Adonis 'Fukujukai' - plant of the month Feb 2013
Adonis 'Fukujukai' is often seen as a cultivar of A. amurensis, a plant native to Japan, Manchuria, eastern Siberia and Sakhalin. Actually, A. amurensis has nothing at all to do with this plant which represents a cross between A. ramosa, from Hokkaido, Honshu and Shikoku and A. multiflora, from Honshu and Kyushu, Korea and Manchuria. It is a sterile triploid, found either in the wild or occurring sometimes spontaneously in gardens where both parents are cultivated. For some reason most, if not all of those with yellow flowers and much-divided leaves have in the past been ascribed to A. "amurensis" in European gardens.
In some years, growth begins in late December with the soil being pushed up where the new buds are developing. Grow then halts until the days lengthen a little in late January, early February. Now the buds, still quite tightly shut, push their way through the still cold soil followed by a ruff of multi-dissected,bronze tinged leaves. A day or two of sunshine and the buds open to reveal typical ranunculaceae-type golden yellow flowers; in some individuals these may appear singularly or on multi-blooming stems. Growth now moves apace, the stems lengthen considerably and much of the initial grace of the plant is lost.
Adonis 'Fukujukai' is best grown in the garden; a humus-rich soil is important as this is a hungry plant. Its parents both prefer edge of woodland to deciduous forest habitats so some shade is best provided as the foliage remains above ground until well into the late summer and scorching will occur if exposed to severe sunshine. It does, however make a good show plant when lifted the previous autumn and set in a pot large enough to accomodate its substantial root system.
(The plant shown gained the Farrer medal at the South Wales Show in 2007)