Plants of the Week: December 15

Plants of the Week: December 15

Betula costata, the Korean birch, is considered by some to be the most attractive of all the birches. Young trees produce voluminous amounts of peeling bark. Trunks become more smooth and creamy white with age. Photo credit: J. Coceano

Garden location: Southwest corner of Sharples Dining Hall

 

Billbergia, like so many bromeliads, offer unusual foliage colorations and patterns and sport dramatic, otherworldly flowers. The Bromeliad Society/Houston is a fantastic online resource on bromeliads. Several Billbergia, overwintering in the Wister Center Greenhouses are in flower. The Society has this to say about Billbergia: “Billbergias grow mostly in Brazil, but some species are found in Mexico, Central America, along the Atlantic coast, through Uruguay, and as far south as Argentina, and along the Pacific coast through Ecuador and Peru. Almost all members of the genus are epiphytic growing in trees and shrubs from sea level to 5000 feet. If they fall from their perches, they happily take root and grow on the ground. The typical plant is tall and tube like with 5-8 leaves. The foliage can be mottled, banded, variegated, or just plain green. Billbergia flowers, although short lived, are usually spectacular. They are frequently cascading, but can be upright having a variety of colors such as purple, blue, yellow, green or white.” Photo credit: J. Coceano

Garden location: seasonal warm-weather plantings, overwintered in the Wister Center Greenhouses

xSycoparrotia semidecidua is a semi-evergreen shrub or small tree in the witch hazel family. The plant is the result of an inter-generic coupling between Sycopsis and Parrotia. Leathery oblong-elliptic leaves sporadically turn yellow throughout the fall and winter. Small clusters of chocolate-brown flowers offset by bright red anthers bloom in the spring. Photo credit: J. Coceano

Garden location: Southwest corner of Sharples Dining Hall

Josh Coceano
jcocean1@swarthmore.edu
2 Comments
  • Diane Mattis
    Posted at 10:56h, 16 December Reply

    Josh,
    I’ve been a very good girl this year. I hope Santa brings
    me a Billbergia 🙂 They are gorgeous!
    Diane

    • Becky Robert
      Posted at 10:58h, 16 December Reply

      Diane, I will let my elf on the shelf know. She will spread the word to Santa;)
      Becky

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