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Products > Farfugium japonicum var. giganteum
 
Farfugium japonicum var. giganteum - Giant Leopard Plant
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Asteraceae (Sunflowers)
Origin: Japan (Asia)
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall
Synonyms: [Ligularia tussilaginea, Farfugium reniforme]
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
Farfugium japonicum var. giganteum (Giant Leopard Plant) - This interesting herbaceous perennial holds broad, rounded shiny green leaves that are 5 to 18 inches across and rise up from the ground individually on 3 to 4 foot stalks. In late summer through fall yellow daisy-like flowers bloom on tall branched flower stems. The Giant Leopard Plant will grow in sun or shade, but seems to do its best in part or bright full shade and requires it in hotter inland locations unless ample water is provided. Water regularly - in our shade garden the Ligularia are our "irrigation indicators" as they dry out and wilt before anything else. We need to water our well established clumps every 2 to 3 weeks. This Ligularia will survive temperatures down to about 0 degrees F. with the foliage dying completely back much below 20 degrees F. A great plant in the garden or in a container for lending a tropical look to any garden. The species is native to moist meadows, stream banks and coastal areas in Japan and eastern Asia and this variety comes from near the town of Kushimoto, the southernmost point of Japan's main island, Honshu and on the surrounding islands of Kyushu, Shikok and the Ryukyu Islands. For many years we sold this plant incorrectly as a cultivar of Ligularia tussilaginea 'Gigantea' but the correct name is Farfugium japonicum var. giganteum. The changing of the name of this plant is an interesting story. Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), often called "the father of modern taxonomy", described this plant as Tussilago japonica in 1767 with the genus name coming from the Greek words 'Tussis' meaning "to cough" and "ago", meaning "to act upon' in the belief that the plant was related to the European Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara but prior to this Pliny the Elder had written about the plant using the name Farfugium. When the plant was later rediscovered by the Scottish botanist Robert Fortune in 1855 it was described as Ligularia tussilaginea by the Russian physician and botanist, Emil Bretschneider with the name coming from the Latin words 'ligula' meaning "strap" in reference to the narrow, strap like petals. The English botanist John Lindley determined that Pliny the elder's name took precedence and in 1857 reestablished that Farfugium was the correct name but it took until 1939 before the name Farfugium japonicum was applied to this Asian plant by the Japanese botanist Siro Kitamura and the split from other plants that have remained in the genus Ligularia has been verified through subsequent observed DNA differences. We previously listed this plant as a cultivar 'Gigantea' until finding out that it was a naturally occurring variety. It is also not clear whether this plant is different from Farfugium reniforme (Cremanthodium reniforme). Common names for both plants are Giant Leopard Plant and Tractor Seat Plant.  The information on this webpage is based on research conducted about this plant in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of it as it grows in the nursery in containers, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it growing. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from those who may have additional information, particularly if this information includes cultural information that would aid others in growing  Farfugium japonicum var. giganteum.