Dichroa febrifuga is of borderline hardiness in Edinburgh. It requires a warm sheltered spot and protection through the worst of the winter to make a modest shrub ultimately reaching two metres. Observing it now the plant has a prolific amount of flower, each inflorescence held as a corymbose panicle; the petals of individual flowers reflex as they age. Flower colour varies from pink on an alkaline soil to blue when growing in acidic conditions.
Under a hand lens the anthers can be seen to release their pollen through side slits opening along their length. This very effectively drops down onto the stigma sitting beneath. Blue berries should follow.
Our plant has flowers a delicate pink colour and you do wonder if washes with aluminium sulphate will turn the following season’s flowers blue. This is a traditional method of altering the colour of mop head Hydrangea flowers; Dichroa is a member of the family Hydrangeaceae and should respond to the availability of Aluminium which is locked in and unavailable to plants in an alkaline soil.
The evergreen foliage has a serrated edge and the smell of fresh cucumber when crushed.