Plant of the Month for May 2009

Glaucidium palmatum

Description and general information

This woodland plant, native to Japan, is the only member of this genus. The plant is a long-lived perennial that forms a rounded clump about 40 cm in height. Each stem produces a pair of relatively large, lobed leaves and a single poppy or peony-like white or mauve flower. Each flower actually consists of 4 petaloid sepals. They bloom about the same time as Trilliums and Erythroniums.


Prefers cool, moisture-retentive, humus-rich soil in part shade.

Bloom period

Mid-spring along with Trillium and Erythronium.


Seed, division


Best from fresh seed; stratification required; plants resent transplanting once mature so start with young plants.


Large plants may be dug in early spring and cut into pieces but they will take a few years to recover (much like Peony).


Not possible as leaves are basal.

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