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SOLVED: late summer purple flowering deciduous shrub

Basildon, Essex (Nr., United Kingdom

Haven't been on this site since last summer - in the garden this p.m. after one of the coldest, snowiest winters we have had for years in the UK and although it has been fairly mild in the south since Christmas, I doubt if it's finished yet! I've had the above shrub for several years, it bears light purple foxglove-like single flowers in late summer/early autumn. It used to have a label! I just can't remember what it's called - it's looking very sad at the moment and I'm wondering if the severe weather has done for it! If I could remember the name I could look it up and see what it's chances are. Any clues, anybody? Thanks.

This message was edited Jan 22, 2011 6:05 PM

Rolesville, NC(Zone 7b)

The first thing that comes to mind for me is Abelia (like maybe A. zanderi), but that's a shot in the dark. Can you give us any more info like leaf size, flower size or growth habit?

Basildon, Essex (Nr., United Kingdom

Good grief! That was quick! It's dark here now but I've just gone scrubbing about in the garden (hope it was too dark for the neighbours to see me.) I found some of the dead leaves they are about 2 - 3 inches long, I think they're described as ovate. Just looked at picture of abelia schumanni - looks a bit similar, but that abelia was pink. My shrub is lightish purple. I normally prune it back by about half in the spring. It starts to flower in the southern UK about end Aug/and well into September. Grows to about 4ft. Will have a look at A. Zanderi on the web.

Basildon, Essex (Nr., United Kingdom

P.S. to above message - I've looked at A. Zanderi and that appears to be a white or pinkish white flower. Mine are a bit like a foxglove - a slightly pronounced lower petal but not such a deep funnel shape as a foxglove.

Rolesville, NC(Zone 7b)

Nope, with a leaf that large I doubt it's Abelia. As for pink versus purple I find that people's perception of flower color is highly variable so I figured I could lump in Abelia as pinkish-purple. Anyway, moving on...
Are you familiar with Weigela? How does it compare to that as far as flower size and shape. The bloom time is all wrong but I'm just trying to picture this mystery plant.

Rolesville, NC(Zone 7b)

Not to insult your intelligence are you sure it's a shrub? Does it produce foliage and flowers on last year's growth?

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Avoiding yet further insult, it opposite or alternate in leaf/bud arrangement?

How about a photo of a clip of branch, if you plan to prune it back in spring anyway?

Basildon, Essex (Nr., United Kingdom

Sorry not to have come back to you all by now but have been really busy all week (I work in a school!) But to continue..... No, I cut it back fairly hard in spring and it produces foliage and flowers on new growth. Does this mean it's not a shrub but just a bushy perennial? The flower is bigger than a wiegela - about as big as a single foxglove flower or antirhinnum, but not such a " funnel". Definietely much more purple than pink. If I remember rightly it has opposite leaf arrangement but wouldn't swear to it - nothing much left at the moment to look at! Not much help am I - perhaps I will just have to wait and see if it's still alive then post a picture and see if anyone can identify it then. Have looked on the web and in all my books and just can't find it.

(Zone 1)

This is just a wild guess, but I'm wondering if it could be a variety of Buddleia davidii? Some get 6' to 12' tall but I believe there are some that are shrub height, maybe 4'.

There are a few with purple flowers listed in Plant Files, just scroll down this page:

Victoria, BC(Zone 8b)


Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

The only problem with Iochroma is that it is a tender perennial and would more than likely not survive one winter in the UK, much less a number of winters.

This message was edited Jan 30, 2011 6:16 PM

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

I don't know if it's hardy in your area, but possibly Thunbergia erecta?

Basildon, Essex (Nr., United Kingdom

Hi folks, just relaxing on returning home from work and suddenly thought of the above mystery plant - or rather that it began with "s" - looked in one of my books and found it!
Strobilanthes atropurpurea! Thanks for all your help, though!

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Cool. i don't think i would have ever gotten that far....GRIN

Rolesville, NC(Zone 7b)

Wow. Yeah, I definitely wouldn't have ever guessed Strobilanthes. Though I was about to suggest Rehmannia. Oh well. I'm just glad you figured it out.

Basildon, Essex (Nr., United Kingdom

Thanks again, everyone. Don't you just love all these latin names. I wonder if there's a common name for "strobilanthes".......... Only joking!

Garland, TX(Zone 8a)

"Pine cone flower" would be the literal English translation for Strobilanthes (from Greek strobilos meaning pine cone and anthos for flower). :-)

This message was edited Feb 3, 2011 11:19 PM

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