Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Jeffersonia Dubia

Jeffersonia dubia is native to Manchuria and Korea; the Asian counterpart to our lovely native twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla. Unlike twinleaf, the leaf of J. dubia is only divided at the top, and has striking reddish edging. The flowers are white on twinleaf, and an ethereal lilac color on dubia. It is invariably stated in garden books that dubia is altogether a superior plant to our native diphylla... and it is. In addition to the nicer leaves, the flowers of dubia last up to two weeks, while those of diphylla last at best a week, and the foliage of dubia is much more persistent. I will say, that for me twinleaf does spread by seeding much more easily; if planted on a slope, new little plants pop up all over below it... hardly a problem.
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I can't agree that J. dubia is superior to J. diphylla. Does color and another week of bloom equate to a better wild flower? I like them equally well. White emphasizes the form of the flower which in the case of J. diphylla is dainty yet complex with multiple petals radially arrayed.
Ki... it's not a better wildflower, but its a better garden flower. I originally felt just like you, but after living with both for quite a few years, I have to admit, dubia is better overall (in the garden); the color is unearthly, the flowers last twice as long (twinleaf is almost as bad as bloodroot... one puff of wind-driven rain, and they're gone), and I think the leaves of dubia are just the cat's meow. Admittedly it's like choosing between chocolate and vanilla ice cream. If the snow ever melts (it's snowing like crazy here now) I'm going to transplant some of my twinleaf babies to other spots in the garden.
Thought of you while reading the new issue of Horticulture-the spread on primroses didn't teach me anything you already had!!
*snow in Northern Illinois, now, too*
Iboy, having not seen the J. dubia, I'll have to take your word for it. Your photos of the flowers are wonderful and I wish I had a few in my garden along with the J. diphylla I do have, if it would only appear. Even the bloodroots have yet to unfurl their leaves but I finally saw a hint of the spotted wintergreen Chimaphilia maculata today so maybe spring is really around the corner.
You have presented yet another plant I'd not heard of, and must now posess! Your blog is my shopping list-thanks!
Sissy... it's FINALLY supposed to warm up. We had four inches of snow, but it melted in about two hours today.
Ki... you can grow wintergreen? (He said jealously.) Too hot in the summer for it here.
Lisa... dubia is pretty easy to find, and usually pretty reasonable. I'd try and send you seed, but I'm told you must sow it at once to have success.
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