Foliage to appreciate in a woodland border is how I would describe the leafy growth produced by these two memorable Rodgersia species. Rough and robust. The images show the variable shades of green and bronze taken by these leaves.
R. pinnata with almost pinnate leaves. The 1990 collection made on the Chungtien Lijiang Dali Expedition (CLD) to Yunnan Province, China has green leaves. Found growing at 3430m amongst Rhododendron on a steep hillside near Longquan Peak. Yet a 1961 accession to the Garden is decidedly purple. The cultivar ‘Irish Bronze’ has foliage slower to develop but with a uniform deep purple colour. Flower spikes have good structural form and are covered in small pink flowers.
The favourite has to be R. podophylla; native to Japan and Korea with large palmate leaves. Strong uniform growth to 1.3m. This introduction was collected by Yuji Kurashige at 1200m in Honshu Province, Japan. If you have a soil that retains moisture in a shaded area of the garden then this is the one to prepare the ground for. Add organic matter at planting and once established top dress annually. The flower spike pushes out above the foliage to 1.6m gradually expanding to pagoda like form.