162 posts in Plant Profiles

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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December 2019 Plant Profile: Sequoia sempervirens

Sequoia sempervirens, cultivar Adpressa

Having grown up in northern California, I came to the Seattle area with a treasured tree in my heart and could quickly answer the “favorite tree” question commonly asked in horticultural gatherings. Though my neighborhood was a bit inland and to the south of the coast redwood range (and so was surrounded by majestic oaks most of my days) it was the stunning Sequoia sempervirens forests along the northern coast where I hiked and camped which I considered iconically and perhaps spiritually my home. 

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November 2019 Plant Profile: Ilex verticillata ‘Nana’ RED SPRITE

Berry close up of ilex verticillata

Ilex verticillata ‘Nana’, typically sold as ‘Red Sprite’ or under the trade name RED SPRITE, is a dwarf winterberry cultivar that is an outstanding choice for late fall and winter landscapes, especially for those with limited space.  The bright red berries are produced in abundance and are its outstanding ornamental feature. Unlike most winterberries, which can reach to 5-8’ high and wide or more, ‘Red Sprite’ is only 2’ to 3’ tall and wide at maturity. 

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Oct 6, 2019 / Plant Profiles / David Zuckerman

October 2019 Plant Profile: Osmanthus x fortunei ‘San Jose’

Closeup of Osmanthus x fortunei 'San-Jose'

Osmanthus x fortunei, commonly known as sweet olive, 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. It is a hybrid between Osmanthus fragrans and Osmanthus heterophyllus, and is Japanese in origin. The cultivar ‘San Jose’ was introduced in 1941 by W.B. 

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September 2019 Plant Profile: Chionanthus retusus

Chionanthus retusus bark closeup

This showy, small tree deserves space in Northwest gardens.

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August 2019 Plant Profile: Ornamental Oregano

pale green bracts with tiny pink flowers

Grown for their delicate showy flowers rather than pungent leaves, the ornamental oreganos deserve a place in Pacific Northwest gardens.

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July 2019 Plant Profile: Calycanthus occidentalis


This western native shrub will spice up your garden with showy burgundy flowers in June.

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June 2019 Plant Profile: Quercus suber

Quercus suber habit

The bark of this tree is lightweight, impermeable, elastic, and a great insulator. Humans have used it to close up wine bottles for centuries.

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May 2019 Plant Profile: Rhododendron edgeworthii

Rhododendron edgeworthii flower

I was walking around the grounds at the Center for Urban Horticulture last week looking for a plant to feature in the May edition of our Plant Profiles. While walking through the Fragrance Garden a really cool-looking rhododendron caught my eye, just about to bloom. Little did I know just how cool this rhododendron was until I started researching it! Rhododendron edgeworthii is a species rhododendron and belongs to the lepidote (scaly leaved) group. 

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