The Sleeper Has Awakened - Illicium x 'Woodland Ruby'

 |Illicium x 'Woodland Ruby' floral detail|

|Illicium x 'Woodland Ruby' floral detail|

Welcome to another dimension where it is spring and the sleeper has awakened. This dimension is a place where provocative pink and ruby petals radiate from a cosmic crown.  When in bud this evergreen shrub holds the secret to the spice. What is the spice you ask?  It is the spice-like beauty of Illicium x 'Woodland Ruby' (the 'x' means cross-hybrid).  Illicium x 'Woodland Ruby' is also known as the Anise Tree.  As in anise the spice.  This super cool shrub or small tree gets its common name from the scent it produces when its foliage is crushed as well as the fragrance from the flowers that other Illicium species produce.  This particular hybrid is a cross between Illicium floridanum from the southeastern U.S. and a rare species, Illicium mexicanum, found in Mexico.  The end result produces larger, more spectacular flowers than either of its original parents.

 |Illicium x 'Woodland Ruby' profile|

|Illicium x 'Woodland Ruby' profile|

Illicium x 'Woodland Ruby' can reach about 8 feet tall and wide.  It takes on a dense, rounded form.  The handsome, aromatic foliage is evergreen and gives the shrub/small tree a refined, polished look.  Something about it is very woodland elegant meets subtropical spice.  Its spectacular flowers are produced from spring through mid-summer.  From the 'crown' of the flower a seed head is produced reminiscent of the asian star-shaped anise seed pods used for spice.  However, the seed pods of this hybrid species should not be eaten as they are inedible.

Illicium x 'Woodland Ruby' likes to grow in part shade to full shade conditions.  It likes fertile soil, regular water, can tolerate wet and dry situations, and is hardy down to 0 degrees fahrenheit/-17 degrees celsius.  Illicium x 'Woodland Ruby'  would make a great screening plant or look really glam groovy in a container.  It would conjure up the mystery and allure of a tropical forest vibe.  Your world feeling a little bland?  Why not savor the visual flavor of Illicium x 'Woodland Ruby's' subtropical spice?!