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Chimonanthus praecox 'Grandiflorus'

Chimonanthus praecox 'Grandiflorus'

Thanks again to Eric La Fountaine for the write-up and photograph today!

The bright snow-covered flowers of Chimonanthus praecox 'Grandiflorus' indicate the reason for the first half of the species' common name, winter sweet. If you pass by the plant on Upper Asian Way in the David C. Lam Asian Garden, the sweetness drifts heavily in the air — even on a snowy winter day. 'Grandiflorus' has yellow flowers with maroon centres, which are larger than those of the species. The Royal Horticultural Society gave the cultivar an Award of Garden Merit in 1928 and a First Class Certificate in 1991. The heady fragrance is intoxicating, especially in winter when few flowers bloom in the garden. The scent of the species and its other cultivars is said to be even stronger than 'Grandiflorus'.

Native to China, Chimonanthus praecox is a multibranching deciduous shrub that can grow to 4 metres or more in height and spread. The winter bloomer is hardy to USDA Zone 6.


Does this plant rely on an insect pollinator? If so, I wonder who is active when it blooms to take care of that chore.... The flowers seem showy to be wind pollinated.

Yellow and smelly sure sounds insect pollenated to me, though I'm not sure either who is alive and flying this time of year.

Conditions might be different in wild habitat.

Chimonanthus kee-mon-anth-us From Gk. cheima [winter] and anthos [a flower] referring to its winter-flowering habit. praecox prie-koks. Early [flowering] Dictionary of Plant Names, Coombes

I am also curious as to who the pollenator could be! Perhaps a bird? It seems to suggest an insect though. Perhaps someone could find out?

Here on VI, just over the water from Vancouver, we get lots of warm days in the winter with a few bugs around. I have no idea of the conditions of its native soil.

is this the plant known as wintersweet

Possible pollinators: A quick Google search on Chimonanthus pollinator turns up several papers in Chinese. The automatic translation is not great, but bees (Apis) and a couple of flies are mentioned as pollinators.

I don't know who/how this plant is pollinated. Certainly there are insects, including moths of several families, that are active and flying in the early winter and late winter as well. Bernd Heinrich has written about how these poikilothermic, ("cold-blooded"), critters manage this in Natural History and elsewhere. Any observant New Englander has seen various insects flying when the temps are around and somewhat below freezing.

lovely flower capture.

I brought a few wintersweet seeds from Iran last summer. Indoor, I planted them as I was advised. At the moment 3 of them grow about 15-20 CM. A few days ago I plant them in my garden where they can have more sun between two walls. Should I cover them this long winter.I am open to any suggestion. It's a new experiment for me, plant lover.

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