TETRAPANAX PAPYRIFER REX
TETRAPANAX PAPYRIFER REX
SORRY, CURRENTLY SOLD OUT OTHER THAN IN BIG POTS (thanks to Gardeners’ World!). The ultimate in architectural plants, with huge palmate leaves with claw-like lobes. Quite extraordinary. White flowers in the autumn, too. Tetrapanax Rex is by nature a woodlander, so doesn't want to be in too exposed a position. We find it very hardy down in the south, but it will regrow from the base if cut down by hard frosts. Any well drained soil. 6 feet plus. 2 litre pot. We also usually have larger plants in 5 or 7 litre pots for collection or local delivery only.
There’s something quite primeval about Tetrapanax Rex: you almost expect to see a dinosaur pop out from behind it, and that’s not just on account of its evocative name. It’s commonly known as the rice paper plant, as the pith from the stems was used to make rice paper in its native China, a custom that dates back to the third or fourth century. Today, however, rice paper is produced from a completely different plant species.
Tetrapanax Rex in the UK is derived from the original collection brought back from the Shei-Pa area of Taiwan in 1993 by the intrepid Bleddyn Wynn-Jones of Crug Farm plants who is also responsible for a couple of other named varieties.
The influence of BBC Gardeners' World cannot be underestimated. As soon as Tetrapanax Rex had featured on the programme a few years ago, interest in it suddenly surged. We find this happens quite a lot with the more uncommon species. Sighted in a Chelsea 2017 garden, which once again got the ball rolling. We once attended a plant fair at lll in Dorset , where the woodland walk in the gardens boasted a magnificent Tetrapax Rex with enormous leaves: we quickly sold the few plants we had brought and could have done so ten times over!
We have been trying Tetrapanax Rex in mid-sized patio pots and find they make quite a striking but manageable specimen treated in this way. Leaving them outdoors through the winter hasn’t been a problem: there may be leaf loss but the trunk remains intact and new leaves are quick to develop once warmer weather returns. Admittedly, that’s here in Southampton, but we have had some harsh spells in the last year or two.
This video shows off a magnificent specimen of the species, Tetrapanax Papyrifer, in full flowering mode in deepest Mississippi.
Tetrapanax Papyrifer Rex is a fairly hardy large shrub with huge claw like lobed leaves and white flowers in autumn suitable for sun or semi-shade.
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