The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Desfontainia spinosa is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 2.50 metres tall.
It has medicinal uses.
S. America - Growing in the Andes from Colombia to southern Chile.
Cool mountain cloud forests in the north of its range, descending to sea level in the south[
Requires a humus-rich moisture-retentive acid soil in a sheltered position in partial shade[
]. Grows well in sandy soils as long as there is plenty of humus present[
]. Intolerant of alkaline soils and of water-logging[
]. Dislikes drought[
]. Plants like growing with their roots in the shade but their stems reaching up into the light[
This species is not fully hardy in Britain, plants tolerate temperatures down to about -10°c when sheltered from cold drying winds[
]. They grow best along the west coast of the country, especially in Scotland and N. Ireland[
The sub-species D. spinosa hookeri.(Dun.)Reiche. is usually employed for its medicinal virtues[
There is at least one named variety selected for its ornamental value[
]. The flowers are softly honey-scented[
A slow-growing plant[
Any pruning to retain shape is best done in the spring[
The leaves are narcotic and have been used medicinally in Chile[
]. More research needs to be carried out into the medicinal virtues of this plant[
]. The sub-species D. spinosa hookeri is usually employed[
Seed - surface sow in spring in a greenhouse. Do not allow the compost to become dry. Grow on the seedlings in a bright filtered light[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame. Requires humid conditions and bottom heat at 16°c[
]. Overwinter in a cold frame and grow on for another year before planting out[
Division of suckers in the dormant season[