The leopard plant AKA Tractor Seat is a clumping herbaceous perennial in the Asteraceae (daisy)f family grown for its large, bold leaves spotted with gold. Native to Japan and eastern Asia, it is found growing along streambanks and in moist meadows. The species name japonicum refers to its native origins in Japan.
It performs best in shade, with leaves burning easily in the sun. Soils should be rich and moist, and though this species tolerates drier soils than other members of this genus, it will do best to receive deep waterings in the summer months.
Showy yellow blooms appear in summer, lasting through fall and dying back by winter. The leaves are also showy, and sometimes flowers are removed to showcase the leaves.
This species of Ligularia is the best for warm Piedmont and Coastal Plain, while the tall flowered types only prosper in the mountains. Use this perennial in small groups or mass plants along borders of woodland or shade gardens, in riparian areas, pools, ponds, or bog gardens.