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Portland Nursery

HEPTACODIUM: Seven Sons Flower

Strolling through Portland neighborhoods in October one may catch a hint of honeysuckle on the air and assume that it emanates from a flowery vine in the area.

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Heptacodium miconioides flowers - Photo credit: Ptelea.

Indeed there may be a few stray honeysuckle flowers still about, but it’s more likely coming from this unassuming tree. Seven Sons Flower, Heptacodium miconioides, spends October covered in tiny white flowers that pack a fruity sweet scent that is not to be missed.

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It gets even better when berries form and hot pink sepals (similar to Abelia sepals) cover the tree in dusky pink. When the show is over, the tree continues to perform, showing off lovely bark that peels off in long shredded bits.

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Add to this great pest and disease resistance and small stature and we come close to perfection!

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Heptacodium miconiodes

FACTS: HEPTACODIUM

Family: Caprifoliaceae – Honeysuckle Family

Genus: Heptacodium (hep-tuh-COE-dee-um)

Common: Seven Sons Flower – flower whorls contain seven small flowers

Origin: China

Characteristics: Just one species, Heptacodium micoinoides exists. Honeysuckle-scented white flowers bloom in late summer to early fall. Purplish-red fruit follows, covered by sepals that change from green to bright pink and add ornamental appeal.

Green lance-shape leaves turn gold before dropping in autumn. Interesting bark peels off in long strips and the tree has a graceful sinuous shape in maturity.

Size: Grows 15-20’ tall x 8-10’ wide, making a nice small tree.

Culture: Sun or part shade, not fussy about soil type. If it’s planted in a very hot spot, water deeply (45 minutes with a soaker hose) every other week in summer — if planted in a cooler shadier area it may be fine without extra water once established.

Hardy zone 5 (-20f)

Problems: Usually pest & disease free.