Autumn Color Arrives at the Washington Park Arboretum

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (October 3 - 16, 2016)
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum
(October 3 – 16, 2016)

1)  Sorbus alnifolia                                               (Korean Mountain Ash)

  • Native to central China, Korea and Japan this medium-sized tree boasts showy 2-3 inch umbrella-shaped clusters of 5-petal white flowers in late spring.
  • As summer yields to autumn, clusters of purple-red to orange-red ½ inch showy fruits appear and persist into winter.

2)  Gaultheria mucronata                                      (Prickly Heath)

  • Formerly known as Pernettya, this southern Chilean native spends the fall awash with showy globose berries in shades from deep plum to pink to white.
  • It is dioecious, meaning male and female plants need to be grown together to produce fruit.

3)   Austroderia richardii  (syn. Cortaderia richardii)                (Toe Toe Grass)

  • Adaptable to poor soils, this relative of the common, but often troublesome Pampas grass (C. selloana) is far more elegant and the plumes sway gracefully in a gentle breeze.
  • Although it hasn’t been considered invasive in the Pacific Northwest yet, it has the potential to re-seed in warmer climates, so we closely monitor its habit and will take appropriate action should it become a problem.

4)  Coriaria sarmentosa                (Tutu)

  • Rhizomatous species that bears root nodules which actively fix atmospheric nitrogen.
  • Native to New Zealand, this species thrives in rocky ground ranging from lowland bogs to alpine environments and can form extensive colonies.
  • All parts are poisonous, especially the seed inside the black berries.

5)   Melicytus crassifolius                (Thick-leaved Mahoe)

  • Its name roughly translating to ‘honey basket’, this New Zealand native and woody member of the Violaceae family will intoxicate you with its early spring fragrance.
  • The species name, crassifolius means ‘thick-leaved’, aptly describing the leathery, waxy leaves of the most cold-tolerant species in the Melicytus genus.
  • Fragrant lemon-yellow flowers cluster along branches followed by bright white berries the size of a pea, often developing an unusual steel-blue spot with age.