|see how cute the young seedling is? |
15" tall stalks topped with umbrella-shaped divided leaves. Silky new growth in spring. In summer, fuzzy white flowers. Distinctly different. We grew it from seed a few years ago, and even as seedlings they're a curiosity. The second year, we got to witness that silky new growth - almost like a Q-tip emerging from the soil. The third year growth was much stronger, and one of the plants bloomed. By year four, the nice full display above was attained - an asset to our shade garden! Plants emerge cautiously in mid to late April, then quickly grow to their full stature.
||palmate umbrella plant
||ordinary soil (drough-tolerant)
||germinate at room temperature
detailed seed-starting info below
|In its third year, an odd bud... |
|...growing into a splattering of pinkish, odd-looking flowers |
|Seed set is tricky for this genus - I've received packets full of duds even from society seed exchanges. It appears that the plants are only very seldom self-fertile, and require neighboring flowering plants to produce seed. I collected two viable seeds the first year I had flowers (on just one plant), but lots more the next year, when more plants bloomed. Once you've seen them, the blimp-shaped seeds are easy to recognize and distinguish from the flattish, floppy duds that are produced in profusion.
|Seedhead, collected in late November |
|Fat seeds |
|Lots of floppy duds |
We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.
Seed for this plant is included on my seed trade list
One or more images of this plant are included in my stock photo catalog
About my plant portraits
PlantLinks to other web pages about Syneilesis palmata
Visitors to this page have left the following comments
|Susan Johnston||Dec 04, 2005||Your site does not mention, but I'm curious to know if these plants go dormant in warm weather? I bought a tiny plant last year, but when it warmed up, it "went away" I prefer to call it. Any comment is welcome.
Mature plants do not go dormant in summer - ours stay around until hard freezes send them underground. Perhaps young plants, before they reach flowering stage, disappear earlier in the year.
|Debbie In Upstate NY||Jul 16, 2009||In your seeding setails regarding the umbrella plant, what does the 50%(G) stand for. I was able to dig up 2 of these umbrellas and they are doing fine. I only have 2 stalks with NO flowers, am I out of luck for next year? Or will they come back? Our winters can reach belaow 0 on occassion. I hope they will survive. WHere I got them, there are several, so they may be ok, but not sure.|
I think your plants will do OK with the climate. They don't set many seeds even when they flower - it sounds like you'll have to wait till next year to collect seed. 50%G means that half of the seeds I started germinated.
|Mabel in Penn Yan, N.Y.||Aug 05, 2009||What great photos and information on the palmate unbrella plant. Thanks so much, of course I picked my seed head this week before reading your article.|
|Gene Spurgeon||Sep 13, 2009||Rob,
I thought I'd talked to you within the last two years and you still had no luck with seed. I was obviously wrong. There is hope! Just bought four aconitifolias from the Scott Plant Sale. Will see how they do in the next year or so. Did you buy all of yours from the same source? Dan Hinkley had no luck with seeds 18 yrs ago and speculated the problem was that all his plants were clones.
My original seed came from Carol Lim, though not through the HPS seed exchange. That yielded me several plants, which are still with me today. They have set seed from their third year onward, although the quantity varies greatly with the individual plant and year. It looks like this year isn't going to be good for seed... The one I hadn't had luck with when I spoke with you was S. aconitifolia. I finally struck gold with the NARGS seed exchange, and got seedlings for two different color variants this spring. I hope they survive their first year - a challenge with syneilesis in my experience.
|criz||Apr 08, 2010||i had no luck in growing the abundant seeds but was more fortunate with the tubers or corm of the syneleisis aconitifolia clumps in increasing my plants, they all make seeds which has not germinated at all. any suggestions?|
In my experience, viable seed germinates easily. My guess is you collected duds from your plants (see the photos above for details). Some flowers don't set any viable seeds at all; I've found that later-maturing flowers contain more plump seeds.
|Irene Barlow (Washington, DC)||Jun 26, 2012||I have some of these plants and they come back every year. They have a nice smell from the plant when it blooms.|
|Dana||Apr 04, 2013||DO you know if the variegated sport 'Kikko' is slower to emerge in the spring ? I have one I planted last year and nothing yet. My other umbrella plants are up already .|
I'm not familiar with that sport, but if it's the same species, I doubt it would emerge at a much different time. I hope it still does for you, though.
|Chuck||Nov 14, 2014||Rob, Can you give specific instructions on growing the Syneilesis from seed? What type of medium, when to start indoors,how long to germination, moisture, etc.|
If you have good seed, these are easy to grow. I use standard potting soil, start in mid-winter to have reasonably sized seedlings to plant out in mid-late spring, and provide moderate moisture both indoors and outdoors the first year.
|Kevin||Mar 29, 2019||All this discussion of plump vs. non-viable seeds might really be a different germination issue. What no website seems to mention is whether Syneilesis seeds need cold stratification. In Wisconsin, I collected a number of pods last fall from several plants that had bloomed, and am now wondering if I should stick them in the freezer for a month before attempting to bring these to life.|
Just look at my germination results below: viable seed germinates with high success rate at room temperature in 1-3 weeks, no need for cold stratification. But no matter what treatment you give them, the flimsy duds won't germinate :-)
- Seed from '03 trade. Baggy 70F (50%G, 9-21d)-35F (5 wks)-70F (2 wks - no further G).
- Same seed as above. Baggy 70F (no G in 23d. moldy)
- Seed from '06 garden. Baggy 70F (100%G, 8-19d)
- Seed from '07 garden. Baggy 70F (53%G, 8-18d)
- Seed from '08 garden. Baggy 70F (70%G, 9-26d)
- Seed from '09 garden. Baggy 70F (95%G, 9-16d)
- Seed from '09 garden. Baggy 70F (60%G, 9-11d)
- Seed from '12 garden. Baggy 70F (91%G, 7-23d)
Apparently the seed has low long-term viability. Our plants set very few viable seeds, surrounded by lots of somewhat convincing duds. Only the really plump, blimp-shaped ones are really seeds. I've received trades, and even society seed exchange lots, with nothing but duds.
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