January 14th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
“Judge a Plant by Its Cover”: Twigs and Bark
Photo of Acer buergerianum (Trident Maple) trunk (#1)
1) Acer buergerianum (Trident Maple) – photo of trunk (to the right)
- Move over Stewartia pseudocamellia, at least for the time being.
- Exceptional mottled flakey, lighter gray-brown bark on this young Asian maple.
- Makes a good street tree in Seattle, tolerant of a wide-range of stress factors.
2) Acer caesium ssp. giraldii
- Maple featuring young branches covered with a whitish bloom (DO NOT TOUCH)
- Native to the Himalaya region of China (Shaanxi and Yunnan provinces)
- Specimen located along Arboretum Drive in the Peonies
Photo of Betula albo-sinensis var. septentrionalis (Chinese Red Birch) trunk (#3)
3) Betula albo-sinensis var. septentrionalis (Chinese Red Birch) – photo of trunk (to the right)
- “The bark is singularly lovely, being a rich orange-red or orange-brown and peels off in sheets, each no thicker than fine tissue paper, and each successive layer is clothed with a white glaucous bloom.” – E.H. Wilson, Aristocrats of the Trees
- Please resist the temptation to tear, pull, rub… the bark. It is disrespectful, potentially harmful to the tree, and a crime to deface public property.
- Grove located in the Witt Winter Garden.
Samples of #2, #4, and #5
4) Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’
- A multi-colored thicket-forming dogwood.
- Brightens up ones’ spirits on any dark and gloomy winter Seattle day.
- Located in the twig bed of the Witt Winter Garden.
5) Prunus maackii (Manchurian or Goldbark Cherry)
- Not as common as the Birchbark Cherry, but has brighter honey-brown bark.
- Located on the north toe of Yew hill, grid 30-3W.
December 14th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
Seize the Bay!
1) Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
- From the Mediterranean region
- A plant of great cultural significance (culinary uses, literary references, etc.)
- Marginally hardy in the Washington Park Arboretum, located in the Mediterranean Bed (grid 21-3E)
2) California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica)
- Native to the Pacific Coast, Oregon through California
- Crushed leaves have intense odor
- Re-seeds freely in the Washington Park Arboretum
- Located near the Mediterranean Bed (grid 20-3E)
3) Redbay (Persea borbonia)
- A relative of the avocado, native to southeastern U.S.
- Used as an emetic (vomit inducer) by indigenous people
- Located in the the Camellia Collection near the Reebs memorial bench (grid 11-4E)
4) Rosebay (Rhododendron maximum)
- Native to eastern U.S.
- Used in the early days of Rhododendron hybridizing to develop hardy hybrids
- Growing steadily in the Rhododendron Seedling Bed (grid 22-1E)
5) Sweet Bay (Magnolia virginiana)
- Eastern U.S. native
- Typically evergreen in Seattle, but can be deciduous, semi-deciduous, or evergreen depending on climate
- Located in the Magnolia Collection (grid 28-3E)
December 5th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
1) Abies alba ‘Hybrid’ (Silver Fir)
- Silver Fir is the species first used as a Christmas tree.
- A resinous essential oil can be extracted. The pine-scented oil has soothing qualities and is used in perfumes and bath products.
- This magnificent specimen can be found on Arboretum Drive.
2) Cornus sericea ‘Cardinal’ (Red Osier Dogwood)
- Bright red twigs provide winter interest in the garden and a beautiful accent to holiday decorations.
- There are many benefits to Red Osier Dogwood, including overall hardiness and wildlife habitat.
- Native to the Pacific Northwest, this cultivar can be found in the Pacific Connections Entry Garden.
3) Ilex opaca ‘Emily’ (Emily American Holly)
- Holly is a popular winter, Christmas and holiday season decoration.
- In English poetry, holly is inseparably connected with merry-making.
- American Holly is the perfect substitute for English Holly because it is not invasive.
- Several cultivars of Ilex opaca can be found in the island beds of the Pacific Connections Garden.
4) Picea brachytyla (Sargent Spruce)
- Many species of spruce are used as Christmas trees.
- Spruce are important economically for timber, resin and Christmas tree production.
- The Sargent Spruce is native to China and is threatened by habitat loss.
5) Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar)
- The flattened sprays of dark green foliage droop gracefully and are prefect for holiday wreaths and swags.
- Strongly aromatic, the scent of crushed Western Red Cedar is reminiscent of pineapple.
- A strong player in our native matrix, beautiful Thuja plicata can be found throughout the entire Arboretum.
November 16th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
1) Callicarpa sp. Beautyberry
- When the late autumn landscape seems to offer little in the way of vibrant color, the upright shrub, Callicarpa shows us that it has some local Husky pride. Grown mainly for their clusters of small, bead-like fruit, the Callicarpa species are ideal for a colorful shrub border.
- Native primarily to China, Japan, and Korea, Callicarpa is a member of the plant family, Verbenaceae.
- This specimen can be found in our field nursery near Arboretum Drive.
2) Decaisnea insignis Dead Man’s Fingers
- An interesting deciduous shrub within the family Lardizabalaceae, Decaisnea certainly gets noticed when it bears its dullish blue fruit.
- Native to Western China.
- This specimen can be seen from Arboretum Drive, just west of the Peonies Collection.
3) Euonymus myrianthus
- The fruits of this upright shrub are yellow, but their full beauty is only attained when they ripen and split, exposing the seeds which become orange-scarlet in December.
- Known commonly as Spindle trees, Euonymus are members of the family, Celastraceae.
- Native to Western China.
4) Pieris japonica ‘Crispa’
- Evergreen shrub native to the Himalayas, East Asia, North America and the West Indies.
- Can be found in the Rhododendron Glen.
5) Zanthoxylum piperitum Japan Pepper
- Spiny, tree-like shrub with spherical red fruit.
- Located in the Rutaceae Collection, near the current pedestrian detour trail.
October 16th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
1) Cotoneaster conspicuus
- This showy member of the rose family is native to Tibet.
- Like most other specimens of the genus Cotoneaster, C. conspicuus has an equally stunning, early summer display of white flowers.
- C. conspicuus can be viewed along the north border of the Graham Visitor Center parking lot.
2) Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Red’ Black Alder, Winterberry
- Native to eastern North America, winterberry is an important winter food source for wildlife including raccoon, red squirrel, wood duck and ruffed grouse.
- The cultivar ‘Winter Red’ produces intensely red berries that can last until spring.
- I.v. ‘Winter Red’ can be seen just to the north of the Overlook Pond on Azalea Way.
3) Pyracantha rogersiana ‘Flava’ Firethorn
- Many firethorns are grown for their showy berries in fall, which can range from lemon-yellow to scarlet.
- Pyracantha has traditionally been used as a decorative ornamental, as a pollen source for bees and for home security due to their vicious thorns.
- Several firethorn species and cultivars can be seen along Arboretum Drive just south of the Graham Visitor Center.
4) Sorbus cashmiriana Kashmir Rowan
- Native to the western Himalayas, this rowan bears corymbs of white flowers in late spring followed by pink-tinged white pommes.
- Our Sorbus Collection is located on the east side of Arboretum Drive between Crabapple Meadow and our giant sequoia grove.
5) Viburnum sp.
- This Viburnum, which was collected in China, has yet to be identified to a species.
- The tiny, brilliant red berries are unusual to the genus.
- This Viburnum is located along Azalea Way near our Fraxinus (True Ash) Collection.
September 28th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
1) Acer diabolicum (Horned Maple)
- This maple is one of the least ornamental of the native maples of Japan.
- It is named for the tiny horn-like appendages between the winged seeds.
- Ours is growing beside the Japanese Garden parking lot.
2) Koelreuteria bipinnata
- Named after a German professor of botany, J.G. Koelreuter (1733-1806), it is impossible for English speakers to pronounce.
- K. bipinnata is blooming now, but the more common K. paniculata is bearing its conspicuous inflated seed pods.
- Both species are located opposite Arboretum Drive on Foster Island Road.
3) Pterocarya stenoptera (Chinese wingnut)
- The Latin name literally means “narrow-winged wingnut”.
- A relative of walnuts and hickories, it is growing near them in 29-2W along Azalea Way.
4) Pterostyrax hispida (Epaulette Tree)
- Long panicles of spring flowers become chains of bristly (hence “hispida”) seeds.
- Native to China and Japan.
- The best examples in the Arboretum are along the east fence (9 and 10-7E).
5) Vitex agnus-castus (Chaste Tree)
- A shrub native to Mediterranean regions and southwest and central Asia.
- The Vitex genus includes large tropical and sub-tropical timber trees.
- In the Arboretum, it is located just south of the Woodland Garden pond on Azalea Way. A
white form is 100 feet north.
September 16th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
“Ornamental Late Summer Fruits”
1) Betula lenta (Sweet Birch)
- The fruit, maturing in fall, is composed of numerous tiny winged seeds packed between the catkin bracts.
- Twigs, when scraped, have a strong scent of oil of wintergreen.
- Several specimens are located east of Azalea Way bordering the wetland bog.
2) Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Tree)
- The fruit is a cone, two to three inches long, made of a great number of thin narrow scales attached to a common axis. These scales are each a carpel surrounded by a thin membranous ring.
- Another eastern North American tree which is also considered the tallest deciduous angiosperm in the world.
- A mature grove is located in our Magnolia Collection.
3) Magnolia sieboldii (Oyama Magnolia)
- The ornamental three-inch-long carmine fruit dangles off the tree, and eventually busts open to reveal orange “alien” seeds from “outer space”. The fruit are oval in shape and have little spine-like points that create an interesting texture.
- Shrub native to eastern Asia in China, Japan, and Korea.
- Located just outside the west entrance to the Graham Visitor Center.
4) Ostrya carpinifolia (Hop Hornbeam)
- The fruit form in pendulous clusters, 3-8 cm. long with 6–20 seeds; each seed is a small nut 2–4 mm. long, fully enclosed in a bladder-like involucre.
- Small tree native to Europe.
- Specimen is located in Hornbeam section, just past the Broadmoor service entrance on Foster Island Road.
5) Styrax japonicus (Japanese Silverbell)
- The fruit is an oblong dry drupe, smooth and lacking ribs or narrow wings, unlike the fruit of the related snowdrop trees (Halesia) and epaulette trees.
- Mature specimens may be found half-way down Azalea Way on the west side.
September 9th, 2012 by Catherine Nelson, Adult Tours Program Assistant
These 3-parted pods contain the seeds of the Koelreuteria paniculata or Golden Rain Tree. This tree is native to East Asia, China & Korea and is used as an ornamental for its flowers, leaves and seed pods. Although it is considered an invasive in the SE United States. The Arboretum’s free Sunday walks for the month of September will feature the “Fruits & Nuts” of this tree and many others in the collection. Come on our free walk with a knowledgeable guide – every Sunday, 1:00 pm at the Graham Visitors Center
August 26th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
1) Blechnum chilense
- This impressive evergreen fern grows in full sun to full shade.
- The Chilean Spanish name ‘Costilla de vaca’ translates into “cow’s rib” and refers to the shape of the fronds.
- This fern can be found thriving in the Chilean Entry Garden in Pacific Connections.
2) Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp. niphophila
- Beautiful peeling brown bark is just one of the attributes of this Australian native.
- This snow gum can be found in the highest part of the Australian Alps straddling the Victoria-New South Wales border.
- A youthful specimen is located in the Australian Entry Garden in Pacific Connections.
3) Ginkgo biloba
- Ginkgo has been used medicinally for thousands of years.
- The Ginkgo is a living fossil; a unique species recognizably similar to fossils dating back 270 million years.
- A young ginkgo tree adorns the China Entry Garden in Pacific Connections.
4) Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Majorie Channon’
- Also known as Majorie Channon Kohuhu or variegated Kohuhu.
- Slow-growing, compact shrub. In early summer it bears bell-shaped, honey-scented, black-red flowers.
- The New Zealand Entry Garden sports three very nice specimens.
5) Rhamnus californica ‘Leather Leaf‘
- Commonly called “Leather Leaf Coffeeberry”, the Rhamnus are in the Buckthorn family.
- Its dark foliage makes it a great foil for lighter green or grey-colored plants.
- A lovely drift of Rhamnus californica ‘Leather Leaf’ can be found in the Cascadian Entry Garden in Pacific Connections.
July 26th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
1) Berberis darwinii
- Vigorous, upright evergreen shrub with spine-toothed, glossy leaves and spherical blue-glaucous fruit.
- This specimen is located along the Pacific Connections Meadow Loop Trail within the Chilean Entry Garden.
- First discovered by Charles Darwin in 1835.
2) Hydrangea serrata ‘Bluebird’
- Compact, erect deciduous shrub with flattened corymbs containing a few pink or blue sterile flowers and numerous fertile flowers within.
- A vigorous and hardy variety native to Japan and South Korea.
- Located along the east side of Arboretum Drive south of the double lot.
3) Lomatia myricoides
- Evergreen shrub with lanceolated leaves and creamy-white inflorescences native to southeastern Australia.
- Located on Arboretum Drive at the entrance to Pacific Connections Gardens.
4) Maackia chinensis
- A member of the family Leguminosae, Maackias are a genus of deciduous trees named after Richard Maack, a Russian naturalist who died in 1886.
- Located along Arboretum Drive, this ever-leaning specimen is currently showing its cylindrical, downy racemes, densely-crowded with flowers.
5) Sorbus rehderiana
- With elongated glossy leaflets and crimson fruits, this small tree native to Tibet is a handsome member of our Sorbus Collection.