162 posts in Plant Profiles

April 2021 Plant Profile: Metasequoia glyptostroboides, aka Hobbit trees

Metasequoia glyptostroboides trunk with grooves

The mysterious case of X-478*A and B, a.k.a. “Hobbit trees”, continue to baffle and impress those who are familiar with these two unique Arboretum Dawn Redwoods.

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Mar 1, 2021 / Washington Park Arboretum, Plant Profiles / Joanna Long, Pacific Connections Horticulturist

March 2021 Plant Profile: The Gaultherias of Pacific Connections

close up of leaves

The Pacific Connections Gardens is a great place to admire examples of related plants from different parts of the globe. One excellent example of this is the genus Gaultheria. Only a few steps separate Gaultheria species hailing from Chile, China, and the Pacific Northwest!
The genus Gaultheria includes over one hundred and fifty species hailing from North and South America, Eastern and Southeastern Asia, New Guinea, Australia, and New Zealand. 

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January 2021 Plant Profile: Symphoricarpos albus

As we anticipate La Niña bringing us a snowy winter, let’s take a moment to appreciate a snowy plant, or rather a plant named for its snowy berries – common snowberry. Botanically known as Symphoricarpos albus, the plant is aptly named for its white clusters of fruit.  The genus is a combination of “symphori” referring to the Greek verb “to bear together,” and “carpos” from the Greek word for “fruit.” The specific epithet “albus” is the Latin word for “white.”  This species of snowberry boasts ripe, white berries that develop in late summer and persist all winter, through the rain, cold temperatures, and even through, you guessed it, our [occasional] snow. 

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October 2020 Plant Profile: Blechnum penna-marina

close up of one frond

Despite not having showy flowers this demure evergreen fern deserves to be grown in more Northwest gardens.

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September 2020 Plant Profile: Mahonia (Berberis) gracilipes

flowers close up

This noteworthy shrub has unusual flowers, bold leaves and a tidy habit. Why not grow it in your part-shade garden?

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August 2020 Plant Profile: Quercus pontica

green leaves

Consider growing this handsome oak in your Northwest garden.

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Jun 2, 2020 / Plant Profiles, News / David Zuckerman

June 2020 Plant Profile: Tilia americana var. heterophylla

americana var. heterophylla looking up trunk into the crown

I chose to profile the white basswood tree because it’s a North American Linden of impressive size in our collection. Its common name, basswood, is derived from the tough fibrous inner bark called “bast” that is used to make ropes, baskets, mats and many other lightweight wood products. The “white” refers to the undersides of the leaves that are covered with a white indumentum of stellate hairs. 

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May 6, 2020 / Plant Profiles, News / David Zuckerman

May 2020 Plant Profile: Quercus robur ‘Concordia’

Azalea Way with large golden oak on right side

No other tree in the Arboretum is as beloved as our Golden oak, Azalea Way’s sentinel and harbinger of Spring.

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April 2020 Plant Profile: Magnolia ernestii

magnolia ernestii

Magnolias, magnolias, magnolias! Where to begin?! These harbingers of spring have started to bloom! The Washington Park Arboretum has 250 magnolia tree specimens, with some impressively mature trees dating back to 1940. Lucky for us, the breadth and variety of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens’ collection means we should have a steady supply of magnolia blooms through the summer.
Of the 250 magnolia specimens, there are 38 species, subspecies and varieties (i.e. 

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March 2020 Plant Profile: Rhododendron moupinense

Rhododendon moupinense pink flower

This hardy, bright pink Rhododendron lights up the garden in late winter.

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