Medicinal woody plants growing in the Washington Park Arboretum

December 30th, 2013 by Kathleen DeMaria, Arboretum Gardener
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Bark from the Pacific Yew, Taxus brevifolia

1) Taxus brevifolia (Pacific or Western Yew)

  • Native from southern Alaska to central California
  • Chemotherapy drug Taxol was derived from the bark
  • All parts of the plant are toxic except the fleshy red aril surrounding the little green cones

2) Salix (Willows)

  • Aspirin is derived from Salicylic acid (component of Willow-bark extract)
  • Medicinal use dates back to at least the 5th century BC when the Greek physician Hippocrates prescribed it to ease pain and reduce fevers.
  • Lewis and Clark used willow bark tea as a remedy for crew fevers

3) Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel)       

  • Leaves and bark contain hamamelitannin believed to be responsible for astringent properties, hemostatic properties, and antioxidant activity
  • North American Indians distilled bark, leaves and twigs to make eyewash, treatment for hemorrhoids, internal hemorrhages, and gum inflammation.

photo4) Ginkgo biloba (Maidenhair tree)

  • Considered a living fossil, Ginkgo  is native to China
  • Chinese people appreciate the dry-roasted nuts as a treatment for lung qi deficiency

5) Thuja occidentalis (Eastern arborvitae)

  • One of the four plants of the Ojibwe medicine wheel
  •  Rich in vitamin C, thought to have cured many bouts of scurvy in mariners

Source: Moerman, Native American Ethnobotany; Van Wyk and Wink, Medicinal Plants of the World; Schafer, The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm

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Opening Night tickets now available

December 26th, 2013 by UWBG Communication Staff

photoThe Arboretum Foundation host’s the Opening Night Party and Auction at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. This year the party is on Tuesday, February 4th. Guests will enjoy strolling through the fabulous display gardens with a glass a wine.  The money raised at the event supports the Washington Park Arboretum. Purchase tickets and learn more.

 

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Art Exhibit: Birds Watching by Larry Hubbell

December 26th, 2013 by UWBG Communication Staff

drawing by Larry Hubbell

Larry Hubbell’s Birds Watching: photos & paintings

On exhibit in the Miller Library from January 4 to February 15.

Please join us for the artist’s opening reception on Friday, January 10 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

A portion of the proceeds from artwork sales benefit the Library.

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Fiddleheads Winter Series

December 19th, 2013 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

A new year brings new faces, fresh starts, and a new Fiddleheads series! Join Teacher Kate this winter in exploring the Washington Park Arboretum using all of our senses. Each week will be a different theme including:

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  • Rain, Water and Mud!
  • Ice and Snow
  • Hibernation
  • Nature Through Our Noses
  • Sounds of the Forest
  • Roots, Shoots, and Bark
  • Decomposers Are My Friends
  • I Can Be A Scientist
  • Dinosaurs and Fossils
  • Signs of Spring
  • Turtles, Beavers, and Wetlands
  • How Animals Move

 

So this winter, join us for a class of nature connection activities and outdoor play. Each week’s activities include art projects, games, learning stations focusing on fine and gross motor and pre-literacy skills based around the theme, as well as hiking and exploring the park and letting the children’s interests lead the way. Fun for parents and their preschoolers!

Classes meet Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays from 10am-12pm at the Washington Park Arboretum. More information about the classes.

$18/class for 1 adult and 1 child. Additional child: $9/class.

Discount for 6 or more classes! ($14/class, $7 for additional child)

Register online or call 206.685.8033

 

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Foster Island landscaping prep work begins 12-18-2013

December 17th, 2013 by UWBG Communication Staff

Foster Island Landscaping – Dec. 2013 preliminary fieldwork

What is the work and why is it being done?

  • Crews will conduct archeological evaluations on Foster Island in the Washington Park Arboretum to prepare for landscaping improvements that will be implemented as a part of the SR 520, I-5 to Medina: Bridge Replacement and HOV Project.
  • Landscaping improvements will include planting native plants in the area.
  • WSDOT is assisting with landscape improvements in coordination with the Arboretum as part of a mitigation plan for effects to Foster Island developed in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
  • This work is necessary so crews can better understand sediment profiles that will help inform additional archeological investigations in spring 2014 for the proposed landscaping improvements.

How will the work be done and what will I see?

  • Work is planned for Dec. 18, 2013. In the event of poor weather conditions, work could be delayed up until Jan. 31, 2013.
  • Crews of approximately three people will be on site using small diameter hand augers to examine soil samples. A maximum of ten auger test bores will be placed.
  • This fieldwork will be completed within one day.
  • No trail closures or other public space closures will be required to perform this work.
  • Crews will re-fill the sample areas and replace sod at the auger locations.

What are the next steps?

  • The next phase of archaeological work required for the proposed landscaping treatments is planned for spring 2014. Crews will fence off work areas during this time.

Who can I contact for more information?

  • SR 520 contact information:
    • 24-hour construction hotline: 206-708-4657
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December Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum (Part II)

December 16th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (December 9 - 23, 2013)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (December 9 – 23, 2013)

1)   Abies balsamea   (Balsam fir)

  • Pitch from almost every conifer is used to seal and protect wood.
  • “Canada Balsam” from the Balsam Fir is used to cement together the lens elements in optical equipment and to mount specimens for microscopy.
  • It is North America’s most popular Christmas tree, but only newly planted in the Arboretum in grid 42-4W.
  • Native to eastern North America

2)   Cedrus libani   (Cedar of Lebanon)

  • “Cedar oil” is distilled from several conifers, mostly not Cedrus, the “true cedar”.
  • Cedar oil has insecticidal properties, was used in ancient embalming, and is currently used as immersion oil in microscopy and to mask surface flaws in emeralds.
  • Several of our true cedars – Cedar of Lebanon, Atlas Cedar, and Deodar Cedar are located along the Lynn Street entrance, west of the Wilcox foot bridge.

3)   Picea sitchensis   (Sitka spruce)

  • Before the introduction of chicle, North Americans (both natives and immigrants) chewed spruce gum.
  • Spruce roots are used for stitching bark canoes and weaving hats and baskets.
  • The famous “Spruce Goose” was not spruce but acquired its alliterative sobriquet because early airplane builders valued spruce’s high strength-to-weight ratio.
  • Our best Sitka spruce is in 15-B on Azalea Way.

4)   Pinus monticola   (Western white pine)

  • The Lower Kootenay Band of the Ktunaxa Nation made bark canoes from white pine bark.   See the website: sturgeon-nose-creations.com
  • Industrially, pine extracts make pine tar, turpentine, pitch, and rosin for violin bows, ballet shoes, baseball bats, and soldering flux.
  • Pinus monticola is in the Pinetum in grid 35-6W.

5)   Quercus suber   (Cork oak)

  • Quercus = oak, suber = cork. Location: Rock Roses on Arboretum Drive.
  • Any questions?
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Resources for Seminar Attendees

December 4th, 2013 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

Slope Stability and Vegetative Soil Stabilization in the Puget Sound Region
Hosted by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens

This list includes electronic copies of all paper handouts as well as additional resources provided by seminar speakers.

Thursday, December 5, 2013
8:15 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
University of Washington Botanic Gardens
Center for Urban Horticulture
3501 NE 41st St, Seattle, WA 98105

Live staking training with the Green Seattle Partnership, West Seattle – Saturday, February 8, 2014, 1pm – 3pm

SEMINAR RESOURCES

Geology & Hydrology Review of the Puget Lowland, an overview of Puget Sound geology, stratigraphy, soil strength, slope failure modes, and significant landslide examples in the Puget Lowland
Bill Laprade, Senior Vice President, Shannon & Wilson, Inc.

Vegetation, Erosion & Slope Stability: Role & Benefits of Native Vegetation in the Puget Lowland Ecozone
Elliott Menashe, Greenbelt Consulting

Critical Areas and Shoreline Regulations Related to Geologically Hazardous Areas, Steep Slopes
Joe Burcar, Senior Shoreline Planner, Washington Department of Ecology

Permit Requirements for Landslide-Prone Areas in the City of Seattle
Rob McIntosh and Seth Amrhein, Seattle Dept. of Planning and Development

Conifer Care Guidelines When Working on Slopes
Nicholas Dankers, ISA Certified Arborist and Qualified Tree Risk Assessor

Geosynthetics and Slope Stability: a review of materials, performance and techniques for erosion control and reinforcement
Dr. Stan Boyle, Vice President, Shannon & Wilson, Inc.

Bio-Structural Engineering for Erosion Control & Slope Stabilization
Elliott Menashe, Greenbelt Consulting

 

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December 2013 Plant Profile: Gaultheria procumbens

December 2nd, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Gaultheria procumbens 1This low growing, creeping shrub often gets overlooked throughout most of the year, but its vibrant fruit and evergreen foliage make it a stunning addition to the winter garden, particularly in containers. The Wintergreen grows via shallow underground rhizomes and like most plants in the Ericaceae, it prefers acidic soils and because of its diminutive size, grows best in mostly sunny and exposed sites.

 

Gaultheria procumbens comboAmerican Wintergreen is best utilized in container plantings here in the Pacific Northwest as large patches of it in the garden are rarely encountered. It can be a tricky plant to get established in the garden and requires regular watering initially, but looks to be drought tolerant once it gets going.

As a container plant, the lovely (and edible) fruit are closely admired and last for many weeks. The fruit itself is actually a dry capsule and it’s the fleshy red calyx that surrounds it that looks like the fruit. When crushed, it has a minty aroma.

Common Name: Teaberry, American Wintergreen
Location: Containers by the commons and Merrill Hall
Origin: Eastern North American
Height and Spread: 3-8″ high x 10-12″ wide
Bloom/Fruit Time: September-March

 

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December Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

December 1st, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (November 26, 2013 - December 9, 2013)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (November 26, 2013 – December 9, 2013)

“Berry Best from Hollywood”

1)   Ilex aquifolium   ‘Ferox Argentea’   (Variegated Porcupine Holly)

  • This “Punk” star is a sterile male with spiny leaves, but obviously no berries.
  • But this means it doesn’t contribute to English holly’s invasiveness in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Old cultivar in England, first reported in 1662 (Galle).
  • Specimen is located in the Eurasian clade (family), W. berm, of the Ilex Collection.

2)   Ilex maximowicziana var. kanehirae

  • This “Mod” diva has a tidy upright form with black berries.
  • Native to China and Japan
  • Has gone through many name changes, intermediate between I. crenata and I. triflora.
  • Specimen is located in the Asian/North American clade of the Ilex Collection.

3)   Ilex opaca  ‘Boyce Thompson Xanthocarpa’

  • An American holly celebrity which dares to be different, sporting yellow berries.
  • Reported to have been discovered in the wild, Mount Vernon, VA, late 1920’s.
  • Specimen located in the American clade, S. berm, of the Ilex Collection.

4)   Ilex verticillata  ‘Winter Red’     (Winterberry cultivar)

  • You don‘t always need to be dressed in leaves, says this scarlet actress.
  • Reliable shrub with heavy, bright red fruit set and good berry retention.
  • A nice thicket is found along Azalea Way, just north of Lookout Pond.

5)   Ilex x  ‘Nellie R. Stevens’

  • This mischievous leading lady has been nothing but trouble!
  • Claiming English holly parentage, but also Chinese holly parentage. In any case, no denying she certainly resembles English holly in my book.
  • Specimen is located in the Eurasian clade, N. berm, in the Ilex Collection.
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