Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shrub ID: Edgeworthia chrysantha (coming into bloom at BBG)

 I was in the city at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for the annual horticulture trade show put on by the Metro Hort Group, Plant-o-Rama.  It is always a great event and one of the bonuses is checking in on this paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha) which comes into bloom about this time of year.
 As you can see it's a deciduous shrub.  Most references list it as being hardy in USDA Zones 8-10 which would mean it wouldn't survive the winters here in New York, but as you can see, situated in the right protected spot with good sun and well-drained soil it can do quite well up here.  Below is the flower starting to emerge.  Many people know the wonderful winter interest of different native and non-native species of Hamamelis (witchhazel), not to mention Camellia japonica (Japanese camellia), but you definitely want to know about Edgeworthia as well.  The flowers will open to reveal short, fragrant, tubular flowers yellow to creamy white as we get into late winter.
 Edgeworthia chrysantha:
- commonly called paperbush
- native to China
- member of the daphne family, Thymelaeaceae
- grow in rich soil with ample water and sun to part-shade
- leaves are elongated, oval, mid-green
- can grow to 6' high and wide
- the genus is named after Michael Pakenham Edgeworth (1812-1881), botanist, plant collector and employee of the East India Company
(Flora: A Gardener's Encyclopedia, 2003, Timber Press)

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