Friday, 14 December 2012

Fatsia japonica

My attention was first drawn to this plant some years ago when I saw it growing near to Temple tube station in the heart of London. It was not long before Christmas and the creamy flowers were attacting great numbers of insects. There and then I resolved to get one for my own garden.

It is not bone hardy and may get damaged in severe weather but it is tough enough to recover and mine is doing well in a fairly exposed spot. I wouldn't be without it and for entomologists it is a must, continuing to attracting insects as the ivy begins to falter. The two genera,  Hedera (ivy) and Fatsia, are very closely related and even the non-botanist can quickly spot the resemblance when comparing the flower heads. They are, in fact, so closely related that a bi-generic hybrid (x Fatshedera) exists and is popular as a house plant.
These thought came to mind when I visited Banbury yesterday  (13th December) and saw a specimen in full bloom but with its flowers thickly encrusted with frost. Will it bounce back? This is something to be checked out on my next visit. I must also check my own garden specimen, when hopefully the flowers will be more like those shown below.

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