Plants of the Week – October 8

Plants of the Week – October 8

Camellia oleifera, the tea oil camellia, is an evergreen, fall-blooming shrub native to China where it is cultivated for the oil derived from the seeds to be used in cooking. Single white flowers appear in autumn and continue blooming through the early winter months. Plant in a location where the shrub will receive morning shade. A specimen can be seen behind Parrish Hall. Camellia oleifera ‘Lu Shan Snow’, released by the U.S. National Arboretum, has survived temperatures as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Photo credit: J. Coceano


Piper auritum, commonly known as hoja santa (sacred leaf) in its native haunts of tropical Mesoamerica, is an aromatic perennial grown for its scented leaves that are commonly used in cooking tamales and mole verde. Plants can reach 3-5’ tall in a growing season and lend contrast to the garden with bold, fuzzy, heart-shaped leaves. Curious skinny white flowers, standing at attention, rise amongst the foliage. Photo credit: J. Coceano


Elaeagnus pungens offers a sweet-smelling greeting as one enters the Theresa Lang Fragrance Garden. Small, unassuming flowers, nestled within the foliage, produce a scent similar to gardenia. The plant’s habit has been described as a “genuine horror” and “barely fit for interstate highway plantings” due to its propensity to develop erratic long shoots and overall amorphous shape. The specimen in the Fragrance Garden has been trained as an espalier, proof that potential exists within all. Photo credit: J. Coceano


Ipomoea alba, often called moonflower or moon vine is a species of night blooming morning glory indigenous to the tropical regions of the Western Hemisphere. Pure white blossoms open at dusk. Flowers remain open all night long and begin closing shortly after daybreak. Allow the annual vine plenty of area to climb as plants can reach upwards of 15 feet. Visit the Theresa Lang Fragrance Garden in the evening or early morning to see the blooms. Photo credit: J. Coceano


Josh Coceano
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