Where can we start in describing this completely whacky Pseudopanax? Similar in appearance to Pseudopanax crassifolia, P. ferox resembles a smooth grey trunk with sparsely distributed dark green, almost black leaves with marroon central veins. The leaves have curiously knobbly edges and hang down at odd angles like weird narrow blades, being only a couple of cm at the very most and reaching around 40cm in length. It is unlike any plant most people will ever have seen.
Similarly to P. crassifolia, once the plant has reached a mature height (usually above 3m), a remarkable change occurs and Pseudopanax ferox changes in appearance from a jagged, sparse curiosity to something more obviously tree-like. The foliage gradually becomes shorter with the lower leaves falling and the newly formed head of foliage branches out with leaves becoming wider and stockier. The trunk becomes thicker with age, being wonderfully smooth and silver-grey.The fascination continues with mature plants producing flowers which resemble those of Ivy, Fatsia or Schefflera, all of which are members of the Araliacae family. Ideal as an impressive as a stand-alone specimen and young plants can be kept in containers for some considerable time – P. ferox is far slower in groth compared to P. crassifolia so container growing initially is ideal. Free draining and fertile soil are essential and plants are hardy to around -5 thriving in warmer, sheltered areas. Plants in containers can easily be given some winter protection if necessary. Pruning is not necessary and can be detrimental to the plant. Please avoid overwatering.