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Edgeworthia chrysantha (Paper Bush or Worthingtonia)

The Paper Bush from China, Japan and Nepal that sounds like it’s named after a bank manager. It was actually named after the sister of an Irish botanist – Maria Edgeworth.

Slow growing to about 4ft x 4ft after 7 or 8 years, it’s deciduous and produces its fragrant yellow flowers in late winter, before the leaves appear. There’s always much excitement over the flowers but the plant in leaf is beautiful and mildly exotic. The leaves are long and thin and hang down and are reminiscent of Euphorbia mellifera, Oleander and Echium fastuosum

There is a lot of contradictory advice on pruning back Edgeworthia. We have done it and managed to be successful. They can get quite congested so we pruned an established one in March time and cut it back by a third and it flourished.

In Japan the bark is (or was) used for making fine quality and durable paper.

Propagated by cuttings.

P.S. The common name ‘Worthingtonia’ is what we’ve always called them on the nursery. Why? I haven’t the remotest idea.


N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.

Hardiness traffic light amber

Hardiness level Amber

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Hardy in the Home Counties if sensibly sited (avoiding severe frost pockets, for example). Many Amber Labelled Plants are from cuttings from well-established plants that have survived many harsh winters in the South-East.

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.