Odd-looking yet striking plants, these herbaceous barberry relatives grow from thick underground rhizomes that send up stalks crowned with large,umbrella-shaped, deeply lobed leaves. Shoots with a single leaf are flowerless; those with two leaves bear a single 2-in.-wide flower (set between the leaves) in mid- to late spring. Blooms are followed by juicy, 2-in. berries; these are edible when fully ripe (poisonous until that stage) but can have a powerful laxative effect. Make attractive, slowly spreading deciduous ground covers for shady areas with moist, organically enriched soil.
From Himalayas, western China. To 2–2 1/2ft. high,1 1/2–2 ft. wide. Dark green, brown-mottled leaves to 10 in.wide are divided into three or five lobes; each lobe is further divided.White or pink flowers are followed by bright red berries.Podophyllum peltatum
From eastern North America. To 1– 1 1/2ft. high, 1 ft. wide. Foliage is bronze when new; mature leaves are shiny dark green, to 1 ft.wide, divided into five to nine lobes. White flowers followed by bright yellow berries. Spreads fairly fast in its preferred rich,moist soil. Dies back completely in late summer.'Kaleidoscope'
Grows up to 18 in. tall and wide with variegated and blotched leaves more than a foot wide. Deep burgundy flowers hang in clusters beneath leaves in summer.
Native to South Africa. Reedlike plant to 6 ft. tall and 4 ft.wide; looks something like a big, feathe...
Ardent collectors and shade garden enthusiasts sometimes attempt the many species offered by specialis...
Native to Africa. Grows 20 to 30 ft. high and wide. Produces offshoots, forming picturesque clumps wit...