Plant of the Month

Yellow Magnolias

Magnolia 'Gold Star' (7) JWCIntroduced and named in 1978, Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’ was a breakthrough in the quest for a yellow-flowering magnolia. While ‘Elizabeth’ is creamy white with subtle hints of yellow, the cultivar opened the door for subsequent introductions that feature bright yellow, golden-yellow, and orange flowers.

While Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’ is creamy white with subtle hints of yellow, the cultivar opened the door for subsequent introductions that feature bright yellow, golden-yellow, and orange flowers. photo credit: J. Coceano

While Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’ is creamy white with subtle hints of yellow, the cultivar opened the door for subsequent introductions that feature bright yellow, golden-yellow, and orange flowers. photo credit: J. Coceano

Patented by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, ‘Elizabeth’ is a hybrid between M. acuminata and M. denudata. The hardiest of the magnolia species, M. acuminata can …

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Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Amethyst’

hydrangea-quercifolia-amethyst-jtb-3

Hydrangea quercifolia is a multi-stemmed suckering shrub that can reach heights of 6 to 8 feet. Native to the Southeastern United States, it was first described by colonial Pennsylvania native botanist John Bartram, who remains the botanical authority on the species. According to sources, the genus name comes from the Greek roots hydro- meaning “water” and –aggeion meaning “vessel.” The specific epithet comes from the Latin for oak Quercus, and folia meaning leaf due to the deep lobed shape and pointed vein tips. The Royal Botanical Garden Plant Finder reference accounts for nearly 20 different cultivars available for H.

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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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