Loropetalum chinense

Botanical Name :Loropetalum chinense
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Genus: Loropetalum
Species: L. chinense
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Saxifragales

Synonyms  :  L. indicum. Hamamelis chinensis.

Common Name:Lacquer Tree, Fringe Flower, Chinese fringe flower.

Habitat :Loropetalum chinense is native to Japan and southeastern Asia including southern China. It grows on the rocky hills and dry open woods, often on limestone.  Stream banks, hilly slopes and roadsides.

Description:
Loropetalum is a finely textured evergreen shrub. It has a loose open form and will grow as high as 12 ft (3.7 m) and 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m) wide. Loropetalum has a spreading habit with branches arranged in horizontal layers. Young shrubs have greater spread than height and are densely branched. When vertical stems are periodically removed loropetalum makes an effective large scale groundcover with some newer varieties selected especially for that purpose. The flowers are arranged in small clusters with each having 4 narrow straplike petals that droop downward. Flowers resemble those of its close relative the witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana). There are white and red flowered forms of loropetalum and both bloom prolifically beginning in late winter into spring and then continue sporadically throughout the summer. The green-leafed varieties have fragrant flowers that are white or yellowish. ‘Rubra’ and ‘Razzleberri’ are among several named red flowered forms and tend to bloom earlier than the white form. The red forms are much showier in bloom than the white whose flowers tend to get lost with the effect that the shrub just looks like it has lighter foliage color when in bloom….

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The leaves of loropetalum are oval, 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) long and about 1 in (2.5 cm) wide and are held alternately on the stem. Foliage of the white form is light green to yellowish-green and lighter on the underside. Red forms typically have leaves that are darker green and have burgundy, red or copper tints depending on the selection.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Screen, Standard, Superior hedge, Specimen. Requires a rich well-drained neutral to acid soil in full sun or light shade. Requires a lime-free humus-rich soil. One report says that it succeeds on a sheltered north wall whilst another says that it needs a sunny position and another says it needs warm summers. Prefers a cool root run. This species is not very cold-hardy in Britain, it is also slow growing. It succeeds outdoors in the mildest areas of the country, tolerating temperatures down to about -5°c. Plants do not flower well if the temperature drops below 5°c. The Japanese form of this species might be hardier. Plants grow taller in their native habitat, reaching a height of 3 metres. The flowers emit a delicate sweet perfume. Some named forms have been developed in Japan for their ornamental value. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

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Propagation:
Seed – sow in a warm greenhouse in late winter or early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Fair to good percentage. Layering in the spring .

Uses:
In the past few years loropetalum has become increasingly popular and is now seen everywhere from commercial properties to streetside plantings to residential. Everyone seems to be discovering the charms of this beautiful and robust shrub. Its graceful, horizontally layered shape makes it a perfect foundation plant and with periodic pruning can be used in hedges. The red flowered forms add beautiful contrasting color and texture in shrub borders and look great massed together. Lower growing varieties are now available for use as large scale ground cover.

Features
Attractive evergreen foliage, fragrant flowers and low maintenance requirements are just a few of loropetalum’s talents. Due to its vigor and adaptability, many new selections have become available in the past several years. This is the only member of the genus Loropetalum which is in the witchhazel family Hamamelidaceae. Other well known members of this large family are witch-alder (Fothergilla major), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) and parrotia (Parrotia persica).

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction of the whole plant is used in the treatment of coughing in tuberculosis, dysentery, enteritis etc. The leaves can be crushed and pulverized for external application on wounds.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.floridata.com/ref/l/loro_chi.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loropetalum_chinense

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Loropetalum+chinense

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