Growing on the Chinese hillside is a fast growing woody plant. Collected as part of the Lijiang Project Expedition in China and introduced to the garden in 2003 as Desmodium. Labelled only to Generic level it has flowered well this autumn. The image shows Lesley Scott comparing it to type specimens of the Genera held in the Herbarium.
We now know it to be D. elegans from the free filament in the floral structure of the anthers. Leguminous, light purple flowers with red oxide sepals are borne in terminal racemes. Followed by multi seeded pods in a bow shape originally green, ripening brown. The trifoliate leaves are soft to the touch, mid green in colour. The linear markings on the young wood are a multitude of silver hairs. These fade with age.
Following last night’s freezing temperatures and bright sun early this morning much of the canopy is exhibiting frost damage. Slightly tender for Edinburgh it will survive due to its falling and rooting habit rapidly making a thicket of growth.