Sunday, August 21, 2011


A genus of perennials that are part of the larger Commelinaceae family.

Pollia japonica
A rare, vigorous, rhizomatous perennial that will get many "what is this" questions. It reaches up to 3.3 x 4 feet, with tropical-looking foliage that resembled Ginger. It is native to most of southeast China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan. It is usually found in wooded ravines at low elevations.
The oblong leaves, are up to 12 x 3 inches in size. The foliage is very glossy, deep green.
The white flowers, up to 0.3 inches across, are borne on loose panicles, up to 12 inches long, during early summer to early autumn.
They are followed by blue to black berries, up to 0.25 inches across, during early to mid autumn.
Hardy zones 4 to 8 in partial to full shade on moist to wet, well drained soil. Easy to grow. During the record hot summer of 2011 in Maryland, plants growing in the shade had more vigor and better foliage color. I have not noticed any pests or disease on any of the plants I've observed. Reported to be drought tolerant if grown in shade.
The root is know to have both sedative and stimulant properties.

* photo taken on 4th of July @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photos taken on Aug 20 2011 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photos taken on Aug 25 2011 @ Scott Arboretum, Swarthmore, PA

* photos taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

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