syn. Dysosma pleiantha
Sunset zones: Not listed.
USDA zones: 7-9.
Heat zones: 9-6.
Height: 24 inches (60 cm).
Deep red flowers in clusters of five to nine are followed by silvery-gray fruit that ripens to yellow, at the junction of two leaves.
Leathery, glossy, green leaves with five to nine shallow, pointed lobes, grow up to 9-15 inches across.
Shade to partial shade.
Humus rich, leafy, moist, well-drained soil.
Side dress with leaf mold or compost to keep soil humus rich.
Sow fresh seed and place in cold frame. They will sprout the following spring.
Divide in early spring just as growth resumes.
Rainy Side Notes
The large leaves usually hide malodorous flowers that are pollinated by flies; however, the odor is temporary. This plant has large, glossy, striking leaves that lend a dramatic look all summer long. Usually hidden underneath the leaves, flowers, two to nine nodding maroon blossoms, come out of the leaf axis. Plant this so you can view it across the garden, or up on a wall, to appreciate the flowers. Following the flowering, small, berry-shaped fruits turn yellow when ripe.
The plant will grow in full shade to semi-shade, in moist, well-drained soil. Although it grows in woodlands, it will not thrive in dry shade. If you want viable seed, you will need a few different clones. The seed must be sown as soon as ripe. If it dries out, it's no longer viable.
This plant is sometimes sold as P. versipelle. The differences between the plants are P. versipelle's flowers are just under the root of the leaf and P. pleianthum's are found emerging from the leaf axis.
Podophyllum pleianthum was once a common plant in Taiwan but now is rare and endangered from over-collecting in the wild.
Photographed in Rhododendron Species Foundation Garden, Federal Way, WA.
Perennials indexed by botanical names. Click on corresponding letter below.