Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Persicaria Amplexicaulis ‘Alba’

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch
Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Alba' flower (17/09/2011, London)

Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Alba' flower (17/09/2011, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Summer to early autumn

Soil: Moist 

Eventual Height: 1.2m

Eventual Spread: 1m

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5a-9b

Family: Polygonaceae

Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Alba’ is a semi-evergreen herbaceous perennial with a clump forming habit. Its foliage is dark green in colour,  3-4 inches long and form a think mound like habit. The leaves of this plant clasp the stems which are quite long, upright and bronzy in colour. The flowers are white in colour and are quite slender in appearance. They are borne on the dark stems and appear in the from of long thin spikes of tiny clustered, fluffy round flowers in profusion.

P. amplexicaulis ‘Alba’, commonly known as Mountain Fleece, is native to the Himalayas. There are amphibious varieties of this plant that can grow in ponds.  This plants genus has a long history of herbal use both in Eastern and Western herb remedies to treat illnesses like diarrhea. This plant likes pond areas and would be suitable for growth in a boggy habitat. This plant will spread steadily but is not invasive.

The name Persicaria is derived from the Latin persicarus ’peach tree’ in reference to the likeness to the leaves of a peach tree. Amplexicaulis is derived from the Latin amplectimeaning ‘surround, encircle or embrace’ in reference to the way the leaves clasp the stem.

Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Alba' (17/09/2011, London)

Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Alba' (17/09/2011, London)

The landscape architect may find this plant useful as an effective ground cover plant. It is also suitable for planting in damp areas, near lakes or ponds.

Ecologically this plant is attractive to bees and other insects.

This plant prefers soils which are moist. It can tolerate heavy clay soils. It will tolerated all soil pH levels.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given their prestigious Award of Garden to the ‘Firetail’ variety of this plant in 1993.

Maintenance: This plant requires little maintenance. Lift and divide congested colonies in spring or autumn.

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