Farfugium (Leopard Plant)
Farfugium is an Asian genus in the Aster family with only two currently recognized species, Farfugium japonicum and Farfugium hiberniflorum. Farfugium was first described as Arnica tussilaginea in 1768. In the 1800s, it was published as Farfugium grande in 1857, Senecio farfugium in 1858, Ligularia farfugium in 1859, followed by Farfugium kaempferi in 1861, and finally Senecio tussilagineus in 1891.
Fast forward to the 1900s, when in 1904 the name was changed to Ligularia tussilaginea, followed in 1939 with four new names for the same plant, Farfugium luchuense, Farfugium tussilagineum, Farfugium japonicum, and Farfugium hiberniflorum were published. Finally, in 1942, during the war, The Taiwanese form was published as Farfugium japonicum var. formosanum. When the nomenclatural tug of war finally ended, the 1939 published Farfugium japonicum was recognized as being the only valid name for one species, and Farfugium hiberniflorum for the other.
There are four recognized varieties within Farfugium japonicum:
Farfugium japonicum var. japonicum which is widespread in Japan, South Korea, and East China
Farfugium japonicum var. luchuense from the Okinawa and Kagoshima
Farfugium japonicum var. giganteum from Wakayama and Kagoshima Prefectures, and
Farfugium japonicum var. formosanum from Taiwan.
All of the farfugium species and varieties hybridize readily, so seed grown offspring from garden grown plants would be difficult to assign to one of the varieties, and so should only be named as a form of straight Farfugium japonicum.
Gardeners in Japan have been at the forefront of selecting and naming various forms. It is our goal to display as many as possible in the hopes of both sorting out nomenclatural errors while enticing more people to grow these amazing plants. So far, we have had the good fortune to study these both in the wilds of Korea and Japan.
Hajime Okuno, Masashi Nakata and Masahiro Mii; Cytological studies on wild Farfugium japonicum (Asteraceae), Chromosome Science 12: 27-33, 2009
Naofumi Nomura1,*, Tokushiro Takaso1, Ching-I Peng2, Yoshiko Kono2,3, Kazuo Oginuma4,
Yuki Mitsui5 and Hiroaki Setoguchi; Molecular phylogeny and habitat diversification of the genus Farfugium (Asteraceae) based on nuclear rDNA and plastid DNA; Annals of Botany 106: 467–482, 2010
This photo album contains mostly images of farfugiums that we grow at Juniper Level Botanic Garden, except those designated as taken by others.
JLBG currently holds one of the largest collections of farfugiums in the world.