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PlantFiles: Chinese Emmenopterys
Emmenopterys henryi

Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Emmenopterys (em-men-OP-ter-iss) (Info)
Species: henryi (HEN-ree-eye) (Info)

2 members have or want this plant for trade.


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds
This plant is fire-retardant
Flowers are good for drying and preserving

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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By growin
Thumbnail #1 of Emmenopterys henryi by growin

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By mgarr
Thumbnail #7 of Emmenopterys henryi by mgarr

There are a total of 15 photos.
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2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive bkrhodesva On Dec 19, 2014, bkrhodesva from DINWIDDIE, VA wrote:

I have found it very easy to take cuttings from this plant. I collected about 25 throughout the summer and every single one rooted using hormone. I was really suprised how easy it was to get these to root. Sandeman seeds will have seeds beginning in late Jan. for shipment. the website is

Positive snasxs On Sep 25, 2010, snasxs from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

Emmenopterys henryi is an endangered or close-to-extinct large tree of monotypic genus in the Rubiaceae. Endemic to some inaccessible provinces in China, the deciduous tree can grow to over 100 feet with large dark green opposite leaves and red petioles.

The clusters of fragrant creamy white fowers are surrounded by large white "racts" similar to Georgia Pinkneya tree. However, E henryi flowers are intensely fragrant and a tree in full bloom releases powerful sensation.

The famed China-Explorer E.H. Wilson called it "the glory of the Chinese forests"

The JCRaulston Arboretum of the prestigious NC State University calls it “one of the holy grails of the plant kingdom”

What contributes to such passion from botanists who encountered their blooms?

Different from UK’s experience of rarely flowering, it is reported that local farmers living near the plants describe the tree as “blooming for 9 months and the fragrance can be enjoyed 10 miles away.”

What the farmers are seen are not just flowers. The bracts do not fall off after flowering and they turn pink, red and then purple. I have added a picture of bracts in the photo section.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama
Clermont, Georgia
Louisville, Kentucky
Trenton, New Jersey
Dinwiddie, Virginia

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