The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Heptacodium miconioides, Star of the September Woodland Garden

Heptacodium miconioides, in bloom, behind the Blue Bench Terrace and Shed

Three views of dozens of butterflies collecting nectar

It had never crossed my mind, until I read Doug Tallamy's book, Bringing Nature Home, that butterflies might be in trees. Now that I have limbed up the oak tree in the woodland garden, the butterflies seemed to have made a pilgrimage to the newly revealed Heptacodium miconioides tree behind the shed in the lower garden.

Heptacodium miconioides, or the Seven-Son flower, 15-20 foot tall China-native that has clusters of seven white flowers which bloom in late summer. The flowers are followed by small redish-purple friuts on persistent, and equally ornamental, rose-colored calyces that look good well into autumn. As I mentioned in earlier posts, Heptacodium miconioides also has exfoliating tan bark that is a garden feature throughout the winter.


  1. That is really a lovely click. I never seen such stunning photos. All those butterflies are lovely. Quite a scene in the garden. Lovely!

  2. Sounds like the perfect small - mid tree with a lot to offer year round!! So many butterflies....must be quite a sight, Michael. Would be wonderful in a town / urban garden.

  3. I love this shrub but have always told myself I don't have a place for it. But I do. I just have to remove my Viburnum pragense and plant it in that sunny spot.

  4. Elle,
    It really looks lovely this year. Thanks for your kind words.

    Loi and James,
    In a tiny plot like mine, I would call this a small tree rather than a large shrub. I was surprised when it began to grow over my shed. I have limbed mine up to reveal the bark and in fact it has gotten so large I can walk underneath it. No matter what you call it, it is a great plant with multi-seasonal interest for either a large or small property.

  5. Hi – Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Gardening Community at Our members will love it.
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    It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website...
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    Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
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    Share something to get us through winter!

  6. Hi Michael. Aren't those butterflies the ones that pour in across the United States in their billions from South America? I've never seen so many in one place! Wonderful.

    1. Yes, that is right, Faisal. I recently learned that it takes several generations of Monarchs to migrate through North America.



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