Plant of the Day – Musella lasiocarpa

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Few plants can provide the visual impact in temperate gardens that hardy bananas can give. This species is a relative of the true banana (Musa) but instead of forming a tall upright pseudostem the Musella lasiocarpa or Chinese yellow banana forms a shrubbier plant growing only to about 6′ tall.  The multiple trunks hold long, paddle-like pale green leaves that emerge standing straight up before spreading wide.  The trunks of mature clumps are topped with huge (8″) gold flowers which resemble opening water lotus blossoms giving rise to another common name – golden lotus banana.  The flowers are actually small but are covered by large, showy bracts resembling petals.  Musella is perfectly hardy in zone 7 gardens once established and can probably survive colder areas with significant mulching or careful siting.  Plants prefer a rich, moist, well-drained soil where they can quickly become quite large.

Follow me at @jcramark because life is too short for boring plants.

The large golden "flowers" of Musella lasiocarpa are actually many small flowers with large yellow bracts.

The large golden “flowers” of Musella lasiocarpa are actually many small flowers with large yellow bracts.

See what else is happening at the JC Raulston Arboretum – http://www.ncsu.edu/jcraulstonarboretum/index.php

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