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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Plants of the Week: October 9

October 12 2017 RHR 015

Wikstroemia trichotoma

The small, rare Wikstroemia shrub is a unique addition to any garden. Currently a member of the mezereon family Thymelaeaceae and from eastern Asia, it was once ranked as a member of the genus Daphne which, along with Edgeworthia, is in the same family. Wikstroemia along with a few other genera of plants were historically used for making Washi paper which is of Japanese cultural significance.

In the wild, it is a small shrub that grows in open forests, shaded places, and along roads. The genus name honors Swedish botanist Johan Emanuel Wikström of the late 1700s, while

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