Plants of the Week: October 9
The small, rare Wikstroemia shrub is a unique addition to any garden. Currently a member of the mezereon family Thymelaeaceae and from eastern Asia, it was once ranked as a member of the genus Daphne which, along with Edgeworthia, is in the same family. Wikstroemia along with a few other genera of plants were historically used for making Washi paper which is of Japanese cultural significance.
In the wild, it is a small shrub that grows in open forests, shaded places, and along roads. The genus name honors Swedish botanist Johan Emanuel Wikström of the late 1700s, while the species name means “three forked.” A small, lively specimen can be found outside of McCabe Library. photo credit: R. Robert
Lespedeza thunbergii ‘Gibralter’
Commonly called “bush clover”, Lespedeza thunbergii is a large graceful shrub with long, slender, fountain-spray branches that become heavily laden with purple, pea-like flowers. Sources indicate that the plant was named by French botanist Michaux to honour Vincente Manuel de Cespedes, the Spanish governor of Florida in the late 1700s.
The cultivar ‘Gibralter’ blooms in late summer into early fall with heavy, deep-purple blooms. This can be found in the Bond Courtyard near Worth Hall. photo credit: R. Robert
All along the top side of Magill Walk are patches of the autumn crocus, Colchicum byzantinum. Sometimes classified as a naturally occurring, large variety of Colchicum autumnale var. major, this perennial bulb emerges in early fall from corms after the leaves have withered and died back.
The common name falsely suggests that the species is related to Crocus in the Iris family Iridaceae, however they are in an entirely separate family Colchicaceae. The Genus name refers to the plant’s native range in the Black Sea Colchis region in the country Georgia. photo credit: R. Robert