Heptacodium miconiodes

Heptacodium miconioides

Seven-Son Flower



return to Spotlight Plants main page

 

heptacodium.jpg
 

Heptacodium miconioides is a wonderful large shrub for the late summer and fall garden. Coming into bloom when few woodies do--late August--the Seven-Son Flower is a nice pick me up when the landscape can feel a bit tired and bedraggled. 

Its small white blossoms emit an intoxicating aroma that in themselves would make this a worthy addition to any garden, but this shrub puts on a second show when the flowers fade and the fruits develop. Kim E. Tripp writes, "In late fall, the flowers mature to small rounded fruits, each of which is crowned with a persistent calyx that turns a bright cherry-red or rosy purple. The effect of all the tiers of these exotic fruits with seven splendid crowns is spectacular." *

Finally, Heptacodium miconioides has some of the showiest exfoliating bark you'll find in a landscape plant, giving it interest throughout the winter.

 

       

 Heptacodium miconioides

 

           
 
The Basics
 
  Family: Caprifoliacaea
  Native to: Zhejiang Province, China
  Introduced: 1980 (originally by the explorer Wilson in  1907)
  Leaves: opposite, dark green, glaborus
  Height: 15+ feet
  Hardy in zone 5
  Habit: upright, irregular
  Flowers: creamy white, very fragrant; from late August
  Fruit: capsules with persistent sepals, red to purple
  Exposure: part shade appears to be best
  Where to find it: see map below
 
 
 
   
Heptacodium bark
       
   Bark of the Heptacodium miconioides        
             
 
heptacodiumblossoms.jpg
  The best information Heptacodium miconioides can be found in Gary L. Koller's seminal article, "Seven-Son Flower from Zhejiang: Introducing the Versatile Ornamental Shrub Heptacodium jasminoides Airy Shaw " in the Arnold Arboretum's publication Arnoldia, 46:4 (1986).The Arnold Arboretum was responsible for introducing the plant to the gardens of the United States in the 1980s. (Jasminoides was the specific name at the time of publication.) Click here for a PDF version of the article.        
 The blossoms of Heptacodium miconioides release an intoxicating aroma
           

 Heptacodium in fall

"In late fall, the flowers mature to small rounded fruits, each of which is crowned with a persistent calyx that turns a bright cherry-red or rosy purple. The effect of all the tiers of these exotic fruits with seven splendid crowns is spectacular."

           
 heptacodiumlocationmap.jpg
       
  * Kim E. Tripp and J.C. Raulston. The Year in Trees: Superb Woody Plants for Four-Season Gardens.  Portland: Timber Press, 1995, 134.