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Astilboides tabularis, Gunnera and Brunnera....


By Lori

Ontario, Canada Ca

I have left questions in various places but so far no answers, so perhaps I've been asking in the wrong places...I've observed the obvious similarities of these three plants...and knowing that changes have been taking place in the taxonomic name game...I wondered if anyone else had researched these large leaved water loving plants...and could help me be less confused by them? I have a spot in the back of my garden where I am planning a bog spot (No not blog...bog as in my climate means that whatever I choose of these three, it will be an annual planting...
Don't know much about any of these three, but I do believe that the Brunnera is a corm or rhizome...I've looked in the books I have at hand and it appears that a google or wiki is required because I can't find much about them in my library.



Hi Lori. You could try the search top left corner of this website. A few results for Gunnera and also Brunnera. Sorry I don't have the answer for you but thought I would plug our search facility as not many use it and we don't know why :)

12 Mar, 2008


OK here goes Lori!!
From the BBC Gardening website. You may have to change the timings on things due to these being the seasonal timings for the UK

Brunnera - Common Name: False forget-me-not
Genus: Brunnera
Species: macrophylla
Cultivar: 'Jack Frost'
Skill Level: Beginner
Exposure: Partial shade, Shade
Hardiness: Hardy
Soil type: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Dry, Moist
Height: 45cm
Spread: 60cm
Time to divide plants: March to May

Brunnera is an ideal plant to choose if you're looking for something a little more unusual for the spring garden. Throughout April and May, 'Jack Frost' is covered with lots of small, bright blue flowers which look rather like forget-me-nots. These are complemented by the beautiful heart-shaped foliage which is a pale silver-grey with pronounced dark green veins. To get the best results, plant it in a moisture-retentive, humus-rich soil, where it will form lush attractive ground cover. It looks particularly striking planted in drifts in the woodland garden.

Gunnera - Common Name: Gunnera
Genus: Gunnera
Species: manicata
Skill Level: Experienced
Exposure: Full sun, Partial shade
Hardiness: Hardy
Soil type: Moist, Boggy
Height: 180cm
Spread: 220cm
Time to divide plants: March to May
Flowering period: July to August

Gunnera is one of the biggest and most spectacular, architectural, herbaceous plants, commonly thought of as 'giant rhubarb'. The plants need a lot of space because it is difficult to restrict their size. They look best as specimen plants in a damp bog garden, or beside a large pond where the reflections reveal the prickly undersides of the leaves. The fat growth buds clustered in the crown are prone to frost damage, so pile the dead leaves and stems into a mound over the plants in autumn for winter protection - they make quite a feature of their own. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

And from the Cornell University site (Mary Hirshfeld) - Shieldleaf (Astilboides tabularis) is the most majestic member of the umbrella trio. Its rounded leaves can reach more than two feet across and are held on stately three-foot-tall petioles. Shieldleaf's creamy flowers are carried in long, dense, slightly triangular plumes that drape gracefully forward from their own weight. This plant performs best in a moist, shaded location where its majestic leaves are protected from sun scorch. Although Shieldleaf (Astilboides tabularis) is
recommended for streamside planting, I have never known Astilboides to thrive or even persist for long in boggy conditions. A native of China and Korea, shieldleaf is perfectly winter hardy, although its emerging young leaves can be killed back by a hard late spring frost. To prevent early leaf emergence, select a site where the soil will remain cool into the spring, thereby encouraging plants to remain dormant until the danger of hard frosts has passed.

Some more infor. Hope it helps - I'm going to get a coffee now lol

12 Mar, 2008


Last year I sent an order to a mail order firm for Brunnera- nice silvery leaves but moderate size. They sent me Gunnera- enormous rhubarb like leaves- can grow extremely large but does like lots of moisture. How large a space have you got for it? When I pointed out that they occurred on different pages of the catalogue and had different numbers, they managed to send me the right plant. Brunnera has increased into a nice clump. Bought another one which grows in deep shade but still silvery.I am very pleased with it. The blue flowers in spring are nice too.It doesnt seem to require huge amounts of moisture. Dont know the other one you mention.

13 Mar, 2008


Thanks Ajay...been making good use of the search that you've pointed it out. wow Maple! Thankyou...what a lot of typing..that coffee was well earned and I thankyou and apologize for taking so long to retrace my steps to find your answer to my question...I also looked at good old google ...I finally bought a brunnera...hhahaha Celandine...did they accept the gunnera back or do you have it now too? mine had flowers but not too many. expect next year it will be gorgeous as it's leaves are beautiful and large.
I really wanted a gunnera but the more I researched it the more I came to realize that it was not hardy enough and would be more of a concern and a bother than a pleasure...I planted Castor Bean seeds and they are starting to fill in and look huge, just where I needed a Thank you all, very much.

2 Jul, 2008

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