Plant of the Month

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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Advocating for Acer with Winter Interest

Acer saccharum 'Bonfire'RHRMaples are a fascinating group of plants. The genus Acer contains about 238 botanical taxa and hybrids found throughout every continent in the Northern Hemisphere. Interestingly, only one species, Acer laurinum, occurs in the Southern Hemisphere.

Acer saccharum 'Endowment' is endowed with striking fall color. photo credit: J. Coceano

Acer saccharum ‘Endowment’ is endowed with striking fall color. photo credit: J. Coceano

Commercially, maples are harvested for timber and sap. The sugar maple, Acer saccharum, is tapped for sap. Forty quarts of sap are required to make one quart of syrup. While most any species of Acer can be harvested for sap, few produce sufficient quantities for production purposes. Sugar maple …

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