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Edgeworthia chrysantha

Edgeworthia chrysantha

Soak up the soft, clove-like fragrance of Edgeworthia chrysantha in flower as you walk past the main laboratory entrance. You will also find this plant around the Rock Garden but for a real treat head to Battleston Hill which is planted with many edgeworthias including the red-flowered ‘Red Dragon’.

Vital statistics

Common name
Paper bush
Family
Thymelaeaceae
Height & spread
1.5-2.5m x 1.5-2.5m
Form
Deciduous shrub
Soil
Well-drained, moisture retentive loamy soil, enriched with organic matter
Aspect
Full sun, or partial shade - will succeed against north facing walls
Hardiness
Frost hardy to frost tender

Edgeworthia

This is a genus of three species of deciduous or evergreen shrubs which all have papery bark.

They are found in forests, on shrubby slopes and near streams throughout Nepal and China and the genus has also been introduced and become naturalised in Japan. In cultivation they are grown for their fragrant flowers and handsome foliage.

The leaves are lanceolate, entire, tough, usually hairy and clustered at the ends of ascending branches.

The flowers are approximately 3.5-5cm across and are normally yellow with a cylindrical calyx and spreading petals. They are clustered into dense stalked spherical heads. The flowers are similar to Daphne (which is in the same family) but the stigma is more elongated and the style is cylindrical.

Edgeworthia can be used at a woodland edge with spring bulbs, with other winter flowering shrubs or in a mixed shrub and herbaceous border where it will provide a welcome lift early in the year. They are beautiful and fragrant plants which reward good soil cultivation and careful placement.

The genus is named for Michael Pakenham Edgeworth (1812-1881), a keen amateur English botanist who combined colonial service for the East India Company with plant collecting.

Edgeworthia chrysantha

This species is from the forest and shrubby slopes of China, and was named for its yellow flowers chrysantha meaning with golden flowers.

It is an open, rounded deciduous shrub with upward-pointing supple shoots. The leaves are ovate, dark green and up to 15cm long. The flowers are fragrant, yellow, borne in winter and clustered into dense spherical heads. The flowers are also covered with silky white hairs which make the whole plant appear frosty when in bud.

Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Red Dragon’ has vibrant red to orange flowers.
 

Cultivation

  • Grow in a well-drained, moisture retentive loamy soil, enriched with organic matter.
  • Likes a sheltered spot in full sun or dappled light shade.
  • No annual pruning required but crossing and any misplaced shoots should be removed after flowering as required.

Propagation

  • Can be grown from seed in containers in a cold frame in autumn.
  • Take semi-ripe cuttings in summer.

 

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