Plant of the Month January 2016

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Viburnam tinus Laurustinus is a flowering shrub or small tree in the family Adoxaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean area of Europe and hardy in the UK. Laurus means the evergreen leaves are like those of bay laurel.

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Why choose such a ‘common’ shrub usually grown as a dusty hedge in small town gardens?  It deserves a better press and a number of cultivars have an RHS Award of Garden Merit.  ‘Eve Price’ perhaps being the most well known. Perhaps just an architectural background dark shrub in summer, it comes into its own in winter. Few plants have such a long flowering period lasting from October to June. At Reveley this year the shady area by the pond is lightened by small star shaped flowers in a flat cluster 5 to 10 cm in diameter. They are pink in bud opening to white with a delicate fragrance. The fruits are a metallic blue black.

It is said to have medicinal uses with an infusion of leaves having antipyretic properties. Tinctures have been used to treat depression. The tannins the plant contains may cause stomach ‘upset’.

I will avoid ingesting it and just admire the pretty fragrant flowers thriving in the shade.

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