classification
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily: Rutoideae
Genus: Choisya

CHOISYA TERNATA 'SUNDANCE'

Commonly known as the Mexican orange blossom, this golden form of Choisya ternata is one of the most popular of all ornamental, evergreen shrubs.  Grown for its striking foliage and its abundant and fragrant flowers, Choisya ternata 'Sundance' is considered to be a cultivar of '...outstanding excellence for garden decoration...' and as such received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in 1994.

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The species is native to southern North America and most of Mexico, and received its common name of due to the similarity of its flowers to the citrus orange in both in shape and scent. In fact the orange (Citrus sinensis) and Choisya are closely related with both genera being part of the Rutaceae family.

Choisya ternata 'Sundance' is a compact rounded evergreen shrub which typically grows to 4-8’ tall and just as wide once mature. It is noted for its glossy, trifoliate, yellow to lime-green leaves which smell of rue when bruised. the sweet-scented flowers are 1-2 cm across and are borne in corymbs in the leaf axils at the end of the shoots. They appear from April to May, however if the stems are pruned immediately after flowering you can encourage further blooms to emerge in the summer and autumn.

Choisya ternata 'Sundance' is a surprisingly tough and resilient specimen and will thrive in any well-drained garden soil. They are best planted in April or May so that the roots can establish before the heat of summer. The prefer full sun although the leaves can bleach out over the height of the summer. Choisya ternata 'Sundance' will tolerate a partially-shaded position although the leaves will turn more green in colour under these conditions. In colder, northern European gardens they will benefit from the protection of a south-facing wall as the foliage can be affected by frost damage causing die-back. Be that as it may it will usually always grow through in the spring.

Due to their thick leathery leaves, established plants can be surprisingly tolerant of brief periods of drought.

The genus Choisya is named after the Swiss botanist Jacques Denys Choisy (1799-1859).

For related articles click onto the following links:

CHOISYA X DEWITTEANA 'AZTEC PEARL'    EDGEWORTHIA CHRYSANTHA   RHS: Choisya × dewitteana 'Aztec Pearl'

About the Author

The 'Seeds of Eaden' website is the brainchild of professional horticulturist and multi-award winning gardener Simon Eade. After six years of study; two years 'Retail Horticulture' at Hadlow College, then four years Commercial Horticulture at Greenwich University, Simon has worked in a number of 'fields' within the industry for over twenty years. Most notably, managing the prestigious Alexandra Palace garden centre in London. Since then he has become an internationally published writer, and author of the popular 'Garden of Eaden' blog.

Simon Eade is also a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society's Banksian medal

You can contact the 'Seeds of Eaden' at gardenofeaden@gmail.com