Archive for August 2012

Plants of the Week – August 20


Curcuma, derived from the Arabic word kurkum, meaning turmeric, was first described by Linnaeus in 1753. Curcuma ‘Sulee Sunshine’ is a hybrid from Thailand developed for the cut flower industry. Otherworldly looking flowers, often referred to as cones, emerge in August and continue through October. Unlike other curcumas which hide their flowers amongst foliage, Curcuma ‘Sulee Sunshine’ bears leaves which natuarally fold away serving as a brilliant background to highlight the inflorescence. A specimen can be seen growing along the bluestone path near the Off-Campus Study Office in the Terry Shane Teaching Garden. Photo credit: J. Coceano…

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Plants of the Week – August 13


Orthosiphon stamineus is an interesting tender perennial just starting to bloom outside the Wister Center.  This native of Eastern Asia, a member of the Lamiaceae family, has long been used for its medicinal properties.  In Southeast Asia it is known as Misai Kucing and is used to make Java tea which helps heal kidney and urinary problems; however, it is also commonly cultivated for its unusual flowers.  It gets its common name cat’s whiskers from its tall stalks of white flowers with long “whiskery” stamens, which makes it a unique plant for containers or garden beds. The flowers also …

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Dutchman’s Pipe – Climbing Aristolochia

Sometimes a plant looks and performs so well that you take it for granted. Such a plant often isn’t flashy yet provides vital form, presence, or function to the garden. Case in point is the Aristolochia macrophylla covering a majority of the wooden arbor in the Terry Shane Teaching Garden. The vine is impressive in scale and provides a mid-height transition from ground level to the towering Quercus and Ulmus behind the garden.

Aristolochia tomentosa growing along Magnolia Collection fence. photo credit: J. Coceano

Aristolochia is a large genus with upwards of 500 members. The group, including evergreen and deciduous …

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