Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hypericum Androsaemum 'Albury Purple'

I am a list fanatic, especially when it comes to my favorite plants, and I am constantly tweaking these lists  each day based on all sorts of criteria.

As of this moment, Hypericum 'Albury Purple' is in the top 5 of my favorite deciduous shrubs and it is quickly moving up the charts. 


Some quick facts for you:
  • The common name for this shrub is St John's Wort - of which there are close to 400 species - but, from all of my research, this particular species - Androsaemum - does not have the healing powers commonly associated with St John's Wort name. That would be the species, Perforatum.
  • Survives zone 5-9.
  • Typical size is 2 feet high by 3 feet wide.
  • Prefers full sun to partial shade (although flower production is less in more shaded conditions).
  • Yellow blooms are present June to August (photos to follow).
  • In colder zones, the shrub may die to the ground in the winter but it will grow back from the roots if this is the case.
  • Best bet is to prune this puppy all the way back in early Spring to get the best foliage color on new growth, speaking of which ...
  • This shrub's best attribute (in my humble opinion) is it's foliage color (again, photos to follow)
  • Red/black berries form in the Fall.
  • The shrub got it's cultivar name when it was discovered in Albury Park in Surrey, England.    
Now on to the photos:

Here is a shot of the shrub emerging in Spring:   

The fantastic, velvety foliage


The flower buds forming



The five petaled yellow flowers with stamens


And finally, the berries

I have used these as specimen shrubs because of the foliage contrast they offer, but would really like to mass them as a ground cover (as if I could find room anywhere) to see the effect it offers.

I urge you to check them out and give them a shot. They grow under most soil conditions and soil types and truly stand out if located in the right place. I will personally be adding more this fall.

ONG 
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6 comments:

  1. Nice John... Ironically, I just posted something on my blog called "Passionate for Purple"... Our blogs are crossing paths!

    Nice plant indeed!

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  2. So many reasons to love this shrub. Thanks for the great photos. Now, do I have space...

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  3. I like how the foliage changes its color! Berries are an additional bonus!

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  4. It's beautiful through it full cycle. I like it! It's definitely going on my list.

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  5. This is my most favorite shrub!! I have two and am getting two more this year (I live in Avon, Connecticut). Problem: around mid-July, something starts eating the leaves. I see no insects, but tiny bites everywhere. It ruins my beautiful shrubs for the rest of the season. Sevindust has not worked. Any ideas?

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  6. I have read several things about this plant that make me cautious: first that it is rated as a highly invasive species in New Zealand, and second, that while the leaves have been used medicinally, the berries are poisonous. Please be cautious if you plant this where children might wander by and, in a curious moment, decide to sample!

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