After wasting time with the ceremony, I was punished to do my homework on the weekend – there are still seeds to be added in the catalogue…
I didn’t think at Syneilesis until someone who participated in the Helleborus seeds trade, asked if by any chance I have a few Syneilesis aconitifolia good seeds…There it was the warning! Indeed, if you read on various gardening forums, it will be confirmed; seeds are set copiously but only a small amount are viable. Such a pity, considering it is a warm, easy germinator. Luckily, I was gifted, again :), a whole bunch of dry inflorescences and after sorting through all of them with patience, I was left with a few good seeds (and a REALLY big pile of ‘fluff’).
Syneilesis aconitifolia, the shredded umbrella plant, is a great foliage plant usually grown in part-shade, but who also tolerates full sun. When grown in a rich, moist substrate it will spread to form a healthy clump, but don’t worry, there will always be someone wanting a small division of your plant. Personally, I like it most in the spring when new shoots are emerging from the ground, with the leaves covered in silky hairs – the equivalent of a fuzzy mayapple! They even inspired me to start ‘composing’ a while ago!
They maintain the fuzziness for a little while; then after expanding, the large, ‘shredded’ leaves will make you believe they belong to another plant! The name aconitifolia, actually suggests the resemblance with an Aconitum leaf (the deeply lobed kind). Tall flowering stems erupt in the summer bearing rather insignificant flowers.
There are also mentions of Syneilesis aconitifolia being used as a medicinal plant.
I just sown a few seeds for fun, and will post an image as soon as they emerge (in 2-3 weeks). I imagine them being extremely cute! If growing from seeds is really not your thing, it is usually offered at Lost Horizons Nursery and also listed on Fraser’s Thimble Farm catalogue (mail-order).