Blooms in the classic rosette or composite shape would seem to be selected by many humans as the ideal flower, but gardens throughout the seasons reveal a much more complicated diversity of inflorescence.
Though it may not cause one to reflexively reach for a vase and shears, in morning light the otherworldly tetrapanax blooms conjure galactic explosions, crystalline comet tails, smoky nebulae. And I’m generally not one to rob the garden much for vases anyway.
(I see tetrapanax spelled a multitude of ways, but my Hortus Third uses the spelling “papyriferus” rather than, for example, “papyrifera,” so I’m going with the former.
Hortus describes the flowers “in small, globose umbels arranged in large, terminal woolly panicles.” And it lists a cultivar ‘Variegata,’ which does not appear to be widely available. I would think one could retire on the proceeds from selling nothing but variegated tetrapanax, so it must be a beast to propagate. Isn’t that where tissue culture comes in and saves the day?)