Plant of the Day – Illicium anisatum ‘Murasaki no Sato’

New foliage emerges dark purple before fading to deep green around a chartreuse central variegation.

New foliage emerges dark purple before fading to deep green around a chartreuse central variegation.

Few evergreen shrubs are as rock solid performers for us at the JC Raulston Arboretum as star anise – Illicium anisatum. Over the years we’ve grown quite a few selections of this species and of other Illiciums including our native I. floridanum and I. parviflorum. Our collection now includes 39 taxa or different forms of anise from 11 different species. Few of these plants can compare to I. anisatum ‘Murasaki no Sato’ though. We originally received this plant under the name ‘Koshuan’ but apparently it came from Mr. Yamaguchi of Yamaguchi Rare Plants in Japan who named it (it translates to “purple village”). It has been sold in the US incorrectly as ‘Kumson’ and with the trademark Purple Glaze. Ultimately we expect it to form a large evergreen shrub. In early spring white 3/4 inch flowers with streaks of pink are carried in clusters of 3-7. New growth emerges glossy, black-purple and slowly fades to dark, forest green surrounding a small pale chartreuse center. The variegation on older leaves is very faint. New flushes are quite showy throughout the season. We have found star anise to be quite cold tolerant, surviving throughout North Carolina with little problem. Plant in sun or shade.

A young plant in our Japanese garden with a mid-summer flush of growth.

A young plant in our Japanese garden with a mid-summer flush of growth.

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

White flowers with pink stripes are quite interesting in spring.

White flowers with pink stripes are quite interesting in spring.

Few temperate plants can match the dark color of the emerging foliage of 'Murasaki no Sato'

Few temperate plants can match the dark color of the emerging foliage of ‘Murasaki no Sato’

 

Check out all the happenings at http://www.ncsu.edu/jcraulstonarboretum

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