Signs of Spring at the Washington Park Arboretum

1)  Leucothoe davisiae                                                                                   Sierra Laurel

Photo of Sierra Laurel
Joanna Long
Leucothoe davisiae
  • This evergreen member of the Heath family is native to the mountains of eastern and northern California where it grows in bogs and seeps.
  • The hot-pink buds will open in spring to reveal white urn-shaped flowers.
  • You can find Leucothoe davisiae in the Cascadia Forest.









2)  Magnolia sargentiana var. robusta                                              Sargent’s Magnolia

Photo of Sargeant's Magnolia
Joanna Long
Magnolia sargentiana var. robusta
  • Magnolias have wonderful fuzzy buds, and Magnolia sargentiana var. robusta has especially large buds covered with soft grey fur.
  • This species is from Szechwan Province in China and can reach 35 feet tall and wide.
  • You can find a specimen along Arboretum Drive at the top of Rhododendron Glen.









3)  Larix ssp.                                                                                                         Larch

Photo of Larch
Joanna Long
Larix ssp.
  • These deciduous conifers are native to much of the temperate northern hemisphere.
  • Early spring is a great time to admire the vibrant new needles and the tropical-looking magenta young cones.
  • Several species of larch can be found around the southern end of Azalea Way.









4)   Salix irrorata                                                                                       Dewy Stem Willow

Photo of Dewy Stem Willow
Joanna Long
Salix irrorata
  • Native to Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico, this shrubby willow grows along rivers and streams and in wet meadows.
  • The new shoots of the plant are used by the Zuni and Apache peoples to make baskets.
  • Many Salix species, including S. irrorata, feature fuzzy catkins in early spring.
  • A stand of this species can be found in the Witt Winter Garden.







5)   Paeonia suffruticosa                                                                             Tree Peony

Photo of Tree Peony
Joanna Long
Paeonia suffruticosa
  • These showy deciduous shrubs are native to China, Tibet, and Bhutan.
  • The fuchsia and lime-green emerging new growth are a welcome sign of spring.
  • In late spring, the flamboyant flowers can reach 10 inches in diameter.
  • Several cultivars can be seen in the Peony bed along Arboretum Drive, across from the Giant Sequoia Grove.