Plant of the Month

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Amethyst’


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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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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