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Edgeworthia chrysantha is often confused with:
Rhododendron Rhododendron spp.
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Oxydendrum arboreum Oxydendrum arboreum leaves in the fall in Moore County
Acer rubrum Acer rubrum
Tilia americana Tilia americana

Oriental Paper Bush Edgeworthia chrysantha

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Edgeworthia papyrifera
Phonetic Spelling
edj-WOR-thee-uh kris-ANTH-uh
Description

Edgeworthia chrysantha, also known as the paperbush plant, provides superb winter interest and fragrance.  This well-branched shrub begins blooming in December, when it’s nothing but a bare silhouette in the garden, and continues through the winter.  The individual florets are tiny, but a few dozen make up a 1½- to 2-inch cluster that will simply knock you sideways.  Like daphnes, you can smell edgeworthia long before you can see it.  The fragrance is a bit like gardenia with a slightly spicier element.

Edgeworthia thrives in partial shade and appreciates well-enriched, moist soil.  In spring, after the blooms pass, it sports lovely bluish foliage with silvery undertones that are both eye-catching and soothing.  In the summer you might mistake it for rhododendron.  It has a beautiful shape and form.  Grown in the sun, the foliage is still acceptable, though not as lush green as a rhododendron grown in a shaded area.  And in autumn – yes, another season of color – the foliage turns rich shades of yellow.

This shrub grows in zones 7 to 9, and in protected areas of Zone 6.  It eventually reaches 7 feet high and wide and makes a nice stand-alone specimen or back-of-the-border choice.  Space these plants about 7 feet apart in partial shade and rich, moist soil.  You don’t have to worry about missing the scent of the blooms, but you may want to plant it within reach of passersby because the foliage invites handling.  Be sure to snip a few blooms to keep the house fragrant through the winter.

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Akabana'
  • 'Gold Rush'
  • 'John Bryant'
  • 'Red Dragon'
    orange-red flowers
  • 'Snow Cream'
'Akabana', 'Gold Rush', 'John Bryant', 'Red Dragon', 'Snow Cream'
Tags:
#bees#fragrant#red#fall color#yellow#fragrant flowers#specimen#yellow flowers#cut flowers#winter interest#year-round interest#flower arrangements#cpp#pollinator plant#fall color yellow#silver buds#butterfly friendly#winter flowers
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Akabana'
  • 'Gold Rush'
  • 'John Bryant'
  • 'Red Dragon'
    orange-red flowers
  • 'Snow Cream'
'Akabana', 'Gold Rush', 'John Bryant', 'Red Dragon', 'Snow Cream'
Tags:
#bees#fragrant#red#fall color#yellow#fragrant flowers#specimen#yellow flowers#cut flowers#winter interest#year-round interest#flower arrangements#cpp#pollinator plant#fall color yellow#silver buds#butterfly friendly#winter flowers
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Edgeworthia
    Species:
    chrysantha
    Family:
    Thymelaeaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Inner bark is used to make paper hence the common name.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Description:
    Dry drupes
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Description:
    Tiny tubular flowers with no petals in dense umbles of 40 golden yellow flowers. Silvery flower buds appear in late summer and open in the winter when few other plants are in bloom.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Rich narrow green leaves gray-green below, with short stalks have the best color in some shade. Turn attractive shade of yellow in the fall. Leaves resemble the plumeria.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Bark Description:
    Smooth brown
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Brown attractive stems
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators