Plants of the Week: April 25

Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima' 2014 325 B (2) JWC

I become more and more impressed with Aronia arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’ with each passing season. The native deciduous shrub produces clouds of white flowers from late April through early May. Bright red fruits ripen in early autumn and persist through the winter. Fall color is vivid red. ‘Brilliantissima’ performed well as a winter container plant; easily surviving the winter cold with no die-back, and bloomed floriferously in mid-spring. A group of three shrubs now resides behind the Wister Greenhouses in the Cut Flower Garden. Use as a mid-border shrub as plants become leggy with age. Photo credit: J. Coceano


Prunus 'Ukon' S00504 A bloom detail (2) JWC

Prunus ‘Ukon’ …

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Crum Woods Chronicle: Meet the Skunk Cabbage

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by Kate Crowley ‘ 16

Despite some unusually late snow this April, the skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) is beginning to make its dramatic appearance in the Crum Woods. It is one of the earliest native bloomers in the eastern United States.

In late winter, the spathe, a purplish pod, sticks out of the ground. Within the spathe is the spadix, a knob covered in yellow flowers, which bloom in early spring. These growth stages of the plant are subtle, but worth seeking out for their strange appearance.

Skunk cabbage amidst a carpet of lesser celandine. Photo by K. Crowley ‘16

Skunk cabbage amidst a carpet of lesser celandine. Photo by K.

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Plants of the Week: April 18

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Mertensia virginica

Virginia Bluebells always remind me of my time at the Edith J Carrier Arboretum in Virginia. There are pathways through the woods that are lined with them, truly spectacular when they are in bloom. Native to Eastern North America, these herbaceous perennials can be seen here on Swarthmore’s campus growing abundantly in the shady parts of the Cherry Border as well as in the Glade Garden. M. virginica sees the height of its season in March and April before completely dying back to dormancy by mid-summer. They produce scorpioid cymes of blue and pink, trumpet-shaped, pendulous flowers; very …

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