Archive for October 2016

Plant of the Week: October 31

osmanthus-x-fortunei-2-jwcThe element of surprise fragrance in the garden appeals to both the sense of smell and one’s curiosity. Just where is that scent coming from? Osmanthus x fortunei with its clusters of creamy white flowers provides a sweet greeting to visitors entering the front door of the Cunningham House. The source of the odor isn’t obvious as the holly-like foliage conceals the blossoms. An evergreen shrub, Osmanthus x fortunei can grow upwards of 20’ yet responds well to shearing and is easily kept to more restrained heights. Plant in full sun for dense growth and abundant flowering. Photo credit: J. …

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Cyclamen hederifolium

cyclamen-hederifolium-pink-form-iiThe natural world is filled with fascinating inter-organism relationships that range from detrimental, in the case of parasites or predators, to mutually symbiotic. Parasitism is fascinating in its own right, but I find the relationships that have evolved over millennia that benefit both organisms involved to assist each other are some of the most interesting stories biology can offer. One in particular I am interested in discussing is the phenomenon of Myrmecochory, and particularly as it pertains to the herbaceous perennial species Cyclamen hederifolium.

Coming from the ancient Greek roots myrmex meaning “ant” and chore meaning “dance,” it …

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Plants of the Week: October 17

cocoloba-uvifera-dca1Coccoloba uvifera

Every time I pass by the containers in the Isabel Cosby Courtyard, I stop and stare at the, “cool, big, shiny-leafed thing.”  I discovered its name is Coccoloba uvifera, commonly known as sea grape.  The common name comes from the green grape-like fruits produced in the summer, which ripen to purple in the fall.

The fruit can be eaten raw, squashed into jam, or fermented into wine.  However, Coccoloba uvifera is dioecious, so if you want “grapes,” you will need male and female plants.

As for the “sea” part, Coccoloba uvifera can tolerate dry soil with high …

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