Orchard Tree, Mountain Ebony
- Broadleaf semi-evergreen to deciduous shrub or tree, most often observed as a multi-stemmed, wide-spreading
shrub, can be staked so it develops into an attractive tree about 25 ft (~7.5 m) tall and similar width.
Leaves simple, alternate, to 20 cm, bilobed to about one-third the blade, lobes obtuse, base
subobicular or cordate, light green, sparsely hairy on veins below. Flowers in terminal clusters
(racemes), few per cluster, they appear at or after leaf fall, each orchid-like flower is about 5-8 cm wide, and
has 5 unequal petals, light pink to pale purple, occasionally white, 5 obvious stamens. Fruit is
a flattened, woody pod, 30 cm long and 2.5 cm wide (~12 × 1 inch), many are formed and appear messy; can
be trimmed off.
- Sun, best on well-drained soil.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 9 (low 20 to 30° F) Native to Asia, especially India and China.
- variegata: variegated, to be of different colors, presumably a reference to the flower.