Plants of the Week: November 20

Ilex x _Whoa Nellie_ JTB (1)

Ilex ‘Whoa Nellie’

A brief and sudden cold-snap has decimated much of the tender greenery on Swarthmore’s campus. Thus, I’ve been looking for any bright pops of color to cheer me up before winter really sets in. Tucked away on the south side of the Cotswold Frats close to the train tracks is a small specimen of the Ilex cultivar ‘Whoa Nellie’.

This cultivar was named by Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery in honor of the (I.cornuta x I. aquifolium) hybrid ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ from which the sport was cut. ‘Whoa Nellie’ boasts a consistent new-foliage variegation of …

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Plants of the Week: October 16


Illicium mexicanum_003 RMAIllicium mexicanum ‘Aztec Fire’

Mexican anise

Hidden in plain sight at the corner of the Wister Center, this tiny Illicium mexicanum is still pumping out beautiful red blooms well into October. With the bloom time extended from spring to autumn, compared to our native Illicium which blooms only in spring, the large, red, protruding flowers of I. mexicanum can be enjoyed alongside the plump brown seed pods throughout the growing season.

Though this particular I. mexicanum ‘Aztec Fire’ at the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College is maybe a foot tall, this cultivar can grow to be 8 feet tall …

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Forgotten Fabulous Fall Color Trails

June 1 2017 RHR 154

Martin Forest: One of the Five Best Preserved Areas in the Crum Woods

As we enter fall color season, we continue our series discussing the five best preserved areas in the Crum Woods. Martin Forest is a 30 acre tract of nearly/entirely forested land, and an ideal area to experience autumn color. This old-growth stand has been described by Roger Latham, an ecologist and conservation biologist, as an extraordinary piece of living history. To give a hiker perspective on the importance of Martin Forest, most of the Crum Woods is mature second-growth forest.

Ancient hemlock towering over the tree canopy in the Martin Forest. photo credit: R. Robert

 An ancient hemlock towering over the tree

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