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A rarely encountered, but highly ornamental medium sized deciduous tree from the Orient. Spreading branches clothed in fine, large, red stalked, heart-shaped foliage, glaucous beneath, and dangling bunches of bright red pea-like fruit on females in autumn. Male flowers are pinky-brown in pendant racemes and sweetly scented. Suitable for any good soil.
Ilex cyrtura - Female
A rarely encountered species from SW China and Upper Burma, suitable for the milder parts of the country, though a plant at the Hillier Gardens in Hampshire has survived for many years. Toothed, leathery leaves with a pronounced slender drip-tip adorn plants that can attain small tree proportions. Bright red fruits occur on females (like this).
Ilex cyrtura - Male
A rarely encountered species from SW China and Upper Burma, suitable for the milder parts of the country, though a plant at the Hillier Gardens in Hampshire has survived for many years. Toothed, leathery leaves with a pronounced slender drip-tip adorn plants that can attain small tree proportions.
Ilex fargesii subsp. fargesii var. fargesii (new)
A particularly elegant species and a cut above the rest for foliage effect, forming a large shrub or small tree with slender, usually oblong leaves of up to 12.5cm. Fruit on females is small, bright red and produced in profusion down the stems. Perfectly hardy. Potentially reaching 6m at full maturity.
Ilex perado subsp. platyphylla (female)
The Canary Island Holly is one of the most distinct and striking of all on account of its short stalked and really very broad, dark green, leathery foliage, sometimes up to 15cm long by 10cm wide. It is surprisingly hardy. passing without injury in most areas even through very cold winters. A small bushy tree. This is a female clone.
Originally collected on Cheju-Do Island, S. Korea, this makes a small evergreen tree with glossy, deep green, non-spiny foliage; in effect similar to Ligustrum japonicum. Clusters of small bright red berries are seen on females in autumn/winter. Best with some shelter in winter.
Illicium 'Woodland Ruby'
A cross between a white flowered form of I. floridanum and I. floridanum mexicanum, with larger flowers than either, in red-pink, borne in spring over evergreen leathery foliage. A medium sized shrub with all parts emitting a pleasing fragrance when crushed (well, I like it). Best in not over limy soil, a fairly sheltered spot and not too dry, in semi-shade.
An obscure species of anise from SW China, where it forms evergreen forest trees to 12m. Here it will be much smaller, perhaps a tall shrub with time. Small pale yellow flowers are seen in summer. For a sheltered site. Full hardiness as yet unknown.
A superb relatively new introduction from China, forming a dense upright, evergreen, pyramidal shrub 3 to 5m tall. with creamy-yellow flowers, each up to 3.5cm across, in early spring. Good in sun or semi-shade and perfectly hardy in cultivation since its introduction in the 90's. Arguably the finest of the genus in cultivation. Not for very limy soil.
Indigofera himachalensis H&M 1818
A new species to cultivation in the UK from the Indian Himalaya, making a deciduous shrub up to 1.8m high, clothed in pretty pinnate foliage and bearing upright racemes of purple-pink pea flowers in summer. For a sunny site in well drained soil. Previously erroneously offered here as I. hancockii.
Indigofera howellii (syn. subverticillata)
A superb new species from China. Long racemes of vivid, warm-pink flowers project semi-horizontally from the typical attractive pinnate foliage over a long period in summer and autumn. Hardy in sun and well drained soil, being nipped back only lightly by the very coldest winters. Approx 2m high, though can be pruned to the ground each year if desired.
An unusual small Chinese sub-shrub with beautiful pinnate foliage and comparatively large almond-pink pea flowers in dense racemes during early summer. Very hardy, this acts as a herbaceous plant, re-growing strongly from the base when pruned hard in late winter. Plant in full sun. Drought tolerant.
Indigofera kirilowii var. alba
The particularly rare white form of this unusual small Chinese sub-shrub with beautiful pinnate foliage and comparatively large pure white pea flowers in dense racemes during early summer. Very hardy, this acts as a herbaceous plant, re-growing strongly from the base when pruned hard in late winter. Plant in full sun. Drought tolerant.
An absolute gem of a plant, relatively recently re-introduced from China, this tall growing species flowers for months during summer. Beautiful very, very long, pendant racemes of pink pea flowers, on close inspection really lilac-grey and deep carmine. Worth every effort to grow. Re-shoots strongly from the base if cut back hard. Full sun and well drained soil.
Indigofera sp. NJM 13.078 (new)
A collection from Manipur, NE India at 1300m asl, not yet tested for hardiness, but this was a low altitude find from 1300m so best tried in a sheltered sunny warm position and perhaps a winter mulch (Indigofera come back very strongly if cut back). Deep red pink flowers in upright racemes from the leaf axils and strong growth on a plant to about 2m tall.
This South American member of the potato family forms a free growing woody shrub to perhaps 2m tall, with softly hairy leaves and pendulous, funnel shaped, lilac-blue flowers, dangling along the undersides of the branches in late summer. This is most suited to a protected position, ideally a west wall or suchlike, but has shown remarkable tolerance to cold.
Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet'
A hardy, small, deciduous shrub from the Eastern USA, producing erect, cylindrical racemes of scented creamy-white flowers in July. This form is renowned for its excellent, rich red-purple autumn colour. Not for thin limey soils.
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