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Exochorda x macrantha 'The Bride'

Exochorda x macrantha 'The Bride'



About this cultivar:

Exochorda x macrantha 'The Bride' is a medium-sized, rounded deciduous shrub with arching branches bearing oblong, pale green leaves and an incredible amount of flowers in early spring.

The hybrid Exochorda x macrantha is an old introduction from the famous Lemoine Nursery of Nancy, France. Lemoine's catalogue of 1904 stated (translated) ‘We obtained this hybrid by fertilising Exochorda alberti with pollen from Exochorda grandiflora. The clusters of flowers which terminate on each shoot, are erect or horizontal, each one with 8 to 10 large flowers, well opened and unfolded, snow white. This new shrub has the vigorous growth of Exochorda grandiflora. As an isolated specimen the effect is magnificent.’

I am not sure if 'The Bride' is this original Lemoine introduction or not, sources seem to differ. In any case the plant makes quite an impression on people, for some this is a bad impression! With its seeming ubiquity since 1904 and almost offensive amount of pure white flowers some people seem to love to hate it, viewing it as some sort of crass class-less hawthorn alternative that is somehow 'too white'. It might be worth growing just to annoy these people, perhaps with some Pampas grass. Trolling is not just for the internet.

Us? (me?) We love hawthorn and 'The Bride', why choose?

The Royal Horticultural Society Award love it too and gave it of Garden Merit (RHS AGM).

  • Position: Full sun, partial shade (for most flowers choose full sun)
  • Soil: Almost any soil, grows well in Ballyrobert
  • Flowers: April, May
  • Other features: Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit (RHS AGM), Bees and Butterflies
  • Hardiness: H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15°C), Fully hardy, grows well in Ballyrobert
  • Habit: Bushy
  • Foliage: Deciduous
  • Height: 105 - 180 cm (3.5 - 6 ft)
  • Spread: 105 - 180 cm (3.5 - 6 ft)
  • Time to full growth: 10 to 20 years
  • Plant type: Shrub
  • Colour: Green, white
  • Goes well with: --

About this genus:

Exochorda is a small genus of flowering plants in the Rose family (Rosaceae) native to China and central Asia. They are often used as ornamental plants with the common name pearl bush, because of their pearl like flower buds. Numerous (usually five) species have been described on the basis of differing appearance and geographical separation, but a 1998 study by Gao Fangyou suggested they are all one species, Exochorda racemosa. For now we’ll stick with the old fashioned view of multiple species.

They are deciduous shrubs with paddle-shaped, oval, entire or bluntly serrated margined leaves. The foliage often turns an attractive yellow in autumn. The flowers are pink or white, with five petals, produced in spring on the ends of the branches. The fruit consists of five fused carpels (I think defined as a coccetum) which looks a bit like a miniature star fruit (don’t eat thought!) which I find ornamental in its own right, especially as then often dry out to resemble burgundy-brown stars that look like Christmas decorations. The placentary cords external to the carpels give the genus its name, ‘exo’ meaning outside in Greek and ‘chorde’ meaning a cord.

They will grow almost anywhere that isn’t a swamp or desert. They make an excellent spring-flowering shrub for smaller gardens. Try also in shrub borders, hedges, and woodland gardens. Effective as a specimen or massed.

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