Also known as tractor seat plant, this tender herbaceous perennial is native to moist meadows, stream banks, and coastal areas of Japan and eastern Asia and is a member of the aster family, Asteraceae, that also includes daisy, yarrow, and lettuce.  It has a rhizomatous root system and forms a basal clump up to 2′ tall  of large, dark green, glossy leaves that are round to kidney-shaped and carried on long petioles.  The leaves are leathery, up to 12″ across and are evergreen in warm climates.   From late summer into fall, loose cluster of yellow, daisy like flowerheads 1-2″ across appear on branched, mostly leafless stems up to 30″ tall.  Cultivars are available that vary most significantly in leaf coloration, size, and texture. Leopard plants are a good choice for  pond and stream sides, as well as woodland, shade,  bog, and water gardens.  In addition, it does well in containers. The genus name, Farfugium, comes from the Latin word far meaning spelt, and fugere, meaning to run away, and refers to the early disappearance of the white dust-like substance on the petioles and floral stems.  The specific epithet, japonicum, is the Latinized word meaning Japan, and refers to one of the countries where the plant is native.

FType: Tender herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Yellow daisy-like flowers in late summer to fall

Size: 1-2’H x 1-2′ W

Light: Partial sun to part shade

Soil: Humusy, consistently moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 7-10

Care: Protect from wind and too much sun

Pests and Diseases: Generally healthy but susceptible to damage by snails, slugs,

Propagation: Division in spring

Companion Plants: New Zealand flax, Garrya eliptica, hosta, fern

Outstanding Selections:

‘Argenteum’ (white markings on green leaves),

‘Kinkan’ (yellow edged green leaves)

‘Crispatum’ (leaves are curled like lettuce and come in various shades of green)

var. giganteum (very large leaves up to 18″ across)

Photo Credit:Wikipedia

By Karen