Diphylleia cymosa

11 Sep

Diphylleia cymosa (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Diphylleia cymosa (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Dappled shade to full shade

Flowering period: Mid spring to early summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 60cm

Eventual Spread: 30cm

Hardiness: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Berberidaceae

Diphylleia cymosa is a deciduous herbaceous perennial with a clump forming habit. Its mid green glossy leaves are lobate, up to 55cm long and 55cm broad. The leaf blade is divided at its apex into 2 parts, with each part having up to nine lobes, sparse pubescent hairs and a dentate margin. Its white  flowers are borne in terminal compound cymes, up to 5cm across. Its blue/ purple fruit is an ovoid berry and borne on conspicuous red stalks. Its roots are rhizomatous which aids its slow spread.

Diphylleia cymosa Fruit (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Diphylleia cymosa Fruit (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Diphylleia cymosa, commonly known as Umbrella Leaf or American Umbrella Leaf, is native to south east North America. In its native habitat it grows in mountainous woodland in wet areas and stream sides.

The etymological root of the binomial name Diphylleia is from the Greek di meaning ‘two’ and phyllon meaning ‘leaf’, referring to the two parts of the leaves. Cymosa is from the Latin meaning ‘furnished with cymes’.

The landscape architect may find Diphylleia cymosa useful as an ornamental woodland groundcover plant.

Diphylleia cymosa Leaf (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Diphylleia cymosa Leaf (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically,  Diphylleia cymosa is attractive to pollinating insects. Its berries are attractive to some birds and mammals.

Diphylleia cymosa prefers moist, fertile, humus rich, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Diphylleia cymosa requires little maintenance.

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