Alangium is a small genus of 17 species of small trees and shrubs found across Africa, Asia and the South Pacific. Opinion is divided as to whether it belongs in the Dogwood family, Cornaceae, or its own family, Alangiaceae. Regardless, it is another example of a splendid plant that is mysteriously hard to find. This outstanding tree grows to 15 or 20 feet tall and wide. A size that fits well with most gardens as well as patios, courtyards or planters. The species name, platanifolium, refers to the shape of the leaves which resemble Platanus or Plane tree, or in America,  Sycamore. Alangium is deciduous with beautiful dark, green leaves, 4 to 6 inches long, with pointed lobes and a thick texture. In fall the leaves change to a soft yellow. Alangium also has a lovely bloom in summer with cream-colored flowers that dangle prettily from long stems. The flowers are quite unique and fragrant. And the flowers produce a pendulous, oval fruit, that colors to porcelain blue just as the leaves turn to soft gold. The effect is stunning.

Alangium is vase shaped in youth and broadens out with age gaining a more muscular look. It is pest and disease free and suitable in full sun or along a woodland edge. It's hardy throughout most of the United Kingdom and throughout the warmer half of the US and the moderate coastal regions like Canada's British Columbia. It would adapt well to Australia and New Zealand. As usual, this special tree will not be found in the popular landscape nurseries but more likely in a specialty, mail-order, plant nursery.



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