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Heptacodium miconioidesis 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.
Bark of the Heptacodium miconioides
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
The blossoms of Heptacodium miconioides release an intoxicating aroma
"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."
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.)
* Kim E. Tripp and J.C. Raulston. The Year in Trees: Superb Woody Plants for Four-Season Gardens. Portland: Timber Press, 1995, 134.