Plants of the Week: August 3

Plants of the Week: August 3

Tetracentron sinense JTB [1]

Tetracentron sinense

This peculiar, small-stature tree can be found in the garden of the West House on the northern edge of campus. Native to southwest and central China, this deciduous tree is hardy to our zone and blooms in June and July. Though once place in the Magnolia family Magnoliaceae, T. sinense has been moved to the wheel tree family, Trochodendraceae, with the wheel tree genus Trochodendron. Similar to the genus that it is now closely related to, Tetracentron wood is comprised of tracheid cells rather than vessel elements, as are commonly seen in broadleaf trees, which makes the wood similar to that of a conifer. I enjoy this tree for its pleasant form with long, gracefully sloping branches. photo credit: J. Bickel

Styphnolobium japonicum'Regent' JTB [1]

Styphnolobium japonicum ‘Regent’

Though commonly called the Japanese pagoda tree, and bearing the label of Japanese origin in its specific epithet, Styphnolobium japonicum is native to China and Korea but, ironically, not Japan; though historically used in both traditional Chinese medicine and traditional Japanese woodcarving. A member of the pea family Fabaceae, it produces a multitude of papilionaceous, creamy white flowers that mature to bean-like pods among pinnately compound leaves. This medium-sized tree was once designated as Sophora japonica, but it was found to differ from other trees in the genus Sophora enough to be reclassified. The ‘Regent’ cultivar was selected for many features including: faster growth rate, darker green foliage, and disease resistance to name a few. A sizeable specimen can be found between Beardsley and Trotter halls on the edge of the John W. Nason Garden. photo credit: J. Bickel

 Euphorbia'Jessie' JTB [1]

Euphorbia ‘Jessie’

The genus Euphorbia was purportedly named in honor of the ancient Greek physician and warrior Euphorbus. A member of the family Euphorbiaceae, and thus closely related to the commonly seen christmas poinsettia, ‘Jessie’ is a hybrid cultivar that is the resultant cross of E. griffithii ‘Fireglo’ and E. polychroma. The result is a 3-5 foot tall herbaceous perennial, with heavy greenish-yellow compound cymes of flowers with yellow bracts, orange margins, and small inconspicuous fertile parts. When it is blooming, it is a really nice addition to the garden outside the front door of McCabe Library. photo credit: J. Bickel

John Bickel
jbickel1@swarthmore.edu
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