What a beauty for fall color!
Here is a link that might be useful: Disanthus cercidifolius
I've grown this plant for a number of years. In my experience it needs a good deal of sun to color well in the autumn. The other drawback, again in my own experience, is that it colors late in the season so that the leaves are often zapped by a hard frost, ending the display just as it's barely begun. This may have to do with cool summer temperatures and may well not be a problem in other climates. It is a very easy to grow, hardy and pest free plant . The emerging leaves in the spring are attractive for several weeks. The flowers are interesting if small and insignificant.
Certainly known of the plant for many years, but have never been convinced to torture, er, plant it here in the heat and humidity of the Ohio River valley region. I think it is a plant best grown in cooler summers, more even moisture, and probably acid sandy soils.
Here it is, loving life at the Polly Hill Arboretum on Martha's Vineyard in 2009.
Know it and grow it - what the flowers and buds look like in late October...
It will only break your heart. Killed several
Well Kevin, if you kill them they won't develop any appreciable fall color! :P
You can really see the effect of shade here on Disanthus. It used to be in more sun, but the Blue China Firs surrounding it grew a lot and before I knew it, the Disanthus was too large to move. Besides, it was tangled root wise with the China Firs. This plant is 12 ft. across and almost completely hidden. What a shame!
The two others I have suffered the same fate. I was swamped with commitments at the time I should have removed them. Stuff happens.
I love it....but it will not grow in my alkaline soil at all. Now that verticillium has more or less ended my redbud and cotinus adventures, I find I am missing those beautiful heart-shaped leaves (my poor old Forest Pansy finally gave up thre ghost last year).
The leaves do look like Redbud.
Here's the same Disanthus with a little more Fall color. Looking west. Notice the branches reaching for light to the north. Way too much shade.
Without knowing for a split second you might think thats a fothergilla.
That's what I was thinking, whaas! Very similar to my two (still young)