If you want an easy-to-grow, small tree or larger shrub with almost fern-like, compound pinnate leaves, crowned by yellow catkins, open in early Summer, and a fissured, rough grey bark, this is plant is for you.
Platycarya strobilacea, commonly called platycarya, but we just call it cone nut, due to its cone-like fruit, is a small deciduous tree that typically grows to shrub size in the UK with a rounded crown. Separate male and female flowers in catkins appear in June-July, followed by winged seeds in cone-like structures. Female cones mature to a showy chestnut brown as the fruits (winged nutlets) form and ripen. Female “cones” remain on the tree throughout winter, providing excellent winter interest, before falling to the ground in spring.
It is native to mixed forests on mountain slopes in China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam. Although it is a member of the walnut family, the fruits are inedible and resemble cones more than nuts. The genus name comes from the Greek word platys meaning broad and karya meaning nut in reference to the winged nutlets. The Greek word strobilos meaning rounded ball in reference to the rounded, cone-like, fruiting clusters.
Excellent quality, 4-5cm tall plant in an 7cm square pot.
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