Plant of the Week: June 6

Plant of the Week: June 6

Durante erecta, Photo credit: D. Alvarez

Duranta erecta ‘Geisha Girl’

Over the course of the month that I’ve worked at Scott Arboretum, I’ve found some rather peculiar descriptors for the scents of plants. One afternoon one of my supervisors asked for my opinion about the scent of some small, purple flower clusters. I thought they smelled like freshly-baked sugar cookies and he agreed. A large evergreen shrub native to Mexico, Duranta erecta, also known as “Skyflower”, likes sandy soil, warmth, full sun, and has moderate watering needs; it usually flowers from late spring to late summer. Birds, butterflies, and bees dine ravenously upon its sweet-scented fruit and nectar; it is a wonderful addition as a fragrance and splash of color to any greenhouse or garden and can be found at Scott in the Terry Shane Teaching Garden. Photo credit: D. Alvarez

 

Rosa ‘Rhonda’

For the past couple of weeks, we at Scott Arboretum have wondered whether the roses in the Rose Garden would bloom in time for Commencement; as you can see in this image (or in person if you visit), they were worth the wait. Now in full-bloom, Rosa ‘Rhonda’ is just one of the many beautiful varieties of roses in the Dean Bond Rose Garden. They are perennial, woody, flowering plants with preferences for sun, deep watering, and slightly acidic soil. Aside from producing distinct, ornamental, and often fragrant flowers, Rosa have other uses. Rose water is made by steeping some varieties of Rosa petals in water, which can then be used to flavor candy or tea, a popular flavor in the Middle East. Some pollinated roses form red fruits called rose hips which can be crushed into jam and eaten; the seeds contain essential oils that are used in the making of perfume. While Rosa ‘Rhonda’ is simply an ornamental cultivar, there is nothing simple about its beauty. Photo credit: D. Alvarez

 

Digitalis purpurea ‘Dalmatian Peach’

Commonly called ‘Foxglove,’ Digitalis purpurea is a biennial herbaceous plant native to Western Europe. While the scientific name means, “fingerlike,” referring to how the iconic, bell-shaped flowers can fit over the fingers, the common name was originally supposed to mean, “fairy’s glove.” Thanks to the plant toxin’s unique properties, Digitalis extract is harvested in order to make a medicine used to treat congestive heart failure. As far as the plant itself, Digitalis purpurea likes acidic, recently-disturbed soil, moderate amounts of water, and can thrive in full sun to shade. ‘Dalmatian Peach’ can be found behind the Hoop House in the Cut Flower Garden, blooming now in late spring through the early part of summer. Photo credit: D. Alvarez

Dennis Alvarez
dalvare1@swarthmore.edu
1Comment
  • Ramon Alvarez
    Posted at 14:02h, 09 June Reply

    Dennis great article and beautiful photos.Very proud of you.
    Love Gpa

Post A Reply to Ramon Alvarez Cancel Reply