Illicium floridanum anyone?

diggingthedirtFebruary 8, 2013

Vincent Simeone gave a talk on flowering shrubs at New England Grows on Wednesday, and one plant he recommended was Illicium. I don't remember hearing about this plant before; it grows in shade, it has glossy, evergreen, fragrant foliage, and looks like a winner for anyone in zone 6 or warmer.

Do any of you grow this? I did a search on this forum, and found that bill_ri has a variegated one, and that it's on leslie6ri's list, but that's about it.

There are several that are apparently hardy in zone 6, and I'd love to know how they do in NE, before I decide whether to give them a try.

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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

I also would like to see it -- and smell it -- before I plant one. Here is what wikipedia has to say about it:
The whole plant and especially the flowers have a fishy smell, hence the common names stink-bush, dead fish tree, or wet dog bush. The crushed foliage, however, has an aroma akin to lemon-lime or aniseed. This plant is highly toxic...

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 4:57PM
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diggingthedirt

LOL, Carol - it sounds like something I've GOT to have!

I'll see what Dirr says ... he's around here somewhere... don't know why I hadn't thought of checking him first.

Apparently the one with offensive small is I. floridanum; his students tell him it smells like gin & tonic. He likes I. anisatum more, but it's only hardy to zone 7. He says that the best (his word, not mine) is I. parviflorum, aka Anise Tree, which has olive green foliage. Its flowers are pale yellow and, he says, go virtually unnoticed.

On the issue of toxicity, he does mention that the foliage of Illiciums contains high levels of several compounds that are aromatic and either repel or are toxic to insects; this apparently helps the plants defend themselves. I wouldn't want to eat one, but I'm all for it if they want to ward off insect attacks.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 8:14PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

I have one plant that was planted in the new upper garden, so it's only had one really full growing season. It has slight variegation in the foliage, and it did produce several blooms last summer. I like to include broadleaf evergreen plants in my garden so that's why I planted this. The flowers were not impressive, although as I said it's only been in the ground for one full growing season (planted late spring 2011).

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 8:02AM
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diggingthedirt

Thanks, Bill - do you think yours might be I. floridanum 'Pink Frost' ? That one's available from Fairweather gardens. Did you happen to notice if it smelled fishy? (Of course, Fairweather doesn't mention that its odor isn't pleasant!)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:53PM
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diggingthedirt

Oops! I hit the 'reload' button on my browser, and didn't notice I was on that funny page you get to after you post to a thread. It re-submitted the same post I'd already sent.

Good thing we can edit our posts now, but I seem to recall that in the olden days GW wouldn't let you post twice to a thread without changing the subject line - that was a better approach, I think.

This post was edited by diggingthedirt on Wed, Feb 13, 13 at 16:42

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:38PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

DTD,
The label just has Illicium 'variegata' (Variegated Anise)
Ht. 6 to 8 feet, spread 4 to 6 feet. Hardy to about 0�F. I have not noticed any particular odor from the flowers, nor have I crushed a leaf to see what it may smell like. It has grown fairly well, but then all the plants in the new garden have only had part of 2011 and all of 2012 to get going. This year should be their "leap" year, so we'll see.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 5:56PM
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TimMAz6(6b)

I've been growing Illicium since 2004. I have a red and white flowered form. The white flowered plant is 8 feet tall now. Here's a recent photo in cold temps showing the leaf droop.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 9:38PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Mine is a variegated one with dark red flowers.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 1:59PM
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TimMAz6(6b)

cool.........no variegations on mine.....one red and one white flowered. A great smelling plant and they bloom 2x per season which is a treat.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 3:10PM
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diggingthedirt

Tim, do you happen to know the varieties of your plants? 8 feet sounds ideal.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 5:45PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

DTD, mine was also labled as 6-8 ft. high, just FYI.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 6:07PM
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TimMAz6(6b)

Diggingthedirt

I'll post some photos of the flowers tomorrow.....perhaps someone can ID them? I received rooted cuttings from a guy in NJ back in 2003 and I planted them in 2004. Last fall I visited his NJ garden and my eyes dropped to the ground when I saw one of his Illiciums.........it must have been approaching 20' tall and had a 6" diameter trunk...... I had no idea they get that big. I'm not sure if that was the same species he sent me since he had several species. Also, I have mine in full sun and it does great. I'll try to root some cuttings......I failed in an earlier attempt. Any tips on rooting them?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 9:54PM
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TimMAz6(6b)

Here's a few photos of the 2 Illiciums I have......can someone ID them?

Sorry....I deleted the HMTL since it's not working...see below post.

I think the Illiciums may be self seeding under the mother plants......if so I can repot them up for others.

This post was edited by TimMAz6 on Sat, Mar 2, 13 at 11:34

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 8:34AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Tim: Your photos aren't visible. The image says

"Sorry. This person moved or deleted this image. photobucket".

I'm really looking forward to seeing them.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 9:36AM
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TimMAz6(6b)

does photobucket work on this site?

I'll post the photos 1 by 1 in lieu of HMTL language.

White Illicium flower:

This post was edited by TimMAz6 on Sat, Mar 2, 13 at 11:33

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 11:16AM
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TimMAz6(6b)

Red flowered Illicium.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 11:35AM
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TimMAz6(6b)

seedling under the mother plant.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 11:36AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Many people here use photobucket, although there's been a little wierdness lately with the format change. I usually use tinypic.com which is a photobucket subsidiary and have no problems there.

When I control click on the Sorry. icon and copy the image location I get
http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c309/timmaz6/2013
TimMAz6 site

Using the image source commands doesn't work either

but if I try to open the link the photobucket sign in page appears. Maybe it's a public vs private site issue?

Claire

AHA! While I was writing my post you edited yours so the photos are now visible.

This post was edited by claire on Sat, Mar 2, 13 at 11:49

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 11:38AM
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TimMAz6(6b)

Hi Claire

I'll check my photobucket settings........perhaps it's not public anymore?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 12:37PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

The site that cannot be named and that I can't link to (something like Gave's Darden) has a nice article including:

"Cultivars of Illicium floridanum include the white-flowered form album, as well as cultivars like 'Semmes' and 'Alba'. Choose 'Halley's Comet' for darker flowers and an extended bloom time. For variety, select 'Shady Lady' for its variegated leaves and pink flowers. 'Pebblebrook' is a dwarf cultivar that grows to about 5 feet tall and wide."

Interesting also that Illicium droops its leaves in the cold like rhododendrons do.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 1:08PM
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diggingthedirt

Thanks for the pics, Tim. I think this is going on my list of must-have plants for 2013. I won't be picky about the cultivar, since these look lovely and they're NoIDs.

I was hoping to plant a row of them in shade, but I can probably squeeze them in somewhere where there's sun. The flowers are lovely, although I have the impression that they don't actually make much of an impression from any distance - that may be why they're not widely planted.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 1:38PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

NIce photos! I don't think I have any of mine in bloom, but the flowers look just like your red one. The only difference is that there is some variegation in the leaves, but just two shades of green, so not as noticeable as other variegated garden plants.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 5:04PM
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TimMAz6(6b)

We'll have to do some research to see what the best propagation of Illicium is????? I'll try to get some rooted for anyone who wants them.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 5:29PM
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