Plant of the Month



The Terry Shane Teaching Garden has many exciting moments throughout the growing season, but one of my personal favorites is when the hardy Hibiscus begins to flower. It brings a major accent to the garden outside of the Off Campus Study Office.

The flower bud of HIbiscus 'Lord Baltimore' will open for one day. photo credit: J. Bickel

The flower bud of HIbiscus ‘Lord Baltimore’ will open for one day. photo credit: J. Bickel

Hibiscus and other members of the family Malvaceae always have an added bonus with their specific and peculiar floral anatomy. All genera in this family exhibit some type of staminal fusion. The most common staminal fusion is know as “synfilamentous connation.” This …

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Franklinia alatamaha

Franklinia alatamaha JTB [2]This July marks the 240th anniversary of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence, cutting ties with the tyrannical imperial monarchy that was Great Britain in an effort to create a new independent nation of the unified 13 colonies.  Because of this anniversary, it seems apropos to talk about a plant that has ties to some important characters from that period in American history.

Franklinia altamaha; 91-190A

Franklinia grows as single-trunk or, sometimes, a suckering multi-stem shrub with a loosely pyramidal crown. photo credit: D. Mattis

The history of the discovery Franklinia alatamaha is tied to the history of two Philadelphia …

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Enkianthus campanulatus (redvein enkianthus)

may 15 2014 RHR 238_edited_res72

The genus Enkianthus was first described by 18th century Portuguese naturalist João de Loureiro in the publication of his work “Flora Cochinchinensis”. Coming from the Greek “énkyos” and “anthus” it literally translates to “pregnant flower,” likely from the inflated, fused corollas found on some (but not all) species. It is a genus of small shrubs and trees in the family Ericaceae (closely related to Rhododendron), and is prevalent in open woodlands from the eastern Himalayas, south into Vietnam, and as far northeast as Japan. Some sources say that, “cladistically, Enkianthus is considered the most basal genus of Ericaceae,” …

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