PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Astilboides tabularis

There is no attractive-sounding common name for this dramatic and beautiful plant. The Latin name gives a couple of clues to its features. The first name (the genus) refers to its blooms resembling Astilbe spp. The second name (species) refers to the Latin word for ‘flat’, as in ‘tablet’. This smidge of description hardly does justice to this magnificent beauty.

It is a shade lover. Plant it where you might plant Hostas, Astilbe, Goat’s Beard, and Ferns. It faints if it goes dry. It doesn’t need to be wet, just not dry. If it is looking weak at the knees, give it a drink and it perks up almost immediately. Astilboides will colonize a space with more and more of itself each year. It’s not invasive, it just keeps doing its thing until you tell it no.

Astilboides grows as very sturdy, fuzzy stems to about 3-4 feet, each stem topped with a single, huge, almost rounded, pointed around the edges, flat, light green leaf. At maturity, the leaves can be two feet in diameter. Imagine a monstrous-sized combination of a maple leaf and a lily pad floating in the air three feet off the ground. In early to mid-summer, ivory-colored cone-shaped floofy blooms pop out above the leaves.