Staphylea × coulombieri André

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John Grimshaw (2018)

Recommended citation
Grimshaw, J. (2018), 'Staphylea × coulombieri' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-07-20.



  • Staphylea × elegans Zabel


Organism arising via vegetative or asexual reproduction.
Plant originating from the cross-fertilisation of genetically distinct individuals (e.g. two species or two subspecies).
(syn.) (botanical) An alternative or former name for a taxon usually considered to be invalid (often given in brackets). Synonyms arise when a taxon has been described more than once (the prior name usually being the one accepted as correct) or if an article of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature has been contravened requiring the publishing of a new name. Developments in taxonomic thought may be reflected in an increasing list of synonyms as generic or specific concepts change over time.


John Grimshaw (2018)

Recommended citation
Grimshaw, J. (2018), 'Staphylea × coulombieri' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-07-20.

This hybrid is intermediate between its parents, but sufficiently similar to S. colchica to have been treated as a cultivar of it by authorities such as Bean (1981b) and Krüssmann (Krüssmann 1986). The original clone seems to have been derived from Segrez Arboretum, France, in about 1872, but first recognised as distinct at the Coulombier nursery, Vitry, in 1887 (Bean, 1981b). It is probable that this is the clone generally cultivated under this name and described below as the cultivar ‘Coulombieri’ to retain the connection. Another plant of evidently hybrid origin arose in the Flottbeck nurseries near Hanover prior to 1871 and was named S. × elegans, but this is a later synonym for S. × coulombieri. It is probable that the hybrid will occur where the parents are grown together and anomalous examples of ‘S. colchica’ should be examined carefully.


Leaflets large, ovate-oblong, with the terminal leaflet 12.5–15 cm long, dark green, glossy below. Panicles shorter than those of S. colchica, with shorter sepals and petals giving a ‘more compact’ flower (Bean, 1981), sepals dark reddish-pink at the tips when in bud. Fruit with 2–3 locules, to 5 cm.


Regarded by Bean (1981) as ‘a very distinct form’, this seems to fit in S. × coulombieri. It has lax panicles to 18 cm long, with large flowers to 2 cm long. It seems unfortunate that this has fallen into general obscurity, but an individual growing at RHS Garden Wisley as S. emodi has recently been re-identified as this clone. It has been distributed to a few gardens, including that of Ros Los at Ellerker House, East Riding of Yorkshire (M. Pottage, pers. comm. 2019).


Although treated by some (e.g. Armitage et al. 2014) as a cultivar of S. colchica, this distinct clone has also been considered to be of hybrid origin within the S. × coulombieri complex (Bean (1981), Krüssmann (1986)). It originated in the Weener nursery near Hanover before 1895 (Krüssmann (1986)) and was considered by the German dendrologist Hermann Zabel to be a back-crossed hybrid of S. × coulombieri and S. pinnata (Bean (1981)), which might explain the extra pigment in the flowers. It usually has five narrow leaflets, sometimes just three (on short flowering shoots?). The flowers are very freely borne, in nodding panicles, with pink sepals that are darkest at the apex, while the petals are whitish-pink and darkest at the base. The fruits are 3–6 × 3–4 cm, with three unequal locules whose tips curve inwards (Bean (1981), Krüssmann (1986)).