Plants of the week- September
Our team are always on the look out for new developments in the gardens. Each week, our Living Collections Manager, Graham, will be sharing some points of interest with us.
As we enter September and the season starts to change this week we’ve picked another southern hemisphere beauty at its best just now. Hoheria sexstylosa, the long-leaved lacebark or ribbonwood, is an evergreen from the western coastal regions of New Zealand, from the family Malvaceae, the same family as an August plant of the week, Reevesia Pubescens. Hoheria is derived from the Maori word houhere.
Currently flowering in the South shrubbery, Hoheria sexstylosa’s name sexstylosa refers to its flower having six styles, the little protuberances within the flower which support the stigmata. Featuring a very straight trunk, a graceful weeping habit and delicate white starry fragrant flowers it’s a frost hardy plant but needs shelter and only achieves its elegant form if given sufficient space.
Our specimen, an Argyll & Bute champion for height and girth, stands at 13.6m, unusually tall for plants cultivated in the UK.
Introduced to the UK in 1826 Gevuina avellana, the Chilean hazelnut or avellano chileno in Spanish, is a hardy exotic evergreen originating from moist forests in the mountains of southern Chile. The name Gevuina comes from guevin, the Mapuche Indian name for the Chilean hazel and avellano is from the Spanish settlers having found its nuts similar to European hazelnuts although they’re not closely related.
From August to October the hermaphroditic Chilean hazelnut carries many racemes of ivory white flowers, each carrying up to 25 pairs of spider-like blooms, and acorn sized dark red nuts which turn black. Its seed shells contain tannin, used for the tanning of leather, and its seed oil is used as an ingredient in both sunscreen and cosmetic moisturisers due to its having a high palmitoleic acid content.
Widely cultivated in Chile as an edible nut-producing tree and related to the macadamia nut, in the UK Gevuina avellana is grown as an ornamental plant, a good honey plant for bees as is seen in our specimen located on the banking in the Wee Garden.