Plants of the Week: November 11

Plants of the Week: November 11

When thinking of the best trees for vibrant fall color, elms aren’t usually at the top of the list. However, the color displayed on the two Ulmus americana between McCabe Library and the Cunningham House these past few days have made me rethink my list. I now understand why the native tree was planted so prolifically across the country. Sadly, Dutch elm disease saw the tree all but erased from the landscape. Dr. Michael Dirr shares the following: “Majestic in habit, American elm has an upright-spreading outline and semi-pendant outer branches. Trees planted along boulevards meet to form cathedral ceiling-like archways.” The remaining Ulmus americana planted at the Scott Arboretum are protected with regular anti-fungal injections. Seeing a mature elm decked in its autumn finery makes one appreciate its beauty and rarity.   Photo credit: J. Coceano

Garden Location: two trees are found between the Terry Shane Teaching Garden and McCabe Library


Cornus kousa ‘Gold Star’ is by far my favorite kousa dogwood! Irregular butter-yellow variegation marks the center of each leaf. As days shorten and turn cooler, leaves turn shades of pink, red, and purple. A single branch displays a range of colors. The tree tends to bear a rounded profile, averaging 20’ in both height and width. Ideal for the small garden. Photo credit: J. Coceano

Garden Location: west side of Papazian Hall


Ilex serrata, the finetooth holly, is a deciduous Ilex native to Japan and China. The cultivar ‘Sundrops’ bears numerous creamy white fruits.  Ilex serrata is infrequently seen in cultivation as the native Ilex verticillata is considered far superior due to its larger and more persistent fruits. Crossing Ilex serrata and I. verticillata has yielded a range of popular cultivars including ‘Autumn Glow’, ‘Harvest Red’, and ‘Sparkleberry’.  Photo credit: J. Coceano

Garden Locations: Several  Ilex serrata ‘Sundrops’ are growing around the Ben West House


Josh Coceano
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