160 posts in Plant Profiles

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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Feb 7, 2020 / Plant Profiles / Joanna Long

February 2020 Plant Profile: Cotoneaster salicifolius

Close up of pomes Cotoneaster salicifolius

Intrepid plant hunters suffered a bit to bring back seeds of this glorious Chinese shrub to grow in the Arboretum.

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January 2020 Plant Profile: Trees with Ornamental Bark

As we approach winter and the leaves are off the deciduous trees, we have an opportunity to see the forms of trees and their bark.  Some tree barks are just gorgeous and really add to a landscape’s appeal.

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