I wish I had buckets of popcorn plant (Cassia didymobotrya). While many may grow this stunning east African native for its spires of bright yellow flowers that burst from inky black buds, I think they're missing the point. Which is, of course, its splendid foliage. I'm a sucker for anything with pinnate foliage, because not too many plants in my garden have it. Pinnate comes from pinna, the Latin word for feather-which is as good a description of each leaf-actually a conglomeration of pairs of leaflets arrayed along a midrib, kind of like a giant fern-as botanic Latin allows.
Sadly this plant is nowhere near hardy, so I grow it in pots, big pots, because it can easily reach six feet or so in height and four or five feet across in a single season. It likes well-drained soil and full sun, plus it's drought tolerant and deerproof. I'm not sure yet, but I think I've finally succeeded in overwintering this baby--a bit if a trick since I don't have a greenhouse. Woohoo! So I'm looking for it to add a real splash this coming season. Oh yeah-in case you're wondering why it's called popcorn cassia--rub the leaves and take a sniff. It's almost like being at the movies-so sit back and enjoy the show.