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Petasites japonicus (photo courtesy of Mark Turner)
Petasites japonicus (photo courtesy of Mark Turner)

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Zone
Zones 2B, 3-9, 14-17
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Partial, Shade
Ample Water
Ample

Petasites japonicus

Japanese Coltsfoot

Perennials, Vegetables

Native to Japan, China, and Korea. This giant perennial, sometimes called fuki in the Northwest (butterbur or sweet coltsfoot elsewhere), is a dramatic choice for perpetually moist locales near ponds and streams. Creeping rhizomes give rise to big (2 1/2 ft. wide), round leaves on edible, 3-ft.-long stalks that are used by the Japanese as a vegetable (called fuki). Short, thick spikes of small fragrant white blooms appear in early spring before the leaves emerge. Locate this plant with care; its thick rhizomes are invasive, and the plant can be difficult to eradicate. P. j. giganteus has leaves to 4 ft. wide on 5-ft. stalks. Its selection ‘Nishiki-buki’, with 3–4-ft. stalks, has 2–3-ft.-widel eaves with bold white markings.

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