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Syneilesis palmata

Syneilesis palmata
palmate umbrella plant
Syneilesis palmata
see how cute the young seedling is?

Common name palmate umbrella plant
Family asteraceae
Life cycle perennial (Z5-8)
Flowers white (summer)
Size 15"
Light part-full shade
Cultural notes ordinary soil (drough-tolerant)
From seed germinate at room temperature
detailed seed-starting info below
Seed ripensmid-October

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
In its third year, an odd bud...
Syneilesis palmata
...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.

palmate umbrella plant
Seedhead, collected in late November
Syneilesis palmata
Fat seeds
palmate umbrella plant
Lots of floppy duds
Syneilesis palmata

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

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PlantLinks to other web pages about Syneilesis palmata

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Seed-starting details for this plant

  1. Seed from '03 trade. Baggy 70F (50%G, 9-21d)-35F (5 wks)-70F (2 wks - no further G).
  2. Same seed as above. Baggy 70F (no G in 23d. moldy)
  3. Seed from '06 garden. Baggy 70F (100%G, 8-19d)
  4. Seed from '07 garden. Baggy 70F (53%G, 8-18d)
  5. Seed from '08 garden. Baggy 70F (70%G, 9-26d)
  6. Seed from '09 garden. Baggy 70F (95%G, 9-16d)
  7. Seed from '09 garden. Baggy 70F (60%G, 9-11d)
  8. 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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