This is one in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Community Favorites, 75 can't-fail, easy-care plants well-adapted to our region and recommended by local gardeners.
Farfugium japonicum "Crispata"
Size: Under 2 feet tall
Bloom season: Late fall, early winter
Exposure: Partial to full shade
Pruning needs: Little or none; remove spent flower stalks
Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week
Snapshot: This hardy perennial thrives in dappled shade. Native to the rocky coast of Japan, ligularia is at home in rock gardens or next to water features but it hates soggy roots. Good drainage is a must. Spotted varieties of farfugium are also known as leopard plant. Instead of spots, the Crispata hybrid has interesting ruffled leaves, which can form a dense ground cover or border. In late fall, it sends up spikes of asterlike yellow flowers. You can see specimens outside arboretum headquarters on the UC Davis campus.
Why it's a favorite: "I love the texture that the leaves give to the shade garden all year round," said arboretum nursery manager Lisa Fowler. "Very tough and easy to grow. The yellow daisies in fall are an added bonus."
For more on the Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars, click on http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu.