This genus consists mainly of tropical shrubs and climbers but there are a few cold hardy representatives and I’m out to collect them all if I can, and this species was the first I found and still one of my favourite shrubs even though it has some characteristics that would mark it down in many minds.
It is deciduous and if chopped to the ground every winter or two will usually make a broad suckering clump (tick one against it!) which I have found indispensable under a large Alnus acuminata where little else thrives so it can take as much room as it likes.I can’t get enough drought tolerant shade lovers. I can also pot up the excess and sell it to you the unsuspecting public! (just kidding I always warn buyers although they don’t always listen as some do tell me off when it starts to spread.) Gardeners are funny people they whinge if they can’t grow something and they whinge if they can!
The big soft leaves have a burgundy reverse and smell strongly of burning rubber when stroked (tick two against it!). This I find a hilarious practical joke on the unsuspecting!