Doronicum orientale ‘Finesse’ (Leopard’s Bane)

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Robert Pavlis

Doronicum orientale ‘Finesse’, by Robert pavlis

Doronicum orientale is a fairly common plant but a better option, a cultivar called Doronicum orientale ‘Finesse’, is not found in a lot of gardens. It is a lovely yellow color 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’, 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’, 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.

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Doronicum orientale Little Leo closeup
Doronicum orientale Little Leo closeup

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

Doronicum orientale ‘Finesse’

(dor-ON-ih-kum or-ee-en-TAY-lee)

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

Cultivation of Doronicum orientale ‘Finesse’

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


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Robert Pavlis

I have been gardening my whole life and have a science background. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

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