Plants of the Week: November 25

Plants of the Week: November 25

Blemish-free foliage, dynamic bark, and colorful autumn foliage combine to make Persian ironwood highly ornamental. The species can be quite variable in form. Parrotia persica ‘Biltmore’ is a selection with a broad, vase-shaped habit and branches that develop all along the trunk giving a full, bushy appearance. Photo credit: J. Coceano

Garden location: between McCabe Library and the Dean Bond Rose Garden


The shortening days of October, coupled with cooling temperatures leave me convinced that Ajania pacifica won’t bloom. Surely it’s too late in the season. Then, unexpectedly, the plant is covered in small button-yellow flowers. Depending on weather, flowers may remain attractive through December. Ajania stems are great additions to fall floral arrangements where both flowers and leaves, margins outlined in white, make perfect fillers. Photo credit: J. Coceano

Garden location: Nason Garden


The variable leaves of Sassafras albidum, ovate, mitten-shaded, and three-lobed, are a sure-fire identifier of the species. The deciduous native tree is commonly found along roadsides, fence rows, and woodland edges. Root suckers from a singular tree may form a colony of several dozen plants, all originating from a single parent. Fall color varies from yellow and orange to purple and red. Sassafras oils were once commonly used to flavor tea and root beer and as a thickening agent. Recent discovery has indicated the carcinogenic nature of sassafras oil resulting in many uses being banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Photo credit: J. Coceano

Garden location: Water Tower parking lot, the Crum Woods

Josh Coceano
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