Carpenteria californica Tree Anemone

Family: Hydrangeaceae

Origin: California

This evergreen shrub has leaves which are opposite, long-oval (5-12 cm x 1-3 cm wide), and bright green, with a pale felty under surface. The scented showy flowers, borne in June and July, can be up to 10 cm across, with 5 large white overlapping petals which cup the numerous bright yellow stamens.

Introduced about 1880. According to Bean in his Trees & Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles, Carpenteria was first flowered in the British Isles by Gertrude Jekyll at Godalming in 1885. There are a few cultivars available, which differ mainly in having a larger or smaller habit or flowers than the species.

Named in honour of Prof William M Carpenter (1811-48), a physician from Louisiana. This plant was discovered by Major General J Charles Fremont on one of his four perilous journeys of exploration in the extreme west of the United States between 1842 and 1848. He brought back many plants to be studied and named by the giants of N American botany, Torrey, Gray and Darlington. Many of his discoveries are worthwhile additions to our gardens he introduced Torreya, Darlingtonia, Carpenteria and many others. The genus Fremontodendron is named after him.

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