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These are bold architectural plants grown for both foliage and flowers. The leaves are large and heavily veined and usually take on a red-purple colouration in spring and autumn. Clusters of tiny, sweet-scented, pink or white flowers turn into brown seedheads, which remain on the plant into winter.
There are just seven species, most of which are in cultivation. They grow wild from the Himalayas to China, Korea and Japan, in woodlands and by streams and rivers.
They thrive in sun or part-shade in fertile, moisture-retentive soil. Drought will cause scorching of the foliage.