Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tetrapanax papyrifera and Fatoua villosa with Neal for scale

The Mulberry weed in the bottom picture is the largest that I've ever seen. Once in a while in Fern Valley we would come upon a neglected patch with the occasional two to three foot plant. We didn't get these to the checking station for an official reckoning, but if they aren't five feet tall, they don't miss by more than an inch or so.

Rice Paper Plant (rice paper is manufactured from the pith of this plant), Tetrapanax papyrifera, is only supposed to be root hardy to USDA Zone 8b, but this plant has lived in China Valley for a few years, and last year survived a legitimate Zone 7 winter. A tree in it's native habitat, even as a dieback shrub it's impressive here. The larger leaves very nearly three feet across and the plant itself is seven feet tall by the second week in August. I'm often asked to include a "tropical look" in garden designs and if I had a source for this plant I'd use it a lot. Plant Delights has it in the catalogue but they're sold out. Our plant suckers outrageously so that if you get it established, you will have a ready source of new plants. Like many large-leafed tropicals, it grows like the wind during hot weather.


Jim said...

They grow great in pots too and you don't have to worry about the runners.

Anonymous said...

Can't tell from photo - are the seed pods of Fatoua villosa you are holding round or elongated? In most photos I've seen, they are round.