Maackia chinensis, a slow growing deciduous tree from Central and Southern China. It is tucked between the Palm House and Orchids and Cycad House where it enjoys a sheltered aspect. Fully hardy it is however showing signs of dieback following last winters prolonged low temperatures.
The white multi petalled flowers combine to form the erect terminal raceme. Put a hand lens up to the flower and appreciate the delicate form to the back folded sepal and the ice white colouration of the petals, the yellow hammer heads that are the anthers and the downy hairs of the stigma.
There is a slight unpleasant smell eminating from the flowers; the bark when scratched has a more pronounced smell. The young bark is brown with a profusion of lenticels covering the surface.
Not a tree often seen in cultivation. Pinnate leaves on a fresh green midrib are held on the shoots with a single pointed brown bud in the axil.