Why Eucryphia Thrives On The West Coast?

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Eucryphias are desirable for the glory of their late summer bloom and, in cool-winter climates, for the brilliancy of autumn foliage. In 1859, E. glutinosa was introduced into England from Chile. 

Considered one of the hardiest, this tree may be seen in flower in the Arboretum of Washington, Seattle, where five different eucryphias are grown.

West Coast EucryphiaPin

It differs from most eucryphias in having leaves composed of three to five leaflets instead of being entire. 

These 2” inches long leathery leaflets are dark green and resemble maple leaves. In autumn, they go shades of orange, crimson, and bronze. 

The single flower, produced near the end of a shoot, is a shallow white bowl usually over 3” inches across. 

A handsome brush of stamens centers it and reminds one of a single camellia bloom or stewartia. 

For its best enjoyment, the tree should be placed where light can catch the pink in the spring shoots and shine on the succulent-looking petals in August.

E. glutinosa is not easy to transplant and should be placed in its permanent location while young, for pot-bound plants never quite recover.

Eucryphia Nymansensis

As far as has been determined. E. nymansensis is the best species for California gardens. Eucryphia is soil rich in acid humus, the kind of soil needed by European heathers. 

Rhododendrons and dogwoods, but E. nymansensis are more tolerant of the non-acid soil found in most parts of California and of alkaline water. 

Even so, it should be helped out by acid fertilizer. E. nymansensis is a superb natural hybrid between E. glutinosa and E. cordifolia. 

Most eucryphias must be 15 years old before flowering, but E. nymansensis blooms when younger.

It is a good tree for woodland and a very free bloomer. The specimens I saw at Nymans (the Sussex garden where, in 1915, the chance seedling sprang up) were about 35-foot flower-laden columns, and the lawn beneath them was snowy with petals.

Eucryphia Cordifolia

Eucryphia cordifolia is distinctly tender in the Northwest. On the Cornwall Coast, it is used as a windbreak, and the trees are compact 36-foot columns, bushy to the ground. 

In a Somerset garden, I saw an enormous specimen planted soon after E. cordifolia was introduced from southern Chile in 1851, which was a forest tree 120′ feet high. 

The 3-inch evergreen leaves, carried closely all up the stem, are cordate – oblong, stiff, dark green with wavy margins. The shiny 2-inch white flowers have fluted petals, and the anthers are crimson.

Eucryphia need rich humus, good drainage, and a ground cover to shade their roots. Low heathers can be used in the Northwest, Cotoneaster Dammeri, or trailing manzanitas in the South. However, a strong sun will scorch the flowers.

44659 by Lester Rowntree