Poncirus

Poncirus is indigenous in northern China and Korea, and comprises only one species which can be left outside in winter if it is properly protected, and flowers profusely after a warm autumn; the decorative, bare, winter shoots are suitable for cut flowers. P. trifoliata (syn. Citrus trifoliata), Japanese bitter orange, is a deciduous, woody-stemmed shrub with green, thorny, squarish, stout shoots, green leaves which turn yellow and are composed of three leaflets, and fragrant, pure white flowers which appear before the leaves and consist of 4-5 spreading petals; in the autumn it has yellow, orange-like, inedible fruits, 4-5 cm across.

Young specimens should be covered in winter or be planted in tubs and placed in a cool, frost-free position for the winter in a sheltered, warm, sunny spot (under an awning), in normal, well-drained (clay) soil; Pieris ‘Forest Flame’ prune after flowering. Propagate from seed (unheated greenhouse) or from summer cuttings.

Grows to a height of 2-3 m and flowers in late March/early April. It has thin, greyish-brown shoots, oval, bristly-toothed leaves, 3-5 cm long, which turn a beautiful colour in autumn, and countless white flowers with a dark pink calyx and receptacle; there are several low-growing cultivars.

P. lusitanica, Portuguese laurel, is less winter-hardy and evergreen. It grows 3-4 m tall and flowers profusely in June, when it is older. It has shiny, dark green, oval, finely serrated leaves, 7-10 cm long, on dark red stems, clusters of large, white flowers and black bunches of fruits; it is suitable as foliage to cover walls or as a hedge. Grow in a sheltered, slightly shady spot, in fertile soil, rich in lime and humus; propagate from seed.

P. persica ‘Klara Mayer’, ornamental peach, is an erect, broad shrub or tree up to 5 m.

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