Plant of the Week: August 20
2018 Summer Intern
With its large, slightly pendulous pink flowers and height of up to 20 feet, this crapemyrtle sure is a stunner! Lagerstroemia is native to East Asia, and was introduced into South Carolina around 1760. Originating in 1986, this cultivar was the fourth mildew-resistant cultivar to come out of the National Arboretum. It features large, pendulous, hot-pink blooms and mottled bark. It has a notoriously long bloom period-about 100 days-and foliage that turns a dark orange in fall. Although the specimen near Old Tarble is cultivated as multi-stemmed, this shrub can also be pruned to have a tree-like single trunk, fitting any landscape need! photo credit: E. Fogarty
Cercidiphyllum japonicum f. pendula
There’s something beautiful about a weeping tree. Nestled amongst the rigid, structured specimens of the Pinetum collection, the liquidity of this weeping katsura’s branches is breathtaking. Sometimes called “caramel tree” due to the smell it emits in the fall, Cercidiphyllum japonicum is an endangered plant in its native Japan to China range.
The species was introduced to America in 1865 (although this cultivar was a later creation), when Thomas Hogg sent seeds from Japan to his brother’s New York nursery. The pendulous variety has earned a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Merit, and for good reason! In the spring, small white flowers precede the appearance of red-purple leaves, which mature to green. These leaves later turn to red and gold cascades, at up to 15 feet tall. photo credit: E. Fogarty
Helianthus x multiflorus ‘Sunshine Daydream’
This lovely sunflower is a cultivar of the multiflorus species, which was described prior to the creation of modern taxonomy by Linnaeus. More resembling its Dahlia cousins than the traditional sunflower (both are members of the Asteraceae family), ‘Sunshine Daydream’ is what is commonly known as a “double” – a sunflower with tiny florets in the area where seeds would normally be seen (the black center on a traditional sunflower). The 3-inch flowers of ‘Sunshine Daydream’ rise a modest 5 or 6 feet above the soil, and spread 2 to 4 feet. This sunflower likes sunny, moist soil, making it the perfect choice for the edge of the biostream! Catch it blooming all summer, until the first frost hits. photo credit: E. Fogarty