Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Grandiflora’
by Kate van Heel
Plant of the month this February is Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Grandiflora’ (paperbush). At the moment it’s not quite in bloom, but instead is covered in buds just waiting to open. Each bud is covered with tiny silver hairs, making the buds shimmer in the weak winter sun.
Once the leaves drop in winter, the young buds are revealed covering the bare reddish brown decorative bark. In Japan, the shrub’s bark has been used for making durable tissue paper called ‘mitsumata paper’ which is used for making bank notes, hence its common name of Paper Bush Plant.
In early spring it produces incredibly fragrant yellow and cream flowers before the leaves appear, providing a welcome source of food for any pollinators at this time of year. It is a relative of the Daphne, apparently sharing its preference for cool, lightly shaded spots. In my garden it receives sun until early afternoon when it is shaded by tall trees next door.
It grows to 1.5m by 1.5m in a pleasing goblet shape and although it is said to only tolerate temperatures down to -5C, I have grown it in my garden (admittedly located in the sheltered Kirkstall valley) for more than seven years with no problems.
I would highly recommend Edgeworthia as a fabulous plant for the winter garden.
Images courtesy of Kate van Heel