Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’, a gorgeous specimen and in flower, too: my plant of the week, spotted on the Edulis stand (also my exhibit of the week – I’m so delighted they’ve made it to Chelsea at last, and though they’re first-timers they’ve shown off an exceptional collection of edibles, many of which I’d never come across before).
I adore podophyllums – big, blowsy foliage plants and as this one shows, no slouch on the flowering front either. ‘Spotty Dotty’, a cross between P. delavayi and P. difforme, is one of the most colourful with its generous brown-spodged leaves.
I’ve always struggled to grow them a little in my old garden, bone-dry acid sand that it was: but I think I might have another go in this one as it has plenty of nice shady damp corners – right up Dotty’s street. I was a little surprised to see it nestled among the other Edulis plants until I found out that though most parts of the plant are toxic, its ripe, yellowish or red fruit is known as the May apple (in this case, the Chinese May apple). About the size of a crabapple, it’s said to taste a little inspid – but I’d really like to give it a try.