Heptacodium miconioides

22 Oct

Heptacodium miconioides (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Heptacodium miconioides (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to dappled shade

Flowering period: Early autumn

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 8m

Eventual Spread: 6m

Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Heptacodium miconioides is a large deciduous shrub or small tree with an upright spreading habit. Its waxy dark green leaves are cordate with entire margins, deeply veined, up to 10cm long and 6cm broad. Its bark is cinnamon colour and peeling in vertical strips. Its white fragrant flowers have five petals, are up to 15mm across and appear as a flattened panicle. Its fruit is a purple/ red drupe and up to 12mm long.

Heptacodium miconioides Flower (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Heptacodium miconioides Flower (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Heptacodium miconioides, commonly known as the Seven Sons Plant, is native to central China. Heptacodium miconioides is synonymous with Heptacodium  jasminoides  and is the sole member of this genus. This shrub is considered to be ‘Vulnerable’ according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The etymological root of the binomial name Heptacodium is derived from the Greek epta meaning ‘seven’ and kwdwn meaning ‘bell’. Miconioides refers to this plants similarity to the Miconia genus.

Heptacodium miconioides Leaf (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Heptacodium miconioides Leaf (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

The landscape architect may find  Heptacodium  miconioides useful as a late fragrant flowering small tree suitable for a shady location.

Ecologically, Heptacodium miconioides flowers are very attractive to pollinating insects, including bees and butterflies.

Heptacodium  miconioides prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It prefers a neutral to acidic pH of soil.

Heptacodium  miconioides requires little maintenance.

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