This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Herbs with alternate or opposite usually very large leaves. Flower-heads in corymbs, ray usually yellow, and the disk dark purple. Ray-florets female; disk-florets male. Pappus none. The species, about eight or ten in number, are natives of North and South America, and those in cultivation are grown mainly for the fine effect of their foliage in the 'sub-tropical garden.' P. Canadensis, P. Uveddlia, and P. maculata are the species usually seen. The two former are nearly or quite hardy. We may here mention a few other Compositoe with ornamental foliage employed in the same way, though they are mostly tender subjects. Ferdindnda eminens, more correctly Cosmophyllum cacaliaefolium, a native of Mexico, attaining a height of 3 or 4 yards, and bearing leaves 18 inches or 2 feet across. Schistocdrpha blcolor, syn. Perymenium discolor, is another allied plant, from Caraccas, with large ornamental foliage. Montanoa heracleifolia, syn. Uhdea bi-pinnatijlda, and improperly called Montagnaea, grows 12 to 15 feet high, and is valuable for its noble foliage. The genus Verbesina may also be included here as furnishing some decorative species. It is characterised by having a flat receptacle with chaffy scales and flattened achenes with two bristle-like awns. Like the preceding plants they are gigantic herbs or shrubs, and more ornamental in foliage than inflore-scence. V. aldta glgantea and pinnatifida or Sartorii are the species usually grown.