We continue our series all about plants that will grow in SW Turkey.

Palm Centre – Plant of the Month – May 2008

RAPHIOLEPIS – Indian Hawthorn

This month we want to introduce you to a plant that first made its appearance in this country many years ago and is well known to nurserymen in Istanbul and around the Marmara region.  However, it is still uncommon, and difficult to find, in our Mediterranean area.

In terms of landscape design it is used for hedging or planted in groups.  It is evergreen with shiny leaves, blooms in spring or early summer and should be a welcome, hardy, addition to all our gardens.  We can now supply Raphiolepis umbellata and Raphiolepis indica at the Palm Centre and either makes an interesting specimen plant.

The Raphiolepis are members of the Rosaceae family.  They originate from southeast and east Asia and despite the fact that they are classified as sub-tropical plants, they are totally hardy.  There are around 10 types, all evergreen shrubs.  In general rather than growing tall they tend to form clumps or mounds.  They have thick, shiny, dark green leaves – depending on the variety they can measure up to 8cm in length with a width of up to 4cm.  The star-like flowers have 5 petals, are scented and appear in spring or early summer.

Raphiolepis umbellata comes from Japan and Korea.  It has hard, shiny, dark green leaves with slightly serrated edges, reaching 8 – 9cm in length.  The flowers appear in hanging clusters on stems up to 10cm long.  They have 5 petals, are white and sweetly scented.  Sometimes the edges of the flowers are rose pink.  This shrub grows to 1.5m in height and can withstand temperatures down to -100C.

Raphiolepis indica whose name could indicate Indian origins, in fact comes from China.  The leaves are slightly smaller and thinner than those of R.umbellata.  The flowers also bloom on slightly shorter stems, 7 – 8cm and have pink centres. Flowers open in spring.  This shrub can also reach a height of 1.5m with its foliage reaching 1.2m in diameter.  It can withstand frost but is not as hardy as R.umbellata.

R. x delacourii is a hybrid formed from breeding Raphiolepis umbellata and Raphiolepis indica. The main difference from the other two species is its leaves are slightly shorter and it has pink flowers 2cm in diameter.  It is as hardy as R.umbellata.

Raphiolepis should be grown in moist, free draining soil into which organic matter has been worked.  They are equally happy in full sun or partial shade.  In a Mediterranean climate, to avoid an excessive need for watering, we recommend they be grown in partial shade.  They should be fed once per month during their growing season.  They can be grown in pots but need regular feeding with long acting fertiliser.

The Palm Centre is open 1st June – 31st October but you can visit at any other time by appointment. 

e-mail palmiyemerkezi@ttnet.net.tr;

or, check out their website here

Telephone: 0252 262 2892