores. but most hybrids have varying offspring: only vegetatively propagated cultivars are true to name and type. ‘Blowsy’. creamy white flushed green at the base. stamens many. ‘Dusk’. 1. including H. ‘Blue Spray’. on stems produced in late winter or early spring. ‘Alcyone’. they open fully in late January and remain on the plant until April. H. flowers yellow in bud. creamy green inside. leaves deciduous. ‘Parrot’. viridis. flowers blackish purple. cyclophyllus. and H. ‘Ushba’ (‘Usba’). reddish purple. ‘Garnet’. ‘Eco Autumn Purple’. the flowerstalks emerge in late November to early December. Their nodding flower habit makes it difficult to enjoy them. flowers 2–4. ‘Cosmos’. pink. shiny pink. All cultivars listed are similar to the type in stature. ×orientalis. slightly glaucous. pink. purpurascens. heat-tolerant to zone 9. bracts bluish purple. leaves turn an attractive purplish color in fall. Most are variable and represent selected seedling material from crosses of the typical species and its variants with other species. Hardy to zone 5 and very heat-tolerant once established. even network of purple veins. stems red-spotted at base. Notwithstanding. At Hosta Hill. LS. At Hosta Hill they have withstood temperatures as low as 0°F (−18°C) and several summers of severe heat and drought. pendent and drooping. flowers saucer-shaped.

central leaflet undivided. LS. leaf undersides. veins marked in greenish white. lividus). Helleborus niger crossed with H. Hellebores. Beware: many inferior plants are sold under this name. ‘Dido’ (flowers with green interior. protection has also increased. LS to MS. in shades of green. ‘Boughton Beauty’ (Boughton Beauty Strain). this species grows with astilbes and matteuccias. Brian. central leaflet undivided. Fortunately. Mathew. Sun. coarsely saw-toothed. sometimes purple tinted when young. saucershaped or flat. Alpine region from Switzerland into Bavaria. plant small. 1993. (45 cm) tall. leaves multidissected. Years ago. flowers dark green. subtending bracts green and very large. as long as its specialized habitat is duplicated. China. wetlands in the way of new residential construction were filled in or drained. leaves dark grayish green with conspicuous marbling. 1967. ‘Blackthorn’ (Blackthorn Strain). My swamp pinks have flourished in an area of dappled shade with some morning sun in a mini-bog. bellshaped. (5–6 cm) across. leaves green. 2–4 on long branching stems. 6 with protection. The Gardener’s Guide to Growing Hellebores. plant clump-forming. Rice. and deep violet-purple. and leaves die down after the flowerstalks are fully developed in June or July. December–April. Subspecies occidentalis occurs further west in Germany. involving three parents as they do. Helonias Wetlands in North America are under increasing attack. leaves reddish bronze when young). irregularly and coarsely toothed. and selections include ‘Aeneas’ (flowers double. so its culture should be similar. green inside). France. leaves deciduous. outside leaflets divided into subleaflets for a total of 7–9 segments. lime-green. Helleborus viridis. Oregon: Timber Press. Several . It has been growing here ever since and is of easy culture. on overwintering stems. Alpine Garden Society. leaves grayish green. toothed. flowers green flushed with pink on purple stems. Marlene. Garden hybrid (H. Sun. exterior dark purple). Graham. greenish. a mixture of features resembling either one or the other of the parents. which is represented in gardens by plants collected in the 1930s. brown with green stripes. Sichuan. 2–2. flowers few. heat-tolerant to zone 8. medium to dark green. Gansu. divided into leaflets. Hellebores. green hellebore. LS to MS. Plants offered under this name may be hybrids. Of easy culture and hardy to zone 7. Helleborus thibetanus. Bosnia. Adding dolomitic limestone to acid soils may speed up its usually slow growth. Recommended reading Ahlburg. (40 cm) tall. sometimes yellowish green. I often observed this species in the foothills of the Alps in Bavaria. 1–2 in. pointed. for a usual total of 9 segments. Helleborus torquatus. and it was on one such occasion that a few friends and I had the opportunity to rescue a colony of swamp pink. spiny margins or entire. with 12–80 segments. and ‘Paul Voelcker’ (flowers double. purple inside and out. Balkans. flowers open in March. and Austria. and Elizabeth Strangman. northern Italy.5 in. plants larger.Helonias 199 Helleborus ×sternii. Sun. where it occurs on limestone. ×sternii yields H. (2. ×ericsmithii. nodding. argutifolius × H. Hardy to zone 6. leaflets 7. green with brown veins outside. This group of garden hybrids is extremely variable. Croatia south to Montenegro (Crna Gora). these plants display an even greater variability. flowers white fading to pink and lastly turning all green. Chinese hellebore. Some sun. In the wild. Shaanxi. plant to 18 in. London: Batsford. leaves marbled with silvery gray giving a smoky appearance. Peruse commercial catalogs for plant descriptions. flowers green flushed with pink on purplish pink stems. plant 16 in. outside leaflets divided into 3 leaflets. flushed with pink or maroon.5–5 cm) long. not hairy. 1993. 2–5 on purple-tinged stem. so that swamp and bog dwellers like Helonias bullata (swamp pink) might retain at least some of their habitat. and Spain and is almost alike but has smooth. flowers small. More field work is needed to define this extremely variable species. seedling strains of the type are offered. urban expansion is a chief threat. Hubei. hairy beneath. of differing proportions. LS to MS. Portland. sepals 5.

strappy leaves and fragrant pink flower spikes add much to the garden. April–May. The genus is classified in the Melanthiaceae. Japan. for the plants’ preferred habitat. Commercial sources offer propagated stock of swamp pink. reaching 16 in. the species of Heloniopsis from Asia have fewer but larger flowers and are suited to more shady locations. with tuberous rhizome. flowers 3–12. (2. which elongates further after flowering. wild plants should never be approached. Leaves are evergreen and turn purple in winter. Propagate by dividing the tuberous rhizomes after flowering in late spring. The rich green. with tuberous rhizome. 5 with protection. They do best when located in cool. Korea. (8–25 cm) long and 0. (10 cm) across and stems no more than 5 in.5–8 cm) long. which is now rare in the wild and a threatened species in Georgia and the Carolinas. Heloniopsis Similar in habit to the native North American swamp pinks of the genus Helonias. leathery. 12–36 in. (8–20 cm) long and 1–1. terminal. 10–30. leaves in basal rosette. to 0. they may become deciduous. 3–10 in. in the mountains south to northwestern Georgia. 1–3 in. The generic name. reddish. The genus is classified in the Melanthiaceae. (1. leaves in basal rosette. New York to Virginia. cylindrical raceme. straplike. leafy bracts. Here this species flowers frequently. (40 cm). the bluetipped stamens give an overall purple hue to the flower spike. alluding . As in nature. evergreen. Eastern North America.6 in. May–June. Variety flavida has greenish white flowers and flowerstalks taller than the type. plant herbaceous. Hardy to zone 6. upright. installing them in an artificial bog may be a necessity. its cold hardiness may be limited to zone 7. on hollow. (2 cm) wide. clump-forming. with 6 bluetipped stamens. swamp pink.5 in. The most frequently cultivated species.200 Heloniopsis nodding flower on bare stems and provide a charming display in spring.5–4 cm) wide. I have several planted in a solitary group to attract attention to the evergreen leaves. plant herbaceous. 3-lobed capsule. tubular with 6 spreading tepals. broadly lance-shaped. with 6 stamens and bluish purple anthers. 3–8 in. bright pink. In areas of dry summers. (25 cm) tall. Propagate by taking offsets from the tuberous rhizomes. The generic name is from the Greek hepas (= liver). (13 cm) high. nodding. Heloniopsis orientalis. with 3 petals and 3 sepals. upright flowerstalk with small. sharp-pointed. Disease or insect damage is rare. Variety breviscapa from the southern regions of the habitat has widely funnel-shaped flowers that are either pale pink or white.5 cm) across. Heloniopsis species are still rare in gardens. dull green. (30–90 cm) tall. blunt-tipped. but they do require constantly moist soil. which includes moist woodlands and forest margins. Taiwan. LS to WS. The variegated forms found in Japan are eagerly collected for pot culture. flowers many. (18–23 cm) across. rosepink. Heloniopsis occurs in sizeable colonies in some areas of its Asian habitat. smooth. but some varieties are commercially imported from Korea and Japan. arranged in a loose. No disease or insect damage has been experienced here. The livershaped leaves of Hepatica acutiloba were used extensively by American Indians and early settlers to treat liver ailments and other diseases. very small plant that may have been a sport of var. arranged in a dense. kawanoi. indicates a resemblance to Helonias. Sakhalin. bright green. Fresh seed germinates readily but is rarely produced in cultivation. The generic name comes from the Greek helo (= swamp. but slugs and snail can damage new growth in spring. one-sided flowerstalk. to 10 in. to protect the habitat. marshy place). fragrant.8 in. I have seen an irregularly yellow-striped. lanceshaped green leaves are overtopped with beautiful Hepatica Hepaticas are also called liverworts. (60 cm) deep lined with plastic and filled with rich. Some sun. Helonias bullata. The broad. smooth. still untried in North America. clump-forming. They are more at home in moist woodlands than wetlands. 3-lobed capsule. Hardy to zone 5. a dwarf form of the typical species with a leaf rosette to 4 in. and the leaf rosette reaches 7–9 in. S to WS. (2. in excessive cold. they dislike heat and dry conditions in southern gardens. shady locations. acid peat soil with a pH of 4 to 5. which comes from the Greek. a depression 24 in.

Alabama. leaves green. no petals. liverworts in fact grow on heavy clay soils in the wild. clump-forming. ×media. 5–9 (sometimes to 12) petal-like sepals. North American species are hardy to zone 3 and heat-tolerant well into zone 8. except that the leaves are 3-lobed with rounded tips and it has fewer flowers. leaves green. they are harbingers of spring. among the selections of this naturally occurring hybrid are ‘Ballardii’ (flowers deep blue with a high number of sepals) and. which usually open in early March atop the old. overwintering leaf mound. Seed must be fresh and can be germinated by planting in the ground or in a seed tray. west to Arkansas and Missouri. 201 ern North America. Among the earliest-blooming wildflowers. Florida. Fertilizing is not required. (8 cm) across. or white. dark purplish blue). Europe. where it usually has bluish flowers.or 7-lobed. army worms and striped caterpillars feed on the leaves during the night. sharp-leaved hepatica. Be patient with the seedlings: they are extremely sensitive to transplanting shock and should be kept in seed trays for several seasons. but the addition of years-old woods compost is appreciated. LS to FS. are remarkably frost-resistant. Hepaticas are very easy to cultivate. but also pinkish blue or white. blue liverleaf. I have seen gorgeous wild colonies of both Hepatica acutiloba and H. In gardens. It grows well on acidic soils. with a fibrous roots emanating from a rhizomatous crown. sharp-lobed liverwort. Hepaticas tolerate considerable dryness.5 cm) wide. lavender. March–April. European hepatica. Immediately after flowering. LS to FS. stamens numerous. 3 green sepal-like. In the wild Hepatica nobilis hybridizes with another European species. each on a hairy stem 4–5 in. persistent bracts. large groups of them should be planted along garden paths. one of the best. sometimes mottled with grayish green. here this species grows on acid clay amended with dolomitic limestone. Large slugs and snails can damage young leaf growth and mature leaves. stamens numerous. blue anemone. pink. roundlobed liverwort. where they can be easily observed. Several colors are available in commerce. round-lobed hepatica. In summer. ‘Millstream Merlin’ (flowers semi-double.5 cm) wide. it hybridizes with Hepatica americana in the wild. (8 cm) across. Uncover leaf mounds in very early spring so that the flowers can properly develop and show. flowers solitary. no petals. hairy. liverleaf. 6–9 petal-like sepals. to 3 in. sometimes purple. west to Arkansas and Missouri. H. southern Manitoba and Minnesota to southern Quebec. here I have seen occasional flowers from December through February on warm days. transsilvanica. 3lobed with pointed tips. sometimes 5. Optimum pH is 5 to 7. Even in the heat and drought of southern gardens. liverworts occur in North America. Georgia. sharp-lobed hepatica. liverworts are great for shady gardens because of their persistent leaf display. March–April. plant herbaceous. Alabama. In this case nature points the way: as in the wild. fruit seedlike. southern Manitoba and Minnesota to Nova Scotia. Almost any soil will do as long as it is not waterlogged. and Asia. Usually seen in limestone regions. (10–13 cm) tall. Propagate by division in late autumn. New England and south to South Carolina. LS to FS. (2. and I have never understood why they are so rarely seen in gardens. sometimes 5. clumpforming. Hepaticas are classified in the Ranunculaceae. each on a hairy stem 4–6 in. little plants prevail. (10–15 cm) tall. new leaves emerge and remain on the plant until the following spring. 3 green sepal-like. and it is perhaps because they are little and demure that gardeners often overlook them. their flowers. Hepatica nobilis is an extremely vari- Hepatica acutiloba. to 1 in. to 1 in.or 7-lobed. New England and south to Georgia. Although the flower display is ephemeral. ‘Eco Royal Blue’ has blue flowers. Hepatica nobilis. 3-lobed with pointed tips. (2. This is the common liverwort widespread in eastern North America. yielding H. lavender. but some watering during droughts is recommended. Eastern North America. flowers solitary. persistent bracts. but also blue. mayflower. but also lavender or white. which are mostly pinkish blue. these tough. Europe. americana blooming in northern Georgia and on the Cove Hardwood Nature Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains. In the wild. to 3 in. Hepatica americana. plant herbaceous. flowers similar to Hepatica acutiloba. East- .Hepatica to the leaf shape.

3-lobed with pointed tips. ‘Plena’. stamens numerous. blue. leaves marbled in shades of green. March–April. to 3 in. Variety asiatica from Korea is outstanding in having leaves handsomely mottled with silvery gray. ‘Alba’. silvery blue. Asian taxonomists prefer to treat these varieties as separate species. Korea. each on a hairy stem 4–5 in. Transsylvanian hepatica. whose native range is not yet determined. flowers double. flowers white. white. heucheras are primarily grown for their attractive. but recent rearrangements of the genus have pointed the other way. ‘Little Abington’. flowers solitary. LS to FS. all I grew at Hosta Hill was a native plant. Hepatica yamatutai from Sichuan province in China is an outstanding hepatica for the garden. to 4 in. plant herbaceous. no petals. sometimes 5. each on a hairy stem 5 in. LS to FS. flowers blue. giving a star-shaped appearance. Other Asian species have been discovered and are slowly reaching Western gardens. Romania. then North America must be extolled for being the source of heucheras. stamens numerous. leaves green. insularis. and Tolmiea If the Far East is credited with contributing the most popular hostas to the shady garden. ‘Barlowii’. 6–9 petal-like sepals. at a cost. snatched from the bulldozers on a construction . sometimes mottled with silvery gray or yellow. Asian hepatica. (10 cm) long. The Asian hepaticas are variable. and Tolmiea promises to keep company with small hostas in gardens just as it does in the wild. this lovely dwarf with silver-mottled leaves Heuchera. pink. bright skyblue. or white. and Tolmiea menziesii (youth-on-age). a selected clone with leaves marbled in silvery gray. mostly blue. (13 cm) tall. flowers double. clump-forming. and doubleflowered forms are also available. (2. to 1. Like hostas. clump-forming. flowers full and rounded. Transsylvania Mountains. Hepaticas isolated on Ullung Island speciated into Hepatica maxima. ‘Caerulea’ (‘Coerulea’). The longer. japonica. but also white and pinkish white. very floriferous). ‘Rosea’. which I overlooked searching for the diminutive Hosta venusta near Mount Halla on Cheju Island. with very large flowers and deeply lobed leaves that have a purple cast beneath. (8 cm) across. giving an almost round appearance. ‘Ada Scott’. and the many forms with variegated leaves are eagerly collected and revered in Japanese pot culture. Another Asian species is H. flowers double. flowers pink. 3lobed or sometimes 5. Cultivars include ‘Buis’ (flowers silvery cornflower-blue) and ‘Ellison Spence’ (flowers double. including myself. (10–13 cm) tall. which has leaves of a size befitting its epithet. able species. flowers solitary. sometimes mottled with grayish green. 6–9 narrow. plant herbaceous. ‘Marmorata’. 3 green sepal-like. Hepatica nobilis var. Hepatica transsilvanica. Southeastern Europe. leafy addition to the shady garden.5 in. has small flowers of little worth. petal-like sepals. ×Heucherella. to include heucheras in gardens. Included here is ×Heucherella. ‘Alba Plena’. ‘Rubra Plena’. Hepatica henryi. blue. Things were different before the advent of Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’. flowers double. dark blue. often strikingly variegated leaves. this species promises to be a great. deep blue. ‘Rubra’. Until then. flowers dark rosy red. a western North American species that is similarly useful as a groundcover in shady gardens. Japan. ‘Eco Blue Harlequin’. clones with attractively mottled and even ruffled leaves are in commerce. A gardenworthy species. although its flowers are less showy. each lobe subdivided into several smaller lobes.5 cm) wide. red to rosy red. March–April. flowers blue. a cross between Heuchera and Tiarella that is used and treated like Heuchera in gardens. flowers double. with large flowers and leaves. creeping rhizomes of its rootstock give it a welcome spreading habit. (4 cm) across. here it withstands dry conditions better than the other species. but its leaves may be attractive enough to bring it into cultivation. to 1 in. persistent bracts. Confirm details concerning flower color and leaf mottling before ordering. ×Heucherella. it was plant breeders who ushered these plants into gardens. In both cases. a purple-leaved cultivar that inspired many gardeners.or 7-lobed with rounded tips.or 7-lobed. leaves green.202 Heuchera.

site in deep shade in southern gardens. leaves to 6 in. With age. Ontario and Michigan east to New England. with thick. leaves in a basal rosette. but not overly so. shiny. for example. (8–13 cm) across. absolutely essential). in northern habitats they are herbaceous unless covered by lasting snow during the coldest periods. tall. green. Leaf spot and mildew are reported. medium green leaves with reddish brown veins. and exposed rocky sites. Heuchera americana. ‘Garnet’. I dig up the entire rootstock and replant it deeper. because seed does not come true. with striking leaves but measly flowers that I usually cut off. Tolmiea honors William Tolmie. they are low-maintenance groundcover and specimen plants and combine well with hostas. ‘Eco Magnififolia’. hoping that the roots left in the ground will resprout. veined silvery gray. sandstone cliffs. Species seed can be sown. I think it is H. on long stalks. Heuchera villosa ‘Autumn Bride’ has velvety leaves of light green with large inflorescences of white flowers. deep brown with a purplish cast. common alumroot. ‘Dale’s Silver’ (‘Dale’s Selection’. purple underneath. hairy beneath. heart-shaped with 3–9 lobes. leaves to 6 in. In mild-winter areas. south to Georgia and Alabama. Heucheras are very easy to cultivate in light to full shade. soil is ideal. leaves to 6 in. In summer. (15 cm). plant evergreen to semi-evergreen. their evergreen leaf mounds provide four-season interest. all have flowers from white to whitish or yellowish green and sometimes green tinged with purple. At this point some gardeners cut off the aboveground part. because saturated soils can cause root rot. flowers insignificant. 3–5 in. The best species for southern gardens if sited in medium to full shade. An improved ‘Eco Magnififolia’. and the growing tips will eventually be well above ground level. west to Oklahoma and Missouri. I add very coarse sand to the soil mix as well as pine bark pellets. Almost all are hardy to zone 4. ‘Dale’s Variety’). leathery. leaves wilt in too much sun. in spring after warm weather arrives. LS to FS. Drainage is key (and for western species. Optimum pH is 5 to 6. woody rootstock. (15 cm). americana’s range and H. ×Heucherella. but some recent selections with more showy flowers or many small flowers do make an impression—H. ‘Chocolate Veil’. ‘Eco Running Tapestry’. Moist. Several selections of H. the rootstock lengthens. (15 cm). barely covered. but I am not certain. ferns. In the wild. each coarsely toothed. sanguinea ‘White Cloud’. western species are primarily cliff and mountain dwellers. Heuchera parviflora is horticulturally the equal of H. (15 cm). in spring mottled with purplish brown. 203 Large slugs and snails can damage young leaf growth and mature leaves. eastern heucheras occupy moist and dry woodlands. richardsonii from the western and central ranges are essentially the same. mound-forming. leaves mottled silvery gray. ‘Eco Improved’. and taller wildflowers like disporums and astilbes. army worms and striped caterpillars feed on the leaves and disfigure them. Hybrid cultivars must be divided. but heat tolerance is limited. purple underneath. ‘Emerald Veil’. veined silvery gray. grayish foliage edged green with purple veins. and Tolmiea site north of Atlanta.Heuchera. American Indians used them to make a healing poultice applied to burns and other wounds. heavily veined in dark purplish brown. rock geranium. Heuchera honors the German botanist von Heucher. and direct sun is tolerated in more northern gardens. really looks like a small white cloud from afar. an official of the Hudson Bay Company. April–June. Heucheras and tolmieas are classified in the Saxifragaceae. In gardens. deep brown with a purplish cast. All adapt well to southern gardens but need to be planted in shade. Some sun. for the color of the roots’ interior. . I grow several varieties in my garden and have concluded that the leaf mound. to 30 in. emerald-green leaves tinted with silvery gray. The eastern species are commonly called alumroot. For gardening purposes Heuchera villosa (hairy alumroot) from the southern part of H. later all green. in clusters of 3–5 per stalk on multistalked flowering stems 24–36 in. (60–90 cm) tall. Most species occur in western North America from British Columbia south to Mexico. Many species have insignificant flowers. Propagate by division in late autumn. (75 cm). yellowish green to brownish green. Eastern North America. americana are available. because the nomenclature of the 70-odd species of Heuchera is a work in progress. is the glory of these plants. americana. not the flowers. leaves to 6 in. parviflora.

yellowish green to yellowish white. south to Montana. each scalloped. LS to FS. (2. June–July. leaves in a basal rosette. white flowers are small but many and contrast with the dark leaves. ×Heucherella. ‘Alba’. Western North America. a selection (some say of var. ‘Green Marble’. yellowish white. ‘Persian Carpet’. to zone 3. flowers white. (2–8 cm) across. Some sun. flowers bright green on tight stalk. It does not grow well in the heavy. ruby-red leaves with a network of silvery gray veins. I have experimented with some cultivars. whitish flowers with green bases. Flowering can be extended by cutting spent flowerstalks. but many seedraised plants lose their deep color and turn dark green by summer. poker alumroot. flowers white. flowers bright. Suffers greatly from the summer heat in southern gardens. ‘Hyperion’. leaves green with white and yellow splashes. kidney. in clusters of 3–5 per stalk on multistalked flowering stems 24–38 in. red anthers. silvery gray leaves with purplish cast and charcoal-gray veins. (10 cm) and a small leaf mound. very hardy foliage plant for more northern gardens. flowers yellowish green. (25–50 cm) tall. ‘Lace Ruffles’. Heuchera sanguinea. 1–3 in. shorter flower spikes. where it needs more sun than shade and flowers persist for up to 7 weeks. creamy white flowers. leaves marbled with pewter. tinted silvery gray in spots. (90 cm).8–3 in. leaves maroon with silvery markings. mound-forming. flowers small. Some sun. crevice alumroot. burgundy-red leaves with dark purplish brown edges and veins. plant evergreen to semi-evergreen. diversifolia) with deep purplish red leaves. 0. Grown primarily for its striking leaf mound. ‘Ruby Veil’. leaves woolly. clear cherry-red. leaves in a basal. deep cocoa-brown leaves with heavily ruffled margins that reveal the . an old cultivar with purplish brown marbling on the leaves.204 Heuchera. ‘Chocolate Ruffles’. and heavily ruffled.5–8 cm) across. dark green. ruffled leaves with white variegation. this western species grows on moist shady rocks. British Columbia south to Sierra Nevada. ‘Palace Purple’ (‘Powis Purple’). ‘Alba’. dark green mottled with lighter green. LS to FS. bellshaped. ‘Greenfinch’. ‘Velvet Night’. Southwestern North America. 1–3 in. a cute dwarf with scapes to 4 in. ‘Cherry Splash’.5 in. very dark velvety leaves. tubular.5–8 cm) across. plant evergreen to semi-evergreen. leaves cupped. but suffers in the South. to 0. California. rarely pink or white. ‘Green Ivory’. flowers reddish to coral-pink. In nature. ‘Ruffles’. ‘Pewter Moon’. ‘Pewter Veil’. each shallowly toothed. heart-shaped with 3–7 rounded lobes. each scalloped. and Nevada. mound-forming. May–July. ‘Fairy Cups’. flowers rose-red. coarsely hairy. coralbells. New Mexico and Arizona south to Mexico. leaves in a basal rosette. but during the summer it’s a sad sight. It is very hardy in northern gardens. Heuchera micrantha. plant evergreen to semi-evergreen. leaves shiny and with crinkled surface. (1 cm) long. Comes true from seed. coral flower. mator clump-forming. flowers creamy white. Heuchera cylindrica. and Tolmiea purple underside. growing them in soil amended with much organic matter and coarse grit for rapid drainage as well as dolomitic limestone and located in full shade. Here the species and its cultivars have a short life span. ‘Siskiyou Mountains’. mounding rosette. bright green. ‘Chartreuse’. graygreen. Does well here in spring and fall. ‘Purpurea’. (2. buds rose-pink opening to pink flowers. ‘Montrose Ruby’. Western North America. (60–95 cm) tall. Some sun. ‘Coral Cloud’. flowers coral-red. flowers insignificant. flowers pinkish. light green marbled leaves and greenish flowers. maroon underside. acid clay soils of the heartshaped with 3–7 rounded lobes. very short scapes with pinkish red flowers with a hint of green. on flowerstalks 10–20 in. this species is a good. red. large. (15 cm) across (seen in photo of Pollia japonica). May–June. LS to MS. ‘Brandon Pink’. small-flowered alumroot. heart-shaped with 3–7 rounded lobes. on flowerstalks to 36 in. to 6 in. ‘Apple Blossom’. flowers large. greenish black shaded with purple. British Columbia and Alberta.

×Heucherella. flowers deep pink. flowers rose-pink. flowers creamy pink. flowers red. floriferous. as well as crosses between hybrids. flowers red. The original cross was made by Lemoine between H. flowers rose-pink. ‘Petite Pearl Fairy’. ‘Silberregen’ (‘Silver Rain’). . ‘Pluie de Feu’ (‘Feuerregen’. ‘Taff’s Joy’. vermilion-red. flowers coral-red. flowers bright red. ‘Ruby Ruffles’. flowers dark pink. ‘Regal Robe’. ‘Grandiflora’. ‘Oxfordii’. ‘Red Spangles’. leaves green with silvery white splashings. flowers scarlet-red. some would argue—may not be selections of given species but are rather hybrids. early. and in Europe too breeders continue to generate new cultivars at a fast pace. ‘Torch’. leaves dark green splashed with silvery white. ‘Scintillation’. wrinkled and ruffled showing the purple underside. ‘Mint Frost’. ‘Bloom’s Coral’ (‘Bloom’s Variety’). ‘Pearl Drops’. These and other hybrids have been loosely gathered under Heuchera ×brizoides. flowers pinkish red. flowers light pink. Heuchera cultivars On the West Coast. Helens’. flowers rose-pink. flowers bright clear red. flowers fragrant. so correct attribution of this hybrid group is difficult. ‘Maxima’. ‘Ring of Fire’. (60–90 cm) in height. flowers rose-red. dwarf plant. leaves silver with lavender. flowers red. flowers pure white. Many of these cultivars—even those already listed. micrantha and possibly other species were involved. leaves overlaid in silvery white. flowers crimson-red. flowers deep pink. Consult the latest catalogs for full listings. ‘Rain of Fire’). very floriferous. ‘Splish Splash’. leaves greenish bronze. flowers pure white. ‘Champaign Bubbles’. flowers pure white.Heuchera. leaves green with silvery white overlay. depending on location. flowers white. flowers dark red. leaves deep burgundy-red with silvery white etching between veins. Dan Heims and others have come up with many excellent heucheras. H. 205 ‘Carmen’. Later. ‘Mary Rose’. flowers cardinal-red. ‘Weserlachs’ (‘Weser Salmon’). late. leaves mint-green with silvery overlay. flowers pink. rimmed in coral-pink. flowers red. flower during early or late summer. flowers pink. long-lasting. ‘Lady Romney’. flowers red. ‘Huntsman’ (‘Dennis Davidson’). ‘Northern Fire’. ‘Gloriana’. ‘Freedom’. flowers bright red. flowers scarlet-red. flowers dark scarlet-red. ‘June Bride’. long-lasting. ‘Plum Puddin’ (‘Plum Pudding’). flowers white. flowers light pink. flowers pink. flowers white flushed with pink. ‘Pretty Polly’. ‘Snow Angel’. flowers bright red. leaves green mottled with silvery white. leaves mottled with silvery white. flowers dark crimson-red. flowers white tinted with pink. leaves green variegated in yellowish white and shaded pink. flowers rose-pink. flowers salmonpink. flowers red. leaves splashed in creamy white. leaves green overlaid in silvery white with green veins. flowers bright red on short stems. ‘Monet’. ruffled margins. leaves variegated with silvery white. and. late. leaves dark purple with veins outlined in red. and Tolmiea ‘Firesprite’. sanguinea. flowers red. ‘Gracillima’. ‘Jubilee’. St. ‘White Cloud’. ‘Frosty’. arching stems. flowers greenish white. ‘Jack Frost’. ‘Leuchtkäfer’ (‘Firefly’). ‘Velvet Knight’. Most average 24–36 in. ‘Rosamundi’. flowers coral-pink. americana and H. flowers pink. ‘Green Ivory’. flowers light pink. leaves green with silvery white overlay and a thin orange-red margin. ‘Chatterbox’. ‘Virginalis’. ‘Splendens’. flowers snow-white. leaves green with silvery white splotches. leaves ruby-red with a silvery white overlay in leaf center. ‘Mt. flowers clear pink. ‘Oakington Jewel’. flowers bright rose-red. flowers scarlet-red. ‘Mother of Pearl’. leaves silvery green with olive-green veins. ‘Snow Storm’. ‘Matin Bells’. flowers white. ‘Winfield Pink’. early. ‘Can-Can’. green splashed with white. leaves large. ‘Mint Julep’. ‘Schneewittchen’ (‘Snow White’).

‘Whirlwind’. originally made by Lemoine. My plants seem to be immune to diseases. was probably between Heuchera ×brizoides and Tiarella wherryi. stamens 3. Hardy to zone 6. direct sun may scorch the leaves. around 12 in. to 0. ‘Kimono’. but for larger plants and more flowers. Called foamy bells for their more floriferous and dense flowering habit. but Hieracium venosum (rattlesnake weed) grows happily in considerable shade. later filling in to a mapleleaf shape. forming clumps to 36 in. ‘White Marble’. pickaback plant. foamy bells. 20–50 loosely arranged one-sided on hairy flowerstalks 10–20 in. this group of hybrids must be propagated by division. leaves silvery gray with reddish bronze veins. fast-spreading. The generic name is from the classic Latin name for these weeds. ‘Variegata’) has leaves paler green and irregularly speckled. (25–50 cm) tall. leaves marbled gray. leaves coppery red. maroon. Rattlesnake weed is native to North America. youth-on-age. floriferous. floriferous. mottled silvery white. Some sun. curving. Soil conditions do not matter. Propagation is no problem: this species has not forgotten that it is a weed and spreads itself around the garden. leaves silvery white. flowers pink.6 in. poor robin’s plantain. Hardy in zones 3 to 8 and endures hot. Hieracium As its common name hawkweed indicates. southeastern Canada south to Georgia and Alabama. plant rhizomatous. In cold-winter areas. piggyback plant. thriving on neglect. and insect pests do not bother them. In northern gardens it can be grown in lighter shade. ×Heucherella tiarelloides has pink flowers on reddish flowerstalks and is stoloniferous. What attracted me were its many grayish green leaves with conspicuous red to purple veins. which is more like Tiarella. with orange anthers. wrinkled. Huge compared to its parent Tiarella. tubular and cup-shaped. (90 cm) across. site it in morning sun. dry weather with such aplomb that I just have to love it. fading to white. flowers creamy white. vigorous. leaves green suffused with silvery white. Because they are sterile. initially with leafletlike projections. branching stems to 30 in. and ruffled. pale yellow. here it likes the poor. Unwanted seedlings should be removed when young. flowers snow-white.5 in. hairy. It grows and flowers in light to medium shade. barely fragrant. flowers small.5 cm) long. Later on. ‘Quicksilver’. Other crosses have been involved since. mottled. shade-tolerant houseplant. flowers pink. (1. producing young plants at the intersection of leaf and leafstalk. dandelionlike. kidney. Northwestern North America. (1 cm) across. to 0. leaves purple marked with silvery white. flowers rich pink. (75 cm) tall but usually shorter. Oregon and the western Cascades.206 Hieracium cm) across. LS to MS. (30 cm). flowers heart-shaped with 3–5 sharp. leafless stems bearing clusters of bright yellow flowers. small. flowers white. ‘Silver Streak’. the prototype cross. thousand-mothers. petals 4. Hailing from moist. rattlesnake weed. ×Heucherella alba has white flowers without stolons. the many species and subspecies of this genus are plainly weeds and mostly sunlovers. May– . toothed lobes. LS to FS. compacted clay soil under my paths better than the rich soil in adjacent beds. flowers white with a faint greenish to yellowish undertone. leaves green suffused with silvery white. Hieracium is classified in the Asteraceae. it is grown as an interesting. to 4 in. northern California. ‘Snow White’. I found it among the forest litter in my youngest son Sigi’s Bay Creek garden on the outskirts of Atlanta. Eastern North America. threadlike. ×Heucherella. in open clusters atop leafless. this species needs deep shade in southern gardens. ‘Pink Frost’. lime-green. leaves green. flowers scarlet-red. yellow. Years ago. sepals 5 uneven. flowers many. red or reddish purple. leaves deeply lobed with a blackish green stripe along the center vein. ‘Viking Ship’. ‘Bridget Bloom’. (10 Hieracium venosum. ‘Widar’. shady coniferous forests. leaves mostly basal. The leaves lose some of their striking spring coloration when the weather gets hot. and spotted with creamy. this colony of many individual plants produced tall. Hybrid (Heuchera × Tiarella). floriferous. Its selection ‘Taff’s Gold’ (‘Maculata’. flowers pinkish red. June–August. Tolmiea menziesii. very floriferous in April–May. MS to FS.

5–6 in. leaves 4–10. Some hosta flowers are worthy of consideration. and that success inspires gardeners to work harder to achieve more. Most insects do not bother them. are the aristocrats of the shady garden. always with some degree of sadness. from large. yellow. shapes. Hostas are extremely long-lived as perennials go. And they are in general affordable. leaf textures from flat to dimpled. My grandfather had several clumps of Hosta sieboldiana in a shady corner of his garden. dividing. plant habits from erect vase shapes to prostrate starry pinwheels. 207 Hosta Hostas. variegation patterns from narrow margins to bright centers on dark surrounds and multicolored streakings and splashings. They became the talk of the neighborhood. rapidly. Lutescent hostas turn yellow. short leafstalk. no one in Nashville seemed to know what a hosta was in 1957. fit just about anywhere. 1. In the final analysis. and surfaces—that make hostas so useful in shady gardens. cupped. 2. remaining handsome from the time they emerge until the first frost turns their leaves a warm buff or golden yellow. textures. 1. in a basal rosette. Unfortunately. These phenomena deserve explanation. I can say without reservation: these plants are simple to use. and require little maintenance other than cleanup—no staking. Oregon. lifting. wrinkled. Leaves emerge white. Much more . Plant in groups. as we called him. My interest became so passionate that in the late 1970s. even flat-on-the-ground. Leaves emerge green or chartreuse (yellowish green) and turn yellow or whitish yellow. scapes from tall and erect to oblique. we broke a leaf stem and provoked his wrath. Hostas offer tremendous diversity: plant sizes from tiny crowns fitting into the palm of a hand to huge mounds of shrub-sized proportions. combined with the different sizes. or babying. American gardeners meet this challenge by applying toxic poisons. or very light green and turn green or even dark green. resulting in perforated leaves. or twisted. yellow. waxy. Viridescence. in most cases. while the more pragmatic Japanese leave things as they are and consider holes in hosta leaves nature’s way. fruit dry with greenish yellow bristles. surface effects from polished and shiny to matte. and almost every cool combination in between. Viridescent hostas turn green. The Genus Hosta (Timber Press: Portland. showy yellow flowers in early summer. and when I built my first garden. here from late May through late October or until the first freeze further north. leaf colors from blue-green to chartreuse. my mother had a few in her Detroit garden and shared them with me. Luckily. average. and they still grace the garden he so diligently tended. Flowers too are diverse. seen his blue plant turn green in summer’s heat. I began a scholarly study of the genus Hosta. Occasionally. and a green groundcover until the first freeze. but it is their foliage—the many shades of green and the multitude of variegation patterns. hostas multiply faithfully and. blue-gray umbrellas of leaves during games of hide-and-go-seek. Having grown many hundreds of hosta cultivars and all the species hostas here at Hosta Hill. this species carpets the shady woodland with brightly colored leaves in spring. (4–15 cm) long. still offered in some catalogs under the old names funkia or plantain lily. a succession of bloom can be established.and late-flowering hostas. Opa’s were planted before 1900 and they thrive still. and many a fine golden margin eventually turns a nondescript white. although newly introduced cultivars can be very expensive. Virtually every hosta lover has. elliptic. Once planted and given reasonable care. By carefully combining early-. and my sister and I hid under their huge. I never forgot their elegant beauty. 1991). loved his hostas. hostas are makers of gardeners because what makes enthusiastic gardeners out of reluctant ones is the sweet smell of success.Hosta August. even powdery white. Hostas practically guarantee success. and I found myself sharing pieces now and then. blunt tip. light grayish green with a network of bright red or reddish purple veins that become less noticeable by midsummer. deliciously fragrant white trumpets to wide-open purple bells. Lutescence. leaf substances from thin and papery to thick as leather. Even the seed capsules show great variety. Opa. leaf shapes from grassy straps to near perfectly round circles. Hosta leaf colors are not true colors nor are they permanent. which culminated in the publication of my monograph. although cutworms and large slugs and snails may eat holes through the arising shoots. hostas topped my “must get” perennial list. and almost silvery white. In time.

and the southern Sikhote-Alin mountains. Visiting Japan in the 1690s. the German botanist and medical doctor Kaempfer observed hostas and used a westernized version of the Japanese name. If you absolutely must have one “streaker.and nighttime air temperature differentials—the underlying green color becomes visible. the multiplicity of greens offered by different hosta cultivars will assure your garden is both tranquil and diverse. sent several live hosta specimens to Holland. when Hosta plantaginea was raised in France from seed sent from Macao by French Consul Charles de Guignes. Gibboosi. Hostas evolved in the land areas bordering the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan. (75 cm) high—do take up a lot of room. By variegated hostas. a German eye surgeon and botanist. these usually very expensive chameleon hostas have no place. The blue effect lasts much longer under cool and more shady conditions but sooner or later the green will be plain. Resist the temptation to cram as many of these colorful plants as possible into a garden—I have seen gardens in which the preponderance of variegated hostas changed the entire scene into a kaleidoscopic monstrosity. stripes. or other irregular variegation on darker (usually green) leaves. a Bavarian collector of alpine ferns. Korea. Hostaceae. Aletris in 1780 and Hemerocallis (alluding to the ephemeral nature of hosta flowers. I mean those with standard. which produces a glaucous sheen over a green background color. particularly if the goal is a stable. either marginal or centervariegated (a light-colored leaf center with a darker margin). each lasting one day only) in 1784. Yellow-margined hostas frequently turn into white-margined ones. In the 1820s. roses. or diminished by increasing day. in a green palette. Albescent hostas turn white. or green areas turn to near white. the Japanese archipelago (excluding the Ryukyu Islands). The bigger hostas—those over 40 in. and subtle than viridescence. in size and texture as well as in color. Besides their instability (most revert to solid color or margined forms). (1 m) across and over 30 in. Here I have listed some of the most popular (as voted annually by the membership of the American Hosta Society—variegated hostas are certainly in vogue!) of the 3000 some registered hosta cultivars and added to that gardenworthy species and cultivars I have grown at Hosta Hill. Their yellow. Selecting hosta cultivars for the garden is as vexatious as trying to select daylilies. yellowish green. lutescence frequently involves only a very slight change from a greenish to a yellowish cast. Swedish botanist Thunberg assigned the first scientific generic names. The “blue” of hostas is not a true blue. Siebold had a gardener’s eye for plants. Philipp Franz Balthasar von Siebold. highlighting exceptional vistas in a garden. and he collected and imported many distinct and desirable species and cultivars. Streaky . many with variegated foliage. called indumentum. Hostas were introduced to Europe around 1784. each leaf on an irregularly variegated plant has a different pattern of streaks and stripes. or daffodils. I do not like hostas that have streakings. but sparingly so. Albescence. 3. Variegated and bright yellow hostas can be utilized in the garden. honoring his contemporary Nicolaus Thomas Host. Whatever the true nature of the color. stable variegation. opaque white powder. In a natural garden setting. The Japanese formal (academic) and horticultural name is giboshi (the exact transliteration from the Japanese Katakana is gi-bo-u-shi).” site it as an accent plant or pot it up as a patio conversation piece. When the wax is lost— washed off by rain or overhead watering. including hostas.208 Hosta hostas may be fine for collectors and hybridizers. in 1712. blotches. but a bluish cast caused by a pruinose epidermal wax. but limit variegated hostas to use as accents. In 1812 the Austrian botanist Trattinnick suggested the genus be classified under the generic name Hosta. Stick with the serenity of a natural garden. They have been found growing in the wild in eastern China. Yellow hostas are great for brightening the dark corners of shady gardens. a few years later in 1817 the German botanist Sprengel published the generic name Funkia to honor Heinrich Funk. The genus is now placed in its own family. gardeners still admire their blue and white hostas while they appear thus and consider their “turnings” part of the ever-changing look of the garden. serene landscape. The attractive “white” of the leaf underside of some species and cultivars is actually a coating of a very fine. Trattinnick’s Hosta was conserved in 1905 by the International Botanical Congress of Vienna. but gardeners should keep away from them.

straight. hime iwa giboshi (Jap. Unless otherwise noted. Variety normalis (‘Normalis’) has flowers that open. is similar. small rock hosta. all species and cultivars listed are hardy in zones 4 to 8. usually it is the small-leaf form that is offered. Hosta kikutii. (75 cm) high.5 in. base heart-shaped. (50 cm) high. taking care their companions do not overpower them. Other hybridized forms of the species are ‘Rock Princess’. ‘Kifukurin Ko Mame’.). sunken veins. ideally in an elevated position. var. 36 in. Flowers shiny white. plant clump-forming. jookug-bibich’u (Kor. plant clump-forming. June–July. powdery coating on the underside. domeshaped. Uncommon in the wild. all similar and of uniform color. 18 in. (20 cm) high. to 2 in.). (8–10 cm) wide. urajiro giboshi (Jap. the best and safest place is in an elevated ornamental pot. (4 cm) high. (25 cm) across and 6 in. The flowers are tightly grouped and sit “ball-shaped” (a translation of the Korean name) atop the stem. 20 in.5 in. Excellent for gardens with hot summers. 8 in.). hostas may not flower. leaning. to 2 in. 36 in. ‘Hyuga Kifukurin’ (Hosta ‘Shelleys’ ) is a natural sport with a narrow yellowish white margin. straight but leaning. (25 cm). leaves 12–18 in. crane-beaked hosta. Hosta hypoleuca. For single specimens. In cultivation it develops into a large clump with 5–7 leaves. very large leaves. green. white-backed hosta. wavy leaf margin. All flowers have six tepals (three sepals and three petals). iya giboshi (Jap. as in a rock garden. The selection ‘Leuconota’ has bluish green leaves with a powdery white coating underneath. June–July. sunken veins. (15 cm) across. domeshaped. Japan. (5 cm) long. elliptic lanceshaped. green. glossy dark green. Hybrids involving the species include ‘Red Neck Heaven’ and others with lavender flowers. (5 cm) long. a hybrid with creamy white margins. Site miniature and dwarf hostas—those less than 10 in. Flowers white. (4 cm) long. wavy-undulate leaf margin. ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’. with ridges. (15 cm) long and 4 in. also with a crisped. plant clumpforming. (90 cm) across. Japan. it clings tenaciously to rock ledges and forms only 1–3. flat with closely spaced. to 2 in. plant clump-forming. leaves 7–9 in. June–July. (25 cm) high. plant clump-forming. flowerstalk to 14 in. flowerstalk to 10 in. unless otherwise noted. Flowers remain as lavender to light purple buds until they drop off. (1 cm) wide. funnel-shaped. tsubomi giboshi (Jap. stolonifera is a nonflowerer that propagates by creeping rhizomes. Site smaller hostas up front and in groups. funnel-shaped. narrow Hosta clausa. Southern Japan. (5 cm) wide. No shade requirements are indicated: all are suitable for locations with some sun and light to medium shade. smooth. July–August. Highly variable. Korea. Flowers purple. (18–23 cm) long and 3–4 in. leaves to 5 in. lance-shaped. either as mass plantings or as edgings along walks. In full shade. 30 in. (5 cm) long. (10 cm) wide. (5 cm) long and 0. (62 cm). flowerstalk to 20 in. green. making this species an interesting garden subject. 209 Hosta gracillima. which offers some protection from slugs and allows quick checks for disease or insect damage. (50 cm). . (15 cm) high—in mass plantings of a couple of dozen or more individual plants. ‘Maekawa’. (35 cm). leaves to 2 in. funnel-shaped. variegated hybrids of this variety include ‘Wakayama Sudare Shirofukurin’ (larger leaves with a narrow white margin) and ‘Shikoku Sudare Shirofukurin’. Variety polyneuron has wider leaves with veins very narrowly spaced. (50 cm). funnel-shaped. green. Korea. with intensely white. to 1.).). wavy-undulate leaf margin. (90 cm) across.). Both largeand small-leaf forms are found in the wild. glaucous green. June–July. 10 in. a selection of the species. and six stamens with yellow or purple anthers. (13 cm) long and 2 in. (30–45 cm) long and 12 in. Hybrids are ‘Azure Snow’ (bluish green leaves) and ‘Merry Sunshine’ (green leaves with yellow margins). Hostas are herbaceous. banwool-bibich’u (Kor. the flowers occur one-sided on the stem. lance-shaped. Hosta capitata.5 in.Hosta to plant several in small city gardens may be a bit too much. base heart-shaped. 1. flowerstalk to 20 in. hyuga giboshi (Jap. 6 in. (30 cm) wide. leaning. and the yellow-leaved ‘Hydon Sunset’.). flowerstalk to 20 in. is almost identical. bare. 10 in. leaves to 6 in. Flowers purple. (25 cm) across. straight. (45 cm) across.

dome-shaped. (13 cm) high. The comparable ‘Yellow River’. 10 in. Hosta longipes. flowerstalk to 12 in. flat with closely spaced. funnel-shaped. irregular golden yellow margin. Hosta montana ‘Aureomarginata’. Flowers light purple. deeply ribbed and furrowed at veins. iwa giboshi (Jap. to 2 in. 10 in. broad. spider-shaped. ‘Urajiro’ has near white leaf undersides. leaves 6–7 in. (45 cm) long. (1. A protected site with considerable shade is advised. sharp twisted tip turned under. a hybrid of Hosta montana. protect the emerging sprouts from damage by late frosts. leafstalks very tall.5 m) across. it is the showy centerpiece of many gardens. ‘Setsuko’. June–July. green.8 m) across. it flowers sparsely. with a whitish yellow margin. dull green below. (1. dome-shaped. broad. July–September. straight but leaning. leaves 7–9 in. leafstalks very long. and in warmer regions it is a much better garden hosta.2 m) high. arching. margin with slight waves. August–October. One of the very first hostas to sprout in spring. (1. Hosta montana f. The type is smaller but widespread in Japan and one of the most diverse species found. ‘Mountain Snow’. and ‘Tagi’. dark shiny green. Korea.2 m). swamp hosta. funnelshaped. The popular f. with stem leaves. green. which roll under.). variegated. (8 cm) long. very contracted at base. (18–23 cm) long and 2–3 in. (35 cm) across. broadly ovate heart-shaped. (18 cm) wide. (10 cm) long.2 m) high. This stately garden plant. fertile bracts. (1–1. (5 cm) long. powdery coating on the leaf underside. (25 cm) across. 12 in. shiny green and suited to both hot and cool summers. During hot. leaf and flowerstalks purple-spotted. leaves to 18 in. (1. . (30 cm) long and 7 in. (1. straight but leaning. hosoba mizu giboshi (Jap. leaves 5–6 in. ‘Hydon Twilight’ is more floriferous. lasting.5 in.). 5 ft. flowerstalk to 4 ft. narrowly lance-shaped. Flowers purple. 6 ft. and so has ‘Frosted Jade’. dark green. (5–8 cm) wide. bell-shaped. straight but leaning. macrophylla. hypoglauca has purple leaf and flowerstalks and a whitish. heartshaped. (50 cm). funnel-shaped.). 4 ft. plant clump-forming. so is not prone to late frost damage. ‘Asahi Comet’ has white margins. longipes. oba giboshi (Jap. (1. (30 cm). Flowers purple or white suffused with purple. plant clump-forming. (8 cm) long. Flowers white. leaves to 12 in. (30 cm) wide. Japan. dull green below. with small stem leaves.). This widespread species (seen in photo of Platanthera ciliaris) is matchless for hot-summer gardens with long periods of drought. plant clump-forming. June–July. Japan.2 m). emerges much later. (15–18 cm) long and 0. Japan.5 cm) wide. very contracted at base. Flowers almost white with a hint of lavender. (13–15 cm) long and 3–4 in. deeply ribbed and furrowed at veins. surface deep green. (5 cm) long. Young plants have a very elongated leaf. flowerstalk to 20 in. is similar but has white margins. to 4 in. Forma sparsa flowers sparsely (hence the epithet) and has purple anthers. sunken veins. it grows much faster than Hosta sieboldiana. smooth. green. ‘Frosted Jade’ has a distinctive look and stands out in the garden. other selections include ‘Brandywine’. This large-leaved mountain hosta grows on elevated meadows and at the edge of forests. here it goes heat-dormant before any other hosta.210 Hosta white margin but smaller leaves. 12 in. dry summers the leaves have a tendency to burn out. but its leaves are thick and bright. Hosta rupifraga (hachijo giboshi in Japan) from Hachijojima is similar to H. (45 cm) across.6 in. narrowly linear lance-shaped. suffused with lavender. (45 cm). flowerstalk to 4 ft. Hosta laevigata. margin with slight waves. a sport of ‘Yellow River’. (4 cm) long and across. longifolia.5–0. 14 in. sharp twisted tip turned under. ‘Asahi Sunray’ has yellow margins. flowerstalk to 18 in. to 2 in. to 3 in. August–September. kifukurin oba giboshi (Jap. to 1. broadly ovate heart-shaped. flat with good substance. surface with deep green. it takes several years for the characteristic heart-shaped leaf to develop. plant clump-forming. (30 cm) high. rock hosta. This moisture-loving variety provides an interesting mound of very narrow leaves. 18 in. (8–10 cm) wide. dome-shaped. The hy- Hosta longissima var. (25 cm) high. 4 ft. was found as a wild sport in Tokyo Prefecture and first described as a botanical variety in 1928. smooth. plant clump-forming. 5 in. to 3 in. which has appeared in the top 10 in the AHS poll. flat. arching.

6 in. Hosta plantaginea. erect hosta. plantaginea. glossy dark green. to 7 ft. flowerstalk to 38 in. the classic hybrid ‘Big Sam’ is occasionally available and also recommended. ‘Niagara Falls’. (50 cm) high. or entrances to take full advantage of this species unique look and lovely fragrance. ‘Tall Boy’. provide supplemental water beginning in July and continue into September if dry conditions warrant. ‘Midnight Sun’.5 cm) wide. straight scapes. is smaller than the type. lanceshaped and slightly wavy. with a thin. black hosta. has green leaves and very tall flowerstalks. with bright. 30 in. but it requires considerable sun and higher summer temperatures to develop them.Hosta brids ‘Green Acres’. and their fragrance is most noticeable during evening hours. It is the only night-bloomer in the genus. bare. straight and erect. Hosta plantaginea has been extensively used as a pod parent to produce fragrant hybrids. Japan. (2. and ‘Stardust’. flowerstalk to 6 ft. (95 cm). but it does not tolerate droughts well. Another hybridized form is the popular ‘Stiletto’ with longer leaves. purple-spotted. Difficult to flower in zone 6 and colder. walks. 20 in. ‘Grand Canyon’. wavy leaf margin. it is often seen growing in pots. 5 in. August. glaucous green. to 1. (75 cm) across. heart-shaped. ‘King James’. dome-shaped. and the exquisite ‘Shiny Penny’ is one of the best yellow-leaved miniature hostas for the garden. green. ‘Jackpot’. ubatake giboshi (Jap. to 5 in. Similar green giants. funnel-shaped. The light green. The selection ‘Elatior’ is larger. very fragrant. (15 cm) across.).). deep soil and can be grown further south than any other hosta. ‘Venus’ is also double-flowered. Along the Mediterranean coast. 20 in. (75 cm) across. (2. keeled (boat-shaped). for example. and ‘Mikado’ are very similar to f. 2 in. plant clump-forming. (25 cm). about one-half the size of those of H. with stamens that have developed into petals.5 in. smooth. July–September. ‘Big Boy’. Hosta fluctuans. (25 cm) long and 3–5 in. it is an excellent edging plant.5–5 cm) long. funnel-shaped. elliptic lance-shaped. Forma pruinosa has bluish green leaves and tall. ‘Royal Standard’. (25–30 cm) long. (75 cm). but its sprouts are near dull black initially. light glossy green. to 7 in. (1. a double-flowered sport with creamy white streaks and margins. montana. ‘Bigfoot’.5 in. light green with stem leaves. 211 Hosta nigrescens. The best fragrant hosta with the showiest of all hosta flowers. Flowers purple. yu-san (Chin. Yellow-leaved hybrids include ‘Alice Gladden’. ‘Birchwood Elegance’. to 2 in. ‘Kifukurin Ubatake’ has leaves with a pale yellow margin. funnel-shaped. August lily. flowerstalk to 30 in. 7–9 in. 0. Its flowers are a pure white. (5 cm) high. . grandmother mountain hosta. elegant clump. leaves 10 in. (5 cm) long. Flowers purple. shiny green leaves. July–August. Hosta pulchella. hairpin hosta. shiny leaves provide a beautiful foil. June–July. ‘Royal Super’.). The black hosta is not actually black. glaucous. ‘Behemoth’. include ‘Amplissima’. erect. Central Japan. leaves 7 in. its flowers open late in the afternoon. (8 cm). tachi giboshi (Jap. (13 cm) long with a spread of 3 in. (50 cm) high. all botanical forms or hybrid progeny of H. straight. ‘Godzilla’. 30 in. green. flowerstalk to 10 in. (13 cm) wide. (18–23 cm) wide. flowering abundantly. Flowers very large. macrophylla. China. (2 m). white. elliptic. ‘King Michael’. It is a fast grower Hosta rectifolia. (18 cm) long and 1 in. (60 cm) high. and ‘Tucker Tommy Little’.8 m). with uniform transition to leafstalk. a hybridized form of the type. (5 cm) long. ‘Ming Treasure’ is a white-margined cultivar. makes a very large. rippled white margin. ‘Ogon Tachi’ is yellow-leaved. ‘Kifukurin Tachi’ has a creamy yellow margin that fades to white. very dark green. Site near garden seating. ‘Aphrodite’ is a selection with double flowers. 24 in.). with small stem leaves. ‘Emerald City’. 24 in. funnelshaped. all grow into very large clumps. (18 cm) long. it blooms further north than the species and is easy for beginners. ‘Elata’. kuro giboshi (Jap. is among the best fragrant hostas for general garden culture. One of these. bare. when given good. maruba tama-no-kanzashi (Jap. leaves 10–12 in. ‘Bethel Big Leaf’. a closely related species with undulating. wavy leaves. ‘Gaijin’ has narrow yellow margins. Flowers white. erect. plant clump-forming. plant clumpforming. plant clump-forming. to 2 in. (8– 13 cm) wide. smooth and shiny. Japan. (60 cm) across.). Several other small plants originated from this species: ‘Cody’ has shiny green leaves. (1 cm) wide. (4 cm) long. leaves 1– 2 in. dark green.

Hybrids with H. As many as 120 flowers have been counted on one stem and its multiple branches in a late show of color. sieboldii ‘Paxton’s Original’ (H. it looks like it but is larger. considered the largest-leaved hosta in commerce. heart-shaped. (60 cm) high. with small stem leaves. green. is seldom offered.). (5 cm) long. ‘Ogon’). dark glossy green. (1. 24 in. (45 cm) long and 12 in. differing only by its larger leaves. flowerstalk to 10 in. smooth. ‘Snowden’. smooth. a striking hybrid. upright. as it is truly outstanding in the garden. (25 cm) long and 8 in. densely packed. irregular dark green margin. branched. Korea. the white turns to greenish white. Hosta ventricosa. and all other giant blue hostas serve the same purpose as the species in gardens. First described by Maekawa in 1938 as the rhubarb hosta. flowerstalk to 38 in. The hybrid ‘Silver Kabitan’ (‘Haku-Chu-Han’) has white leaves with narrow green margins. . green margin. another selection of Hosta sieboldiana is the yellow giant ‘Semperaurea’ from Germany. where it has been grown since 1790. A smaller related hybrid is ‘Masquerade’. 2 in.6 m) across. smooth. lance-shaped and slightly wavy. borders.212 Hosta with wavy. June–July. plant clump-forming.5 in. ‘Subcrocea’) is all yellow and lacks the green margin. Flowers dark purple-striped. June–July. (18–23 cm) long and 4–5 in. leaves 7–9 in. leaves 10 in. bluish gray. (5 cm) long. albomarginata). a huge specimen with somewhat shorter scapes and much more rugosity. a darker margin appears but changes to grayish green by midsummer. July–August. green. ‘Aureomaculata’ has viridescent yellow leaves with a wide. each producing a flower cluster. plant clumpforming. sieboldiana ‘Mira’ ancestry include ‘Gray Cole’. 18 in. bell-shaped. leaves held horizontally on arching leafstalks. The “dark purple hosta. Japan. narrow leaves and good substance is available. (2. 65 in. lance-shaped. (90 cm) high. rhubarb hosta.5 cm) wide. for its large size (daio translates as “great monarch. The large leaf areas transpire profusely. (50–70 cm). with small stem leaves. to 2 in. (25 cm). (60 cm) across. ‘Alba’ (H. ‘Weihenstephan’) is the whiteflowered form. dark green. white pruinose back. the beautiful yellow center turns greenish but never as Hosta sieboldii ‘Kabitan’ (H. waves on the margin and twisted tip. green. flowerstalks 20–28 in. (30 cm) wide. funnelshaped. ‘Spilt Milk’ is a slow grower but well worth the wait. (90 cm). An excellent specimen plant and landscape hosta for mass plantings. sieboldiana is ‘Spilt Milk’. nagasaki giboshi (Jap. China. H. 36 in. 6 in. Hosta tibae. 36 in. elongated bell-shaped. Always comes true. flowerstalk to 36 in. are choice blue-green giants. to 18 in. bright yellow with a narrow green margin. Hosta sieboldii ‘Mediopicta’ is similar and has green streaks in the leaf. (90 cm) across. plant clump-forming. with heavy substance. (95 cm). (10–13 cm) wide. Just like the species. glossy white. (45 cm) high. (6 cm) long. (20 cm) wide. less round and more pointed. with 1–4 side branches. Flowers lavender. applying a slow-release fertilizer may speed up the process. All need up to 12 years to fully mature in size. Its variegation consists of stable white streaking and misting throughout the leaf. lasting. Flowers deep lavender or violet. to 2. sieboldiana are usually assigned to the Elegans Group. One of the most unusual variegated sports of H. 10 in. stately leaf mound. ‘Kabitan’). with somewhat taller flowerstalks. The original green-leaved botanical variant with a white margin. Two natural sports of this species have long been known to gardeners. with viridescent white leaves that have a thin. leaves 5 in. fragrant. light purple-striped. forms a more upright. H. it is very similar to an old Japanese hybrid ‘Ogon Koba’ (‘Wogon’. September–October.). smooth. (15 cm) high. early in the season.). Nagasaki hosta. so extra watering is a must during dry summers. Cultivars derived from H. The hybrid ‘Peedee Gold Flash’ has been called a ‘Kabitan’ on steroids. Japan. Hosta sieboldiana ‘Mira’. purple hosta. slightly rugose at maturity. (25 cm) across. daio giboshi (Jap. Flowers numerous. ‘Pineapple Poll’. erect. (13 cm) long and 1 in.” which is fitting as well). so seed propagation is easy. (5 cm) long. murasaki giboshi (Jap. the all-green variant found in the wild. but a hybrid of it. and longer flowerstalks. funnel-shaped. was among the first hostas to reach England. leaning. plant clumpforming. to 2 in. heart-shaped. is now rarely grown. spathulata. sieboldii. ‘Big John’. and edgings. 24 in.” as the Japanese know it. ‘Ryan’s Big One’ and ‘Trail’s End’. flat when young. Hosta sieboldii ‘Subcrocea’ (H. smooth and shiny. A very popular small sport of Hosta sieboldii. Hosta sieboldii f.

Hosta cultivars ‘Abba Dabba Do’. (5 cm) long. (8 cm) long and 2 in. (20 cm) wide. Yellow cultivars too are known but all seem to be viridescent. variegated garden plant (seen in photo of ‘Wide Brim’). flowerstalk to 32 in. straight and with ridges.5 in. (5 cm) long. Flowers few. (75 cm) high. June–July. (4 cm) long. ‘Allan P. elliptic. streaky albescent yellowish white margin that turns ivory-white. so a lighter center is always visible. Hosta nakaiana from Korea is used extensively in hybridizing. (4 cm) long. bare. The reverse form with a white center and a green margin is ‘Ivory Pixie’. green. (80 cm). to 1. with small stem leaves. ‘Abba Dabba Darling’ has a pale yellow center with a two-tone margin of dark green and celadon. (38 cm). all recently found on Cheju Island.Hosta dark as the margin. (45 cm) across. 3 short and 3 longer ones. (18 cm) wide. domeshaped. August–September. erect. Hosta yingeri. and ‘Sun Banner’ (dark green center with yellow margin). venusta evolved. (5 cm) wide. white-margined hosta. usually 36 in. ‘Thumbnail’. It is excellent potted or in the shady rock garden. straight but leaning. green. Korea. flat. some with lance-shaped leaves.5 in. This sport of Hosta nakaiana. (1 m). leaves 3 in. otome giboshi (Jap. plant clump-forming. (90 cm) across. (8 cm) wide. leaning. protect from slugs and snails because its tiny size makes it a midnight snack for a good-sized slug. plant clump-forming. dark glossy green. straight. to 2 in. nakaiana. (8 cm) high. (20–25 cm). ‘Potomac Pride’ has this species in its parentage and has inherited the glossy leaf surface. ‘Little Blue’ and ‘Peedee Elfinbells’ are smaller forms of the species. (2. stamens 6. straight. (45 cm) across. (90 cm) across but occasionally much larger. tapering to a point. spider-shaped. to 2 in. Flowers lavender. (1. A variable species. 30 in. (25 cm) long and 7 in. with leafstalks forming a continuous upright arch. leaves 10 in. Hosta minor is the Korean species from which H. white margin. 3 in. leaf elongated. beautiful maiden hosta. The clone in commerce represents but one of many different forms. leaves 7 in. among these are ‘Fury of Flame’ and ‘Gold Flush’. (50 cm) high.5 cm) long and wide. with small stem leaves. (15 cm) across. satiny dark green. 6 in. flowerstalk to 15 in. wavy-undulate leaf margin. broadly heart-shaped. funnel-shaped. leaves 1 in. ‘Tiny Tears’. flowerstalk to 40 in. flowerstalk 8–10 in. heart-shaped. Hosta venusta. ‘Abba at Large’ (lutescent yellow center and a darker greenish yellow margin). turning green as the season progresses. it is the mother plant of the much larger ‘Candy Hearts’ and ‘Pearl Lake’. 213 play. ‘Abba Dabba Don’t’ is a reverse sport with a white center and dark green margins. ‘Kinbotan’ is small with a creamy yellow margin. June–July. July–August. to 5 ft. . is an excellent small. with less-pronounced ridges on scape. (18 cm) long and 3 in.5 cm) long and across. Flowers purple. sometimes purple-spotted. ‘Shades of Mercy’ is a sport with white center streaked green and green margin. 18 in. 36 in. If planted in the open ground. plant clump-forming. leaves 10 in. This is a good. Flowers light purple. base heart-shaped. Antioch Group. both welcome in gardens for their tightclumping habit and floral display. (60 cm). olive-green with a yellow margin that widens with maturity. 8 in. flowerstalk to 24 in. 18 in. The hybrid ‘Lakeside Neat Petite’ forms a neat green mound of tight foliage and is very floriferous. flat with heavy substance. dark green. funnel-shaped. (25 cm) long and 8 in. it is much larger but has similar features. 20 in. others with much larger leaves. McConnell’. Its spidery flowers make a delightful early autumn dis- ‘Antioch’. dome-shaped. (20 cm) high. wavy leaf margin. (20 cm) high. but all around the stem. hanra-bibich’u (Kor. not one-sided. Similar cultivars are ‘Abba Aloft’ and ‘Flint Hill’ (green leaf and narrow greenish yellow to yellow margin).). plant clump-forming.). June–July. ‘Aureomarginata’ (‘Variegata’) has a dark center and a wide. and ‘Suzuki Thumbnail’ are selected smaller forms. plant clump-forming. oval with heart-shaped base. 8 in.5 m) wide. (2. smooth. to 1 in. to 1. medium green. Flowers pale lavender. bell-shaped. ‘Gosan Gold Midget’ is a yellow hybrid. Korea. lavender. ‘Abba Dew’ (lighter yellow-green center with yellow margin). funnel-shaped. with white to creamy white margin. ‘Amanuma’ (seen in photo of Kirengeshoma palmata) is very similar to H.

heart-shaped. 6 in. 18 in. (20 cm) long and 7 in. and ‘Yellow Boy’ are comparable but smaller. the latter with a smooth. ‘Green August Moon’ and ‘Lunar Night’ are all-green forms. lavender. 2 in. (95 cm). very floriferous cultivar. 20 in. Related cultivars are ‘Birchwood Gold’ (yellow but slightly larger). 50 in. plant clumpforming. leaves 3 in. ‘Rosedale Spoons’. flowerstalk to 28 in. ‘Grey Ghost’ is all creamy white in spring. (25 cm) across. held horizontally on long. whose darkness may be lessened by increased sun exposure. to 2 in. ‘Spinners’—are very similar if not identical. 28 in. June–July. cupped. ‘Parky’s Prize’ is a green-centered sport with greenish yellow margin. green. (10 cm) wide. ‘Moon Waves’ has more lance-shaped leaves with very wavy margins. glaucous blue-green. The “black” refers to this classic’s leaves. roundish heart-shaped. Its large size requires careful siting. ‘Shogun’. ‘Green Angel’ is an all-green sport. (13 cm) long and 4 in. to 1. ‘Blue Moon’ (‘Halo’). ‘Indiana Moonshine’. leaves 18 in. upright. yellow. Other very dark green cultivars include ‘Black Beauty’. (70 cm). 36 in. leaves 6 in. June–July. glaucous blue-green. ‘Blue Angel’. ‘Lakeside Black Satin’. straight. plant clump-forming. (5 cm) long. 36 in. Flowers whitish. ‘September Surprise’ is similar but with medium to dark green margins. June–July. all with bluish green leaves. flowerstalk to 38 in. all have the green center and yellow margin. 10 in. straight. (1. (8 cm) long ‘Black Hills’. leaves 5 in. flowerstalk to 34 in. rugose. This classic hosta (seen in photo of ‘Great Expectations’) is still widely grown. and ‘Twisted Sister’. (90 cm) high. (75 cm) across. Flowers lavender. (15 cm) high.214 Hosta smooth. Flowers lavender. roundish heartshaped. (5 cm) long. ‘Jade Lancer’ is alike but slightly larger. the former with a drawn-up leaf edge (draw-string margin). (30 cm) wide. (1.2 m). ‘Moon Glow’ also has a yellow center with white margins. sometimes twisted at maturity. Flowers densely packed. bluish gray. ‘Blue Cadet’. when their very large wavy leaves have a whitish center variegation. to 2 in. ‘Moerheim’. green. ‘Banyai’s Dancing Girl’ is a similar. (5 cm) long. 24 in. and ‘Zuzu’s Petals’ (green center with yellow margin). particularly in smaller gardens. numerous. Several seedlings are in commerce. ‘Joseph’. Other members of the Antioch Group—‘Goldbrook’. ‘Dark Moon’. cupped. (18 cm) wide. and ‘Stephen’. very dark green. flat. (15 cm) long and 5 in. to 2 in. . plant clump-forming. ‘September Sun’. flowerstalk to 26 in. (30 cm). flat when young. with small stem leaves. 30 in. ‘Lakeside Coal Miner’. bell-shaped. and ‘Lunar Magic’ have yellow centers and medium to light green margins. elongated bell-shaped. The huge sports ‘Angel Eyes’ and ‘Guardian Angel’ make great accents in spring. June–July. June–July. smooth. leaves 8 in. dome-shaped. flattened white margin. smooth. ‘Lakeside Accolade’. with heavy substance. yellow. ‘Vivian’. smooth. June–July. (10 cm) wide. turning bluish green. (75 cm) across. Reverse sports are ‘August Beauty’. (45 cm) long and 12 in. to 2 in. corrugated. straight. (65 cm). green. upright leafstalks. funnel-shaped. (13 cm) wide. this imposing hosta has made the top 10 in the AHS poll. 30 in. and ‘Kiwi Sunlover’. the viridescent center turns bluish green during the summer. straight. 18 in. (13 cm) long and 4 in. (70 cm) across. plant clumpforming. but rugose. (50 cm) high. whitish mauve.3 m) across. bell-shaped. plant clump-forming. Flowers bell-shaped. ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ (yellow center with green margin). (5 cm) long. flowerstalk to 12 in. (90 cm) across. heart-shaped.5 in. (60 cm) high. Flowers bell-shaped. ‘Abiqua Moonbeam’ (‘Mayan Moon’) is a green-margined sport. including ‘Booka’. cupped. glossy white. (45 cm) high. leaves 5 in. dome-shaped. flowerstalk to 4 ft. This yellow hosta (seen in photo of Ajuga reptans ‘Atropurpurea’) is excellent for brightening up dark corners. (5 cm) long. heartshaped. ‘Neat and Tidy’. ‘Fortunei Albomarginata’. (85 cm). ‘Lynne’. (4 cm) long. glaucous blue-green. Similar to Hosta sieboldiana (and often confused with ‘Elegans’). ‘Lunar Eclipse’ and ‘Gosan Moonskirt’ have yellow centers and white margins. smooth. white pruinose back. crinkled. plant clump-forming. (45 cm) high. ‘Birchwood Parky’s Gold’. ‘August Moon’. Tardiana Group. comparable all-yellows are ‘Gold Drop’ and ‘Gold Edger’ (seen in photo of ‘Blue Angel’).

plant clump-forming. to 2 in. ‘Osprey’. (60 cm) across. (5 cm) long. smooth. smooth. flowerstalk to 28 in. Although classified as a blue hosta. (70 cm). to 2 in. Similar to ‘Tokudama’ but does not have its very cupped leaves. 20 in. ‘Buckshaw Blue’. leaves 6 in. ‘Baby Bunting’ is a good choice. For gardeners with a lack of space and a desire for a similar but smaller cultivar. to 2 in. excessive cupping leads to tears in the margin. flat. 18 in. ‘Harmony’. ‘Bold Ribbons’. leaning. leaves 6 in. ‘Blue Diamond’. green. ‘Chinese Sunrise’. (13 cm) wide. with small stem leaves. medium dark green with white margin. ‘Camelot’. June–July. ‘Blue Wedgwood’ (‘Blue Wave’). bell-shaped. creamy white margin. heartshaped. (10 cm) wide. plant clumpforming. flowerstalk to 14 in. June–July. 14 in. with small stem leaves. smooth. (30 cm) high. leaves 6 in. Flowers white. and ‘Sherborne Swift’. 28 in. ‘Cherub’ is of similar size but has leaves with a creamy white margin. (35 cm) high. grayish green with a bluish cast. June–July. (90 cm) across. to 2 in. (13 cm) wide. Flowers white. Flowers white. (5 cm) long. glaucous blue-green. 24 in. another sport. June–July. ‘Blue Skies’. green. 16 in. Its seedling ‘Wide Brim’ has yellow margins that change to creamy white and is an excellent hosta for general use. leaves 6 in. (40 cm) across. as is its variegated sport ‘Hope’ (green center. to 2 in. flowerstalk to 16 in. flowerstalk to 28 in. Leaves are attractively cupped. heart-shaped. (40 cm) high. heart-shaped. (15 cm) long and 4 in. (70 cm). leaves 6 in. heart-shaped. somewhat puckered. This small blue hosta looks great in a shaded rockery or along a path. (5 cm) wide. differing only in size and leaf shape. (80 cm). 215 ‘Brim Cup’. smooth. 16 in. ‘Summer Joy’ is a smaller sport with a white center and bluish margins. ‘Devon Blue’. (15 cm) long and 5 in. ‘Happiness’. smooth. ‘Candy Hearts’. (65 cm). ‘Christmas Tree’. ‘Dorset Blue’. June–July. (13 cm) wide. ‘Punky’ is a smaller sport with a yellow center and blue-green margins. to 2 in. 16 in. flowerstalk to 32 in. (15 cm) long and 4 in. Many other. Similar but with less substance in the leaves are ‘Neat Splash Rim’ and ‘Yellow Splash Rim’. straight. 24 in. dome-shaped. green. June–July. smooth. but in some gardens. ‘Java’ is an all-green sport. funnel-shaped. flat. leaning. heartshaped with a wedge-shaped outline. ‘Heartsong’. straight. 16 in. (15 cm) long and 3 in. straight. has a very narrow. plant clump-forming. plant clump-forming. ‘Hadspen Hawk’. 28 in. blue-green. they serve the same purpose in gardens but should be selected for desired leaf size and shape: ‘Blue Arrow’. . leaning. funnel-shaped. (15 cm) long and 5 in. green. flowerstalk to 26 in. ‘Ground Master’ has creamy white margins. with small stem leaves. ‘Blue Blush’. flowerstalk to 18 in. green. bell-shaped. which has a rounded heart-shaped base with wedge-shaped form (seen in photo of ‘Sum and Substance’). June–July. (5 cm) long. leaning. Tardiana Group. with wide green margins that streak into the white center. bell-shaped. 12 in. heartshaped. (5 cm) long. (30 cm) high. in spring a beautiful yellow central color with a narrow green margin. green. (70 cm) across. glaucous blue-green. (40 cm) high. The sport ‘Fair Maiden’ has a distinct. lance-shaped. (35 cm). to 2 in. with small stem leaves. smooth. Flowers lavender. ‘Hadspen Heron’. medium dark green with white margin. similar plants occur in the Tardiana Group. (70 cm) across. yellowish green margin) and the attractive ‘Cherish’ and ‘Pandora’s Box’. plant clump-forming. light lavender. (5 cm) long. (15 cm) long and 5 in. (45 cm). (45 cm) across. (5 cm) long. ‘Hadspen Blue’ (seen in photo of Lamium maculatum ‘Beacon Silver’). 36 in. 12 in. (40 cm) high. this fine landscape hosta is more of a grayish green. Sometimes confused with ‘Blue Dimples’ (Tardiana Group). (5 cm) long. (40 cm). A viridescent sport of Hosta cathayana. glaucous blue-green. leaves 6 in. (8 cm) wide. (10 cm) wide. One of the bluest hostas and holds that color longer than most. Flowers white. ‘Irische See’. flat. Flowers bell-shaped. Flowers lavender.Hosta and 2 in. cupped. very wide and streaky white margin and dark green center. plant clump-forming. bell-shaped. plant clump-forming. ‘Blue Velvet’ and ‘Moscow Blue’ are comparable. (60 cm) across.

2 m). heart-shaped. flowerstalk to 38 in. (75 cm) across. 12 in. (30 cm). (60 cm) high. sazanami giboshi (Jap. and several other landscape hostas have this attractive feature: ‘Choo Choo Train’. lasting. (25 cm) long and 7 in. 12 in. (10 cm) high. 2 in. fortunei). sieboldiana but with moderately taller scapes. June–July. Flowers numerous. (5 cm) long. (30 cm) high. (50 cm) high. (1. (18 cm) wide. heart-shaped. (45 cm) long and 12 in. Elegans Group. flowerstalk to 12 in. plant clump-forming. ‘Regal Ruffles’.3 m) across. elongated bell-shaped. leaves 10 in. and ‘Waving Wuffles’. ‘Mesa Fringe’. ‘Ruffles Galore’. (95 cm). 24 in. .5 in. leaves 18 in. has a crumpled blue-green center and yellowish green margin. to 2. flowerstalk to 4 ft. the same can be said for its related hybrids ‘Amethyst Joy’ and ‘Inland Sea’. plant clump-forming. As with all large hostas.). sharp tip. glossy white. smooth. ‘Dixie Chick’. 24 in. (25 cm) long and 6 in. dark green. (85 cm). to 1. (25 cm) long and 7 in. ‘Crested Reef’. ‘Permanent Wave’. leaves 2. leaves 10 in. ‘Circus Clown’. (6 cm) long and 0. medium green. lasting. green. (50 cm). apparently further developed and hybridized. smooth. June–July. dimpled. Originally described as a botanical variety. regular creamy white margin with tiny green spots. (15 cm) long and 3 in. green.6 in. (95 cm). bell-shaped. held horizontally on long. heart-shaped. flowerstalk to 34 in. with an extended and twisted. has the same striking flowers but wide yellowish margins. Hosta pycnophylla has a neat piecrust margin. upright leafstalks. (60 cm) high. ‘Decorata Normalis’ is the all-green form. (6 cm) long. 30 in. smooth. (60 cm) high. wrinkled. Flowers lavender.5 in.216 Hosta fles’. funnel-shaped. 4 in. ‘Elegans’ (Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’). Flowers near white. The classic ‘Ruf- ‘Fortunei Albomarginata’. elongated heart-shaped. ‘Lakeside Ripples’. June–July. (30 cm) across. (90 cm) high. Flowers lavender. densely packed. green. Garden origin. Other cultivars in the Elegans Group are derived from and listed under H. dark green. (5 cm) long. ‘TuTu’. June–July. (18 cm) wide. plant clumpforming. more corrugated. smooth. to 2 in.” Plants offered in commerce should be considered a group of similar garden plants: all look like the archetypal H. traits inherited from ‘Tokudama’. June–July. ‘Niagara Falls’. glossy. (75 cm) across. ‘Green Piecrust’. ‘Crispula Viridis’ is the all-green form. (18 cm) wide. it is now known to be Arends’ 1905 hybrid ‘Robusta’ (Hosta sieboldiana ‘Mira’ × H. with heavy substance. with distinct regular piecrust margins. (25 cm) long and 7 in. ‘Crispula’. flowerstalk to 20 in. a derivative of ‘Decorata’. lasting. with white to creamy white margin. (1. June–July. funnel-shaped. dark green with a regular white margin. upright.5 cm) wide. sieboldiana ‘Mira’. green. dark green with a regular white margin.5 in. ‘Decorata’. (5 cm) long. plant clump-forming. bell-shaped. leaves 6 in. ‘Tokudama’. smooth. dark green with a regular white margin. and rounder.5 in. (30 cm) wide. a slight lavender coloration inside the flower petals. ‘Pizzazz’. the very large ‘Birchwood Ruffled Queen’. This most majestic blue-gray hosta has made the top 20 in the AHS poll and is a continual favorite in gardens. 36 in. with small stem leaves. (15 cm) wide. (4 cm) long. ‘Goddess of Athena’. bluish gray. and its leaf undersides are coated with a whitish powder. leaves 10 in. plant clumpforming. ‘Holly’s Honey’. flat when young. Fortunei Albomarginata Group. 24 in. ‘Sea Drift’. and supplemental water is a must to keep this giant happy in warmer regions. Flowers white. which Arends knew as H. 50 in. to 2. smooth. green. to 2 in. it requires careful siting. Flowers deep lavender to purple. similar and slightly smaller. but rugose.). all under the name “Elegans. funnel-shaped. smooth. Another classic hosta of great garden value. A mature ‘Christmas Tree’ is an awesome display in any garden. plant clump-forming. and corrugated at maturity. A classic and still one of the best white-margined hostas. leaves 10 in. smooth. lance-shaped. 36 in. 30 in. heart-shaped. 36 in. (6 cm) long. white pruinose back. I have seen several distinct plants. flowerstalk to 38 in. (90 cm) across. ‘Donahue Piecrust’. (8 cm) wide. and bluer leaves. (90 cm) across. smooth. erect. heart-shaped. (1. Hostas with ruffled piecrust margins always draw a crowd and add to the overall texture of the landscape. otafuku giboshi (Jap.

Fortunei Albopicta Group. ‘Freising’ has a smaller leaf and pure white flowers. blend well with blues and darker greens.2 m) across. plant clump-forming. to 2. It and its many close relatives are hybridized forms of Hosta montana. (90 cm). fragrant. (90 cm) across. Leaves have a slight grayish cast in spring. ‘Twilight’. leaves 8 in. August. funnel-shaped. as has ‘Praying Hands’. ‘Elizabeth Campbell’ is similar. heart-shaped. ‘Fortunei Stenantha’ is a distinct form. (95 cm).5 in. its sport ‘Night before Christmas’ has wider green margins and is more vigorous. with no margin. ‘Green Gold’ is a distinct sport with a narrow. Flowers lavender. named by Siebold before his death for Aoki Kon’yo (who produced the first Japanese-Dutch dictionary) has a leaf surface that is all over wrinkled and dimpled. ‘Fortunei Aoki’ (‘Aoki’). ‘Owen Online’ and ‘Patience Plus’ have reverse variegation with a yellow center and green margins. yellowish to pale light green with creamy white margin. ‘Nancy Lindsay’ and ‘Windsor Gold’ have viridescent yellow leaves that turn green later. 24 in. but I have seen some fine specimens in hot southern gardens. 20 in. its bright yellow leaves turn green in early summer. to 2. short scapes. Stemming from an unstable variegated form of ‘Fortunei Hyacinthina’ is the very popular ‘White Christmas’ with a white center and dark green margins. (60 cm) high. lasting. A fast grower when given good. heart-shaped. flowerstalk to 36 in. All are tried and proven garden plants. Fortunei Aureomarginata Group. smooth. plant clump-forming. (1. ‘Fortunei Aureomarginata’ (‘Ellerbroek’. flowerstalk to 32 in. (20 cm) wide. flowerstalk to 38 in. Flowers white. ‘Kiwi Treasure Trove’. (20 cm) long and 6 in. (15 cm) wide. (75 cm). funnel-shaped. (80 cm) across. (60 cm) high. 4 ft. (6 cm) long. (6 cm) long. ‘Fortunei Aurea’ is a smaller. 24 in. heartshaped. ‘Guacamole’ is a similar. ‘Golden Crown’. ‘Fragrant Bouquet’. ‘Fortunei Gigantea’ (‘Bella’) is a bit larger. and ‘Viette’s Yellow Edge’ are similar. This is a showy hosta in spring. (50 cm) high. which has made the top 10 in the AHS poll. 217 ‘Fortunei Albopicta’. 32 in.5 in. with much lighter and smoother leaf color.Hosta Other members of the white-margined Fortunei Albomarginata Group are ‘Carol’. green. June–July. whose foliage is upright and folded. (25 cm) long and 7 in. and ‘Zager’s White Edge’. ‘Yellow Band’). funnel-shaped. (90 cm) across. plant clump-forming. ‘North Hills’. leaves 10 in.5 in. lasting. ‘Fortunei Viridis’ is the reverted all-green form of ‘Fortunei Albopicta’. ‘Fisher’s Cream Edge’. The smaller ‘So Sweet’ has slightly fragrant flowers and cupped. Fortunei Group. to 2. (6 cm) long. White-centered cultivars tend to burn out. uniform yellowish margin.5 in. smooth. and flowers with nonspreading lobes. All are about the same size and with few exceptions have lavender to violet flowers that are darker in northern gardens. (18 cm) wide. 36 in. This is the cultivar that gave the group of yellow-margined hostas its name. Flowers lavender. The soft colors of this hybrid. glaucous leaves that are more green than blue. smooth. 24 in. (60 cm) high. funnel-shaped. and an excellent hosta for southern gardens. very vigorous sport with a yellowish green margin. Flowers lavender. in spring with a bright yellow center and a dark green margin. smooth. leaves 9 in. ‘Granary Gold’ is viridescent yellow without the margin and darkens to a yellowish green later. light green with stem leaves. ‘Fortunei Rugosa’ has very wrinkled. (6 cm) long. Several variegated sports are in commerce: ‘Alaskan Halo’ and ‘Arctic Rim’ have creamy white margins. One of the best variegated and fragrant hostas. This quintessential green hosta evolved in Siebold’s garden before his death and was listed as early as 1877. but its yellow center is viridescent and by early summer it is almost as green as the margin. dark green with a regular yellow margin. (80 cm). Also viridescent are ‘Phyllis Campbell’ and ‘Sharmon’. lasting. smooth. it has made the top 20 in the AHS poll and is outdone in growth rate only by its all-green sport ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’. hence the epithet stenantha (from stenos anthos = narrow flower). light green ‘Fortunei Hyacinthina’. a bright dark green later in the season. (23 cm) long and 8 in. June–July. ‘Zager Green Rim’ is nearly identical. green. flowerstalk to 30 in. ‘Chelsea Babe’ is similar but smaller. deep soil. plant clumpforming. turning . ‘Fortunei Obscura’ is somewhat smaller. to 2. 36 in. green. with a wider green margin. June–July. viridescent yellow-leaved form. ‘Fried Bananas’ is a vigorous all-yellow form.

to 2 in. its leaves twist like those of ‘Geisha’ but they are narrower and smaller. This classic hosta has made the top 20 in the AHS poll and is seen in many old gardens. and unfortunately. ‘Green Gold’ has yellow margins that turn white in summer. it is a difficult garden plant: most plants sold in North America suffer from marginal necrosis. adding an additional feature to its twisted texture. it is one of the few with curiously twisted leaves. its green center changes to yellow by summer. ‘Frances Williams’ (‘Golden Circles’. June–July. Hosta Hill is no longer embellished by this cultivar. Many similar variegated forms belong to the Sieboldiana Aureomarginata Group (Frances Williams Group). green. (13 cm) wide. and ‘Minuteman’ and ‘Trailblazer’. its more creamy white margin does not burn. with streaking toward midrib. narrow white margins is ‘Gloriosa’. ‘Olive Bailey Langdon’. Although it has placed in the AHS poll top 20 and is grown the world over. 4 in. plant clump-forming. and smaller juvenile leaves 6 in. dark green with narrow white margin. bell-shaped. June–July. which add incredible textural quality to the garden. The best twisted white-centered hosta is ‘Silver Streak’ (seen in photo of ‘Sultana’). green. (90 cm) across. (5 cm) long. probably a genetic disorder. Fortunei Albomarginata Group. (10 cm) high. 4 ft. much-tested garden hosta that holds its leaf color. ‘Dorothy Benedict’. (8 cm) wide. smooth. ‘Patriot’s Fire’ is an interesting cultivar similar to ‘Francee’. (30 cm) long and 11 in. erect. with wide white margins. with a smooth leaf blade and margin. (25 cm). margins slightly upturned. broadly heart-shaped. Exposure to strong sunlight in early spring and frequent rain seem to exacerbate the malady. ‘Hime Karafuto’. (5 cm) wide. Flowers deep lavender. ‘Alex Summers’. bell-shaped. sharp tip. (75 cm). plant clump-forming. (25 cm) across. flowerstalk to 18 in. irregular green margins. which causes the yellow marginal tissue to “burn” and eventually turn brown. to 2 in. to 2 in. Another sport. Similar but with narrower leaves and more refined. dark green margin. and ‘Princess of Karafuto’ are all similar to the mature . (25 cm) across. Flowers lavender. has creamy margins but is otherwise very similar to the latter two. (5 cm) long. is an excellent. (60 cm) high. and disintegrate. funnel-shaped. (20 cm) long and 3 in. wide yellow margin. green. with irregular. leaves with a creamy white margin. with variegated leaves. ‘Francee’ (‘Fortunei Klopping Variegated’). rhizomatous cultivar of great garden value. (5 cm) wide. 36 in. ‘Eldorado’. bell-shaped. ‘Yellow Edge’). green.2 m) across. (28 cm) wide. its margins are shirred like the edge of a pulled curtain. ‘Chicago Frances Williams’. derived from ‘Gold Regal’ and named for the founder of the American Hosta Society. This unusual. to 2 in. heart-shaped but twisted and curved along the midrib and the tip curled under. yellowish green with an irregular. Two distinct leaf forms exist: slightly corrugated mature leaves 8 in. ‘Northern Exposure’ is similar but has a yellowish white margin that turn white. June–July. ‘Nifty Fifty’ is similar. looking marvelous from spring until autumn. blue-green. (1 m). A distinguished. ‘Broadway Frances’ is a large sport with bluish green center and wide yellow margin. Discovered by Frances Williams in 1936. wavy white margin. which have even wider white margins. 24 in. Flowers lavender. this is easily the most popular sport of Hosta sieboldiana ever marketed. Maturity occurs 4 to 6 years after planting. with a viridescent yellow leaf that has green margins. erect. ‘Geisha’ (‘Ani Machi’). flowerstalk to 40 in. flowerstalk to 10 in. 4 in. with irregular. (1. nonburning alternative and looks great ‘Ginko Craig’. June–July. (20 cm) long and 5 in. 10 in. smooth. and the juvenile form can be maintained by frequent dividing. plant clump-forming. leaves 8 in. ‘Bunchoko’ has leaves like the juvenile form but its flowers are white. (5 cm) long. and ‘Squash Edge’. ‘Excalibur’.218 Hosta all year long. ‘Hime’. lance-shaped. Flowers white. colorful cultivar is quite a conversation piece. leaves dark green with a white margin. it too is a vigorous. ‘Samurai’. heart-shaped. Among those reported not to burn are ‘Aurora Borealis’. develop holes. leaves 4 in. 24 in. (10 cm) high. (15 cm) long and 2 in. in my garden it is more dignified than its sports ‘Patriot’. plant clump-forming. Another is ‘Mary Marie Ann’. (60 cm) high. (5 cm) long. ‘Admiral Halsey’. dimpled and rippled. 10 in. flowerstalk to 30 in. (10 cm) long and 2 in. leaves 12 in. a small cultivar with a pure white center and narrow. (45 cm).

14 in. sharp tip. straight. it has placed in the AHS poll top 20. (5 cm) long. (10 cm) wide. ‘String Bikini’ has a dark green leaf with a narrow white center. ‘Sweet Tater Pie’ is a seedling with yellow leaves that turn green by summer. ‘Gold Standard’. The leaves are thin. bell-shaped. An allyellow sport of ‘Tokudama Aureonebulosa’. light green margin) has a dark green “tattoo” in the outline of a maple leaf. rounded. nakaiana). to 2 in. in which each leaf (yellow center. Flowers white. flowerstalk to 30 in. green. dome-shaped. (35 cm) high. with a leaf center yellowish white turning to white and a green margin. (35 cm) high. is a superior garden plant. green. flat. (35 cm) high. June–July. yellow (lutescent) with a dark green margin. flowerstalk to 20 in. (5 cm) long. retains its parent’s vigor and fast increase. (5 cm) long. similar to the parent species H. straight. (10 cm) long and 3 in. (50 cm) high. (84 cm). 219 ‘Golden Bullion’. heart-shaped. and ‘Richland’s Gold Moonlight’ has a yellow center with white margins. Flowers lavender. leaves 6 in. (60 cm) across. smooth. leaves 6 in. ‘Gold Regal’. (20 cm) long and 5 in. Flowers lavender. This sport of Hosta nakaiana is very popular. straight. plant clump-forming. (5 cm) long. (25 cm) wide. (75 cm). (13 cm) wide. 28 in.Hosta plant. ‘Abiqua Ariel’. Requires abundant water to stay goodlooking. and ‘Super Bowl’ are similar. flowerstalk to 20 in. in the South plants fade and even go dormant during prolonged droughts unless provided with extra water. bell-shaped. broadly heart-shaped. Flowers whitish. plant clump-forming. puckered and slightly cupped. to 2 in. all take several years to reach their ultimate size. 20 in.2 m) across. flowerstalk to 24 in. This classic hosta. flowerstalk to 33 in. and ‘Zounds’ serve similar uses in gardens. ‘Grand Tiara’. Comparable but smaller are ‘Golden Prayers’ and ‘Little Aurora’. with stem leaves. (15 cm) long and 5 in. plant clump-forming. (8 cm) wide. green. yellow (lutescent). June–July. An excellent garden plant. green. and ‘Platinum Tiara’ (yellowish green with a white margin). Flowers deep lavender striped with purple. (90 cm) across. A good yellow form but subject to burning. ‘Kasseler Gold’. (5 cm) long. ‘Something Different’ has a viridescent yellow center with dark green margins. ‘Moonlight’ has an albescent greenish yellow center and thin. green. plant clump-forming. (13 cm) wide. but needs shade during hot afternoons to keep the bright yellow leaf center from bleaching and burning. funnel-shaped. dimpled and rippled. (50 cm). ‘Midas Touch’ (seen in photo of ‘Blue Angel’). bell-shaped. ‘Ultraviolet Light’. nonburning all-yellow sport of ‘Tokudama Flavocircinalis’. Fortunei Group. 24 in. ‘Aspen Gold’. with . Flowers white. which itself has sported to ‘Tattoo’. June–July. leaves 4 in. 14 in. to 2 in. June–July. (15 cm) long and 4 in. 14 in. 36 in. irregular line posed at the junction of the main colors. Several other sports in the Tiara Group are of similar stature: ‘Diamond Tiara’ (medium green with a white margin). June–July. plant clump-forming. The sport ‘Striptease’ has a yellow center and wide green margin with a pure white. producing multiple flowerstalks even when young. and extremely vigorous. (50 cm). 20 in. Golden Sunburst Group. bending. becoming a deep yellowish green with a dark green margin). ‘Golden Sunburst’. Tiara Group. ‘Golden Medallion’. to 2 in. cupped and puckered. (5 cm) long. (70 cm) across. June–July. (33 cm) long and 10 in. A sturdy. creamy white in sun. George Smith Group. heartshaped. bell-shaped. it has deservedly made the top 5 in the AHS poll. (1. ‘Golden Tiara’. margins slightly upturned. to 2 in. straight. 24 in. green. widely cultivated. ‘Janet’ is smaller. flowerstalk to 40 in. with a neat yellowish green margin that bleaches to near ‘Great Expectations’. leaves 13 in. to 2 in. ‘Golden Scepter’ (yellow). ‘Gosan Hildegarde’ is an all-yellow hybrid involving ‘Ginko Craig’. ‘Jade Scepter’ (all green. (1 m). (50 cm) high. 4 ft. yellow (lutescent). leaves 8 in. ‘Heartache’. ‘Emerald Tiara’ (viridescent yellow. yellow (lutescent). discovered as a sport of ‘Fortunei Hyacinthina’. (60 cm) across. white margins. heart-shaped. heart-shaped. green. (60 cm). bellshaped. ‘Fort Knox’. with considerably wider yellow margins. ‘Emerald Scepter’ (very similar but a shade darker). The fine ‘Richland Gold’ has bright yellow leaves that turn whitish yellow with age.

broadly heart-shaped. emerging chartreuse turning to creamy white (albescent). to 2 in. with small stem leaves. flowerstalk to 5 ft. flowerstalk to 20 in. Related hybrids are ‘Dream Weaver’. glaucous. (65 cm) high. even in southern regions. plant clumpforming. plant clump-forming. irregular margin. (25 cm) long and 8 in. lasting. leaves 10 in. As with all other hybrids related to H. erect. Flowers almost white with a hint of lavender. smooth and shiny. ‘Irongate Glamour’ is among the best fragrant cultivars with creamy white margins. Sports of this cultivar are ‘Sugar and Cream’. with streaking toward midrib. lance-shaped and slightly wavy. Flowers lavender. is an excellent grower and has bluish green leaves that turn dark green by midsummer. 24 in. (1. (75 cm). it is essential to keep the rhizome actively growing by providing supplemental water during summer droughts. widely cultivated. ‘Honeybells’.5 m). sharp tip. ‘Spritzer’ is similar but has yellow leaves with irregular green streakings in spring. particularly in warmer regions. which here always burn (melt out) in the center.2 m) across. flat. dimpled and rippled. Several other hybrids in the George Smith Group are similar in size and variegation: ‘Borwick Beauty’. ‘Halcyon’ (seen in photo of ‘Wide Brim’) is an excellent garden plant. funnel-shaped. among the first hostas established at Hosta Hill. Hybrid (Hosta plantaginea × H. 24 in. 40 in. ‘Golden Fountain’ retains its yellow leaf color throughout the season. with a broad. (28 cm) long and 8 in. (60 cm) high. plant clump-forming. glaucous blue-green. August. which is similar but with all yellow leaves. (45 . June–July. another H. (5 cm) long. which is identical to ‘Great Expectations’ but with very wide margins. wide green margin. The best of the Tardiana Group hybridized by Eric Smith in England.2 m) across. with dark bluish green. ‘Innisjade’ is the green-leaved sport. (8 cm) wide. heart-shaped. Tardiana Group. Flowers bell-shaped. it is a fast grower that mounds up quickly and tolerates considerable sun. ‘Halcyon’. ‘Elvis Lives’. leaves 10 in.220 Hosta cm) high. laxly arching. ‘Green Fountain’. small stem leaves. with fragrant flowers. and ‘Sleeping Beauty’ are much like but have striking creamy white margins. ‘Inniswood’. primitive. which is larger. Can be difficult to establish but its beauty is well worth the effort: it has placed in the top 3 in the AHS poll. growing well in both northern and southern gardens. leaves 11 in. flat. and ‘Sweet Standard’. 26 in. and ‘Great American Expectations’. This Hosta kikutii hybrid forms a distinctive cascading mound in the garden and is excellent for elevated containers. (1 m) across. smooth. which they characterize as coarse. straight. or even artless. green. yellow (lutescent) with irregular. sharp tip. (1. creamy white margin. dimpled and rippled. leaves 7 in. (25 cm) long and 3 in. (18 cm) wide. 4 ft. margins slightly upturned. inexpensive hosta for beginners. margins slightly upturned. kikutii hybrid. upright on strong leafstalks. heart-shaped. ‘Devon Green’ is a green form of ‘Halcyon’. green. flowerstalk to 30 in. to 2 in. white. taller. (18 cm) long and wide. 18 in. A sport of ‘Sun Glow’. it is a first-love kind of thing—‘Honeybells’. ‘Color Glory’ and ‘Queen of Islip’. and has placed in the AHS poll top 20. (5 cm) long. as well as ‘DuPage Delight’ and ‘Northern Sunray’. (20 cm) wide. flowerstalk to 38 in.5 in. plant clump-forming. June–July. June–July. 24 in. (60 cm) high. Sophisticated hosta gardeners may fault me for even mentioning this plant. 32 in. fragrant. with small stem leaves. the yellow fades to shades of light green later in the season. (1. ‘Chantilly Lace’. sieboldiana. plant clump-forming. ‘Sweet Standard’ is unstable and reverts to ‘Sugar and Cream’. (20 cm) wide. to 2 in. creamy white margin. leafstalks white. One of the best center-variegated sports involving Hosta sieboldiana. broadly heart-shaped. ‘Gay Blade’. dome-shaped. (5 cm) long. (95 cm). bell-shaped. (6 cm) long. and faster growing. But to me. to 2. (80 cm) across. Hybrid (‘Tardiflora’ × ‘Elegans’). smooth. (23 cm) long and 7 in. 36 in. 4 ft. (60 cm) high. light green. dark green. funnel-shaped. sieboldii). Flowers white. erect. ‘George Smith’ is similar but larger. pronounced blue-green. light green. (90 cm) across. ‘Tambourine’ is a very large striking hybrid with a medium green center and a wide. (50 cm). is a most vigorous plant. smooth. and an excellent. green-margined. leaves 9 in. An old hybrid dating back to 1950. with splashes of creamy white and yellowish green.

white margin and ‘New Tradition’ has a white leaf with a thin green margin. to 2 in. lavender. plant clump-forming. flowerstalk to 20 in. leaves 6 in. smooth and shiny. ‘June’. cultivated the world over. with a yellowish center and irregular blue-green margin with streakings toward the midrib. glaucous blue-green. 18 in. ‘Ground Master’. (50 cm). this is a popular hosta for edgings and accent groups. ‘Krossa Regal’. intensely puckered. to 2 in. plant clump-forming. and ‘Little Wonder’. Hosta cathayana is very similar but has fertile flowers. 30 in. Flowers bell-shaped. (10 cm) wide. ‘Crested Surf’. slightly fragrant. is a sterile descendant of Hosta nigrescens. (30 cm) high.4 m). (90 cm) high. This is one of the best glossy hostas. somewhat vase-shaped. 12 in. June–July.Hosta 221 ‘Invincible’. with long leafstalks erect. June–July. its shiny leaves beg for attention. ‘Love Pat’. reverting to the stable ‘Yellow Splash Rim’. 40 in. to 2 in. (80 cm) across. to 3 in. smooth. glaucous. ‘Touch of Class’ has a wider blue-green margin. green. funnel-shaped. Derived from the heavily streaked but unstable ‘Neat Splash’. flowerstalk to 56 in. (5 cm) long. 12 in. creamy white margin. glaucous blue-green. erect. deeply cupped. green. with a clump size to 36 in. (13 cm) wide. keeping their yellow well into late summer. (45 cm) high. July–September. lance-shaped and slightly wavy. dome-shaped. 36 in. straight. to 2 in. funnel-shaped. smooth. glaucous blue-green. white. ‘Inaho’ is also broadly related. Flowers white. flowerstalk to 18 in. (28 cm) long. flowerstalk to 20 in. and several whitemargined forms of similar size: ‘Bold Ribbons’. ‘Neat Splash Rim’. broadly heart-shaped. heart-shaped. pronounced blue-green. Its architectural stature makes it an excellent garden plant. lance-shaped and slightly wavy. June–July. (5–8 cm) wide. (70 cm) across. (50 cm) across. (18 cm) long and wide. plant clump-forming. flat. dark green. plant clump-forming. with small stem leaves. June–July. Several sports are in commerce: ‘Change of Tradition’ has green leaves with a thin. (75 cm) across. sharp tip. Retains its yellow center in some sun. plant clump-forming. (75 cm) across. leaning. (1 m) across. to 2 in. leaves 8 in. ‘Coquette’. 32 in. 30 in. ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ is similar but has leaves that are cupped to the extreme and very distinct. (5 cm) long. grainy. leaves 6 in. been grown for many years and is still a good landscape hosta for edgings and mass planting. (5 cm) long. bare. wavy-undulate. From ‘Neat Splash’ comes ‘Scooter’. smooth. plant clump-forming. with small stem leaves. upright on strong leafstalks. leaves 5 in. 10 in. Flowers pale purple. and ‘May’ has greenish yellow leaves. 28 in. (5 cm) long. flowerstalk to 18 in. sterile flowers. its yellow leaves with green streaks are quite stable. funnel-shaped. 20 in. (90 cm) across and leaves to 11 in. it has made the top 10 in the AHS poll. 18 in. Flowers lavender. dome-shaped. (20 cm) long and 3 in. Has placed in the top 5 in the AHS poll and considered one the best variegated garden sports of the Tardiana Group. Tardiana Group. it blooms late and has attractive. fastgrowing addition at Hosta Hill. ‘Yellow Splash’ is similar to ‘Neat Splash’ and equally unstable. ‘Cathy Late’ is a later-blooming variant. a handsome. glossy. (8 cm) wide. Flowers lavender. (5 cm) long. heart-shaped. (15 cm) long and 2–3 in. dark green with an irregular. rich green. glaucous blue-green. (23 cm) long and 5 in. smooth. straight. July–September. erect leaves vase-shaped. green. heart-shaped. (13 cm) long and 3 in. glaucous. leaves 7 in. (70 cm). straight. flowerstalk to 28 in. This classic hosta. (45 cm) high. (1. This excellent hybridized form of ‘Tokudama’ has made the top 20 in the AHS poll and is widely cultivated internationally. ‘Lancifolia’. (30 cm) high. Flowers bell-shaped. leaves 9 in. smooth. This cultivar has . ‘Cordelia’. (8 cm) wide. (25 cm) high. ‘Emily Dickinson’ is also white-margined and has fragrant flowers. leaning. funnel-shaped. ‘Big Daddy’ (seen in photo of Rodgersia sambucifolia) is a somewhat larger version of it. (50 cm). The viridescent hybrid ‘Lancifolia Aurea’ has yellow leaves without a margin. (45 cm). smooth and shiny. (45 cm). Tissue culture has produced the sports ‘Porcelain Vase’ (greenish white center with dark green margins) and ‘Regal Providence’ (leaves with a yellow center and blue-green margins). (15 cm) long and 4 in. (8 cm) long.

(90 cm) across. it is one of the best white-margined cultivars available and an excellent garden plant. (60 cm) high. found as a natural sport of Hosta montana in Japan. flowerstalk to 36 in. plant clump-forming. It takes time for this cultivar to develop into its large. 16 in. June–July. deeply ribbed and furrowed at veins. flowerstalk to 30 in. Several sports and related cultivars are available. flowerstalk to 28 in. and ‘Tucker Charm’. funnel-shaped. lime-green margins and is a bit smaller. June–July. and ‘Trailblazer’. Flowers whitish lavender. Discovered as a sport of ‘Francee’. flat. 24 in. 24 in. 30 in. ‘Opipara’ (‘Bill Brinka’). (45 cm) high. to 2. (40 cm) high. wavy. and it is easily grown and multiplies quickly. flat. all with reverse variegation (white center with dark green margin). Similar are the hybrids ‘Alston Glenn’. Flowers lavender. (80 cm). straight. (20 cm) long and 5 in. so has ‘Lakeside Symphony’. Flowers lavender. leaves 5 in.5 in. (5 cm) long. slightly dimpled. with a streaky. ‘Paul’s Glory’. (18 cm) long and 5 in. green margin.222 Hosta ‘On Stage’ (‘Choko Nishiki’). ‘Granada’ and ‘Veronica Lake’ are yellow-margined sports. (15 cm) wide. Very floriferous. Its creeping rhizomes are inherited from its ancestor Hosta rectifolia. Sports of ‘Patriot’ include ‘Fire and Ice’. June–July. ‘Rotunda’. but I consider them synonymous. arching. leaning. green-margined. It requires careful siting and good. ‘Peter Ruh’ has a green center with yellow margins. Fortunei Albomarginata Group. with small stem leaves. leaves 7 in. (5 cm) long. June–July. Flower lavender. flowerstalk to 40 in. flowerstalk to 30 in. (90 cm) across. Flowers pale lavender. (5 cm) long. grayish green with a bluish cast. leaves 7–9 in. bluish green. dark green with a wide yellow margin. ‘Pearl Lake’. leaves 11 in. (60 cm) across. with small stem leaves. irregular margin. leafstalks variegated. All useful for brightening up shady garden corners. 24 in. (6 cm) long. ‘Patriot’. 30 in. broadly heart-shaped. (60 cm) high. with viridescent yellow center turning a light green later. This center-variegated beauty. related to ‘Decorata’. (60 cm) high. (23 cm) long and 6 in. green. irregular dark green margin. (20 cm) wide. 4 ft. (28 cm) long and 8 in. (5 cm) long. ‘Piedmont Gold’. to 2 in. leaves 8 in. An outstanding garden plant: the color change during spring provides much interest. ‘Satisfac- . deep soil to develop into an impressive garden plant. (70 cm). funnelshaped. sharp tip. plant clump-forming. 32 in. ‘Mademoiselle’. (75 cm) across. heart-shaped. ‘Loyalist’. (75 cm) across. emerging chartreuse. ‘Minuteman’ (margin slightly wider). elliptic and slightly wavy. (13 cm) wide. mature form. (75 cm). with small stem leaves. bell-shaped. flowerstalk to 32 in. heart-shaped. This sport of ‘Perry’s True Blue’ has made the top 5 in the AHS poll. plant clump-forming. leafstalks white. green. but it takes time to develop its lighter. smooth and shiny. (10 cm) wide. to 2 in. A very popular variegated form from Japan. (75 cm). (13 cm) wide. (5 cm) long. Sensitive to sun exposure. and ‘Paul Revere’. with dark bluish green. funnel-shaped. plant clump-forming. Several sports and related seedlings are available. (1. somewhat vase-shaped. It has placed in the top 3 in the AHS poll. is very popular and has made the top 20 in the AHS poll. (1 m). irregular white margin and some streaking to the leaf midrib. this fine landscape hosta is more of a grayish green. turning yellowish white or creamy white (albescent). (13 cm) long and 4 in. all deep grayish green. ‘Everglades’ and ‘Moonshine’ have a yellow leaf with wide. 18 in. to 2 in. Flowers white suffused with lavender. 15 in. ‘Patriots Fire’ (margin narrower and center viridescent). June–July. ‘Pete’s Passion’ is similar but with wider green margins. (38 cm) high. green. ‘Chesterland Gold’ and ‘Gold Glory’ have yellow leaves. plant clump-forming. (18–23 cm) long and 4 in. ovate heart-shaped. yellow (lutescent). smooth. smooth. June–July. to 2 in. sharp tip. ovate heart-shaped. Some claim to see a difference between ‘On Stage’ and ‘Choko Nishiki’. bell-shaped. plant clump-forming. to 2 in. (90 cm). (10 cm) wide. 36 in. place in considerable shade in southern gardens. green. leaves 9 in. funnel-shaped. erect. Some morning sun helps to bring out the bright yellow color and retain it longer. Although classified as a blue hosta. it gives an outstanding floral display in spring. 24 in.2 m) across. Similar are ‘Admiral Halsey’ (margin more creamy white). dark green with very wide.

(1. (5 cm) high.2 m). 2 in. ‘Straka Gold’. plant clump-forming. and sometimes twisted at maturity. to 2. ‘David A. funnel-shaped. (30 cm) long and 7 in. leaves 12 in. (90 cm) high. (60 cm). while ‘Cavalcade’ has the same white margin on a medium green leaf. 32 in. Flowers lavender. (5 cm) long. heartshaped. (1 cm) wide.5 in. Flowers few. (5 cm) long. This imposing. 36 in. oblique. and ‘Sunlight Sister’. (25 cm). if planted in the open ground. to 2 in. ‘Lady Isobel Barnett’. to 1. 1 spot in the AHS poll. Flowers lavender. ‘Fat Cat’ and ‘Ivory Tower’ are yellow-leaved sports. ‘Sum and Substance’. (35 cm) wide. tissue-cultured explant into a giant 5 ft. so the plant needs deep soil and much moisture during dry periods to maintain vigorous growth. protect from slugs and snails. overtop leaf mound. it has gained the same reputation in Western gardens and has placed in the AHS poll top 3. The large leaves have a high transpiration rate. ‘Evening Magic’ has yellow leaves with irregular white margins. flowerstalk to 24 in. (3 m) across and 4 ft. Long known and revered in Japan. leaves 10–12 in. purple-spotted. flowerstalk to 4 ft. with heavy substance. yellow-margined sports of ‘Sum and Substance’ are ‘Bottom Line’. all are more or less yellow or yellowish green. ‘Regal Splendor’. 40 in. (1. flowerstalk to 10 in. leaves 8 in. and just one of these yellow giants may be enough for the average garden: ‘Blast Off’. sharp tip. ‘Sum It Up’. but usually somewhat smaller. plant clump-forming. stable sport of ‘Krossa Regal’ has placed in the top 20 in the AHS poll. leaves 20 in. wide yellow margin. corrugated. Flowers whitish with lavender tint. leaf lobes upturned. Has held the No. ‘Lemon Meringue’. straight. a light green with a creamy white edge. flat when young.2 m). flowerstalk to 4 ft. green. soft olive-green with irregular. (90 cm) high within 4 years. plant clump-forming. I know of a specimen 10 ft. ‘Archangel’ and ‘Golden Fanfare’ are all-yellow sports. Among the many green-centered. to 2 in. bare. 24 in. ‘Shade Fanfare’. leaves 1–2 in. ‘Verna Jean’ has a yellowish center with white margin.5 m) across. (1 m) across. green. This is the stable form of the streaky sport ‘Flamboyant’. plant clump-forming.5 in. but rugose. on long leafstalks. This hybrid. (2. Its soft colors make it a dignified garden plant. 31 in. glaucous blue-green with creamy yellow margin that turns creamy white. (50 cm) long and 14 in. June–July.5–5 cm) long and 0. white pruinose back. bare. It grows well both in the North and in the hot. ‘Hutch’ and ‘Tucker Tigers’ have uniformly light green leaves. ‘Sea Monster’. ‘Liberty’ is an attractive wide-margined sport. 16 in. ‘Su- ‘Sagae’. wavy leaf margin. . and its tall stature makes it a superb accent plant. (20–23 cm) wide. elongated bell-shaped. This popular tiny hosta is similar to Hosta gracillima but has rounded leaves.2 m) or more across. Several other hostas come close to attaining the size of this colossus. flat. is among the best variegated landscape hostas. formerly considered a selection of Hosta fluctuans. glaucous surface and underside. ‘Chartreuse Wedge’. 4 ft. funnel-shaped. (60 cm) across. 2 in. July–August. Similar but with a yellow margin and a lighter green center are ‘Corona’ from the Netherlands and ‘Tiffney’s Godzilla’ from the United States. (4 cm) long.Hosta tion’ is a vigorous cultivar with green leaves and broad yellow margins. ‘Golden Sculpture’.2 m) in height. flowerstalk to 4 ft. glaucous blue-green. Excellent in the shady rock garden or potted. 5 ft. (18 cm) wide. funnel-shaped. sagae giboshi (Jap. with variegated leaves. 6 in. Its bright margins are outstanding.5 in. yellowish green center with a yellowish to creamy white margin. at Hosta Hill a plant has grown from a tiny. broadly heart-shaped. ‘Solar Flare’. (20 cm) long and 7 in. plant clump-forming.). yellow (lutescent). (15 cm) across. glossy dark green. (25–30 cm) long and 8–9 in.5 m) across and 36 in. lavender. with long leafstalks forming a continuous upright arch. (40 cm) high. (1. funnel-shaped. June–July. dome-shaped. Haskell’. grainy. ‘Eagle’s Nest’. Flowers pale lavender. (1. humid South. wavy-undulate. straight. 223 ‘Shining Tot’. ‘Sum of All’. Among the many sports of ‘Sum and Substance’ are the all-green ‘Domaine De Courson’ from Belgium and ‘Parhelion’. (80 cm) high. broadly heart-shaped. (1. (79 cm) high. This colossal cultivar needs some sun to go from chartreuse to yellow. heart-shaped.2 m). June–July. wavy with undulating margin. (1. (1. green. (18 cm) wide. bare. (6 cm) long. ‘Choo Choo Train’. (5 cm) long. June–July. heart-shaped.

Flowers whitish. ‘Tokudama Aureonebulosa’. (1 m). (18 cm) wide. (18 cm) wide. glossy dark green. to 2 in. variegated hostas should be used only as accents in the quiet. Similar is ‘Sun Banner’ with a dark green center and yellow margin. curiously twisted and curled. leathery. bell-shaped. tapering to a point. (18 cm) long and 6 in. (45 cm). (20 cm) long and 7 in. 14 in. straight but leaning. plant clump-forming. may be the origin of ‘Little Aurora’. glaucous green. best in almost full sun North. having been largely replaced by its numerous offspring. which does not burn and makes a good garden plant. June–July. (30 cm).5 in. None like deep shade. puckered and dimpled. glaucous. flat. 24 in. (25 cm) high. yellowish green to yellow. 10 in. dome-shaped. 14 in. leaves 7 in. which in turn has given rise to several variegated sports: ‘Sultana’ (an exquisite little green hosta with bright yellow margins). Such very large. as is ‘Summer Breeze’ (dark green center. ‘Summer Music’. Flowers pale lavender. glaucous green. ‘Sun Power’. it has earned a position in the top 20 of the AHS poll. This cultivar. (18 cm) wide. funnel-shaped. (4 cm) long. and some sun is required for full development. ‘Elegans’. skinny leaves. (4 cm) long. (8–15 cm) long and 2–3 in. and ‘Titanic’. Outstanding for its architectural stature and bright color. ‘Tokudama’. flowerstalk to 20 in. funnel-shaped. plant clump-forming. 30 in. (75 cm) high. plant clump-forming. plant clump-forming. straight. rounded heartshaped. (20 cm) long and 7 in. ‘Bright Lights’ is more vigorous and faster growing. ‘Blue Umbrellas’. ‘Abba Dew’ has a light green center and bright yellow margins. July–August. This cultivar of unknown origin is a parent of ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’. ‘Delia’ and ‘Goldbrook Grace’ (yellow center. with an albescent white center and a wide irregular green margin streaked with light green. streaky bluish green margin. green garden. which produces yellow an- . Many similar forms are in commerce: ‘Blue Shadows’ has more blue streaking in the leaf center. 18 in. ‘Love Pat’. with mottled yellowish green center and an irregular. straight. (55 cm) across.). (25 cm) high. wide yellow margin streaking to the center). The sport ‘Tortifrons’ also has yellow anthers and much smaller. The white center of this newer hybrid. It is only occasionally seen in gardens. (15 cm) wide. (60 cm) across. dark green margin) is similar. (50 cm) with stem leaves. with sharp tip. straight.5 in. yellow margin). All are majestic. with small stem leaves. erect vase-shaped. tokudama (Jap. 24 in. June–July. ‘Blue Cadet’. plant clump-forming. Flowers lavender. to 1. In Japan it is known as the “dawn of day” ‘Tokudama’. leaf and flowerstalks purplespotted. flowerstalk to 40 in. morning sun in the South. ‘Lakeside Meter Maid’ (white center. September–October. reportedly melts out (burns). ‘Princess Diana’ has a narrower but more streaky margin. (35 cm) high. 36 in. June–July. that flatten out in too much shade. cupped. funnel-shaped.). leaves 8 in. Flowers purple. leaves 3–6 in. a yellow-leaved dwarf form from Japan. leaves 8 in. ‘Nickelodeon’ is similar. ‘Elfin Cup’ (yellowish cen- ‘Tardiflora’. 22 in. The yellow (lutescent) ‘Sea Gold Star’ becomes more resplendent as the season advances. to 1. bell-shaped. flowerstalk to 18 in. was crossed by Eric Smith with ‘Elegans’ (which he knew as Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’) to create the Tardiana Group. puckered and dimpled. personic’. (5 cm) long. (45 cm). I grow it in a place where it gets a lot of morning sun and afternoon shade. flowerstalk to 18 in. which is unfortunate. to 2 in. bluish green. elongated. heart-shaped. ‘Tokudama Ogon Hime’. (45 cm) across. rounded heartshaped. (35 cm) high. (90 cm) across. Flowers whitish. 10 in. wavy-undulate. because it makes a striking display with its corrugated blue leaves and white flowers. (25 cm) long and 7 in.224 Hosta thers and many flowers. with leafstalks forming a continuous upright arch. heart-shaped. a sport of the all-yellow ‘Shade Master’. glaucous. (5 cm) long. leaves 10 in. medium green margin). neat blue-green margin. flowerstalk to 12 in. to 2 in. (5 cm) long. and many other blue-green hostas. Sporting also produced the much better-behaved ‘Last Dance’ (medium green center. erect. akebono tokudama (Jap. so careful siting is recommended. (5–8 cm) wide. base heart-shaped. and ‘Tokudama Flavoplanata’ has an almost pure yellow center with a very narrow. (60 cm) across. Most are slow-growing but they are well worth the wait.

The Genus Hosta. ‘Shere Khan’ (yellow center. Oregon: Timber Press. green variegated with creamy white or whitish. (50 cm). creamy white margin). ‘Whirlwind’. variegated stem leaves. The Hosta Handbook. an intermediate form. and this eastern North American native is still widely used in herbal medicine for its antibacterial. June–July. June–July. with a viridescent yellowish green center and an irregular dark green margin. 1990. Flowers lavender. Paul. funnel-shaped. funnel-shaped. (4 cm) wide. Among the best inexpensive variegated hostas. 2000. (8 cm) wide. flowerstalk to 36 in. streaky white in the center and with an irregular margin of dark green with yellowish green and celadon streakings. green. (90 cm). and antihypertensive properties (it contains the alkaloid hydrastine). ‘Vanilla Cream’ is an excellent solid paleyellow hybrid. Illinois: Q & Z Nursery. thin white margin) is a miniature sport of ‘Just So’. (15 cm) wide. flowerstalk to 20 in. it has produced other sports. (15 cm) long and 3 in. and ‘Just So’ (yellow center. to 2 in. 24 in. with many largish stem leaves. Diana. (4 cm) long. Its margins do not burn like those of ‘Frances Williams’. (50 cm). Flowers lavender. It is still a good garden cultivar. (8–10 cm) wide. 10 in. straight but leaning. plant clump-forming. (60 cm) across. Portland. Easy to grow and vigorous. to be planted out as an accent or given prominence in a container on the patio. Oregon: Timber Press. it grows in just about any soil. straight but leaning. leaves 6 in. 28 in. 225 ‘Tokudama Flavocircinalis’. funnel-shaped. (90 cm) across. (5 cm) long. dark green with an irregular margin of creamy white to white. puckered and dimpled. straight but leaning. (40 cm) across. broadly elliptic with heartshaped base. (90 cm). plant clump-forming. sedative. green variegated with creamy white or whitish. Flowers lavender. (15–18 cm) long and 3–4 in. leaves 9 in. 1996. (45 cm) high. 18 in. June–July. 18 in. The Hosta Book. flowerstalk to 36 in. (5 cm) long. George. leaves 6–7 in. For its rich medicinal efficacy. June–July. Portland. (25 cm) high. 1991. bellshaped. such as ‘Second Wind’ (a somewhat larger. 36 in. over decades. those planted in our grandmothers’ gardens have slowly. W. This “green and white” hosta of old gardens is viridescent. All are inexpensive and can be used for mass plantings. Has made the top 20 in the AHS poll and is a favored conversation hosta. This cultivar (seen in photo of ‘Blue Angel’) is larger than ‘Tokudama Aureonebulosa’ and more showy. leaves 6–7 in. The Gardener’s Guide to Growing Hostas. plain green. suffused with lavender. Unlike ‘Undulata’. narrow dark green margin). Schmid. and it makes a splendid addition to any garden. kifukurin tokudama (Jap. with streaked leaves). Recommended reading Aden. broadly elliptic with heartshaped base. (45 . glaucous form with cupped leaves) and ‘Tradewind’ (possibly unstable. A garden sport of ‘Fortunei Hyacinthina’. (15–18 cm) long and 3–4 in. Rochelle. 2d ed. green margin). ‘Undulata Univittata’.). anticonvulsant. Mark. Portland. Oregon: Timber Press. The leaf color shows best in spring and fades to lighter green by early summer. 16 in. has a narrow white center.5 in. here it has thrived in Georgia red clay for decades. ‘Undulata’. Flowers whitish. ‘Enchantress’ (white center. Grenfell. to 2 in. with many largish stem leaves. plant clump-forming. 18 in. heart-shaped but contracted and twisted. (23 cm) long and 6 in. flowerstalk to 20 in. with devastating results: the ‘Undulata Albomarginata’. (8–10 cm) wide. to 1. Zilis. glaucous green. Fortunei Group. ‘Eternal Flame’ has dark green margins on a creamy white center. (45 cm) high. (70 cm) across. Hydrastis American Indians in Virginia used the yellow rootstock of Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal) to produce a dye. glaucous bluish green with a yellow margin 1. to 2 in. The all-green form is ‘Undulata Erromena’. it was wildcollected for centuries. which can be kept variegated if the green shoots are cut out occasionally.Hydrastis ter. (5 cm) long. turned all green. this cultivar (seen in photo of ‘Spritzer’) is stable and has long been in cultivation. plant clump-forming. broadly elliptic with heartshaped base and twisted tip. cm) high.5 in.

Propagate by dividing the rhizome before growth starts in very early spring. heart-shaped outline but 5. Hydrastis is classified in the Ranunculaceae. bellshaped. lance-shaped. scorpion weed. eyeroot. both from British Columbia and the western Cascades. Hydrophyllaceae. 12–16 in. fruit red berries. it should be planted in rich. Shawnee salad. arising from the leaf axils on long stalks. MS to FS. south to northern Georgia and Alabama. May–August. with 5–7 leaflets. sepals 3. sharply toothed. irregularly cleft and toothed. southern Manitoba to Quebec and western New England. Hydrophyllum virginianum. including the eye-catching Japanese irises. Lack of water turns the leaves black. mottled gray early. (30–75 cm). it should be planted in perpetually moist but not waterlogged soil with a pH of 6 to 7. vigorous species is now commercially propagated for medicinal use. flowers several. I really like its much-divided leaves. flowers solitary. goldenseal. no petals. which are devoid of petals. Eastern North America. yellow. my own plants were blooming and producing seed. dry summers. April–May. rich green leaves. drooping. Seed can be sown in a cold frame in autumn. single leaves with a mapleleaf shape. turmeric. white or dark violet. The flowers are ephemeral. and the whisky appearance of its flowers. northern Arkansas and eastern Kansas. I have never seen slug damage on my 7-lobed. Virginia waterleaf. Indian salad. Optimum pH is 5. 2. 2–5 in. whitish green. extending above the leaves. but the heavily crinkled leaves add significantly to the texture of shady gardens. deeply furrowed along the veins and wrinkled all over. gave rise to many of its common names.5. watering is essential in hot. which are attractively mottled with gray in spring. The sour taste of its leaves. I first encountered this plant in an isolated mountain valley in North Georgia. 6–8 in. Iris All bearded irises and most beardless irises. on the stem. fruit a capsule. leaves on the stem. stem 12–30 in. orangeroot. This long-lived. which I rescued years ago from a nearby tree-covered hillside threatened with “suburbanization. creeping. One is the native Iris cristata (crested iris). west to Arkansas. require full sun to be at their showy best. moisture-retentive soil that is never allowed to dry out. Propagate by dividing the creeping rhizome before growth starts in very early spring. leaves compound. Hydrastis canadensis. All add significantly to the garden’s leaf texture and offer interesting flowers. The genus is classified in the waterleaf family. I was taken by the crinkly. The flower buds curl over like a scorpion’s tail. Indian dye. plant rhizomatous. white. flowerstalk green. John’s cabbage. canadense (broadleafed waterleaf) have large. hairy.5 to 6. nor do diseases and insects bother them. yellowroot. are equally at home in gardens. yellow puccoon. few plants that carry on in nature must never be disturbed. capitatum (cat’s breeches). roots thick. falling away early. fall away very early in the bloom cycle. In a few years. (30– 40 cm). I collected a couple of red berries. and several nurseries offer propagated stock. Some slug or snail damage may occur. (5–13 cm) long. (15–20 cm) long. very dark green. with hairy filaments extending beyond the petals. LS to WS. nor should their habitat be threatened. Eastern North America. plant rhizomatous. Hydrophyllum macrophyllum (large-leaved waterleaf) and H. west to northern Alabama and Tennessee. Easily cultivated in zones 4 to 6a. The sepals of the flower. Easily cultivated. and true to its name. south to North Carolina. and with permission (I was on private property).” American In- Hydrophyllum The generic name derives from the Greek hydor (= water) and phyllon (= leaf). this North American native genus must have abundant moisture to be successfully cultivated.226 Hydrophyllum trickling soaker hose all summer long. leaving showy white stamens around several pistils. whose filaments protrude way beyond the petals. But a few species are surprisingly suitable for shady gardens. Here Hydrophyllum virginianum (Virginia waterleaf) required a . 5-petaled. which American Indians and early settlers ate as greens. green. Hydrophyllum fendleri (Fendler’s waterleaf) and H. stamens numerous. but zone 7a in northern Georgia and Alabama seems to be its southern limit. Hardy to zone 3. along the Canadian border from Minnesota to New England.

2. with a more loose habit in more shade. series Vernae. 2–3 in. North Africa.and drought-tolerant well into zone 8. 5–8 in. crested dwarf iris. petals 3. malodorous when crushed. and the native North American irises are heat. curving down. (20 cm) tall. Hardy to zone 4. usually solitary. petal-like. stamens 3. ‘Shenandoah Sky’. WS to MS in the South. flowers yellow veined in pale lilac). This shadetolerant Evansia iris (subgenus Limniris. or topaz tinged with yellow. (5–8 cm) across. Morning sun. 2-lobed. to 3. crests yellow. Propagate by dividing the creeping rhizome in late autumn. (75 cm) long. flowers malodorous when crushed. dwarf crested iris. roast beef plant. sepals 3. snails. 227 ‘Alba’ (var. stems to 6 in. flowers very dark violet. sections. tolerant of a variety of soils and even some neglect. Arkansas. flowers very pale blue. June–July. streaked with purple. iris borers. center patch (signal) white. leaves evergreen. lutescens. densely mat-forming in more sun. stems shorter. rarely 2. it is limited to zone 7a and warmer. fruit a 3-sided capsule. crests yellow. lance-shaped. leaves flat. crests orange. leaves to 7 in. gladwin. to 30 in. center patch (signal) white bordered with dark blue. citrina. ‘McDonald’. flowers white. and Oklahoma. narrower. Western Europe. (90 cm) tall. (1. flowers dark violet-blue. and series. . The blue-flowered Iris verna (subgenus Limniris. vigorous. ‘Fructoalba’ (seeds white). pointed. arranged in fan-shaped tufts. Other cultivars include ‘Citrina’ (var. fruit a large capsule that splits open in autumn and displays its attractive and showy scarlet seeds. crested iris.5 cm) wide. flowers bright pale blue. and weevils can be bothersome. LS in the North. center patch (signal) white bordered with darker lavender.5 in. plant rhizomatous. leaves larger. to 5 in. sometimes white. green. veins dark purple. flat. and ‘Lutescens’ (var. short at bloom time but elongating after flowering. dwarf iris) is not as shade-tolerant. The leaves are evergreen and provide welcome color during the off-season. erect and sheathing the stem. but ingestion can cause severe stomach pains. (30 cm) tall. with the longer dimension occurring after that time. broad. ‘Powder Blue Giant’. taxonomists have further subdivided the genus into subgenera. usually one-flowered. crested with white or yellow ridges. Among the most shade-tolerant irises but unfortunately for northern gardeners. Slugs.Iris dians used it as a poultice for sores and as a tea. slender flowerstalk. New York west to Illinois. The rhizome must not be planted too deep or they may rot. forming colonies. (18 cm) tall. widely spreading. styles 3. to 12 in. LS in the North. atop a short. scarlet-seeded iris. is eyecatching in the shady garden.5–2. lanceshaped. (15 cm) tall. very large pale blue flowers. close examination of the native North American species in the wild shows the mats of rhizomes growing on top of the ground with the roots reaching into the soil. green.5 in. flowers pure yellow). section Lophiris) inhabits the upland forests in its habitat. dull purple. (8 cm) wide. center patch (signal) white bordered by dark purple. (9 cm) across. flowers medium blue. ‘Summer Storm’. leaves to 8 in. The genus is named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow and is classified in the Iridaceae. to 36 in. so early settlers left it alone. ‘Eco Purple Pomp’. Crown rot and rhizome rot occur frequently when the rhizomes are planted too deep or in heavy or waterlogged soils. Irises are easily cultivated in any garden soil with a pH of 5 to 7. Morning sun. ‘Vein Mountain’. shading to lavender. wine. gladwyn. Eastern North America. (6 cm) long and 3 in. This iris of subgenus Limniris. it is very heat-tolerant but appreciates supplemental water during dry summers in the South. stinking gladwyn. ‘Navy Blue Gem’. it is a good garden plant. section Foetidissimae. erect. flowers violet-blue. (13–20 cm) long and 0. arching over the sepals. is often grown for its ornate seed clusters rather than for its flowers. alba). Iris foetidissima. lilac. pointed. ‘Variegata’. crests bright yellow brushed with orange.6–1 in. hidden under the styles. Seed can be sown as soon as ripe in late summer or early autumn. plant rhizomatous. crests yellow-orange. stinking iris. gladIris cristata. center patch (signal) white. usually 2 flowers are produced. (13 cm) tall. April–May. flowers dark violet. composed of 6 spreading parts. crests yellow. with leaves striped creamy white or pale yellow. gladdon iris. to 5 per branch on a flowerstalk with 2–3 branches. south to Georgia and Alabama and west to Mississippi. Atlantic Islands. arching. WS to MS in the South.

roof iris. April–May. sometimes white. and the unusual seedpods look like a smoker’s pipe with a hinged cover that opens and releases the ripe seed. Optimum pH is 7. for the two leaves per stem. leaves flat. It thrives on neglect and is tolerant of a variety of soils. but they are long-lived and excellent candidates for the shady garden. This shade-tolerant Evansia iris (subgenus Limniris. tube 0. hence the common name. narrowly lance-shaped.5 cm) wide. erect. also from Korea. Morning sun. (4 cm) across with a long tube. (1. 0. dubia. white signal. veined darker. diphylla and a very similar Asian species. green. petals 3. yellow. China. but native populations in northwestern Georgia flourish on acid soil. Both J.6 in. rapidly forming colonies. (10 cm) wide. It likes moist conditions and grows in medium to full shade in most of its habitats. stamens 3. infections. broadly lance-shaped. erect and sheathing the stem. Korean iris. It requires well-drained. WS in the South. (1. plant rhizomatous. erect and sheathing the stem. with frilly white crests.5 cm) wide. Its green leaves are flat. (5 cm) across. section Limniris. pointed. (1. particularly in its southern range. provide a shady spot and deep. wavy. 1997. wavy. (8 cm) long and 4 in. terminal. (30 cm) long and 0. and cramps. as does Iris odaesanensis (subgenus Limniris. series Chinensis) tolerates a variety of soils and accepts the hot. short at bloom time but elongating to 15 in. Japan. Japanese roof iris. It takes several years for plants to reach blooming stage. yellowing after flowering. the epithet comes the Greek dis (= two) and phyllon (= leaf). Irises: A Practical Gardening Guide. erect and partially sheathing the stem. LS in the North. falls notched with a violet-veined. Morning sun. 2-lobed. but the grasslike leaves form an attractive clump. ‘Alba’ has white flowers. curving down. Hardy to zone 4. flowers blue-lilac. Portland. plant clump-forming. 0. narrower.5 in. sepals 3. The genus name honors Thomas Jefferson. leaves flat. styles 3. Jeffersonia is classified in the Berberidaceae. very heat-tolerant. sepals 3. May–June. WS to MS in the South. petal-like. green. pointed. to 12 in. This shade-tolerant iris (subgenus Limniris. Iris tectorum. (1. Jeffersonia Twinleaf is an apt vernacular name for Jeffersonia diphylla. depending on shade level. (30 cm) after flowering. Flowering is curtailed in shade. flowers mostly 2. The falls of I.228 Jeffersonia posed of 6 spreading parts. (20 cm). lance-shaped. naturalized in Japan. Recommended reading Glasgow. slender flowerstalk to 6 in. 12– 14 in. dry conditions prevalent in southern gardens. flowers violet-blue. petals 3. more or less clump-forming. (30–35 cm) long and to 1 in. Karen. pointed. Japanese crested iris.5 cm) long. acid soil. Korea. making it a great wildflower for southern gardens.5 cm) wide. This shade-tolerant Evansia iris (subgenus Limniris. Iris koreana. 2–3 per spathe. June–July. Morning sun.6 in. section Lophiris) is well known as a rock garden plant but is also suitable for the woodland garden. it blooms May–June on stems to 8 in. with a loose habit in more shade. and erect. lance-shaped. (15 cm) long before the leaves expand. blooming atop a short.6 in. but the leaves carry on until autumn. com- . adding to the garden’s leaf texture. are available in commerce. (35 cm) after flowering. they sheath the stem. Jeffersonia diphylla is hardy to zone 4 and heattolerant. to 1.6 in. Iris gracilipes. to 3 in. (2. WS to MS. to 4 in. The pretty flowers are ephemeral. shiny green. humus-rich soil that stays moist all year. falling down with a brown halo on the falls. arching over the sepals. odaesanensis have a yellow signal surrounded by a thin brownish border. short at bloom time but elongating to 12 in. spotted purple. Central and southwest China. several. an outstanding clump-former with white flowers to 2 in. Odae-san iris). Chinese crested iris. whose single leaf is so deeply divided as to look like two separate ones. grasslike. plant with slowly creeping rhizome. leaves flat. American Indians used the plant to treat rheumatism. sometimes white. J. Oregon: Timber Press. crest yellow to orange with white tips. arching.5 cm) wide. Cultivars include ‘Alba’ (flowers white with yellow streaks on the falls) and ‘Variegata’ (leaves streaked and striped with creamy white). This once-common native species is now rare. LS in the North. section Lophiris) has long been grown on the roofs of buildings in Japan. (10 cm) across. fruit a 3-sided capsule. in gardens. pointed.

American twinleaf. and they like sun or shade. to 4 ft. ‘Aureus Variegatus’ has straight leaves striped with yellowish green. A very rare double-flowered form is sometimes offered. ‘Curly Wurly’ is a compact selection of ‘Spiralis’. No diseases noted here. Cultivars include ‘Afro’ (blue Medusa rush. Seed must be gathered when fresh and sown in an open frame. on smooth stems. Juncus is the classic Latin name for rush. years ago. to 5 ft. plant clump-forming. southern Ontario. flowers inconspicuous. with 8 yellow stamens. deeply cleft along the centerline. cylindrical. leaves basal. Field-cultivated in Japan to produce tatami mats. shorter in shade.Juncus Propagate by dividing the rhizome before growth starts in very early spring. leaves green to light yellowish green.). The rushes listed are good filler and accent plants. fruit in a capsule with hinged top. Juncus Two species in the genus Juncus are suitable for shady places. grasslike. they grow happily into very hot regions. plant clump-forming. plant clump-forming. glaucous beneath. including zone 9. 3–5 in. with spiral leaves pointing everywhere. MS to FS. Hardy to zone 4. eastern Russia. erect. Cosmopolitan. straight and cylindrical. It multiplied in medium shade. tufted. rheumatism root. but any garden soil that holds moisture will suit them. usually not above or equal with the leaves. (1. Juncaceae. 5–10 in. Juncus effusus. Many are long-lived and Juncus inflexus. except New England. (13–25 cm) tall. hard rush. leaves broadly banded with greenish white to white. Makes a great accent plant among hostas and ferns. 3–6 in. Scirpus lacustris ‘Spiralis’. Large slugs and snails can be very damaging to new growth in early spring. resulting in a bizarre mess of strangely attractive leaves that always elicits comment. soft rush. . twinleaf. Hardy to zone 4. These multifarious leaves juxtapose well with the bold foliage of hostas and the tracery of ferns. China. hard tips. (8–13 cm) across. Wisconsin to western New York. (45 cm) when in fruit. but cylindrical leaves. Forma alba is a naturally occurring white-flowered variant. smaller and shorter than Jeffersonia diphylla with similar flowers. LS to MS. and small tufts now punctuate my woodland. white. leaves blue-green. April–June. corkscrew leaves) and an unusual weeping selection. usually blue or lavender-blue. same blue as the species but with contorted. Insects and mollusks leave the rushes alone. common rush. (1. leaves marked with thin. erect. elongating to 18 in. Iowa. They are grown for their spiky. Cosmopolitan. upright. ‘Vittatus’.2 m) long. tufted. I dug up a clump from a very shady creek bed on property owned by one of my sons. so long as there is no stagnant water in the ground. Some sun. ‘Zebrinus’. plant clump-forming. MS to FS. some are straight. rushes are trouble-free and easy to use. leaves basal. ‘Spiralis’ (f. North America. (8–15 cm) across. to 1 in. 8 petals and 4 early falling petal-like sepals. The genus Juncus is cosmopolitan in distribution. flowers solitary. Propagate by dividing the dormant clumps or creeping rhizomes before growth starts in very early spring. Asian twinleaf. Manchuria. Rarely offered but so common. ‘Lovesick Blues’ (weeping blue rush). grayish green above. South Korea. shorter in shade. flowers inconspicuous. south to northwestern Georgia and northern Alabama. Japanese mat rush. others spiral and twist like a corkscrew. vigorous. (2. with sharp tips. tufted. it can be collected. upright leaves. with sharp. April–May. ivory-white bands. one-sided cleft along the centerline and lobed around margins. blue rush. In their natural habitat rushes grow in mostly marshy conditions. bluish green above with a purple cast when young. 229 Jeffersonia diphylla. Like the sedges (Carex spp. spiralis. Here in zone 7 most turn a yellowish brown after the first few frosts and become dark brown by winter’s onset. Stem rot can be a serious problem in stagnant soils. cup-shaped opening to starshaped. and the genus is classified in the rush family.5 cm) across. This attractive steel-blue rush goes great with yellow hostas. Jeffersonia dubia. spiraling. leaf stems stout. LS. They can be moved at any time provided a good clump of earth is taken with them. Some sun. corkscrew rush). above the leaves.5 m) long.

according to cultural conditions. some consider this larger plant a variant of K. With the plant’s vigorous spreading habit. Slugs and snails are a real problem in spring when the new growth emerges.230 Kirengeshoma stalks 4–5 ft. archangel. K. to 1. southern Shikoku. Even and constant moisture and a fertile soil with a pH of 5. tightly bell-shaped with 5 fleshy. hence the common name. palmata. (10–20 cm) long. mapleleaf-shaped. 4–8 in. but I doubt these exotics will succeed in zones 8 to 10. plant ascending to sto- . primarily used as creeping groundcovers. larger slugs and snails can be a problem. LS to MS. Propagate by carefully dividing the dormant woody rhizomes in very early spring. MS to FS. Kirengeshoma The first time I saw kirengeshomas in bloom was at a nursery in Vancouver. shaded location. central Europe to eastern Asia. toothed and incised. to 0. The garden forms. yellow waxbells. Supplemental water is necessary in warmer zones with hot. similar to Kirengeshoma palmata but yellow flowers not as waxy and with flaring. MS to FS. (20 cm). dry summers. From afar. overlapping petals. The genus name is the classic Latin for the European deadnettle. but such fitting conditions can turn some cultivars into invasive monsters. Seed can be sown in the open in spring. in particular Lamiastrum.2–1. with an unforgettable flower show. light green. in clusters on stems 5–6 ft. Lamium Most gardenworthy deadnettle cultivars stem from Eurasian species. An excellent plant for shady garden. Kirengeshomas are hardy to zone 5 with protection. deadnettles will overpower them. nodding. are weedy and rarely used in gardens. Kirengeshomas make great companions to hostas. multicolored groundcover. further north they tolerate considerable sun.5–1. The rhizomatous rootstock spreads slowly. Site away from delicate wildflowers and small plants. as is a cool. Kyushu. white deadnettle. The genus name comes from ki renge shoma. which arrangement is followed here. heart-shaped at the base. (4 cm) long on flower- Lamium album. (1. with 6–10 lobes. Southern Japan.8 in. as some sources indicate. but lack of drainage leads to root rot and a quick demise. 2–4. Their large leaves. shaped like maple leaves. Deadnettles lack the stinging hairs of the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). only somewhat nodding. carry on until the first freeze. recurved at tips. dry summers of zone 7a. but germination is slow and seedlings take several years to mature. Kirengeshoma is classified in the Hydrangeaceae. Korea. coreana.5 to 7 are musts everywhere. snowflake. and astilbes in the moist woodland border. forming a nice colony in time. dumb nettle. naturalized in North America. Hardy to zone 4. June–July. In the South they need medium to full shade. nodding. which resembles this genus. Eurasia. Washington. Kirengeshoma palmata. flowers yellow. Kirengeshoma coreana. opening petals. These names are still encountered in commerce. including Lamium amplexicaule (henbit). It is sometimes placed in the genus’s Koreana Group.8 m) tall. lemon-yellow bells. ferns. (1. seed propagation makes little sense. Both have stood up to the hot. replant divisions immediately. those at bottom are larger. Mildew and leaf spot are reported. I took a piece of this Kirengeshoma palmata home with me and have since added another marvelous Asian beauty.5 in. In areas warmer than zone 7b. Despite its considerably different. macranthopsis. Propagate by carefully dividing the runners in very early spring. smaller toward top. They are classified in the Labiatae. more open flowers. the blooms looked much like those on my Tricyrtis macrantha var. large-lipped above. New reference works include the genera Galeobdolon and Lamiastrum in the genus Lamium.5 m). deadnettles become leggy and must be cut back once or twice a season to 8 in. (2 cm) long. 7–9 in false whorls around the stem. Some have striking variegated leaves that form a dense. Constant moisture and excellent drainage are essentials. Takes lighter shade in more northern regions. accomplished here by raised-bed planting. can be well behaved or invasive. flowers white. No other pests or diseases are reported. June–July. in terminal clusters on branches from the leaf axils. plant clumpforming with rhizomatous rootstock. the several species native to North America. the Japanese name for Anemonopsis. a set of gorgeous. leaves opposite. tubular. waxy.

A clump-forming species suitable for smaller gardens or pot culture. mat-forming. tubular. flowers pure white. to 24 in. Central Europe. leaves silvery gray with green veins. matforming. ‘Silber Teppich’ (‘Silver Carpet’). leaves oblong heart-shaped. medium green often mottled or centered with silvery white or pink. to 0. flowers white. ‘Beedham’s White’. leaves silvery gray with narrow green margin. clump-forming. flowers pink. golden nettle. leaves silvery gray with thin green margin. particularly the new. The generic name goes back to the classic name given by the Greeks and Romans to lilies and forms the root for the Liliaceae. shaded soil but most must have their heads in the sun. leaves yellow.8 in. ‘Argenteum’. leaves silvery gray in center. leaves greenish yellow. 1–3 in. flowers yellow to brown-spotted yellow. leaves yellow with white center. leaves coarsely toothed. ‘Hermann’s Pride’. quickly spreading groundcover. album). ‘Album’ (f. flowers purple. (2 cm) long. lilies are symbols of virginity and purity in art and religion and have been a food source for man and animals for centuries. Lilies present a predicament to the shade gardener. flowers pink. (2 cm) long. tubular. to 0. yellow archangel. spreading. toothed. 4–6 in. Low maintenance. leaves smaller. They like to have their toes in cool. mat-forming. (20 cm) high. leaves silvery gray-green. Luckily. (10–15 cm) long. leaves silvery gray. ‘Aureum’ (‘Gold Leaf’). flowers pale pink to lilac. mat-forming. in which family the true lilies are classified. on stolonlike branches. largelipped above. some lilies can stand a fair . A good. golden deadnettle. large-lipped above. flowers deep pink. flowers purple to brownish red. leaves silver-gray mottled. 231 Lamium galeobdolon. 3–5 in false whorls around the stem. ‘Pink Nancy’. ‘Chequers’. Austria to Balkans. silvery graygreen with conspicuous darker green veins. ‘Beacon Silver’ (‘Beacon’s Silver’. Excellent in moist. Cultivars include ‘Friday’ (leaves light and darker green with yellow center) and ‘Goldflake’ (leaves striped yellow). vigorously spreading. flowers purple. Galeobdolon argentatum of gardens). 8–16 in. ‘Shell Pink’. stoloniferous. green margins. to 24 in. sometimes pink or white. unsightly where soil dries out. ‘Florentinum’ (‘Variegatum’.5 in. leaves oblong. Check its spread frequently to keep it from getting out of bounds. quickly spreading groundcover. spotted deadnettle. Lamium maculatum. ‘Album’ is a white-flowered form. (60 cm) high but usually less. hairy. sun-loving hybrids admired by so many. LS to FS. naturalizes easily even in drier soils. heavily silver-mottled. leaves light silvery gray with darker grayish green margin. 3–5 in false whorls around the stem. (8 cm) long. An excellent. Eurasia. leaves broadly ovate to heart-shaped. hairy. ‘Silver Spangled’.5 in. ‘Immaculate’. Lamium orvala. (4 cm) long. Eurasia. June–July. ‘Cannon’s Gold’. to 2. deeply veined. plant rhizomatous and stoloniferous.5–8 cm) long. in false whorls around the stem. plant ascending. heavily toothed. My garden’s shade is somewhere between dark woodland and medium—not a great environment for most lilies. leaves silvery gray. leaves green with white blotch. to 1. LS to FS. flowers red. flowers reddish. ‘Type Ronsdorf’. (20–40 cm) high. June– July. vigorously to invasively spreading. ‘Red Nancy’. flowers purple. ‘White Nancy’. shady areas. medium gray-green. to 3 in. flowers pink. leaves green. ‘Silver Angel’. leaves broadly ovate to heartshaped. tubular. clump-forming. to 8 in. purple in winter. ‘Sterling Silver’. (60 cm) tall. medium green. floriferous. central Europe to western Asia. flowers reddish purple. medium green often mottled with silvery gray. LS to MS. Lilium Known and admired throughout recorded history. (6 cm) long. flowers pink. central Europe to western Asia. June–July. leaves silvery white mottled. ‘Silbergroschen’).8 in.Lilium loniferous. flowers white. (2. ‘Pink Pewter’. plant ascending. leaves with silvery gray stripe along midrib. large-lipped above. leaves silvery gray with a thin green margin. irregularly toothed and incised. toothed and incised.

orange-yellow flowers with light spotting carried on stems to 6 ft. The related Lilium hansonii. 2 in. usually sooner than later. (0. mauve. Slugs and snails can be a problem in spring when the new growth emerges. . but the lilies listed are tolerant of a pH up to 6. even shade-tolerant lilies. turban lily. which can lead to bulb rot. in winter they dislike wet. Lack of drainage can lead to bulb rot and a quick demise. glossy pink. difficult in zone 8 and warmer.232 Lilium and turns them brown. Seed can be sown as soon as ripe in pots in a cold frame. Eurasia. Asiatic and Oriental Lilium hybrids like ‘Enchantment’ and ‘Sun Ray’ make great companions for hostas in woodland shade. Using bulbous perennials as annuals is a trick I learned from southern landscapers. frequently. Resistant to most lily diseases and of relatively easy culture: it will need about two hours of full sun and does well in moist. in woodland shade. flowers produced in loose clusters. has early. ‘Marhan’ (flowers orange with chestnut-brown spotting on tall stems). but those described are relatively resistant. unspotted flowers.8 m) tall. (1. spotted with purplish or blackish brown. stamens exposed. martagon lily. friable. the only way to prevent them from being eaten is to enclose them in below-ground wire cages. a selection of L. they might give a second or possibly a third season of great bloom. hansonii). on long. they will surely decline. flowers slightly fragrant or malodorous. must have some sun. Some sun. (13 cm) long. smaller to 1. In some areas. (4 cm) across. plant bulbous. Some species are hardy to zone 3. is more leafy and has thick-textured tepals of spotted tangerine-orange with more gently recurving tips. no matter the amount of sun or shade. petals 3. The bulbs need winter chilling for several weeks. branched flowerstalks. acid soil with plenty of humus.9–1. Plant lilies in a fertile. Lilies combine well with taller-growing perennials and wildflowers. which is one way to gain the good drainage they require. sometimes hairy beneath. the spent bulbs are relegated to the compost heap after flowering because they will not get the winter chilling they need to flower another season. a few native North American lilies too reward the shade gardener. 6–50. fruit a capsule. who use truckloads of tulips as annuals around Atlanta office complexes and parks. woodland border. petallike. so lilies do not regenerate well in warm-winter areas of zones 8 and 9. For best effect in woodland gardens. The long-lasting flowers come earlier than other lilies. green. In open areas. because of the plentiful food supply stored up in the bulb when it comes from the grower. var. and another fungal rot infects the leaves Lilium martagon. sometimes white with or without spots. martagon × L. July–September. Viral diseases are a problem with many lilies. (5 cm) across. even moisture in spring is important for spring growth. elliptic to inversely lance-shaped with 7–9 prominent veins. and with some care and correct placement. cattaniae has unspotted maroon flowers. lily beetles and their larvae defoliate the stems. turk’s cap. Constant. plant in groups of three to five. all lily bulbs perform great for the first season. LS to WS. Like tulips. All my lilies are located on sloping ground in berms or raised beds. basal rot turns the bulbs to mush.5. pendent or nodding. ‘Early Bird’. leaves in 2–4 whorls of 6–14. rabbits have developed a craving for lily bulbs. tepals very strongly recurved. amount of shade. Lilium martagon and its relatives present an opportunity to grow fine lilies in shady realms. stem-rooting. All lilies. I consider zone 7b its southern limit. 3–6 ft. open woodland.8 m) tall. ‘Shantung’ (flowers pinkish mauve with spotting). common turk’s cap lily.5 to 6. but without some full sun. or maroon. green shaded with purple or red. in summer lilies prefer a drier soil and withstand droughts quite well. Using lilies as annuals is a good way to enjoy them in shady places. Other Backhouse hybrids (as hybrids between these two species are also known) include ‘Dairy Maid’ (flowers creamy yellow with dark spotting). Variety albiflorum has flowers white with pink spotting. and vine weevils and their larvae attack the leaves and bulbs. Optimum pH is 4. and yellow anthers. sepals 3. Such threats can be contained with systemic chemical insecticides or fungicides. ×dalhansonii (L. Hardy to zone 4. and ‘Sutton Court’ (flowers yellowish tangerine with darker spotting). album has white. and var.5 in. anthers dangling. I use them to great effect popping up between hostas and ferns in the shady. to 6 in. red. Spain across southern Europe to the Caucasus and into Siberia. boggy conditions. also stem-rooting. Propagate by carefully removing offsets or bulbils from the stems as soon as the plants become dormant.

4–5 in. flowers nodding sideways or down. LS to WS. Oregon: Timber Press. 1–4 in. L. produced on stems 3–9 ft. its cultural requirements are otherwise similar. on long flowerstalks. The leaves are broader toward the tip and whorled. but as many gardeners can attest. It tolerates somewhat drier conditions and is long-lived once established. Mid-twentieth-century references barely mention Liriope. July–September. It needs two hours of sun and does well in the moist woodland. André Michaux) does well in the dark woodland shade.5–10 cm) long. Recommended reading Jefferson-Brown. Some sun. seemingly floating tepals supported by very thin.Liriope 233 Lilium philadelphicum. so this amiability is no longer appreciated. Lilyturf does not care how hot or dry it gets. it is much smaller. (0. or what soil it grows in. flowers opening and facing up. Both are available from wildflower nurseries and should never be removed from the wild. sepals 3. where they convert it to good compost. petals 3. (30–90 cm). and one has to haul it off to the garden waste recycling center. New England south to the mountains of eastern Kentucky. (5 cm) wide. west to Texas. Some sun. wood lily. produced on stems 12–36 in. They mix well with other woodlanders due to their acid soil requirements. flowers 3–40. many attractively variegated and all—because of their great tolerance to shaded environments—indispensable in the shady garden. strongly rhizomatous. By now almost every garden has patches of it. The soil must be acid. Edward Austin. American turk’s cap lily. Hardy to zone 6. Easily . plant bulbous. green mottled with maroon. swamp lily. Michaux’s lily). plant bulbous. pointed tip. stamens exposed. leaves 4–8. Eastern North America.” tepals strongly recurved in turk’s cap fashion. wild orangered lily. tapering toward the base. The lilyturf so ubiquitous in the South. Georgia. in the wild it grows in swampy areas and wet woodlands. and Harris Howland. petal-like. dangling. Hardy to zone 3. The Gardener’s Guide to Growing Lilies. Eastern and central North America. stamens 6. red lily. and northern Alabama. it spreads vigorously into adjacent lawns when used as an edger. Perhaps all that good fertilizer and water expended on the lawn also benefits the bordering lilyturf. or how much or little sun or shade it gets. southern Ontario and Quebec. (2. 1995.5 in. which quickly decides to take over. (6 cm) long. Lilies: A Guide for Growers and Collectors. but it does not tolerate stagnant water conditions. Since then. heat-tolerant to zone 8. forming a green “star. where the sun shines for only a brief period early in the morning. June–August. Oregon: Timber Press. anthers brownish red. elliptic to lance-shaped with reflexed. a flood of new cultivars has been developed. I Lilium superbum. It requires a drier location than Lilium superbum (it is often considered difficult because it is given too much moisture). orange spotted with purplish brown and with a yellowish throat. on long flowerstalks. petal-like. leaves in whorls or alternate in the upper part. A related southern species. flowers 1–5. orange with crimson tips and spotted with purplish brown. thin woods and clearings and is suited for more southern gardens in zones 7 and 8. is often characterized as a clumper. Hardy to zone 3. fruit a capsule. petals 3. North Carolina. fruit a capsule. This is a magnificent lily with separate. in whorls. sepals 3. (30–90 cm) tall. producing new bulblets alongside. is found in dry. Michael. 2. 12–36 in. heat-tolerant to zone 7. within the flower. each forming a separate segment. stalklike shanks. the shanks becoming like a thin stalk with space between the stalks. cultivated as long as constant soil moisture is maintained. 1998. Liriope Liriope is an institution in southern gardens. orange cup lily. it has a single up-facing flower and alternate leaves along the stem and held upright. a pH of 5 to not over 6. This is the largest and best of the native lilies for the garden. (10–13 cm) long. lily-royal.9–2. I grow the much more demure Lilium michauxii (Carolina lily. pine lily). LS to WS. 2 in. Portland. southern New England south to the Carolinas.7 m) tall. and northwestern Georgia. McRae. This native lily (named for the French botanist and explorer of North America. Portland. turk’s cap. streaked green at the base. heat-tolerant to zone 7 as long as moisture is maintained. catesbaei (southern red lily. narrowly lanceshaped with pointed tips. Liriope muscari. and rarely has more than 3 flowers on the stem.

leaves irregularly streaked with white. flattened spike. plant clumpforming. flowers pale lavender or lilac on a conical spike. dark green. Not a midget plant! Liriope exiliflora. and its 4–6 leaves have grasslike parallel veins. Liriope thrives anywhere. loosely arranged in clusters on a purple flowerstalk to 12 in. lilyturf. flowers deep lilac. (25–45 cm) long. ‘Gold Banded’ (‘Gold Band’). The species is rarely available. lilyturf. leaves yellow with dark green margins. (38 cm) tall. Japan. leaves wide. above the arching leaves. leaves yellow striped. leaves dark green. flowers deep violet. (38 cm) tall. leaves dark green.8 in. they can be used singly as an accent plant. dark green. leathery. wide at the bottom. but they have left my plants alone. 2’). July–September. fruit pinkish lavender. or in masses as a maintenance-free groundcover. in a row as edgings. They are evergreen in the warmer regions of their habitat. creeping. ‘Grandiflora’ (Liriope grandiflora). midrib keeled. It is classified in the Convallariaceae and is closely related to the other genus of lilyturf. rhizomatous. conical cluster. leaves evergreen. Leaf spot and root rot are reported but not experienced here. expanding slowly or quickly depending on soil conditions. flowers violet-blue. tightly arranged in a spikeshaped. leaves dark green. most of them become deciduous. wide. dark green leaves. (38 cm) stems. strap-shaped leaves goes great with bold hostas and lacy ferns. flowers purple. Liriope muscari. bluish violet. ‘Silver Midget’. Japan. twisted. ‘Curly Twist’. (60 cm). lilac flowers. floriferous. ‘Big Blue’. often confused with selections of L. Taiwan. muscari. but the perennating rootstock can be overwintered with good protection where the soil does not freeze hard permanently and deeply. but its selection ‘Silvery Sunproof’ (‘Ariake Janshige’) offers pale violet flowers in loose arrangement and leaves striped white or yellowish white. fruit clusters of black berries. (50 cm). and 6–8 parallel veins grooved. 0. 16 in. Ophiopogon. plant clump-forming. fruit clusters of black berries. flowers small. Hardy to zone 6a. ‘Ingwersen’. rhizomatous. I have seen it flourish in heavy Georgia red clay without amendments. flowers larger. (40 cm) long and 0. Soils of both high and low fertility are accepted. flowers small. tip blunt. sometimes mauve. Propagate by dividing the dormant clumps in very early spring before growth starts. above the arching leaves. big blue lilyturf. Liriope munroei). China. flowers lavender on tall stalk to 24 in. probably a large selection of L. on tall stems to 20 in. southern lilyturf. tufted. often crested like a cockscomb. (1 cm) wide. heat-tolerant to zone 10. flowers bluish lavender. leaves dark green. stems often bending down with their weight. LS to FS. Liriope graminifolia (lilyturf) from China and Japan is similar. Any kind of shade is tolerated. on stems to 20 in. Hardy to zone 7a. blue lilyturf. mauve. Taiwan. on a purplish green flowerstalk to 15 in. and 6–9 parallel veins grooved. (50 cm).234 Liriope have grown various species of lilyturf in light to deep shade and found all to be troublefree and easy to use. tufted. 0. but its flowers are a little tighter. pure white. ‘Silver Dragon’ (‘Gin Ryu’). narrow or wider. leaves evergreen.8 in. leaves dark green. (1–2 cm) wide. muscari. apply a slow-release fertilizer to give plants intended as groundcovers a quick start. leathery. sometimes reverting to all green. Sow seed directly in the ground in spring. Many species selfseed. The only insect problem has been an occasional bite taken out of a leaf margin by vine weevils. wider toward the top. flowers lilac-blue on 15 in. (30 cm) tall. dark green. (2 cm) wide at bottom and 4–5 in. to 15 in. ‘Majestic’ (Liriope majestica). In areas with cold winters. Spreads faster than other species. Their abundance of thin. floriferous. ‘Monroe White’ (‘Munroe No. Slugs can be problematic.5 in. a large selection of the type. China. many. . wider toward the top. flowers bright purple. flowers deep lilac shaded to burgundy. (10–13 cm) long. linear lance-shaped. ‘Christmas Tree’ (‘Munroe No. forming a zigzag cross section. ‘John Burch’. floriferous. flowers deep lilac. tip blunt. many. ‘Royal Purple’. 1’. linear lanceshaped. floriferous. 10–18 in. ‘Gigantea’ (Liriope gigantea).5–0. heat-tolerant to zone 10. ‘Lilac Beauty’. midrib deeply keeled. LS to FS. It does not like stagnant water in the ground. July–September. The genus Liriope is endemic to eastern Asia. sometimes fused.

flowers violet. rust. loosely arranged in clusters on a brownish violet flowerstalk to 12 in. American Indians brewed a tea from the leaves to treat rheumatism. loosely arranged in an elongated cluster to 14 in. Lobelia cardinalis. on erect. my main reason for growing a bunch of cardinal flowers is to attract hummingbirds. up to 48. L. forming a tube and extending beyond the petals. Larger slugs and snails attack young growth in late winter and early spring. For best effect in woodland gardens. In mild-winter regions new leaf crowns form in late autumn to early winter. often oblong lance-shaped. from late July through the first weeks of September. 235 Liriope spicata. Lobelia I must admit. The genus name honors the Flemish botanist Lobel. to 0. Southwestern China. A fertile soil with a pH of 4. stems to 10 in. flowers pale purple. wider than most cultivars. some in light to medium shade. which are easily the most fascinating of all the birds that visit Hosta Hill. It is characterized as short-lived. others where they get some afternoon sun. the roots. leaflike bract beneath each flower. ×speciosa. Leaf spot. which was involved in the creation of L. the lower 3-lobed. (45 cm). the epithet siphilitica is a reference to the plant’s use as a cure for syphilis. Lobelia cardinalis. adding much to the landscape.Lobelia ‘Tidwell Big Blue’. siphilitica (great lobelia). leaves narrow. dark green. Cardinal flower. reflexed. and headaches. green to reddish purple stalks 2–4 ft. creeping lilyturf. Southern Ontario to Quebec and New Brunswick and east in North America. can be troublesome during the flowering season. Lobelia is classified in the Campanulaceae. leaves alternate. Given sufficient mois- ture. upper 2-lobed. new growth tinged purple. like army worms or cabbage worms. ‘Webster Wideleaf’. excluding the Dakotas west to Oregon and Washington. Now the territorial hummers put on aerial fights while the large groups of cardinal flowers are in bloom. toothed. flowers lilac-blue on 12 in. (30 cm) tall. leaves evergreen. more or less. heat-tolerant to zone 10. Vietnam. Some sun. July–September. produce plenty of offsets to carry on. and the hybrids of L. (25 cm). plant in groups of three to five. and smut are reported but not experienced here. flowers brilliant red. the clumps. colds. fruit light green striped darker green. All lobelias listed have great heat tolerance as long as the soil remains constantly moist and they are grown in shade. is a native North American wildflower. are toxic if taken in quantity. The subtropical L. striped yellow. to 4 in. besides self-seeding prolifically. which has stripes more yellowish or ivory. dark green striped silvery white. ‘Variegata’ (Liriope variegata). Propagate by removing offsets from clumps in early winter or transplanting self-seeded seedlings. L. The epithet cardinalis alludes to the bright red worn by cardinals in the Catholic church. ‘Kin Ryu’). but never dry soil. leaves very dark green.2 m) tall. and by late spring tall stalks rise clothed with attractive leaves tinged purplish bronze. leaves narrow. vigorously creeping. splendens. flowers many. scarlet lobelia. Hardy to zone 5.5 to 6 guarantees success. in shade. Moth and butterfly larvae. flowers white. Lobelia cardinalis loves to grow in swampy conditions. siphilitica prefers somewhat drier. (10 . ‘Alba’. Mulched crowns are subject to crown rot. to 12 in. dark green. (4 cm) long. (0. LS to MS in the South. Indian pink. which contain alkaloids. many. flowers purple on stems to 18 in. then bright green. plant rhizomatous. tip blunt. (30 cm) stems. mauve. stamens fused. ‘Gold Dragon’ (‘Golden Dragon’.5 in. (30 cm) long and narrower than other species. cardinal flower. (2 cm) wide. leaves green with white to yellow margins and streaks. August–September. leathery. LS to FS.8 in. flowers small. Its showy flowers have always attracted people. requires conditions prevalent in zones 8 and 9. (25 cm). fevers. flowers pale purple. fruit clusters of black berries. I rarely saw them—until my single cardinal flower multiplied into several. to 1. 5-petaled with 2 lips. ‘Silver Dragon’ (‘Gin Ryu’). LS to WS in the North. creeping liriope. linear lance-shaped. (35 cm) long. ×speciosa are the only lobelias that will bloom. but this has been no problem here. stems to 10 in. Often confused with Liriope muscari ‘Silver Dragon’. Spreads faster than all other species and makes an excellent groundcover or turf substitute.6–1. Lobelia cardinalis. leaves dark green.

flowers cherry-red. producing offsets. ‘Alba’ (f. flowers creamy white. ‘Fan Cinnabar Pink’. flowers scarlet-red. forming a tube and extending beyond the petals. flowers scarlet-red. so is very useful in places where no other plants will grow. plant smaller than type. (0.5 cm) long. LS to WS. these complex hybrids involving Lobelia cardinalis. flowers bright blue. flowers cherry-red. heat-tolerant to zone 9. In its natural habitat L. ‘Summit Snow’. large leafy bracts surround each flower. ‘La Fresco’. ‘Brightness’. bright green. fruit a capsule with many seeds. flowers light rose-pink. nana). leaves and stems greenish purple. flowers velvety winered. and the Dakotas. (8–10 cm) long. rhizomatous.236 Luzula ‘Cherry Ripe’. alba). fruit a capsule with many seeds. plant clump-forming. producing offsets. south to Georgia and Alabama. flowers rose-pink. Woodlands are a common habitat. leaves greenish brown to maroon. ‘Angel Song’.5 m) tall. Small groups combined with ferns and hostas create valuable textural combinations. ‘Ruby Slippers’. All are hardy to zone 4. plant to 36 in. suffused with bronze. rhizomatous. flowers rose-pink. ‘Alba’ (f. like Luzula nivea (snowy woodrush). and its variegated forms are good candidates as accent or container plants. which form tussocks of glossy green leaves covered with tiny hairs. flowers many. flowers cherry-red. flowers a rich pink. Eastern North America. grow minimally in light shade. plant clump-forming. flowers pure white. suffused with bronze. ‘Gladys Lindley’. it makes a weed-proof groundcover and competes well with greedy tree and shrub roots. flowers reddish pink. Some sun. leaves green. the lower striped with white. Kansas. great blue lobelia. ‘Fan Orchid Rose’. some species. including North America and Eurasia. stamens fused. to 1 in. west to Texas. ‘Fan Scarlet’. . flowers pinkish white. 5-petaled. WS. Some sun. leaves green. ‘Cotton Candy’. with 2 lips. Hardy to zone 3.6–1. ‘Monet Moment’. ‘Queen Victoria’. the white-flowered form (the one I use. 3–4 in. suffused with bronze. flowers deep lilac to plum. ‘Summit White’. leaves medium green suffused with dark purple to maroon. Hardy to zone 5. sylvatica grows in mostly moist woodlands. I consider Luzula sylvatica (greater woodrush) one of the best grasslike plants for medium and even full shade. western New England. L. Their very bright reds and intense blues should be used cautiously in an introspective shady garden. ‘Dark Crusader’. flowers clear white. flowers pure white. leaves and stems green. ‘Wisley’. It grows remarkably well in dense Georgia red clay and endures periods of drought without much damage. A quick grower. flowers scarlet-red. The genus Luzula is widely distributed in the cold and north temperate zones. flowers light rosy pink. and L. ‘Rose Beacon’. ‘Rose Beacon’. ‘Alba’) less so than the blue one (‘Nana’). green to reddish purple stalks 2–5 ft. flowers bicolored. ‘Compliment Deep Red’. toothed or sometimes smooth-margined. ‘Rosea’ (f. Lobelia siphilitica. loosely arranged in an elongated cluster on erect. but L. ‘Nana Alba’. among others. ‘Oakes Ames’. The flowers of this species are smaller than those of Lobelia cardinalis and tend to disappear into the large. leaves green with purple cast. rosea). siphilitica include cultivars of the Compliment series and Fan series. ‘Compliment Scarlet’. flowers scarlet-red. flowers pure white. August–September. ‘Will Scarlet’. leaves alternate. leafy bracts. flowers deep red. (2. suffused with maroon. upper 2-lobed. flowers pink-violet. Luzula Woodrushes are grown for their strap-shaped leaves. (90 cm). ‘Nana’ (f. ‘Robert Landon’. flowers dark ruby-red. flowers pure white. but any moisture-retentive yet well-draining garden soil is accepted. alba). salmon and cream. lance-shaped. blue cardinal flower. ‘Twilight Zone’. cm) long. large. flowers rose-pink. heat-tolerant to zone 9. flowers light red. great lobelia. splendens. Lobelia ×speciosa. flowers scarlet-red. flowers bright blue. leaves and stems green. and 5 pointed lobes. ‘Pink Flamingo’.

Propagation is taken care of by the ferns them- Luzula pilosa. native to North America and Europe. midrib slightly keeled. and eastern Europe. it bears watching to keep it in bounds. inconspicuous. One of the most fruitful is Lygodium japonicum (Japanese climbing fern). ‘Tauernpass’ (‘Tauern Pass’). and other dwarf plants. with sharp tips. distinctly hairy along the margins. Lygodium is classified in the Schizaeaceae. inconspicuous. Both ferns are deciduous. channeled. bright green. Many years ago I collected seeds in Germany. Luzula sylvatica.2 in. (20–25 cm) long and 0. mixes well with smaller ferns. and this modest but faithful woodrush has been growing here ever since. parallel-veined. forming low. as the epithet indicates. by July it is usually in the top of the tree. resists winter browning. The Munich Botanic Garden features many impressive selections. LS to MS. (5 mm) wide. it clambers up a dogwood. arching or leaning. Here. and new twining croziers rise every spring from slowly spreading underground rootstocks. Hardy to zone 5. plants become herbaceous. but with winter protection of a thick pinestraw or other mulch. with sharp tips. leaves wider. in the coldest areas. plant tufted. green. Detail-oriented gardeners like the starry. hostas. sylvatica are quite at home in shady gardens. Lygodium In my shady garden. Some sun. ‘Aurea’. leaves tussocks more compact. with short rhizomes. Some sun. Woodrush can be moved at any time during the year provided a good clump of earth is taken with it. acidic garden soil with a pH of 4. it is hardy well into zone 3.5. leaves broader. up tall trees. greenish yellow in summer. spiky appearance of the bracts on the tiny flowers. leaves dark green. Since they require only a vertical surface. has similar uses in gardens. southwestern Asia. creeping. (4 m). leaves dark green. the roots should survive in zone 7 and perhaps 6b. chestnut-brown. The generic name Luzula derives from the Italian lucciola (= firefly). Southern. yellow to straw-yellow in winter. Its offspring come up everywhere. palmatum (Hartford fern). flowers in spikelets. and eastern Europe. Propagate by dividing clumps in late spring. slowly creeping. channeled. 237 ‘Hohe Tatra’ (= high Tatra mountains). 8–10 in. spikelets pendent. Climbing ferns thrive in the deepest shade and require moist. central. The genus is classified in the rush family. Insects and mollusks leave woodrush alone. replant divisions immediately. hairy along the margins. Luzula multiflora. leaves green with a neat yellow margin that turns creamy white to white in summer. sylvan woodrush. or over a birdhouse in a shady corner. Lygodium japonicum has a North American counterpart in L. green. they can be added to gardens with no obvious room for new plants. brown. to help the upward climb. (1–2 cm) wide. Not invasive but like any creeping plant. have ivylike leaflets. Southern. whose fronds. upright. forming dense mats of tussocks. They need no maintenance except occasional watering and perhaps a plant tie here and there on smooth surfaces. a height of 13 ft. woodrush. parallel-veined. Contrary to its delicate appearance. greater woodrush. ‘Marginata’ (‘Aureomarginata’). ‘Farnfreunde’ (= friend of ferns). They are evergreen but brown during cold winters and will happily grow into very hot regions. plant tufted. as long as moisture is maintained. including zone 9. distinctly hairy. The Latin generic name (lygodium = flexible) is an allusion to the trailing stems.5–0. southwestern Asia. Juncaceae. it has become weedy in the southeastern states and west into Texas. emerging in late April and soon concealing its prop with a multiple layer of finely divided fronds. brown and yellowish. . flowers in spikelets. LS to MS. just about every fern I grow spreads itself around. it is robust and withstands heat and drought in the South. They make great conversation plants as they climb through shrubs. Its cold tolerance is low.8 in. further north I recommend potting and overwintering it in a cool place inside.5 to 5. along walks or in elevated spots. 4–6 in. midrib slightly keeled. Its climbing habit is astounding. even in the middle of paths and cracks in brick paving.Lygodium pilosa and L. flat rosettes that turn into large matlike cushions. leaves in upright tufts. Leaf spot and rust are reported. central. This is a small woodrush for areas with small ferns. (10–55 cm) long and 0.

2–3 in. plant stoloniferous and mat-forming. spore cases in double rows. to the detriment of native plants. leaves dark. each with 3 subleaflets. goose-necked. but nevertheless. Upon my return. Hartford fern. and bloodroots are no match for gooseneck loosestrife. dark green. the center one much longer. I tucked three plants into a sunny bed that was not yet shaded by dogwoods. Malaysia. it can be used as an annual or container plant further north. (4–5 cm) wide. produced on very long. The genus is named for Lysimachos. 0. Although they seem to like sun more than shade. the damage is repaired in no time. fairy wands. sterile leaves similar. China. An excellent. Rust and leaf spot are reported but not experienced here. and I shall never forget the spectacular sight—hundreds of tapering. fertile leaves produced in pairs on once-forked leafstalks. Nothing in the way of diseases or insect pests bothers climbing ferns. In too much shade they get loose and straggly. Kentucky. branched. both fertile and sterile fronds are produced on the same stem. given sun and wet soil. flowers small. extended lobes that contain the sori. evergreen until next year’s growth. requiring herbicides. eastern New York. Hartford climbing fern. produced in opposite pairs on very long. twining and vining stems. fronds deciduous. southern New Hampshire. both fertile and sterile fronds are produced on the same stem. Australia. but much smaller and more deeply cut. and within a few seasons the interloper had covered the entire plot and was making inroads on my good neighbor’s lawn. leaves opposite or whorled. But the common name loosestrife is also applied to species in the genus Lysimachia. in terminal clusters.5– 0. Some sun. Not as robust as Lygodium japonicum. broadly lance-shaped. covering underside. a pretty but vicious invasive that. Lysimachia is classified in the Primulaceae. Propagate by taking rooted stem cuttings or by transplanting small sods of established plants. Hardy to zone 6 with protection. India. ‘Eco Dark Satin’ (flowers yellow with red throat. Japan. Indochina. to 2 in. (5–8 cm) long and 1. Eastern North America. with margins fringed with narrow.8 in. and a dwarf form of L. China. Japanese climbing fern. satiny green) and ‘Outback Sunset’ (flowers yellow . has taken over acre after acre of our northern wetlands. slightly hairy. shaped like an ivy leaf with 5–7 fingerlike extension. sterile leaves 5–9 in. The few Lysimachia species that will flower in very light shade. (13–23 cm). But I dearly love three lysimachias: Lysimachia congestiflora. where they are better behaved. nodding white flower spikes all pointing the same way. cup-shaped.5–2 in. spore cases in double rows. MS to FS. The plant is a little better behaved in shady areas. fronds deciduous. The fernlets that spring up all over the garden can be dug and transplanted with ease. LS to WS. many think of purple loosestrife. beetleweeds. but plants grow so fast. I urge all gardeners to think twice before they turn this fiendish beauty loose in a lightly shaded woodland garden: trilliums. Lygodium japonicum. which I could not allow. though they are not pests in the wild. I grow them in light to woodland shade. bright yellow. upturned. japonica. My first experience was with Lysimachia clethroides (gooseneck loosestrife). with sori covering the underside. nummularia. Lythrum salicaria. are nevertheless a mixed blessing in shady gardens. L. fertile leaves shorter. wiry and brittle stems. To get rid of it was a dreadful job. covering lobular leaf margin extensions. sterile leaves light green. dense-flowered loosestrife. noninvasive. I have never tried seeds. delicate-looking fern for vertical gardening. selves. the Carolinas south to Florida. growing somewhat more slowly. Lysimachia When gardeners hear the name loosestrife. the king of Sicily who pacified a mad bull by waving a sheaf of loosestrife. (5 cm) long. golden globes. the fertile leaves are borne at the top of the stem only. The three are among the best and fastestgrowing groundcovers for small gardens and are planted widely at Hosta Hill. June–August. Slugs and snails may take an occasional bite. (1–2 cm) across. vegetative propagation is much faster in a garden environment. LS to FS. Lygodium palmatum.238 Lysimachia seen a huge planting of it on a trip to Michigan. I now admire it in other gardens. I had Lysimachia congestiflora. twining and vining. dark green composed of alternate leaflets (pinnae).

broadly rounded (hence the common and scientific names. Some sun. from the Latin. In the hot. moist soil. central Europe to the Caucasus and beyond. moist conditions. but the attractive leaves carry on from spring until autumn and fit well with other perennials with the same life cycle. but flowering has always been sparse. plant stoloniferous and stem-rooting. Here in the heat of the Piedmont. to 1 in. Optimum pH is 4.). I spotted the small but charming white flowers and then detected their strong fragrance. (8 cm) high. it should be recessed because it does not take foot traffic too well. Eurasia. Finally I did find it just across the state border with North Carolina. or sometimes erect. Its stems trail along the ground. prostrate. like small hostas. upturned. Mayflowers are reliably winter hardy. creeping Charlie. LS to WS. leaves opposite on long. cool soil with profuse watering during droughts. Best used as a groundcover for small areas. nummus = coin) to egg-shaped.5 to 5. leaves medium green with yellow margin. June–August. heat-tolerant to zone 8 as long as moisture is maintained. Maianthemum Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower) is widespread in the Canadian woodlands but occurs spottily further south. cup-shaped to 0.5 in. flowers small. ferns. (2 cm) across. creeping Jenny. It can be grown in full sun. slightly hairy. yellow ceeping Jenny) is a very vigorous yellow-leaved selection. The flowers are ephemeral.5 cm) long. it spreads quickly. not as cultivated specimens planted along public wildflower trails. (2. wild gingers. and other delicate woodlanders. I have always wanted to see these woodland lilies in the wild.5 cm) long. 239 clumps of Solomon’s seals. Hardy to zone 6a. dwarf Solomon’s seal. prostrate. I use it in my wildflower border to underplant trilliums. despite its being a windy day. with leaves to 0. (1 cm) and tiny yellow flowers. but their heat tolerance is limited. yellow groundcover under tall-growing open perennials like . Eurasia. Some sun. All are rhizomatous herbaceous perennials. in the leaf axils. 1–3 in the leaf axils. no more than 3 in. Despite the generic name (maianthemum = mayflower). plants often do not flower until June in the mountains. tight. sending roots into the soil wherever they touch. they also make a fine groundcover at the base of trees. Lysimachia japonica.8 in. flowers solitary. I never have enough of it for myself or to give away. upturned. no more than 2 in. June–August. moneyplant. forming pretty mats of tiny leaves that are evergreen here in zone 7. Makes a great. mat-forming. (5 cm) high. Because the flowers are small. dry summers of zone 7. plants should be used in front of the border or along paths. and the smaller ferns. Further north. ‘Minutissima’ (miniature moneywort) is a dwarf form of the rarely available type. in light to woodland shade it is better behaved. (2. A very small plant initially. Some gardeners use the all-green type for the same purposes. moneywort. Originating in moist woodlands of Eurasia and North America. they make a wonderful addition to the woodland or wildflower border. and they loathe lack of moisture. light green. (1 cm) across. so die down in autumn. among trilliums and wild strawberries. further south they are out of place. Propagate by dividing the dormant rhizomes in late autumn or very early spring. It can become invasive with a combination of full sun and constantly wet soil and will grow into the water along ponds and streams. and small shrubs.5 in. yellow. The genus is classified in the Convallariaceae. trailing stems. if used between stepping stones. LS to WS. Seed may be sown Lysimachia nummularia. ‘Aurea’ (yellow moneywort. to 1 in. a difficult spot. yellow. In full sun it spreads quickly. plant stoloniferous and stemrooting. There among the rock outcrops and large patches of spike moss. trailing stems. roundish oblong. they grow and spread in very acid. tinged red in spring) are offered. on Whiteside Mountain. It can also be grown in full sun. heat-tolerant to zone 9 as long as moisture is maintained. most thrive in the temperate climate of zones 3 to 6. mat-forming. slightly hairy. light green. naturalized in eastern North America.Maianthemum with red throat. they should be located in deep shade and deep. Maianthemum species make a carpet of green leaves not unlike that of the true lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria spp. mayflowers are well adapted to shady. it is hard to tell the two genera apart when plants are not in bloom. or sometimes erect. leaves opposite on long. Hardy to zone 4. cup-shaped to 0.

Their height makes them good subjects to fill in a background. (18 cm). where the enticing flowers can be seen. in small pots in a cold frame. (8 cm) wide. and equally adapted to hot southern summers. but its modest beauty and lovely fragrance fit well into a border with small plants or along paths. wild lilyof-the-valley. elf feather. stem leaves 1–3. to 6 in. May– 2-seeded. With classification so confused. and large hostas. petals 2 and 2 petal-like sepals. green. LS to FS. eastern Asia. Europe east into Russia. Highly decorative. a species whose epithet is a combination of the Greek struthokamelos (= ostrich) and pteris (= fern). dilated with midrib deeply keeled and depressed parallel veins. very fragrant. 8–22 on a small. Ostrich ferns are tolerant of even deep shade and yet stand up to considerable sun if grown in perpetually moist. 10–25 on a small. It is one of the tallest ferns. Matteuccia Ostrich ferns are endemic to the temperate regions of North America and Eurasia. later speckled red. very fragrant. Canada mayflower. May lily. oblong. . The genus is named for the Italian physicist Matteucci and is classified in the Woodsiaceae. later speckled red. finally red. to 6 in. oblong. elliptic to broadly lance-shaped. white. kamtschaticum. to zone 2. very fragrant. ostrich fern. Considered by some to be a variety of M. mayflower. false lily-of-the-valley. acid soil with a pH of 5 to 5. branched flowerstalk on stems to 6 in. with midrib deeply keeled and depressed veins. heartshaped at base. dilated with midrib deeply keeled and depressed parallel veins.240 Matteuccia (15 cm) long and 3 in. later speckled red. false lily-of-the-valley. West Coast from Alaska to northern California east to the Cascades. LS to FS. first green. I have found these ferns to be trouble-free. (15 cm). it may be difficult to sort out plants in commerce. other ferns. white. ostrich plume fern. In the cooler regions of eastern North America. first green. Maianthemum bifolium. pennsylvanica.5. (35 cm) and larger leaves. The European (slightly smaller) and North American forms of ostrich fern were considered separate species. branched flowerstalk on stems to 6 in. branched flowerstalk on stems to 7 in. LS to FS. basal leaves 2. Not a great horticultural subject. leaves 1–3. if moisture is maintained during dry spells. stamens 4. first green. fruit a berry. (8 cm) wide. western mayflower. North America. fertile. Matteuccia struthiopteris is an outstanding ornamental fern for the shady garden. Maianthemum kamtschaticum. Highly variable. (15 cm) long and 3 in. 4merous. western North America. no diseases or insect pests are reported. they can serve as bold accent plants. bright green. Eurasia. Matteuccia struthiopteris and M. Large slugs and snails can damage new growth emerging in spring. white. finally red. stamens 4. respectively. (15 cm). fruit a berry. which is itself sometimes ranked as a somewhat larger subspecies of M. western North America. stamens 4. oblong. very hardy. 4merous. Matteuccia struthiopteris. 4-merous. but division is much faster and more productive. Rarely available. petals 2 and 2 petal-like sepals. two-leaved Solomon’s seal. petals 2 and 2 petal-like sepals. flowers tiny. heart-shaped at base. western Europe to Japan. Plants also self-sow spores abundantly in moist soil. 1. this species is well worth seeking out and makes a fine groundcover. shuttlecock fern. Eurasia. Maianthemum dilatatum (western mayflower) from the Cascades west has stems to 14 in. in the mountains south to northern Georgia and eastern Tennessee. producing next year’s plants. South Dakota east to Newfoundland. May–June. bead ruby. finally red. fruit a berry. usually 2. They make great companion plants for the taller wildflowers. struthiopteris. Propagate by removing clusters of new growth from the periphery of the mother plant. broadly elliptic. Maianthemum canadense. flowers tiny. heart-shaped at base. no stem leaves. except for occasional rust and leaf spot. flowers tiny. basal leaves 2. bifolium. western Europe to Japan.5–8 cm) long. false lily-of-the-valley. May–June. Mayflowers are otherwise free of pests and diseases. green. broadly elliptic. West Coast from Alaska to northern California east to the Cascades. (2. but recent authors have combined them as M. almost stalkless or mostly stem-clasping. which is speedily accomplished: the ferns spread quickly by underground runners. 1–3 in. hairless. 10–25 on a small.

Heat and drought in southern gardens do not bother it as long as the soil remains wet.5–0. scaly at the base.5 to 6 is a must. green turning brown. naturalizes easily even in drier soils. stiff. grow it because I rescued a clump at a road construction project: I would rather it continue to grow in my garden than see it destroyed. sterile leaves rich dark green. In my son’s shady Bay Creek garden. Medeola Some native North American wildflowers are so modest. The only months I have not seen flowers are January through March. plants prostrate. Mazus reptans. China. wedgeshaped. like Solomon’s seals and blue cohosh. flowers with lobed upper and lower lips. nipple). Mazus reptans. composed of up to 30 pairs of subleaflets (lobes). Some sun. covered with brown scales. one wonders why we should grow them at all. its sterile fronds. seed propagation makes little sense. It does best with some sun. leathery. (2–3 cm) long and 0. 3-compound. it has escaped the rockbordered beds and made its way into the walkways. leaves in rosettes. May to frost. snapdragonlike. produced in rosettes on short slender stalks emerging directly from the rhizome. and Japan is not as up-standing and decorative as Matteuccia struthiopteris and smaller in all respects. the plant helps out in this by making a tight cover that prevents evaporation. Mazus is classified in the Scrophulariaceae. white flowers almost all year. 0. where it competes successfully with grass and moss. to control this. egg-shaped with blunt tip. blunt top. But I use it in shady areas to underplant cobra lilies (Arisaema spp. deciduous. (1 cm) wide. (1 m) long. LS to WS. (1. and I. to 7 in. widest near the top with rapidly pointed red-spotted. With the plant’s vigorous spreading habit. Matteuccia orientalis (Asian ostrich fern. pointed at top. blooming lawn substitute. Mazus Gardeners sometimes push the envelope and put plants where they are not supposed to grow. for one. which are native to warmer regions of Indomalaysia and Australasia. radicans. is in the main considered a rock garden plant for sunny areas. fertile leaves to 24 in. western China. coarsely toothed. (60 cm). Japanese ostrich fern) from northern India. Supplemental water may be necessary during hot. gradually tapering down to almost the base. lyre-shaped. widely creeping and mat-forming. dry periods. but the species is still abundant in more remote areas and is available . I always experiment—it is part of gardening fun for me. are hardy to zones 7 and 6. purplish blue with lower lip white. and here the the green carpet is covered with small. narrow.2 in.5 in. The white-flowered ‘Albus’ is very attractive and fits anywhere. replant divisions immediately. including Mimulus ringens. Larger slugs and snails can be a problem. Mazus is an Asian genus related to the North American monkeyflowers.2–1. Given much sun and a moist environment. are outward reclined and often prostrate. but here plants seem impervious to pests and diseases. The genus name is from the Greek mazos (= teat. with evenly developed crown. hard. crinkled margin. (1–2 cm) long. rounded. rooting at the leaf nodes.) and tall. Propagate by carefully dividing the runners in very early spring. 241 but here it knits together and flowers in woodland shade. cut into 40 pairs of alternate leaflets. rootstock stout. northern Pakistan and India. reddish brown. to 40 in. spreading rapidly by rhizomatous runners that grow deeply into the ground. Medeola virginiana is unassuming indeed. 3 with protection.Medeola LS to FS. a creeping groundcover. not opposite. cut into tightly spaced leaflets with rolled-over tips clasping spore cases (sori) like pods. Korea. native wildflowers with an open makeup. Failure can result. American Indians dug up these plants and ate the roots raw for their cucumberlike flavor. respectively. Mazus reptans is hardy to zone 4. (30–45 cm) wide. erect. certainly. orange. (18 cm) long. referring to the swellings at the base of the flower. 0.8–1. grooved. Mazus pumilio and M.8 m) long and 12–18 in. sterile leaflets linear. sterile fronds 4–6 ft. remove the outer leaf rosettes and transplant them to other locations. Himalayas. 2–5 in one-sided cluster on prostrate flowerstalks. but plants occasionally turn out to be quite adaptable. Constant moisture and a fertile soil with a pH of 5.8 in. Low maintenance. erect. it may become invasive. and it does make a wonderful. narrow. medium to dark dull green. lance-shaped. Its tight groundcover of leafy rosettes discourages weeds.

a better garden plant that does not go dormant after blooming. anthers yellow. to 0. stamens 5. it also does well in cultivation. I observed large populations on Black Rock Mountain in Georgia. northwestern Georgia and Alabama and west to Arkansas and eastern Kansas. nothing can be planted on top of them to disguise the empty spot. nonflowering plants show only one whorl of leaves. Recent chloroplast DNA analysis has shown that it may actually be more closely related to Polygonatum. Young. Although the former name is still widely used in commerce. lobes 5. Ontario and Minnesota. leaves 5–10. pulmonarioides will show up more and more. fruit bluish-purple berries. The genus name honors the German botanist Mertens. alluding to the genus’s purported medicinal properties. nodding. Medeola is classified in the Trilliaceae. sepals 3. broadly oval to lance-shaped. but I went home with a small plant anyway. sibirica. and some taxonomists suggest it belongs in its own family. Propagate by dividing the rhizome in very early spring before growth starts. But when I happened to visit her garden later one summer. making a striking display of blue flowers against yellow and green foliage. stigmas 3. long brownish red.5 to 5. and their already yellowing leaves with conspicuous reddish markings and colorful purple berries were the most prominent display on the woodland floor. basal and on the stem. pulmonarioides is a sun-loving plant. 8–30 in. and soon found out that in my warmer climate. I learned that the lovely bluebells disappear soon after flowering.5–5 in.5 in. cowslip. (8 cm) long and 1 in. in warm. Mertensia pulmonarioides. Sow seed in small pots in a cold frame. pink in bud later bright blue. In mid-September. bluish green. petal-like. arranged in 2 whorls. Medeola virginiana. root large. digging carefully to free the thick rootstock completely. southern gardens it should be placed in deep shade.242 Mertensia from some wildflower nurseries. but in autumn the little plants are outstanding. Roanoke bells. LS to WS. keep constantly moist. tree lungwort. sometimes 4 smaller leaves from which spring the flowerstalks. M. 2. flowers 5–20. March–June.5. another at top of stem with 3. New York and south to North Carolina. Slugs and snails can damage new growth emerging in spring. I have replaced it with M. (2. the plant makes offsets and multiplies rapidly. Taxonomists have switched Virginia bluebell’s long-established binomial Mertensia virginica to M. basal 2–8 . recurved. nodding. it requires some shade. (6–13 cm) long. LS to WS. The genus is named for the Greek sorceress Medea.5 cm) wide. Mertensia is classified in the Boraginaceae. A small group of plants makes a nice showing. Be patient—its colorful autumn display is well worth the wait. (1 cm) long. Propagate by dividing the rhizome in very early spring before growth starts. Mertensia Mother grew rock-hardy Virginia bluebells. the Medeolaceae. In northern gardens M. flowers 2–9.5 cm) long. Quebec to Nova Scotia south to New England and in the mountains south to Georgia and Florida and west to Arkansas and Minnesota. Hardy to zone 3. Given plenty of moisture and shade as well as friable soil with a pH of 4. May–June. recurved. here. Bluebells are shallow growers. and in a place to its liking. Eastern North America. bluebells went dormant even earlier—another beautiful native plant that leaves a hole in the garden. cushat lily.). Some sun. but if they are sited around an accent hosta. Mildew and rust are reported on leaves. Indian cucumber root. no other pests or diseases are experienced here. to 1 in. trumpet-shaped. to 3 in. where it does well as long as the soil stays moist. This wildflower is a slow grower when young. American lungwort. petals 3. and their burst of bloom in early spring was a delight. (20–75 cm) tall. meaning it resembles lungwort (Pulmonaria spp. I noticed the bluebells were gone—some groundcover had taken over the space. Virginia bluebells. Virginia cowslip. one midway up stem. Its nodding flowers are barely seen underneath the whorl of leaves. greenish yellow. pulmonarioides. in terminal clusters. (2. Eastern North America. leaves deciduous. Slugs and snails can damage new growth emerging in spring. southern Ontario and Minnesota east to southeastern Maine. the bluebells come up first and flower just about when the hosta leaves unfurl.

is available. and the epithet effusum (= spreading) too is Latin. and is about as rugged a groundcover as any gardener could wish. The yellow tufts juxtapose well with delicate ferns and the bold foliage of bluegreen hostas. It propagates itself by spreading seed (which comes true). but having no such wildlife in my garden. May– June. which hangs on for another season. 3 with .5–1 cm) wide. 243 Milium effusum. and the other a long pistil and short stamens. untoothed. to assure cross-pollination. North America. and the small tufts of seedling grass can either be removed and given away or planted elsewhere in the garden. running box. with pointed tips. Its flowers occur in pairs. Some sun. It looks great in the woodland garden with mosses and low-growing wildflowers. The genus is classified in the grass family. it gets stepped on a lot.5 in. Milium Nothing brightens a shady garden more than golden yellow foliage. with unbranched stems to 30 in. is not robust and needs more sun than shade. spreading. Propagate by division at any time. I found large. For many years now. ‘Bowles’ Golden Grass’). flat patches of Mitchella repens (partridgeberry). flat. The species is rarely offered. alternate. this trailing evergreen perennial has run all over my garden. who used the leaves and berries to brew a tea to aid in childbirth. Eurasia. they remain on the plants. flowers tiny yellowish spikelets in loose clusters atop green stems. With its highly ornamental red berries and shiny. but new growth in late winter or early spring emerges a brilliant yellow. tufted. stem leaves smaller. the foliage is light green. Gardeners who grow a lot of acid-loving plants must find or create a circumneutral spot by adding dolomitic limestone to the soil. (5–20 cm) long. Mitchella repens is still common and almost cosmopolitan in eastern North America. (20–60 cm) tall. as long as moisture is maintained. The berries have a pepperminty flavor and are a favorite food for grouse or wild turkey. but vine weevils take an occasional bite out of the blades.2–0. leaves smooth. (75 cm). with leaves irregularly striped with white. so berries and flowers can be seen at the same time. deeply veined. oval. strap-shaped. stems 8–24 in. elliptic to egg-shaped. so let it come up in many places. Long-lived and vigorous. Insects and mollusks leave it alone. the two flowers produce one berry. The species was highly sought after by American Indian women. Available cultivars are ‘Alba’ (flowers white) and ‘Rubra’ (flowers pinkish). Milium is the classic Latin name for millet. Hardy to zone 5 with good winter protection. Mitchella On one of my excursions into the deeply shaded neighborhood ravine. The most widely available form is ‘Aureum’ (var. I remove it in some places but tolerate it where it covers woodland paths and walks. woodrush. plant clumpforming. bright red berries. Not as tidy as Hakonechloa macra. Mertensia sibirica (Siberian bluebells) from eastern Russia is very similar but grows more dense and taller. Gramineae. I brought a few of the rooting branches home and true to another of its names. (45 cm) long and 0. It does not go dormant in summer and is also more tolerant of slightly acid soils.Mitchella in. The genus Milium is endemic to North America and Eurasia. taking a good clump of soil along and replanting at once. It is otherwise free of diseases and pests. millet grass. Notwithstanding. Use as an accent plant or in groups as a groundcover or combined with other plants. adding much color in autumn and through the winter. with bright yellow flowers and blades. This summer-dormant species (seen in photo of Hosta ‘Liberty’) requires plenty of moisture and a woodland soil with a pH of 6 to 7. including zone 9. ‘Alba’. or it can be grown as an annual. ‘Variegatum’. dark green leaves with greenish white veins. the blades turn light green with age. with no ill effect. to 18 in. it has been overcollected in some areas as a Christmas decoration. but what attracted me to it were the previous year’s large. erect or arching. The leaves look much like those of small-leaved boxwood (Buxus microphylla). this grass is nevertheless extremely useful and trouble-free in the garden. I like it a lot. Another selection. and yet it tolerates brief periods in dry soil. a white-flowered cultivar. The blades are evergreen to zone 6. LS to MS. it will happily grow into very hot regions. Milium effusum ‘Aureum’ has accented Hosta Hill. shiny green. aureum. It is hardy to zone 4. but the plant is deciduous. one with a short pistil and long stamens. In midsummer and during winter. (0.

nuda. staminate with abortive pistil. rarely shaded pink. 2–4 in. Western North America. First described by Siebold in the 1850s. Here the plant seems impervious to pests and diseases. LS to FS. Most frequently seen in commerce is Mitella diphylla (bishop’s cap). hat). British Columbia east to Alberta. two-eyed berry. with 5–11 indistinct. south to Florida. May–July. Seed can be sown in pots in a cold frame in autumn. twinberry. Heat tolerance is also good. white. Slugs and snails can damage young leaf growth. protection. medium green. seedlings can be removed and relocated in very early spring. providing four-season interest in mild-winter areas. south in the Cascades into California. (5–10 cm) long. fringed and bearded inside lobes. May–July. The species self-seed freely. slowly spreading. Hardy to Mitella The name miterwort is often wrongly applied. Propagate by separating rooted runners in spring and transplanting them immediately. Fertile soil with a pH of 4. teaberry. funnel-shaped. Leaf spot and rust are reported but not experienced here. They nevertheless make a well-behaved groundcover for the shady garden. with white berries. or female. Mitchella undulata (Japanese partridgeberry) from Korea and Japan has the same tolerance for light to full shade. Birds and rodents eat the berries. miterworts respond to it by growing more rapidly into a dense groundcover. up-facing. feathery miterwort. open wildflowers and cobra lilies. it has pink flowers with white beards and larger leaves. (2 cm) long. veins greenish white.244 Mitella ous flowers whose miraculous shapes—geometric masterpieces of nature—must be seen through a magnifying glass to be appreciated. which looks like the official headdress of a bishop. an allusion to the shape of the fruit. fruit mitershaped. 0. The generic name is the diminutive of the Greek mitra (= cap. Most are hardy to zone 5. so I usually cut them above the stem leaves and grow the species for the leaves alone. Optimum pH is 6 to 7. twinflower. and I have never had to provide supplemental water.5 cm). though. but given the plant’s vigorous spreading habit. partridgeberry. like Mitella diphylla and M. to 1 in.8 in. petals 5. comblike. toothed lobes. The genus name honors the Virginia botanist Mitchell. and direct sun is tolerated to a significant degree in more northern gardens. It withstands heat and drought into zone 9. This species has the most fanciful flowers of the genus. Brewer’s miterwort.5 is a must for successful flowering. leaves in opposite pairs. dissected. Mitchella is classified in the Rubiaceae. which I have grown successfully for years. shiny dark green. pistilate with abortive stamens. LS to FS. fruit a 2-eyed berry with 8 seeds. Mitchella repens.5–0. Propagate by division or by taking rooted runners and replanting them immediately in late autumn. petals 4. squawberry. flowers terminal. plant evergreen. seed propagation makes little sense.8 in. the true miterworts of the genus Mitella have inconspicu- . sometimes white. insignificant. Montana. Moist soil is ideal. widely creeping and mat-forming. and Idaho. is occasionally available. broadly egg-shaped. The western species are difficult in southern gardens. rooting at the leaf nodes. stems to 10 in. (25 cm) tall. squawvine. flowers greenish yellow. splitting open at maturity. to 0. Mitella breweri. eastern Texas. Mitella is classified in the Saxifragaceae. which I have often observed in northern uplands of Georgia. spreading. Forma leucocarpa. lowmaintenance groundcover that will naturalize even in drier soils. add some dolomitic limestone to acid soils.5 to 5. in pairs fused at the base. with pointed tip and wavy margin. not even mollusks bother it. but their leaves are not as showy. broadly egg-shaped with rounded tip. and eastern Mexico. All are very easy to cultivate in light to full shade. hairy. It grows in deepest shade and tolerates any exposure except full sun. Ontario and Minnesota east to Nova Scotia. either male. (1–2 cm) long. particularly for species native to southeastern North America. running box. plants prostrate. Miterworts are closely related to heucheras. feathery. North America. Combines well with tall. billowing spikes of white flowers. where different shades of green are vital. leaves in a basal rosette. brilliant red. sometimes white. The false miterworts of the genus Tiarella have beautiful. great under small shrubs. An attractive. its stalks with tiny greenish yellow flowers elongate as they mature and flop over. Some species are evergreen. (2.

slowly spreading. stamens 10. fringelike. . which look much like Poseidon’s trident. yellow centers. stem and leaves hairy. (18 cm) long and 6 in. stoloniferous. plant clump-forming. Korea south to Cheju Island. branched flowerstalks. (25–45 cm) tall. japonica ‘Variegata’). MS to FS in the South. no other pests or diseases are reported or experienced here. endemic to British Columbia south to the southern Cascades. insignificant. The leaves of the more northern variant are said to have a distinct reddish tinge in spring and into early summer. I consider zone 7 its southern limit. very similar is M. (15 cm) wide. from a West Coast nursery (as Aceriphyllum rossii). it makes an attractive groundcover in time. hairy. Sow seed in pots in a cold frame. stout. diversifolia. leafless. Ontario and Michigan east to New England south to Georgia and Alabama. recurved. In southern gardens it needs deep shade to develop its leaves fully. Although not separated botanically at this time. the old capital of Manchuria). Its soil requirements too are similar: a fertile. leaf stems green. toothed. Propagate by dividing the rhizome in very early spring before growth starts. on open. May–June. margins coarsely and irregularly toothed. to 7 in. also from the Cascades. Mitella trifida (three-toothed miterwort). Cultivation has been a struggle. upright. many in clusters above the leaves. The former name was very descriptive (aceriphyllum = maple leaf): its leaves look very much like that of Acer saccharum (sugar maple). My mukdenias do fairly well planted on the margins of a pond. leaves in a basal rosette. several forms differ in leaf size. Mitella caulescens has 1–3 stem leaves and yellow petals with purple at the 8-fingered divisions. fairy cap. from Japan to Korea.Nothoscordum zone 5. shallowly bell-shaped. Several other western species differ only in minor details and flower color. mostly white. west to Oklahoma and Missouri. 10–18 in. but it may flower only sporadically. stem leaves 2. Northeastern China. the epithet pentandra (= with five stamens) is not very helpful: all miterwort species have 5 stamens. LS to FS. ‘Variegata’ (M. Hardy to zone 4. rhizomatous. is about 400 miles northeast of Beijing. LS to WS in the North. and flower color. bishop’s cap. it has roughly the same North American habitat but is also found in eastern Asia. splitting open at maturity. and hostas. and its more cupshaped. fruit ball-shaped capsule with many seeds. Mukdenia Many years ago I purchased a specimen of the only species in this monotypic genus. flowers white. Mukdenia is classified in the Saxifragaceae. Mitella nuda is very similar but lacks the stem leaves. petals 5. flowers small. to 3 in. (8 cm) long. best for northern gardens. with 5–11 toothed. like Boykinia. where water is not far from the rhizome. smaller. plant slowly spreading. to 0. shallow lobes. A handsomely yellow-variegated form of M. April–June. and now I understand why: Mukden (the ancestral capital of the Manchu Dynasty and Nothoscordum An obscure wildflower with grasslike leaves. 2-lobed.2 in. heucheras. with the sepals longer. dry summers. Use as a groundcover or in the wildflower garden with ferns.5 cm). (45 cm) tall. (15–20 cm). clay soil with some grit in it and abundant water at the roots. leaves medium green. number and shape of leaf lobes. Mukdenia. sometimes light pink tepals. Slugs and snails can damage new growth emerging in spring. miterwort. The pair of stem leaves gave rise to the epithet diphylla (= two-leaved). bell-shaped with 7. purplish flowers. 245 Mitella diphylla. broadly egg-shaped. This species can be difficult in gardens with hot. and it gets very cold there. now called Shenyang. Nothoscordum bivalve (false garlic) is usually hidden among forest litter in the wild. from Japan. (0. nuda. Mukdenia rossii. medium green. is now available. pistil 1. is easily identified by its 3-lobed white petals. about the only time it can be easily spotted is during its bloom period. opposite. Mitella pentandra (five-stamen miterwort) has greenish petals and conspicuous yellow anthers juxtaposed against a brownish purple flower center. stems to 18 in. with 5 lobes. Eastern North America. bronze-tinged in spring. fruit miter-shaped. requires cool summers to be really happy. 6–8 in. Mukdenia rossii. variants originating from tributaries of China’s Yalu River and seen in German gardens have pink flowers and more elongated leaves.

and are frequently cultivated in European gardens. leaves ever- Omphalodes I remember Nabelnuss (= navelseed) growing in my grandmother’s wild garden. Omphalodes species are native to the Mediterranean region. (0. Florida into Texas. 3–12 on long stalks in loose. Turkey. it is semi-tender. hardy to zones 8 and 9. cappadocica and O. scentless garlic. (30 cm) long and 0. The genus is classified in the Alliaceae. Moist soil is ideal. verna are suited for the shady woodland garden. blunttipped. starting in September. but I assume it was Omphalodes verna ‘Alba’. petals 5lobed on short tube. and seed ripens early.2 in. leafless. navelseed. shortly creeping. 3 petals and 3 petal-like sepals. Omphalodes cappadocica. to 12 in. and perennial species in the genus. False garlic thrives in open woods and meadows and is seen in sandy bogs along the coast. It tolerates considerable shade. and it has withstood our very hot. The seed capsules are hidden in the foliage. rhizomatous. perennial forget-me-not. navelseed will respond by growing more rapidly into a dense groundcover. Omphalodes verna carpets the ground with small. blooming with Dodecatheon media in late April to early May. Eastern Mediterranean region. I first saw this plant in the Cedar Sink area of Mammoth Cave National Park. Rust and leaf spot are reported but not seen here. as some do not come true from seed. skyblue with white centers. They deserve to be grown more here in North America. Optimum pH is 6 to 7. Its flowers are pink or lilac with white. so frequent checks are required for successful collection. (1 cm) long. but prefers a more open site with light shade and some sun.2 in. straplike. each with a navel-like depression. it reproduces rapidly by offsets and is easily maintained.5 cm) across. biennial. and southeastern Virginia and south to northwestern Georgia and the Georgia Piedmont. Of the several annual. erect to ascending. I never knew what cultivar Grandmother grew. I enjoy the modest beauty of this southeastern native every spring and its reblooming in warm autumns. It is sometimes available from wildflower nurseries. Asia Minor. almost neutral soil with a pH of 6 to 7. fruit a capsule. dry summers. (45 cm) tall. flowers yellow or yellowish white. Propagate by taking bulblets. sown in pots in a cold frame. (25 cm) tall.5 cm) wide. What impressed me as . but it must drain well and remain cool. gentian-blue flowers in spring. April–May and September–October. Hardy to zone 5. Eastern North America. basal leaves are narrow. looking much like forget-me-nots. Our common name too is a reference to the nutletlike seeds. their spring flower display is short but spectacular and is followed by an evergreen or semi-evergreen carpet of medium green leaves. to 0. (0. when the starry white flowers become beacons of sorts. add some dolomitic limestone to acid soils. only O. smooth. with bulbous root. The genus name Nothoscordum (= false garlic) is from the Greek. April–June. The species described are hardy to zone 6. false garlic. They are primarily grown as groundcover plants. plant clump-forming. Indiana. green. further north. light shade and some sun are tolerated. Some sun. In southern gardens a position in cool shade is appreciated. The two species listed will do well. sepals 5-cleft. coastal plains. Once planted. its juice is odorless and tasteless. This elegant native should find a place in every wildflower garden. 3–9 in a terminal cluster. Asia Minor. stalk to 18 in. but has been spotted in zone 7. stamens 6. Nothoscordum bivalve. smooth. It requires damp. LS to FS. well-draining. Given these conditions. Propagate by seed. Nothoscordum gracile (Mexican false garlic) has naturalized in the coastal regions of southeastern North America and on Bermuda. western Caucasus. stamens 5. flowers small.5 in. grace garlic. Propagate cultivars by careful division in early autumn or late winter to early spring. plant herbaceous. The genus is classified in the Boraginaceae. referring to the navel-like depression in the seeds. to 0. Slugs and snails can be very damaging to young growth. navelwort. clump-forming. terminal clusters. Unlike true garlic. and Mexico. yellow false g