This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(after Joseph Decaisne, French botanist, who wrote much on the botany of cultivated plants; 1809-1882). Lardizabalaceae. Woody subjects grown for the large pinnate foliage and the conspicuous fruits.
Upright sparingly branched shrubs: leaves odd-pinnate, large, with opposite entire leaflets: flowers polygamous, in axillary racemes, slender-pedicelled; sepals 6, petaloid, long-acuminate; petals wanting; stamens 6, the filaments in the staminate flower connate into a column; pistils 3, growing into rather large oblong follicles with numerous seeds in two ranks imbedded in a white pulp. - Two species in E. Himalayas and in W. China.
These are distinct-looking shrubs, in habit resembling a large-leaved sumac, with long racemes of pendulous greenish flowers similar in shape to those of a yucca, but are smaller, and with conspicuous blue or yellow fruits which are edible, but insipid. The Chinese species has proved hardy at the Arnold Arboretum in sheltered position, while the Himalayan is tender. They prefer a sheltered situation of warm southern exposure and do not seem particular as to the soil. Propagation is by seeds.
Shrub, to 15 ft.: leaves to 3 ft. long, glabrous; leaflets 13-25, elliptic, acuminate, short-petioled, bright green above, glaucescent below, 2-5 in. long: racemes upright, many-flowered; flowers nodding, campanulate, greenish, 1-1 1/4in- long; sepals lanceolate, long-acuminate, much longer than the stamens: fruit pendulous, oblong-cylindric, deep blue, 3-4 in. long, about 1 in. thick, with numerous black seeds about 1/3in. long: April, May; fruit in Sept. W. China. B.M. 7848. R.H. 1900, pp. 270, 271, 273. M.D. 1912:197.
D. insignis, Hook. f. & Thorns. In habit, leaves and flowers, very little different from the preceding species, but fruit yellow, thicker, curved. E.Himalayas. B.M. 6731. F.S. 13:1335. I.H. 3:91.