Two unusual half hardy shrubs from Chile are currently in flower in the Garden.
Podanthus ovatifolius, or Mitique, from Camino a El Melado is one of those unusual things, a shrubby member of the Compositae family. It is very unusual in cultivation in the UK, a notable specimen can be found at Chelsea Physic Garden in London. I’d struggle to think of another one to be honest. Whilst not the most decorative plant in the world, the round pom-pom heads (below) are not entirely without merit. Our plant can be found just on the edge of the Herb & Medicinal Garden; the Mitique is used medicinally in its native land and has been studied for modern pharmacology too.
The Culén or Cullen, Psoralea glandulosa has formed a large shrub over two metres tall with terminal bicoloured flowers, blue and white. It looks likely to be short lived, rather like the magnificent South African relative Psoralea pinnata. The Culén (below) inhabits bright open sunny areas midway down the backbone of South America. It is used medicinally for stomach complaints and as a vermifuge and has been scientifically studied for pharmaceutical use with properties of anti-inflammatory and anti-pyretic effect.