2013

 
 

Here is a superb small tree or large shrub that, so far, is only found in a few arboreta or connoisseur gardens. This lovely plant is the Seven-Son flower, or Heptacodium miconioides.

It is a large, fountain-shaped, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub/tree that probably reaches about 15 to 20 feet with a spread of about ten feet. It can easily be 'limbed up' to enhance a tree-like form which would resemble a small crapemyrtle or vitex.

In mid-summer this plant has clusters of fragrant, white flowers borne in six-inch long panicles, which are quite showy and attracts butterflies. They will bloom from August to September. These flowers appear in whorls within each cluster, and each whorl contains seven flowers - hence the common name. The flowers are then followed by an even showier display in autumn, when small, purplish-red fruits, in half inch drupes, are crowned by sepals which change from green to burgundy. These last up to 3 weeks, which brings the mid-summer show all the way to late autumn.

The leaves are narrow, shiny, medium-green. The bark, most noticeable in winter, is tan and peels away in strips revealing a dark brown inner bark, very crapemyrtle like which provides good winter interest.


Seven-Son flower is becoming increasingly more available in plant nurseries though it may be a while before it shows up at the big building centers. It is not fussy about soil and grows across a vast climatic area. Seven-Son Flower will do best in full-sun and is small enough that it can be planted under power lines.


In North America Seven-Son flower will grow from the warmer parts of Canada to the Gulf coast. It is fully hardy throughout the UK and does well in much of Australia and New Zealand.

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Seven-son flower

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