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Connoisseur Plants – 2007

Connoisseur Plants are rare, new plants or hard to find old favorites, and they are part of the annual appeal and membership drive to benefit the Arboretum's many fine programs and its day-to-day operational expenses. These wonderful plants were sent to those who joined the Friends of JC Raulston Arboretum in 2007 and in December of the previous year at certain higher membership levels.

In 2007, we offered a total of 36 taxa from which our members were able to choose! These plants are no longer available.

Abelia spathulata – twin-flowering abelia Abelia spathulata (Linneaceae)
twin-flowering abelia
This most elegant of abelias is sure to fit in any garden, growing to only 3' to 4' tall and wide. Pairs of 1", white flowers with yellow throats hang from short stems along the main branches in early to mid-spring. The persistent calyces turn rosy pink and add interest over a long period. Fall color is often a good yellow. Easy to grow in full sun to light shade. Zones 6–9.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 13

Acer saccharinum 'Born's Gracious' – cut-leaf silver maple Acer saccharinum 'Born's Gracious' (Sapindaceae)
cut-leaf silver maple
Discovered in the late 1950s in Germany, but never widely available and usually seen only in arboreta and public gardens, this exceptional cutleaf silver maple brings a fine texture to the overstory. Finely dissected foliage on a vigorous 30' tall tree will have all your horticultural friends green with envy. Golden fall color is an added bonus. Tolerant of even the worst soils and drought once established, full sun to light shade. Zones 3–8.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 4

Agave difformis – century plant Agave difformis (Agavaceae)
century plant
Help us trial this rare century plant from north central Mexico. As it hails from high altitudes, we think it should be hardy in Zone 7 gardens if it is provided with excellent drainage. The upright, somewhat irregular, grey-green foliage bears dark spines along the edge. Plants sucker freely making an impressive colony in no time. Plants will grow to 18 or more inches tall and slightly wider in full sun, well drained locations. Zones 7b–10.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 4

Agave parryi subsp. parryi var. huachucensis – Fort Huachuca barrel agave Agave parryi subsp. parryi var. huachucensis (Agavaceae)
Fort Huachuca barrel agave
This exceptionally hardy agave will make an impressive clump in the garden. As the largest of the A. parryi clan, the tight rosettes of blue foliage will hold their own in any garden setting. Wide, thickly succulent leaves are tipped with stout, black spines, a lovely but dangerous color and texture combination. Phenomenal in a well-drained, sunny perennial border or as a single specimen in a container. These plants came from the venerable specimen which used to grace the Winter Garden here at JCRA. Zones 7–10.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 51

Arbutus unedo 'Elfin King' – compact strawberry tree Arbutus unedo 'Elfin King' (Ericaceae)
compact strawberry tree
Looking for fall and winter interest? Why settle for just fruits or just flowers? This dense, compact evergreen gives you both at the same time. Drooping clusters of Pieris-like, creamy-white flowers in autumn appear just as the previous year's fruits begin to ripen. The 1" fruits hang like bright red ornaments from the 5'–8' tall rounded shrub. The fruits on 'Elfin King' are sweet (unedo = I eat one) and more plentiful than on the species. For added interest, prune your shrub into a small tree to display the gnarled growth habit. Zones 7–9.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 33

Arisaema ringens – Japanese cobra-lily Arisaema ringens (Araceae)
Japanese cobra-lily
One of the largest leafed arisaemas in the trade. The curled snake-like green and purple striped flower is borne on a short stalk between two large trifoliate leaves in early spring. The glossy foliage rises to 24" on stout petioles and will form a nice clump in a few years. With age, your Japanese cobra-lily will form short spikes of red fruits in late fall to early winter. A distinctive and impressive cobra lily for the shade garden. It likes to emerge early and may need protection from late frosts. Zones 5–9.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 34
Number of photographs in J. C. Raulston's slide collection: 5

Arisaema thunbergii – Japanese cobra-lily Arisaema thunbergii (Araceae)
Japanese cobra-lily
A wonderfully delicate looking cobra-lily from Japan and Korea with pedatisect foliage (palmately divided like the toes on your foot) growing to about 24" tall. The Jack-in-the-pulpit-like flowers are carried on very short stalks near ground level. The real fun is watching the spadix (the Jack from inside the pulpit) emerge and grow to 10" or more long in a bizarre twisting manner. Very hardy and tough in shade and a rich, well-drained soil. Zones 5–9.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 11

Baptisia (pale pink) – pink wild-indigo Baptisia (pale pink) (Fabaceae)
pink wild-indigo
A lovely form of our native wild-indigo with exquisite light pink flowers. Baptisia is among the toughest of perennials for the garden eventually making tight clumps of medium green foliage held on sturdy stems to 3' tall and wide. This unusual colored selection was found as a seedling here at the JCRA. Be one of the first to grow this long lived perennial for sun or light shade. Zones 5–8.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 21

Brugmansia 'Inca Sun' – hybrid angel's trumpet Brugmansia 'Inca Sun' (Solanaceae)
hybrid angel's trumpet
A breakthrough hybrid in the world of angel's trumpets. This vigorous selection will start flowering when still under 2' tall (most need to be nearer to 4'). It will also continue to produce its peachy-yellow 10" trumpet flowers all summer long without taking a break. Most angel's trumpets flower, then stop and grow before flowering again while this hybrid grows and flowers at the same time. The fragrance of the large trumpets will enchant you on a summer evening. For full sun and average to rich soil. All Brugmansia love water and fertilizer and will respond to them with increased growth and flowering. They can be grown in containers and moved indoors in cold climates, but can generally be kept outside in Zone 7 gardens if mulched well. Reliably hardy in Zones 8–10.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 19

Buddleja davidii 'Evil Ways' – golden butterfly-bush Buddleja davidii 'Evil Ways' (Scrophulariaceae)
golden butterfly-bush
This eye popping Cistus Nursery introduction has gold fading to chartreuse foliage all season long. Deep purple, nearly black flowers are produced heavily and the resulting color combination if not evil is at least tempting enough to elicit severe plant lust. Reported to be sterile. Full sun in well-drained soils like all butterfly-bushes. Zones 5–9
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 14

Cercidiphyllum japonicum – katsura Cercidiphyllum japonicum (Cercidiphyllaceae)
katsura
One of the largest of all deciduous trees in China, this spectacular shade tree has distinct, rounded, blue-green leaves which emerge purplish in the spring and turn brilliant orange and apricot in the fall. In autumn as the weather cools, the foliage gives off a sweet smell that has been likened to jelly, cotton candy, and burnt sugar. Easily grows to 50' in the landscape and much larger in the wild. Michael Dirr has famously written "...if I could use only one tree this would be my first tree...." Not bad praise. Full sun, Zones 4-8.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 13
Number of photographs in J. C. Raulston's slide collection: 12

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Lemon Twist' – golden threadleaf Hinoki falsecypress Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Lemon Twist' (Cupressaceae)
golden threadleaf Hinoki falsecypress
A nice shrubby form of Hinoki falsecypress with twisting, tangled threadlike branchlets. The needles are bright gold near the ends, fading to green in the interior. Many of the branchlets become flattened or club-like towards the tips. Truly an eye catching small conifer great in mixed borders, as a bonsai, or a specimen in a smaller garden. The older bark is beautiful red. To 6', full sun for best color, moist, well-drained soil. Zones 5–8.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 6

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Meroke Twin' – golden dwarf Hinoki falsecypress Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Meroke Twin' (Cupressaceae)
golden dwarf Hinoki falsecypress
A wonderful dwarf gold foliaged Hinoki falsecypress. Beautiful fans of gold tipped foliage give a soft luxurious feel to this conifer. Ideal in Asian themed gardens, containers, and for structure in a perennial border. More sun tolerant than many other gold Hinoki falsecypress. Grows to about 4' tall and half as wide. Full sun for best color. Moist well-drained soil, Zones 5–8.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 2

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Clouded Sky' – blue Sawara falsecypress Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Clouded Sky' (Cupressaceae)
blue Sawara falsecypress
A medium size blue-grey form of Sawara falsecypress with both adult and juvenile foliage creating an interesting textural contrast on the same plant. An upright grower to about 8' in 10 years, this selection's color will add some cool to the hot summer landscape. We've been very taken with this selection here at the JCRA. Plant in sun to light shade in average to well-drained soil. Zones 4–8.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 6

Chilopsis linearis 'Bubba' – desert willow Chilopsis linearis 'Bubba' (Bignoniaceae)
desert willow
A native southwestern small tree/large shrub to 15' tall and nearly as wide. Large catalpa-like pink flowers are carried from late spring into fall on this showy dryland plant. Happiest on a well-drained soil in full, baking sun, the narrow willowy foliage will flutter and shimmer in the breeze. It can be pruned into a small tree whose airy texture and showy flowers will fit into most landscapes. Zones 7–9.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 14

Cyclamen hederifolium Ashwood Nurseries Silver Leaf Group – hardy cyclamen Cyclamen hederifolium Ashwood Nurseries Silver Leaf Group (Myrsinaceae)
hardy cyclamen
Seedlings from our silver leafed cyclamen originally obtained from good friends Dick and Judith Tyler of Pine Knot Farms. These have been specially selected from the seed pots for their vivid silver foliage color. Leaves and flowers will appear in fall as the rest of the garden is thinking about going dormant. The brilliant pools of silver will brighten the garden and are especially nice below deciduous trees and shrubs where they are protected from wind and excess moisture while dormant. Expect these plants to seed politely around your garden, never becoming a nuisance, simply creating more winter interest. Light shade, average to well-drained soil, Zones 6–8.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 19

Euphorbia rigida – rigid spurge Euphorbia rigida (Euphorbiaceae)
rigid spurge
Unaccountably rare in the trade, the upright (rigid) stems of this spurge are cloaked in long, pointed, silvery-blue foliage. In winter, the evergreen foliage often is suffused with plum tones. Grow in well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. It will eventually form 2' tall by 3' wide clumps topped in early spring with gold flowers (technically bracts and cyathia). Easier to grow than some similar euphorbs such as E. myrsinites, rigid spurge is a great garden plant for a dry garden spot. Zones 7–10.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 70

Eurya emarginata f. microphylla – little leaf smooth eurya Eurya emarginata f. microphylla (Pentaphylaceae)
little leaf smooth eurya
We originally received this plant as E. emarginata (little leaf) from plantsman Ozzie Johnson. We think we've got the correct name on it now, but whatever the name it makes a great garden plant. You'll definitely be the only person in your neighborhood with this plant in your yard. Glossy, dark, evergreen foliage on a shrub to about 4'–5' is reduced to tiny proportions on this botanical form. A great addition to the mixed border or foundation planting and a surefire fool-the-plant-geek specimen. Sun or shade, this Japanese plant grows in Zones 7–9 and is tolerant of salt spray.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 2

Hemiboea subcapitata – glossy false sinningia Hemiboea subcapitata (Gesneriaceae)
glossy false sinningia
How many African violet relatives are you growing out in the garden? If you're not growing this one, it's one too few. Huge (to 1') glossy deep green foliage tops the 10" stems which spread quickly by underground rhizomes. In fall, 2" tubular foxglove-like white flowers with brown speckling in the throat top the impressive foliage. Easy to grow but almost unknown outside of its native China. It provides great contrast in woodland gardens where it mingles well with larger ferns. Part to full shade, hardy at least to Zone 6b.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 8

Hydrangea paniculata 'Dharuma' – dwarf panicled hydrangea Hydrangea paniculata 'Dharuma' (Hydrangeaceae)
dwarf panicled hydrangea
A quite diminutive panicled hydrangea shared with us by Ted Stephens of Nurseries Caroliniana. This distinctive dwarf, ours is less than 24" tall after three years, bears open flattened panicles of white flowers which quickly fade to rosy-pink. The long, narrow, shiny foliage hints at a possible hybrid with H. heteromalla. Whatever the parentage, the burgundy fall color, small stature, and white fading to pink flowers make this recent Japanese introduction a great garden addition. Full sun to shade, Zones 4–8.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 13

Ilex aquifolium 'Ferox Argentea' – variegated English holly Ilex aquifolium 'Ferox Argentea' (Aquifoliaceae)
variegated English holly
Grow a bit of history, this old cultivar was first recorded in 1662 from England. Ferox is Latin for fierce and is an apt description of this English holly with spines not only along the leaf margins, but also most curiously on the leaf surface. This form is also graced with a creamy white margin to the leaf and purplish-red stems. Upright plant to 35' tall for sun to part shade, tolerant of salt spray, Zones 6–8.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 4

Ilex crenata 'Adorned' – variegated Japanese holly Ilex crenata 'Adorned' (Aquifoliaceae)
variegated Japanese holly
'Hoogendorn' has long been recognized as one of the finer dwarf Japanese hollies, growing to about 2.5' tall and slightly wider with glossy green foliage. This selection ups the ante with a broad gold margin around each leaf. Expect a diminutive, slow growing plant that packs a lot of punch in a small package. Sun to part shade in a moist, well-drained soil. Zones 6–8.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 7

Magnolia macrophylla – bigleaf magnolia Magnolia macrophylla (Magnoliaceae)
bigleaf magnolia
Looking for a little wow in the garden? The foliage on this deciduous native magnolia grows up to 30" long and 12" wide. Flowers are just as large, often to 10" across, white with purply-pink staining in the center. Ultimately making a large rounded tree to 50', bigleaf magnolia brings a distinct texture to the garden. Full sun to part shade, Zones 5–9.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 26
Number of photographs in J. C. Raulston's slide collection: 11

Mahonia gracilis – slender mahonia Mahonia gracilis (Berberidaceae)
slender mahonia
Similar to Mahonia aquifolium but with longer, more tapering leaves and laxer growth habit. Foliage is softer, not as spiny, and glossy medium green. An evergreen shrub to 6' with fragrant yellow flowers in December. This is certainly one of the best mahonias for integrating into most landscapes with its looser habit and glossy foliage. For shade and well-drained spots. Zones 7–9. Native to Mexico.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 7
Number of photographs in J. C. Raulston's slide collection: 3

Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Sasaba' – holly tea-olive Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Sasaba' (Oleaceae)
holly tea-olive
A striking and beautiful evergreen shrub from the wonderfully fragrant flowered genus Osmanthus. Rigid, dark green, deeply lobed leaves have a trident or star-like outline. The slow-growing form to 6' (10') has a stiff but open, very upright habit. Small, white, sweetly scented flowers appear in late fall. A venerable, but seldom encountered selection from Japan for sun to part shade in most soils. Zone 6–9.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 10

Osteomeles schwerinae – Chinese emperor plum Osteomeles schwerinae (Rosaceae)
Chinese emperor plum
A beautiful and distinctive mounding shrub of fine texture due to its small pinnately compound leaves made up of many tiny leaflets. Stems and leaves are covered in grey woolly hairs imparting a silvery cast to the entire plant. In early summer 3" clusters of small white flowers are followed in fall by reddish fruits eventually turning blue-black. Tolerant of dry soils and thriving in full sun. Zones 7(at least) to 10.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 12

Pinus coulteri – big-cone pine Pinus coulteri (Pinaceae)
big-cone pine
A rarely cultivated pine from south and central California down into Baja California found on dry mountain slopes. Long, thick, somewhat blue-green needles. It generally grows to about 30' tall but is capable of growing to twice this height. The cones are 10"–15" long and half as wide with wicked, curving, pointed scales. Green cones can weigh over four pounds making them the heaviest cones of any pine. Trees commonly grow in areas with below freezing temperatures, but are rarely cultivated in the east. For dry soils in full sun, Zones 6b–10.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 2

Podocarpus chinensis – Chinese podocarpus Podocarpus chinensis (Podocarpaceae)
Chinese podocarpus
A large needled podocarp very similar to P. macrophyllus var. maki, dense upright branching with dark green foliage makes a great screen or specimen. Ultimately can reach 25' or more, but fairly slow growing. Our specimen near the parking lot didn't seem fazed at all by the high heat and dry weather this summer. Full sun to part shade, Zones 7b–9.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 7

Podocarpus lawrencei – mountain plum-pine Podocarpus lawrencei (Podocarpaceae)
mountain plum-pine
A low, compact, needled evergreen shrub with blue-green, yew like foliage. Formerly known, and still seen in books as, Podocarpus alpinus (thus, the common name mountain plum pine). As a native from the southeastern mountains of New Zealand and Tasmania, we have been most pleasantly surprised by the vigor and cold and heat hardiness of this compact evergreen shrub. We've grown mountain plum-pine in both shade and sun with no problems. If you're not familiar with the Southern Hemisphere podocarps, prepare yourself, as this looks nothing like Podocarpus macrophyllus. Zone 7.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 6
Number of photographs in J. C. Raulston's slide collection: 1

Podocarpus macrophyllus var. maki 'Edgefield' – hardy Japanese yew-pine Podocarpus macrophyllus var. maki 'Edgefield' (Podocarpaceae)
hardy Japanese yew-pine
An old standby plant of the Coastal and Deep South, Podocarpus macrophyllus and its botanical variety maki have long graced Southern cities, homes, and campuses. 'Edgefield' is reputed to be more cold hardy, by at least 5°F, and derives from a plant growing in Edgefield County, South Carolina. We have not had a winter to truly test this yet, but are offering cutting-grown plants for your own gardens.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 9

Podocarpus totara – totara Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae)
totara
One of the largest trees in New Zealand, but slow growing in cultivation, rarely attaining more than shrub status in north temperate gardens. Attractive, glossy green foliage is densely borne on the branches making it appropriate for hedging and even topiary. Bare seeds on very thick, swollen, red stalks are showy against the foliage. Full sun to shade, Zones 7–9.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 6
Number of photographs in J. C. Raulston's slide collection: 2

Punica granatum 'Toyosho' – apricot-flower pomegranate Punica granatum 'Toyosho' (Lythraceae)
apricot-flower pomegranate
Pomegranates make some of the finest edible fruit plants for southern landscapes. This selection bears ruffled double apricot colored flowers about 2" wide followed by 2"–3" fruit which ripens to pale orange. Usually grows to about 12' as a multi-stemmed, large, upright shrub, often with nice yellow fall color. Truly a beautiful flowering shrub suitable for shrub borders and massing. Grow in full sun, Zone 7–10.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 3

Rhododendron 'Gulf Shore' – azalea Rhododendron 'Gulf Shore' (Ericaceae)
azalea
A wonderful azalea with a compact habit and cascading branches. We can't believe this fine form is so hard to find in the nursery trade and want to share it with our supporters. Ours hails from Transplant Nursery, originator of many fine azaleas and is planted on top of a wall where its branches will be allowed to hang down. Unarguably a fine form with crabapple colored flowers. Great for use on a slope or as a woody ground cover. Sun to shade, Zones 6–9.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 9

Rosa 'Nastarana' – Persian musk rose Rosa 'Nastarana' (Rosaceae)
Persian musk rose
One of the very few roses that J. C. Raulston promoted, it now lends an air of grace to the Klein-Pringle White Garden here at the Arboretum. This plant has come full circle, originally given to the Bill and Mary Joslin, local JCRA supporters and dedicated gardeners, who in return have shared cuttings back with us for distribution to other supporters. An old variety grown in the 1800s in Persian gardens, the strongly scented, white flowers continue to be produced all summer long. A restrained old rose growing to about 5' tall with clusters of single, elegant white flowers. The American Rose Society ranks it as an "outstanding rose." Full sun to part shade, tolerant of poor soils. Zone 6–9.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 11
Number of photographs in J. C. Raulston's slide collection: 2

Tricyrtis 'Amanagowa' – hybrid toad lily Tricyrtis 'Amanagowa' (Liliaceae)
hybrid toad lily
We love this hybrid toadlily with its yellow flowers and brown speckled foliage. It spreads by underground rhizomes making nice clumps of large foliage with flowers appearing near the end of the season. A great plant for a moist spot in the woodland garden. Zones 6–8.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 28

Vernicia fordii – tung oil tree Vernicia fordii (Euphorbiaceae)
tung oil tree
A striking tree for tropical effect, the tung oil tree bears large simple spade shaped to five lobed leaves. Impressive clusters of up to 50 1.5" ivory flowers with a rusty-peach streaked throat create an unforgettable display in spring. Once grown commercially for tung oil in the Deep South, it is now typically grown only as an ornamental. As with most plants in the Euphorbiaceae, all parts of this tree are poisonous. A very quick grower in full sun and fertile soil in a warm location. These are from seed given to us by Tony Avent from a tree growing at Juniper Level Botanic Gardens which has proved to be perfectly hardy in the Raleigh area. Western China. Zones 7–10.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 7
Number of photographs in J. C. Raulston's slide collection: 3

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