Caragana arborescens or Siberian Pea Shrub
Siberian Pea Shrub
The generic name is of Tatar origin and means ‘black ear’. The genus contains more than 50 species all from the area extending from southern Russia to Manchuria. They are deciduous shrubs or small trees with pinnate leaves andtypical of the pea family.
Most commonly grown is the Siberian pea shrub from Siberia and Manchuria, introduced into Europe in 1752. It is a shrub or small tree reaching a height of 6 m (20 ft). The leaves are composed of eight to ten leaflets which are 2 to 2.5 cm (¾ to 1 in) long, ovate, and coloured pale green. The flowers are a rich yellow and borne in clusters of one to four; they open at the end of May. The fruits are pods which split when ripe. Also occasionally grown are certain varieties of Caragana arborescens, the best known being albescens with whitish-yellow leaves that later turn green, pendula, with branches spreading horizontally at ground level, and lorbergii, with very narrow leaves.
The Siberian pea shrub can be readily propagated by seeds which may be sown either immediately after they have been harvested in the autumn or early the following spring. Certain garden forms are better grafted, preferably on Caragana arborescens rootstock. These shrubs can be used in all sorts of ways to decorate parks and gardens. They are suitable as solitary subjects, in groups, and also for clipped or untrimmed.