Originating from New Zealand
Strange, evergreen tree with narrow, downward-pointing, toothed leaves. This remarkable plant has a distinct juvenile stage, characterised by a single stem, with linear green/grey/bronze leaves up to 45cm long and less than 1cm wide, armed with jagged hooks and held at a strange angle from the stem, not unlike umbrella spokes. When the tree reaches a certain stage of maturity, around 10 years or 4m in height, the leaves become shorter, greener, leathery and altogether more conventional looking. Developing a tall, clear trunk of rough, corrugated bark and a compact, lollypop shaped crown, Pseudopanax, even in maturity is a superb, sculptural tree but remains a true oddity.
This bizarre, otherworldly plant looks stunning planted in a group but also offers great architectural exclamation marks in mixed planting schemes. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the French have a term for an ugly but nevertheless attractive woman – ‘Jolie laide’. Now if only there was an equivalent horticultural term we could give to Pseudopanx ferox.
Grow in well-drained soil in sun/part shade.
Height and spread after 3 – 4 years 1.2m x 20cm
Semi mature height and spread after 10 – 12 years 2.5m x 30cm
Potential mature height and spread after 20 years plus 4m x 1.5m