What a gem. Pseudopanax lessonii ‘Rangatira’ is another fabulous member of the Araliacae family. Originating from New Zealand, the thick leathery leaves are deep bronze-green. As new leaves emerge they are wonderfully vibrant and glossy.
‘Rangatira’ will form an excellent medium sized dense shrub and the can be clipped back if necessary. The leaves are trifoliate with subtly toothed edges, held on upright bronze-green stems. Though not particularly floriferous, flowers may form during warm summers and resemble those of Schefflera or Fatsia which are in the same family – they are equally as popular with bees and birds will enjoy the berries that follow. Said to be hardy down to around -5, Pseudopanax lessonii ‘Rangatira’ requires a sunny or dappled shade position and may need some winter protection in colder parts, on the south coast and in warmer areas or the UK it has thrived perfectly well outside. It will cope well if grown in a container and could be moved into a glasshouse or conservatory during winter months if necessary.
‘Rangatira’ are the Māori leaders of hapū – they were known as having great wisdom and maintained the boundaries between their land and that of other tribes. Be wise like the Rangatira – get a Pseudopanax!
As with all Pseudopanax and most members of the Araliacae family, free draining and fertile soil is essential and overwatering should be avoided. Plants will benefit from occasional feeding and once established require little maintenance other than occasional pruning.