Plants of the Week: May 5

Plants of the Week: May 5

Epimedium x youngianum ‘Milky Way’

The Scott Arboretum has many flowers in the displays surrounding the Cunningham House. Of these multitudes there seems to be a heavy emphasis on the broad variety of Epimedium cultivars. This herbaceous genus of the family Berberidaceae has had a long history in traditional Chinese herbalism to promote potency. Though commonly found in Eastern gardens, it is recently becoming more popular in the West. Commonly known as barrenwort or bishop’s cap, the numerous differences among cultivars are astounding. One in particular caught my attention, growing on the path headed away from the arbor in the Terry Shane Teaching Garden. ‘Milky Way’ has oblique-based leaves and small, white, spindly flowers that hang like tiny spiders above the foliage. photo credit: J. Bickel

Syringa x hyacinthiflora ‘Pocahontas’

Of the enormous and lovely collection of lilacs here at the Arboretum, it was difficult to pick just one to write about. Walking around the collection when it is in bloom is an exciting visual and olfactory experience: washes of deep purples, pinks and whites draw the eye while the nose is intoxicated from heavy drinks of the air, dense with divine floral scents. ‘Pocahontas’ seemed exceptionally photogenic this day due to the rich purple inflorescences that hung heavily on the branches. Lilacs are in the family Oleaceae and the species that ‘Pocahontas’ was hybridized from was named for the floral similarities to hyacinth. photo credit: J. Bickel


Cercis chinensis ‘Don Egolf’

Pink, as we all know, is a color often associated with spring and when I think pink and spring, my mind comes first to the fabulous flowers of Redbuds. Cercis exhibits an interesting style of flowering in which it produces bunches of inflorescences that remain close to the branches accenting the shape and direction of the branches and sometimes even blooming out of the trunk. The flowers are bilateral and papilionaceous and taste like sweet peas when eaten before the flowers open. photo credit: J.Coceano


John Bickel
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