Saturday, March 13, 2010
Heptacodium - Seven Son Flower
Heptacodium miconioides ( Seven Son Flower ) -
Now extinct in the wild in it's native China this tree with it's white summer flower panicles and shredded orange bark would appear like an unusual large leafed Natchez crape myrtle. With it's exceptional cold hardiness, if you see a "Crape Myrtle" in the upper Midwest or Canada where it gets down to -38 F, it is this tree instead. Despite it's tolerance for extreme cold it also does exceptionally well in areas with hot humid summers. Very fast growing when young ( personally measured 10 feet of new growth on one tree ) these trees soon slow down and likely never exceed 35 x 20 feet with a trunk 2 feet across.
The elliptical leaves are up to 9 x 4 inches in size. The luxuriant glossy deep green foliage turns to deep red or yellow during late autumn. The foliage appears early during spring.
The fragrant white flowers are borne on large flowers heads ( up to 8 inches ) at the branch tips during mid-summer lasting about 4 weeks.
The flowers later turn to red-purple seed heads and retaining the flower calyces. These last from late summer until autumn frosts.
Very easy to grow, with a little bit of pruning and training when young to show off the attractive shredded peeling brown bark this is a RECOMMENDED PATIO TREE!
Hardy zones 4 to 8 and possibly even colder. Prefers moist acidic, well drained soil and a sheltered partially shady spot. Can be propagated from seed, basal suckers, half hardened tip cuttings in summer and hardwood cuttings in fall.
This plant was believed to be extinct for good from Planet Earth since 1916 until it was re-discovered in 1980. Very easy to grow, it has no known pests or diseases other than canker which is rare. It is tolerant of anything from sand to clay.
* photos taken @ U.S. National Arboretum on Feb 2009
* photo taken @ Perennial Point Nursery near Wilkes-Barre, PA
* photos taken on April 11 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC
* photos taken on October 17 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.
* photo taken on Brookside Gardens "Party with the Peonies Tour" in Fulton, MD on May 21 2011
* photos taken on Aug 25 2011 @ Scott Arboretum, Swarthmore, PA
* photos taken on Mar 9 2013 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD
* photos taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC
* photos taken on Feb 8 2014 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC
* photo taken on July 26 2015 @ Niagara Parks Bot. Gardens, Niagara Falls, ON
* photo taken on July 25 2016 in Columbia, MD
* photo taken on Mar 18 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD
* photo taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD