Native to China, this pungent plant is related to culinary star anise (Illicium verum). Specimens can be found on the Sino-Himalayan hillside and along the western edge of the Magnolia Collection.
The genus name Illicium comes from the Latin for “allurement” or “inducement from an enticing scent”. This refers to the aromatic scent released by bruised or crushed leaves.
The deep pink-to-reddish waxy flowers of spring and summer give way to an intriguing star-shaped fruit that persists into the winter.
2) Quercus suber Cork Oak
The bark of the Cork Oak is the source of most of the cork harvested commercially in the world.
Cork oaks are native to the Mediterranean region, and highly prized in Portugal where around 50% of the world’s cork harvest occurs. Cork trees have protected status there and cannot be cut down without special permission from the government. They can be found in our Mediterranean Collection along Arboretum Drive.
It is a medium-sized evergreen reaching 65 feet tall. It has deeply-fissured bark, weakly-lobed leaves with a slight point and acorns that are held loosely in their caps.
3) Prumnopitys andina Chilean Plum Yew
This attractive conifer is a member of the Podocarp family and can easily be mistaken for a yew. Several can be found in the Chilean Entry and Gateway gardens at the south end of the Arboretum.
It is considered “vulnerable” to extinction in the most recent IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) red list due to habitat fragmentation and isolation, over- grazing and land conversion. There has been an extensive ex-situ planting (plant conservation outside of its native habitat range) in Britain and Ireland and is part of the UW Botanic Garden’s mission for plant conservation.
4) Olea europaea ‘Frantoio’ European Olive
A member of the Olive family, this tree is well adapted to our winter rain region (Mediterranean climate), but best to provide protection from winds, if possible. Touted as the hardiest olive for our climate (~10° F), it apparently gains cold hardiness with age. With beautiful silvery foliage, it is attractive year-round.
You can find this in our Mediterranean Collection along Arboretum Drive, along with other attractive evergreen shrubs.
5) Osmanthus x fortunei ‘San Jose’ Sweet- or Tea- Olive
This aromatic evergreen was first introduced to Holland in 1856 by German botanist, Philipp Franz von Siebold. It is named after Scottish plant hunter, Robert Fortune who introduced it to England in 1862.
Another member of the Olive family, this is a hybrid between Osmanthus fragrans and O. heterophyllus; the cultivar ‘San Jose’ was introduced in 1941 by W.B. Clarke & Co. Nursery of San Jose, CA.
‘San Jose’ has a slightly narrower leaf than the hybrid type with somewhat finer spines on the leaf margins. A fine specimen can be found in between the Magnolia and Asian Maple Collections.