Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Coriaria

A variable genus of close to 30 species of trees, shrubs and perennials.
The leaves are frondlike with 2 rows of leaflets.
The berries are poisonous and should not be eaten.
They are very easy to grow in partial shade on moist, fertile, well drained soil with abundant organic material. The roots produce their own nitrogen just like many of the Legumes, however application of high phorpshorous fertilizers such as bonemeal will greatly enhance vigor. The Coriarias can sometimes freeze back to the ground if the winter is too severe, as long as the ground freeze isn't too deep, they will resprout readily if the freeze damaged vegetation is cut back in early spring.
Propagation is from seed sown in autumn, division and softwood cuttings ( 3 inches in length ) taken during mid summer.
Pharmacology: The plant is hallucinatory in small quantity, sometimes providing sensations of flying. The seeds are poisonous - do not consume.

Coriaria arborea ( Tree Tutu )
An attractive, fast growing, multi-trunked, small evergreen tree, reaching a maximum size of 30 feet, that is native to New Zealand.
The lush pinnate leaves are composed of leaflets, up to 4 x 2.5 inches in size.
The tiny green flowers are borne in pendulous racemes.
They are followed by purplish-black fruits. The flesh of the berries is edible and are eaten by birds which drop the seeds spreading the plant which may occasionally become invasive on some sites. The seeds inside the berries are highly poisonous and just a few is enough to kill horses and people. The berries look nice - DO NOT eat them.
Hardy zones 8 to 10 in full sun to partial shade on deep fertile, well drained soil.
Soil PH tolerant.

Coriaria japonica ( Japanese Coriaria )
An arching shrubby perennial, reaching around 6 feet, that is native to northern and central Japan. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 3 feet; 6 years - 5 feet; largest on record - 10 x 7 feet. In zone 5 & 6 it is typically more a perennial than a shrub.
The ovate leaves are up to 5 ( rarely over 3 ) inches in length. The glossy bright green foliage turns to scarlet-red during autumn.
The green and red flowers are borne in inflorescences during late spring.
They are followed by red fruits that later ripen to black.
Hardy zones 5 to 10 in full sun to partial shade on deep fertile, well drained soil.
Soil PH tolerant.

* photo taken on May 8 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


* historic archive photo


Coriaria myrtifolia ( Redoul )
An arching shrubby perennial, reaching around 6 feet, that is native to southwest Europe ( coastal Spain, France & Italy ) and northern Africa. Some records include: largest on record - 10 x 9 feet.
Its drought tolerance and attractiveness, makes it an excellent ornamental plant for Mediterranean climates.
Its fruits are the largest of any Coriaria, and are hullucinogenic, providing sensations of flying. Too much of it can cause convulsions and other very serious effects - all Coriarias while attractive plants are NOT meant to be eaten.
The fruits on this is the largest of all the Coriarias.
Goats are reported to get drunk off eating the foliage.
The leaves, up to 3 inches in length, are bright green and borne in whorls.
The flowers are borne in short inflorescences during early summer.
They are followed by reddish-brown to black fruits.
Hardy zones 7 to 10. Extremely tough and will vigorously resprout if damaged from severe winter. Prefers full sun to partial shade on deep fertile, well drained soil.
Soil PH tolerant. Very drought tolerant, it thrives in Mediterranean climates with little or no summer rainfall.

* photo of unknown internet source


Coriaria nepalensis
A fast growing, arching, large, deciduous shrub, that is native from the Himalayas to southwestern China.
Some records include: largest on record - 17 feet;
The leaves, borne in pairs, are up to 3 inches in length. The foliage is bright green, turning to scarlet red in autumn.
The small green flowers are borne in terminal inflorescences during spring.
They are followed by black and purplish-red berries.
The stems are reddish-brown.
Hardy zones 8 to 10 in full sun to partial shade on deep fertile, well drained soil.
Soil PH tolerant.

Coriaria sinica
A very large shrub, reaching up to 20 feet, that is native to China.
Hardy zones 8 to 9, though may grow as far north as zone 6 as a perennial.
in full sun to partial shade on deep fertile, well drained soil.
Soil PH tolerant.

Coriaria terminalis
A rhizmome spreading, deciduous shrubby perennial, reaching a maximum size of 5 x 7 feet, that is native from the Himalayas to western China. It can reach up to 4 feet in height if grown as a perennial.
The leaves are pinnate and frond-like. The oval leaflets, up to 3.5 x 1.5 inches in length, are glossy mid-green, turning to scarlet red in autumn.
The small green flowers are borne in terminal inflorescences, up to 9 inches in length, during late spring.
They are followed by black fruits ( though forms with red or yellow berries do exist ).
Hardy zones 6 to 10 in full sun to partial shade on deep fertile, well drained soil.
Soil PH tolerant.

'Xanthocarpa'
Translucent yellow berries.

Coriaria thymifolia ( Shanshi )
A shrub, native to the northern Andes mountains ( Columbia to Chile ) in South America, with very attractive blue berries that has given many mountain climbers who have eaten them a very hallucinogenic surprise with reported flying sensations. This plant is not meant to be eaten and overdose can cause coma and death.
The flowers are self fertile.

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