Plant Description

Farfugium japonicum

Flower of Farfugium japonicum above its leaves

This is a rhizomatous evergreen perennial from Japan, which is actually a member of the Asteraceae family of plants that encompasses many of the daisies. It has glossy, rounded, leathery leaves and likes cool, moist soil in part or dappled shade. It won't do well in a parched position, and too much sun will scorch the leaves. It will spread to form a clump about 30-60 cm high. The basic species has plain green leaves and yellow daisy flowers.

The gold-variegated form, 'Aureomaculatum' (pictured at left), is sometimes called the leopard plant: it has irregular yellow spots on its leaves. It can be propagated by division in early spring. It brings a splash of light to shaded areas and is effective combined with gold foliage or yellow flowers, such as with the Clivia illustrated at left. Like the green-leaved species, it also has yellow daisy-like blooms.

There is also a rare, white-variegated form, 'Argenteum' (syn. 'Albovariegatum'). I have never had much luck with it growing in the ground but am now trying it in a pot. In fact, all of these plants grow well in a pot. The leaves need to be protected from slugs and snails.

This plant was previously known as Ligularia tussilaginea, and Farfugium tussilagineum. A common name for the basic green-leaved species is tractor-seat plant.


Farfugium japonicum
Foliage useful in floral arrangements.
Flowers in May.
Plant Family: Asteraceae