Seven-sun Flower draws hundreds of bees. In the fall, we think of pollinators as mostly flowers and perennials. We can forget that trees are some of our most important pollinators. And one of the best in the fall is Seven Sun Flower (Heptacodium miconioides)
Heptacodium is a great addition to any landscape. It has year round interest of foliage flowers, and exfoliating bark. In addition, bees love it!
Heptacodium miconioides is a large, fountain-shaped, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub that typically grows 15-20' at maturity with a 10' spread.
May also be trained as a single-trunk tree. Features terminal clusters of fragrant, creamy-white flowers in late summer to early fall. Flowers appear in whorls within each branched cluster, with each whorl containing 7 tiny flowers (hence the common name of seven-son flower).
Flowers are followed in fall by an equally showy (if not showier) display: small, purplish-red fruits (1/2-inch-long drupes) crowned by five very showy, sepal-like rose calyces which elongate after bloom and last into late fall. Tan bark exfoliates to reveal attractive brown inner bark, which provides good winter interest.
Leaves are narrow, shiny, ovate-oblong and medium-green. This plant, native to China, is rare and may no longer exist in the wild. However, it has somewhat recently become available in commerce and is increasing in popularity as an ornamental shrub, though it may be difficult to find.
It is a good source of nectar for butterflies in the fall.
Genus name means seven bells referring to seven being the average number of flowers on a head.
So get out and look for this plant. You will be glad you did as well as bees and butterflies!