Sunday, January 09, 2011

Location, Location!

The title can pertain to lots of things when it comes to gardening and horticulture, but on this occasion I will use it to illustrate how the same plant but originating from different locations can exhibit variability which makes them become unique from one another.
One of the exotics we grow is Trochodendron aralioides, the Cartwheel Tree, and we have a couple of specimens in our garden. What's fascinating about them two is that despite being essentially the same plant, they exhibit different characteristics during the winter period. Their provenance is different though, one is an old form originally from Japan, the other a more recent collection from Taiwan.

Both forms look identical in the warmer months but once the cold weather sets in then they start to look different.

The Japanese form, the oldest and most readily available one here in the UK, alot of specimens including ours tend to exhibit a matte Red/Burgundy blush on the leaves during winter....

While the Taiwanese form, a more recent collection from Crug Farm, the leaves remain glossy and a shade of fresh Apple Green. This form is supposed to be faster growing too.

It's all a matter of personal preference, some prefer the one with a Red/Burgundy blush to the leaves which seems more in keeping with the winter season; while others prefer the one retaining the glossy, fresh Apple Green shade which is a welcome sight in the winter months when lots of plants are looking tired.

Personally, I think they are both beautiful plants and very garden worthy!


  1. What gorgeous plants, I think I'd want both. How hardy are they?

  2. Hi Mark, I suspect that the term location may have a different meaning for this plant in North East Scotland. I think I prefer the first form where the leaves turn the bronze/red. This Winter is proving so harsh that the Pittosporums which have thrived for the past eight years are looking very dodgy, perhaps the Tom Thumb will make it.

  3. Hi Janet, it's a hardy plant for most parts of the UK, and should be in your location :)

    Alistair, last December was harsh to say the least, and has done alot of damage to most gardens in the UK. Even some Privet hedges I've seen have browned off, and I've never seen such an effect before. I have lost a Pittosporum before. I hope your Tom Thumb pulls through.

  4. i know i'm shallow, but i just love the name, cartwheel plant!

  5. Janine, it's part of it's appeal :)

  6. I am LOVING YOUR SITE!!!! I am a new have a lot of great photos to share here...You have a very beautiful garden and I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to link in with some photos...either current or past (during the dormant seasons) to Flaunt Your Flowers on Friday with me. Many absolutely gorgeous gardens participate in this party, and yours would be a welcome visit for them all to make!
    I have enjoyed my visit here today...happy gardening!

  7. Tootsie, what a lovely compliment, thank you! I shall be checking out your site and see what I can link. Looking forward to your updates!


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