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Plant Profile: Leopard Plant (Ligularia dentata)

Ligularia-dentata_Leopard plant is a clump forming perennial in the daisy family (Asteraceae) and a native of Japan and China where it grows in moist sites. It has leathery, dark-green, kidney-shaped leaves up to one foot long. The leaves are carried on long stalks and have toothed margins. Loose clusters of bright orange to yellow daisy-like flowers two to three inches in diameter are produced in branched cormbs well above the foliage in early summer. The plants are worth growing just for the foliage and some people cut off the flowers stalks as they appear because they detract from the leaves. This is an excellent plant for moist woodlands, around water features, and in wet sites such as bogs. The specific name, dentata comes from the Latin dens, dentis meaning tooth and refers to the margins of the leaves.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Orange to yellow, daisy-like flowers two to three inches acorss produced in loose cormbs in early summer.

Size: 3-4′ H x 2-3′ W

Light: Part to full shade (tolerates more light if moisture adequate)

Soil: Humusy, medium to wet (plants must never dry out)

Care: Plant in site protected from the wind and keep soil moist.

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Pests and Diseases: Snails and slugs

Propagation: Division in spring or after flowering

Companion Plants: Royal fern (Osmunda regalis), interrupted fern (Osmunda claytonia), Japanese sedge (Carex morrowii) , Hosta sieboldinana, skunk cabbage (Lysichitum americaum)

Outstanding Selections: ‘Desdemona’ and ‘Othello’ have leaves with purple undersides and are more compact than the species; ‘Orthello’  is smaller. more compact, and earlier to bloom than ‘Desdemona’.