Euonymus grandiflorus f.salicifolius

Euonymus grandiflorus f. salicifolius (340)

Location in the Gardens:

Season of interest:

  • Spring for flowers
  • Autumn, when the very attractive large light pink berries are open, showing the black seed resting on a scarlet base. Sir Frederick Stern recommends it as an October feature

Description of plant:

A semi-evergreen tree, which can grow to at least 8 metres high. Lanceolate to narrowly oval smooth green leaves. Flowers a greenish or yellowish white, 2.5cm in diameter. Fruit consists of four pink lobes with black seeds.

Ideal growing conditions and habitat:

A quite hardy plant that grows well on chalk at Highdown.

Country of origin:

  • Northern India, Nepal, Khasia, Bhutan and West China

Highdown history:

Sir Frederick Stern in his book, 'A Chalk Garden', describes obtaining two cuttings from Vicary Gibbs, through the kindness of Sir Charles Cave in about 1934. Vicary Gibbs was the Conservative MP for St Albans from 1892 to 1904, but was also noted for his prize plants grown by his Head Gardener Edwin Beckett FRHS at Aldenham House, Hertfordshire. However, Vicary Gibbs died in January 1932 and Sir Charles Cave in July 1932, so clearly Sir Frederick Stern's Euonymus cuttings must have been given to him earlier than he remembered.

Euonymus grandiflorus salicifolius was originally grown at Kew in 1867, but then lost to cultivation until reintroduced from Bhutan by Cooper about 1914, under his number 3562. Plants raised from these seeds succeeded well with Sir Charles Cave, and appear to be the likely source of Sir Frederick Stern's cuttings.

By 1960 Sir Frederick Stern described two very attractive shrubs, which had grown to be 15-20 feet high and together had 37 yards circumference. In October these were covered in half-inch diameter fruits. Initially these were pale pink, but later the capsules opened to reveal red and black seed.

He was particularly pleased to receive an RHS Award of Merit for these plants in October 1953, and for them to have figured in the 'Botanical Magazine'.

Other interesting information:

Other plants were raised from seeds sent back by George Forrest from Yunnan in 1922.

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