Stachyurus praecox

2 Dec

Stachyurus praecox (16/11/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Stachyurus praecox (16/11/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Early spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 3m

Eventual Spread: 3m

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

Family: Stachyuraceae

Stachyurus praecox is a deciduous shrub with a spreading bushy habit. Its mid green leaves are ovate with serrate margins, up to 15cm long and 7cm broad. Its leaves turn yellow/ red in autumn  before they fall. Its yellow/ green flowers are bell shaped, up to 8mm across and appear on pendulous spikes which are up to 10cm long, before its leaves appear.

Stachyurus praecox Autumn Leaf (16/11/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Stachyurus praecox Autumn Leaf (16/11/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Stachyurus praecox, commonly known as Spiketail or Kibusi, is native to Japan.

The etymological root of the binomial name Stachyurus is derived from the Greek staxus meaning ‘an ear of grain’ or ‘spike’ and oura meaning ‘tail’. Praecox is derived from the Latin prae meaning ‘before’ and coxi meaning ‘ripening’, i.e. early ripening.

The landscape architect may find Stachyurus praecox useful as an attractive early spring flowering shrub with colorful autumn foliage suitable for ornamental woodland or dappled shade planting. It prefers shade from drying winds.

Stachyurus praecox var. matsuzaki (16/03/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Stachyurus praecox var. matsuzaki (16/03/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Stachyurus praecox flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given Stachyurus praecox their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Stachyurus praecox prefers moist, fertile, humus rich, well-drained soils. It prefers a neutral to acid pH of soil.

Stachyurus praecox var. matsuzaki Flower (16/03/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Stachyurus praecox var. matsuzaki Flower (16/03/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Stachyurus praecox requires little maintenance. Any necessary pruning should be carried out after flowering.

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