The Purples and Reds of Fall from the Home of UWBG Horticulturist, Annie Bilotta

1)    Forsythia                                                        Common name:    Forsythia or Easter Tree

Photo of Forsythia or Easter Tree
Annie Bilotta
  • A staple of many gardens, it is a harbinger of spring with its early yellow blossoms.  It also provides some very nice fall color, extending its garden interest.
  • A member of the Olive family, Oleaceae.
  • Nicknamed the Easter Tree because it blooms around Easter time in early spring.
  • There are approximately 14 species, mostly from Asia.







2)    Physocarpus opulifolius  ‘Diabolo’                                           Common name:  Ninebark

Photo of Ninebark
Annie Bilotta
Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’
  • Multiple seasons of interest.  Creamy white flower clusters in late spring give way to clusters of red fruit in the fall, and in winter without leaves the beautiful reddish brown peeling bark appears.
  • It is commonly called Ninebark because of the many layers of attractive, exfoliating bark.
  • Noted for its deep burgundy, maple-like foliage.








3)    Berberis thunbergii  ‘Crimson Pygmy’                                                                                                                                                                              Common name:     Japanese Barberry

Photo of Japanese Barberry

Close-up photo of Japanese Barberry
Annie Bilotta
Close-up of Berberis Thunbergii  ‘Crimson Pygmy’
  • A small deciduous shrub with stunning burgundy foliage in spring, summer, and fall.
  • Bright red berries in fall that may last into winter.  The berries resemble the candy “Red Hots”.
  • Very low maintenance plant that is pest- and disease-resistant.  Deer do not like to eat it.
  • Not invasive in our climate, but can be in summer-rain areas.

4)    Oxydendron arboretum                                                     Common name:     Sourwood

Photo of Sourwood
Annie Bilotta
Oxydendron arboretum
  • This is the only species in the genus Oxydendron.  It is in the Ericaceae, or Heather family.
  • Native to eastern North America.
  • The leaves have a sour taste, giving it the common name.
  • It has white, lily of the valley-like flowers in the summer.
  • Excellent, vibrant fall foliage.