Paris quadrifolia could never be accused of being showy. But it is quietly very beautiful. And lends great structure to a shaded area from both flower and foliage, for a long time during spring, summer and autumn.
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Leaves like a Lover’s Knot
To the foliage first, and the unusual common name of “Lover’s Knot”.
Paris quadrifolia is a wonderfully symmetrical plant.
Leaves sit perfectly opposite, clasping one another like lovers, and the shape is reminiscent of the loops of the true lover’s knot (sailors will know what I mean).
Once you see the foliage you will not be surprised that Paris is related to Trillium. They are both so wonderfully decorative.
Spidery green flowers
Threadlike summer blooms come with four broader green sepals and four narrow lemony petals also sitting in perfect symmetry atop the foliage stem.
T\The bloom is then crowned with 8 (sometimes up to 12) golden-yellow stamens.
So the whole impression is one of spidery elegance.
The centre then develops a prominent, shiny black seed berry later in the season.
Rabbits detest it
Be aware that this berry is poisonous, but unafraid. As the berry is highly unlikely to be ever eaten by anyone or anything. Because it has a horrible, very bitter taste (clever plant – repulsive to rabbits and deer).
Unusual feature for shaded areas
Paris quadrifolia loves shade, and happily makes it’s home under large trees and shrubs.
So it relishes positions with Full Shade, Deep Shade, or Dappled Shade. But detests bright sun.
Obliging about soil
Lover’s Knot is well adapted to a wide range of soils.
From sandy soil to garden loam, and it really enjoys the leaf litter under trees.
Paris can grow happily with an acid soil pH that suits plants like Rhododendrons and Camellias. But unlike these, it can also cope with a lot of lime in the soil.
Happy under trees
Paris quadrifolia is found thriving untended in woodlands and forests through Turkey, Spain, and Macedonia. So obviously it is well acquainted with summer heat.
But it’s native range also extends as far north as Siberia and Iceland, and right across to Mongolia. So it is equally on good terms with winter cold and wind.
Robustly frost hardy down to at least -15°C.
An ancient herbal remedy
Paris quadrifolia does not have any connection with the beautiful city of Paris (other than that it grows in gardens there).
The botanical name of Paris comes from latin “par” meaning equal.
It is also commonly called “Herb Paris” and was historically used as a medicinal antidote herb, from ancient times to the middle ages.
Though I am sure we have much better ways now of dealing with mercury poisoning.
The wonderfully symmetrical appearance also made it obvious to medieval chemists as the perfect cure for mental derangement. Or as a love potion to snare a reluctant lover. Or to ward off witches.
Paris quadrifolia is a deciduous woodland perennial that forms a strong underground rhizome. Which enables it to persist through more difficult times.
30cm. High in spidery bloom x 30cm Wide fascinating, structural foliage.
SEED SOWING ADVICE:
INDOORS: Paris seed needs 2 periods of moist chilling to hasten and promote germination.
So first mix the seed with moist vermiculite and place it in a sealed clip lock bag in the fridge for 3 weeks.
Then sow the seeds in a punnet on the surface of good quality seed raising mix and press the seeds gently into the mix.
Then cover the seeds with moist vermiculite.
Continue to keep the punnet moist for 3 weeks in a warm, well-lit place (absolutely not in direct sunlight).
Because temperatures of 18-22°C approx. at this stage are ideal.
Now wrap the moist punnet in cling wrap or in a zip lock bag.
And place in the fridge (not freezer) for 8 weeks.
Then remove from fridge, unwrap, re-moisten, and return to the warm, well lit position at 18-22°C and continue to keep moist for germination.
It is normal for this plant to stagger the seed germination, as a natural protection for the offspring.
So do not discard the punnet, as some seeds usually come after the first.
SEED COUNT: 5 seeds per pack. (Seed of this hardy perennial is scarce this year).
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