Plants of the Week: September 1

Plants of the Week: September 1

Ficus carica ‘Chicago Hardy’:

Walking through the John W. Nason Garden, I noticed the ‘Chicago Hardy’ Ficus planted on a high wall coming off the side of Pearson Hall. The small immature fruits dappled among the nodes on the branches. Figs are best grown in Zones 6-9. On the colder side, where Swarthmore is, they do better in warm microclimates.  I am a big fan of figs, and have been keeping a close watch on these hoping to snag one before they disappear. photo credit: J. Bickel

Schisandra glabra:

Otherwise known as the bay star-vine, or more colloquially Magnolia vine; this plant is found growing inconspicuously next to a back door of Old Tarble.  To the untrained eye this vine would likely pass under the radar; however, hidden among the branches, closer inspection reveals large bunches of pink-white berries hanging like grapes. The berries mature to a bright red and are reportedly edible.  They have a very pungent flavor that is, at first, extremely sour followed by an intense ginger-like flavor. Very peculiar, unique, and definitely worth checking out. photo credit: J. Bickel


Lycoris squamigera:

Magill Walk has many looks as the flowering season progresses.  One of my personal favorites is when the cool-pink Lycoris flowers.  They exhibit an unusual growth and bloom pattern in which the foliage and flowers are present at different times of the year yet never together. In the spring when Narcissus, Tulipa and other spring bulbs are sending up their foliage, Lycoris is right there with them.  However, while the other bulbs will flower and die back, the Lycoris  flower never appears. They lay dormant until mid-summer before sending up single spikes that bloom into an apical whorl of sweetly scented, light pink flowers. photo credit: R. Maurer

John Bickel
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