Thursday, July 2, 2009

Japanese Sunflower

Tithonia diversifolia ,Japanese sunflower
I am not sure why this is called the Japanese sunflower as it is native to Central America and unlike the annual sunflower this one is perennial and is winter flowering. It grows to be quite a big shrub about 3 metres tall, usually branching from the base and spreading an equal distance. It has large palmate, lobed  leaves which are rough to touch . Fallen leaves and the roots are said to exude a substance which inhibits the growth of plants around it;  an effective way of dealing with the competition. I passed one in flower today and it looked magnificent in the winter sunshine. However this plant is a weed in Queensland and northern New South Wales. If you do grow it the garden it is advisable to prune it after flowering to reduce the risk of it becoming weedy here.

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