Fall Highlights of the Arboretum Creek

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum, (November 13 - 26, 2018)
Tucker White
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum
(November 13 – 26, 2018)

1)  Taxodium distichum                           Bald Cypress

  • This deciduous conifer in the family, Cupressaceae grows in marshy and seasonally inundated soils.
  • Bald Cypress are famous for their “knees”, woody conical projections that emerge from the soil.
  • The purpose of these knees is still not entirely known.  Some speculate they help oxygenate the roots or provide stability in the often loose swampy soils this species prefers.
  • You can find many beautiful examples of this species along the Arboretum Creek exhibiting their gold and yellow fall colors.

2)  Oxydendrum arboreum                           Sourwood

  • Native to eastern North America and the Appalachian Mountains, this species typically grows in rocky, acidic, and well-drained soil and are typically 20-25 feet tall with a slender trunk and grey bark.
  • In the fall, this species’ leaves turn a remarkable shade of crimson making it a sure highlight of the Arboretum Creek.
  • This cutting came from a collection of Sourwoods growing just south of the Wilcox footbridge on the west side of the creek.

3)  Cornus sericea                          Red-Osier Dogwood

  • Native to wetlands in the midwest and northwest of North America, Red-Osier Dogwoods provide a beautiful year-round display of various colors.
  • Standing between six to ten feet tall and usually growing in thickets, Red-Osier Dogwoods get their name from the stark red color of their stems and branches in the late fall and winter months.
  • The berries you see on these cuttings grow in the late summer and early fall and are a bluish-white color.  In the spring, numerous birds and butterflies are attracted to this plant for food and shelter.
  • A large thicket of this species can be found directly below the Wilcox footbridge north of the creek.

4)  Euonymus hamiltonianus ssp. sieboldianus                         Hamilton’s Spindletree/
Himalayan Spindle

  • Native to much of eastern Asia as well as parts of Russia, Japan, and Afghanistan, the wild species can grow either as a shrub or tree up to 25 feet tall.
  • It is popular as an ornamental species because of its brilliant fall colors. Bright pink fruit capsules containing seeds with red arils have given its flower the name, “Coral Charm”.
  • These “Coral Charms” are now in bloom and can be found in great number along the Arboretum Creek, south of the Wilcox foot bridge and in various spots around the Arboretum.

5)  Photinia beauverdiana var. notabilis                          Christmas Berry

  • A native of western China, this species prefers rocky, sloped terrain or sunny river banks.
  • A member of the Rose family, this species can grow up to 30 feet tall and has white flowers in summer and wonderful red-to-orange colors in the fall and winter.
  • The name Christmas Berry comes from this plant’s showy red berries that stay on well into winter.