Edgeworthia chrysantha

Edgeworthia chrysantha ' Red Dragon'
Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘ Red Dragon’

If you are looking for a shrub with year round interest Edgeworthia chrysantha could be it. Papery bark and fragrant flowers are a start, originally from China, the flowers look a little like large daphne flowers.

Also known as the ‘Oriental Paper Bush’ and ‘Yellow Daphne, and it is also used to make paper.

In spring it is covered with masses of small hanging ball like flowers, all on bare stems which makes them a standout. Yellow, White and Red depending on variety.

In summer the foliage takes over, lush and green, the individual leaves are large and add a nice cool tropical feel to the garden. Attractive red stems as well.

As winter comes around we have a bit of a lull in Edgeworthia world, however by mid winter the new buds are beginning to form. All silky and silvery on bare stems.

These are a bushy small shrub to around 4 – 9 ft tall depending on species and growing conditions. The flowers are said to smell like cloves and the bark has an attractive cinnamon colour.


Best suited to USDA zones 7 – 9 if grown outdoors, and yes you can grow it in a tub and over winter with some protection.

Once it gets into colder zones, it may grow, but will probably not flower except in an exceptionally mild winter.

Generally E. chrysantha will reach around 4ft in height.

  • Choose a position that is best protected from frosts.
  • A well drained position is essential, so amend the soil, or hill up a little.
  • Prepare the soil by digging in well rotted compost and some aged cow manure.
  • Forget under planting with anything that needs to be dug or lifted, Edgeworthia do not like root disturbance


These are a plant that generally require no pruning. However dead or damaged wood can be pruned away and plants can be lightly pruned to shape.

Transplanting Edgeworthia
  • Firstly avoid transplanting if possible. If not transplant in early spring before it breaks out of dormancy.
  • Prepare the new planting hole, twice the width of the rootball you intend to dig.
  • Make sure the soil is free draining
  • Add some well rotted compost to the soil if needed.
  • Water well a few days before transplanting.
  • Take as much of the rootball as possible.

Growth rate – slow


A number of varieties, the species with yellow perfumed flowers.

  • Edgeworthia chrysantha grandiflora have larger flowers than the species.
  • Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘ Red Dragon’ is a wonderful red flowering cultivar, also sold as Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Akebono’.
  • Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘ Ruby Splash’, red flowers but rarely offered for sale.
Did You Know
  • Edgeworthia are a member of the Thymelaeaceae family and therefore related to Daphne.

Other Species

  • Edgeworthia gardenii. This is a larger growing evergreen species that will reach 6 – 9 ft, yellow flowers around the size of a golf ball, and good fragrance. Although it is from Nepal it is not as cold tolerant as E. chrysantha or E.papyrifa. Rarely seen in cultivation as it is difficult to propagate.
  • Edgeworthia papyrifera – Not as winter hardy as E. chrysantha, however attractive if slightly smaller, yellow flowers. Reaches around 8ft in height. The bark is used to make high quality specialist paper.


  • Root problems from poorly drained clay soils.
  • Leaf curl and Leaf drop – Usually under watering to over watering.


Propagation is easiest from cuttings taken in summer.

Edgworthia are available for sale from the following nurseries

CAMELLIA FOREST NURSERY – phone: 919-968-0504
9701 Carrie Road Chapel Hill NC 27516