Each month we invite one of our HCP volunteers to introduce us to a favourite plant. For March, we have Dale Piper, a volunteer in the Propagation Group at the HCP has taken the opportunity to share her love of Edgeworthia chrysantha with us.
Edgeworthia chrysantha by Dale Piper
Anyone who has visited the library in Sidney has most likely noticed a most spectacular shrub near the entrance. There are actually two plants of note, both are Edgeworthia chrysanthas. The larger one is more protected against a wall. The other is along another path also near the front entrance. This is wonderful because these shrubs bear a fragrant gardenia-like scent very much appreciated by the clientele.
Edgeworthias are a deciduous shrub native to China and the Himalayas of the family Thymelaeceae. The common name is Paperbush because it was used to produce paper, particularly in Japan for banknotes.
It forms silvery buds in late summer into fall and starts to bloom in December forming a bare silhouette. These fragrant tiny florets open up further in clusters of beautiful yellow flowers later in February through April with the blooms eventually becoming creamy white. Once flowers are finished, it sports a bluish foliage with a silver undertone. In Autumn the leaves turn a soft yellow before they fall.
Edgeworthias thrive best in partial shade in well-enriched moist well drained soils. They do best planted in Spring to get of to a good start. The very flexible branches are cinnamon coloured and Edgeworthias are closely related to Daphnes. Of note is the fact that the end growth sections of each stem (apical meristems) split into 3 sections at once. There is no other flowering plant
known to do this. The shrubs reach a height of 4'- 6' with a width slightly smaller. Edgeworthias are Hardy in zones 7-10 with minimal maintenance and are generally pest and disease free.
With the fragrance and the all season interest, what is there not to love about this shrub?