That is a bit of an exagerration, but they are incredibly variable and I’ve a bit of a fascination at the moment for plants which show variation of leaf shape:


Some leaves are entire, some with one lobe and some with two. Interesting and visually quite suitable for looks where exotic foliage is important.


It also has very good autumn colour too, better than the liquidambar this year. Here it is not quite in sunshine and after a gale. I should have got to it both earlier and later, if you see what I mean.

So why isn’t it grown more, since its an extraordinary, smallish tree?

Rachel, half hidden, is photographing me photographing the tree  and gives human scale to the proceedings!

I suspect the answer is that the books say that it needs acid soil. But, here it is on thin soil, above limestone. And it is fine – growing well, but slowly.

Acid soil is one of those things that I am never quite sure about. I sometimes wonder whether if you start some things off in an acid pocket, they gradually aclimatize themselves and you can just about get away with it, with the odd acidifying treatment. Others of course you definitely can’t. 

Anyway the next time a client wants the ubiquitous jungle garden, that one is going in, drenched in leaf mould and maxicrop with sequestered iron.

Its a challenge!