Plant of the Month for June, 2018

doronicum orientale finesse header

Doronicum orientale 'Finesse'

 (dor-ON-ih-kum  or-ee-en-TAY-lee)

General Information:

Doronicum orientale is a fairly common plant but the better option, a cultivar called Finesse, is not found in a lot of gardens. It is a lovely yellow colour and fills that blooming void between spring bulbs and peonies. Easy to grow, and reliably hardy in many zones.

 Doronicum orientale 'Finesse', by Robert Pavlis

Doronicum orientale ‘Finesse’:photo by Robert Pavlis

Common names for the species include leopard’s bane and oriental false leopards bane. All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans, if ingested. In my zone 5, full sun garden, which does not normally get watered, the plant dies back and goes underground by mid-summer.

The flowers look like stars due to the very narrow petals which are a good identifier for Finesse. Other cultivars have wider petals giving them the more common daisy look.

 Doronicum orientale 'Finesse', by Robert Pavlis

Doronicum orientale ‘Finesse’:photo by Robert Pavlis

Other cultivars include:

  • Species – taller at about 70 cm (2.5 ft)
  • Leonardo – very compact, 25 cm (10 in)
  • Little Leo – semi-double, 40 cm (16 in)

There is also a cultivar called Magnificum, but the descriptions for this seem to match the wild species, except that it might be slightly shorter.

Doronicum orientale ‘Little Leo’:photo by Robert Pavlis

For a very detailed look at the genus have a look at Systematics of Eurasian and North African Doronicum.

Life Cycle: perennial

Height: 45 cm (18 in)

Bloom Time: spring

Natural Range: S. E. Europe, the Balkans and much of Turkey

Habitat: mesic meadows, and along tree lines

Synonyms:  Doronicum caucasicum



Light: part shade to full sun

Soil: well drained

Water: drought tolerant once established, will go underground if too dry

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 - 8

Propagation: seed (comes true from seed), division

Seedex availability (ORG&HPS annual Seed Exchange): occasionally

Germination Tips:


Contributions to this page were made by: Robert Pavlis