This shrubby plant adorns the the Scented Garden with autumnal flower and fragrance.
A native of eastern China, Heptacodium miconioides is a monotypic species occurring in the Anhui, Zhejiang and Hubei provinces of eastern China, where it grows to altitudes of 900m in woodlands and forest margins. Though a widely admired flowering shrub in the West, it is categorised as vulnerable in its native range by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. It is a member of the honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae), and has opposite leaves typical of the family, and in this case they three prominent veins. The fragrant, two-lipped, creamy-white flowers are borne in panicles at the stem tips and in the upper leaf axils, and these are followed by tiny rounded fruits with five rose-pink, persistent and showy calyx segments. Attractive peeling bark is revealed when the leaves fall. In its native China the common name ‘seven son flower of Zhejiang’ refers to the seven-part flower clusters that make up the inflorescence.