Mukdenia rossii  'Karasuba'

Mukdenia Karasuba    Perennial of the Month-- December 2011  Perry caricature

(muk-DEEN-ee-ah  ROSS-ee-ii ) (pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)

Common name:  Crimson Fans, Red-leafed Mukdenia

Family:  Saxifrage, Saxifragaceae

Height x width: 8-12in. x 12-24in.

Growth rate, habit: slow, low spreading

Foliage: large, thick fan-shaped with dissected margins somewhat resembling hands or maple leaves (hence the former genus name Aceriphyllum= maple-like leaves), to 6in. across;  bronze green in spring, then deep green in summer, turning reddish in fall beginning with edges; leaves die back in winter

Flowers:  mid to late spring, small (less than 1/4in. wide) white star-shaped in clusters 12 to 18 in. high above foliage,  similar to the distant relative foam flower

Hardiness: USDA zones 4 to 8 (9)

Soil:  well-drained, not dry, prefers moist organic;  prefers neutral to slightly alkaline

Light: part shade (4 to 6 hours direct), will tolerate sun in north and Pacific northwest

Pests and problems:  few, slugs and snails possibly in wet areas and seasons

Landscape habit, uses:  woodlands, part shade perennial border near front or massed, part shade rock gardens, Asian gardens; combines well with Japanese Hakone grass, purple-leaved coralbells, toad lily, astilbe, hosta, ferns, hellebore; a good alternative to pachysandra

Other interest: related to coralbells, grows naturally in woodlands of eastern China; often found by either the correct Japanese cultivar name, or trade common name; formerly in the genus Aceriphyllum; the genus name is in honor and named after the ancient Chinese capital city of the Manchu dynasty-- Mukden

Other culture: low maintenance, divide every 4 years or so if needed in early spring

Propagation:  division

Sources:  online and local specialty nurseries

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