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Connoisseur Plants – 2010

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 2010 and in December of the previous year at certain higher membership levels.

In 2010, we offered a total of 44 taxa from which our members were able to choose! These plants are no longer available.

Abutilon megapotamicum 'Little Imp' – flowering maple Abutilon megapotamicum 'Little Imp' (Malvaceae)
flowering maple
This little flowering maple has long been a favorite of ours here at the JCRA. The dark stems clothed in small leaves spray up and out to mingle well with other plants in the ground or in a mixed container. Dusty red calyces surround the nodding yellow flowers over an exceptionally long period from spring until frost. We find it to be a hardy and easy plant to grow in the landscape and as an indoor houseplant.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 22

Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor' – variegated thorn-crested agave Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor' (Agavaceae)
variegated thorn-crested agave
One of the very hottest variegated agaves around, these exceptional plants are propagated only by offsets. The dramatic foliage starts pale green in the center surrounded by deep green with a broad creamy white margin and burgundy darkening to grey-black sharp teeth along the margins. Hardy outdoors to about Zone 8, it makes a striking container plant in cooler areas. 18" tall by 24" wide, well-drained soil, grows quickest with regular summer watering.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 4

Amsonia elliptica – Asian bluestar Amsonia elliptica (Apocynaceae)
Asian bluestar
The only Asian species of an otherwise North American herbaceous perennial, this plant forms a tight clump of upright stems to about 18" to 24" tall. The stems clothed in lanceolate leaves are topped in spring by clusters of pale blue starry flowers. Fall color is a nice gold. A tough plant for full sun to light shade and most soils.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 19

Aucuba japonica 'Hosoba Hoshifu' – Japanese aucuba Aucuba japonica 'Hosoba Hoshifu' (Garryaceae)
Japanese aucuba
Aucubas are must-have shrubs for the shade garden. This unusual Japanese form is somewhat compact, growing to about 6' tall. It bears conspicuously narrow foliage heavily speckled with gold. The variegation is much brighter than most other forms of aucuba. Mostly inconspicuous purple flowers give rise to large red fruits on this female form. Great for brightening up a shady spot where it will tolerate significant drought once established.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 3

Berberis &timesmedia 'Parkjuweel' – jeweled barberry Berberis ×media 'Parkjuweel' (Berberidaceae)
jeweled barberry
This hybrid barberry is rarely found in the United States but is highly prized in the United Kingdom where it has won the prestigious Award of Garden Merit. A dense, low mound of prickly stems bears lustrous deep green semi-evergreen foliage which often turns brilliant red in the fall and throughout the winter. Abundant yellow flowers in spring are very showy and are followed by reddish-purple fruits. 2' to 3' tall by 3' wide, adaptable to most soils, sun to shade, hardy to Zone 5.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 2

Boehmeria nipononivea 'Kogane Mushi' – gold bug Japanese false nettle Boehmeria nipononivea 'Kogane Mushi' (Urticaceae)
gold bug Japanese false nettle
A showy relative of nettles than can brighten up the shade garden. New growth emerges creamy yellow before becoming speckled with green. In excellent growing conditions it can approach 6' tall but is more typically about 4' in most gardens. Flowers are inconspicuous but the bright foliage makes a bold statement in the shade.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 4

Camellia japonica var. rusticana 'Ai-no-izumi' – snow camellia Camellia japonica var. rusticana 'Ai-no-izumi' (Theaceae)
snow camellia
We love this unusual form of the snow camellia, a variety of Japanese camellia. The palest of pink flowers are small, perfectly double formal forms with just a touch of yellow toward the base. The Camellia Register describes the habit as loose and spreading but the specimen these plants were propagated from is dense and distinctly upright making it perfect for small spaces and focal points. Shade to part sun.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 6

Cercis chinensis 'Kay's Early Hope' (Fabaceae)
Chinese redbud
sun to shade; 15'
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 71

Chimonanthus nitens – evergreen chimonanthus Chimonanthus nitens (Calycanthaceae)
evergreen chimonanthus
A fall blooming, evergreen counterpart to the common wintersweet. The lovely narrow foliage is glossy, dark green and perfectly backs the translucent white flowers which are borne along the stems at each leaf axil. Despite being in the same genus as wintersweet, the flowers are not sweetly fragrant. Full sun to shade in most soils, 8' to 10' tall and wide with a graceful fountain shape.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 12
Number of photographs in J. C. Raulston's slide collection: 2

Chimonanthus nitens (Calycanthaceae)
evergreen chimonanthus
sun or shade; 10'
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 12
Number of photographs in J. C. Raulston's slide collection: 2

Clethra pringlei – Mexican clethra Clethra pringlei (Clethraceae)
Mexican clethra
A graceful small tree or large upright shrub growing to 20'. New growth emerges bronze before turning green. Cinnamon scented racemes of small white flowers in late spring adorn the tips of each branch. Mature specimens boast lovely peeling bark. Full sun to part shade.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 3

Cornus mas 'Variegata' – variegated Cornelian cherry Cornus mas 'Variegata' (Cornaceae)
variegated Cornelian cherry
An upright small tree or large shrub with shockingly bright, wide, white margins around each blue-green centered leaf. The foliage color brightens up the summer landscape after the brilliant gold late winter flowers. Red fruits stand out brightly against the foliage and can be made into jams or preserves. Despite having been grown in Europe since before 1600 and in the United States since at least 1870, this wonderful shrub is still rare in gardens. 15' to 18' tall, sun to part shade.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 16

Cryptomeria japonica 'Kilmacurragh' – dwarf cockscomb Japanese-cedar Cryptomeria japonica 'Kilmacurragh' (Cupressaceae)
dwarf cockscomb Japanese-cedar
Offered by the JCRA once previously a decade ago, this unusual dwarf form of the tough and easy to grow Japanese cedar makes a small mound with fan-shaped fasciations for added interest. These branch mutations give the plant a graceful, cloud-like habit. Sun to light shade, 3' to 4', slow growing.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 1

Daphne odora 'Zuiko Nishiki' – winter daphne Daphne odora 'Zuiko Nishiki' (Thymelaeaceae)
winter daphne
We've heard that plantsman extrordinaire, John Elsley of Klehm's Song Sparrow Nursery and formerly of Wayside Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, says this is the BEST Daphne odora. Glossy evergreen foliage in a low mound is covered in late winter by masses of slightly pink tinged, white flowers. This is by far the heaviest flowering daphne we've ever seen and we've seen a bunch. The fragrance is as lemony sweet as other daphne but the extra flowers provide even more punch to this intensely fragrant shrub. Daphne odora is best in a very well-drained soil and once established will grow under large shade trees with no problem.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 30

Eryngium giganteum – Miss Willmott's ghost Eryngium giganteum (Apiaceae)
Miss Willmott's ghost
A short-lived perennial or biennial that will politely self sow in the perennial garden. This distinctive plant bears tall flower stalks to 5' topped with thimble-shaped clusters of silvery-white flowers surrounded by a spiny ruff of silver for a great architectural form. Perfect in borders, as a cut flower, and for attracting bees. Allow at least some seed heads to mature and sprinkle seed where you would like it to appear. Well-drained soils, full sun, to 5' when in flower.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 11
Number of photographs in J. C. Raulston's slide collection: 2

Eucomis 'Reuben' – hybrid pineapple lily Eucomis 'Reuben' (Hyacinthaceae)
hybrid pineapple lily
Assistant director Mark's very favorite of the hybrid pineapple lilies. Clean green rosettes of strappy foliage are topped in late summer by flower spikes of deep burgundy buds which open to pinkish-purple flowers. The characteristic tuft of foliage atop the flower stalk is often delicately edged with burgundy. The two-tone flower/foliage effect is quite striking. Bred in New Zealand for the cut flower trade, these plants perform great in sunny spots in the garden.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 23

Euonymus carnosus – fleshy-flowered spindletree Euonymus carnosus (Celastraceae)
fleshy-flowered spindletree
What a bad common name for a great tree. This quick-growing, small tree bears leathery deep green foliage on an upright, round-headed tree. Flowers are small, five-petaled, and greenish-white but not terribly showy. The fruits which follow are larger than many other euonymus and split open to reveal pink to orange-red seeds. The real reason this plant makes such a wonderful landscape plant is the deep burgundy fall color which can last from October through January. In Zone 8 gardens, the fall color often lasts almost until the new foliage emerges. Sun to partial shade, any soils, drought tolerant once established, to 20' tall.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 44

Euonymus japonicus 'Dr. Rokujo Variegated' – dwarf variegated Japanese euonymus Euonymus japonicus 'Dr. Rokujo Variegated' (Celastraceae)
dwarf variegated Japanese euonymus
A miniature evergreen shrub for bonsai, rock gardens, and other small spaces. Upright stems to about 1' tall bear closely packed, tiny leaves edged with white. Despite its small size, the distinctive habit and color make a relatively large impact in the garden. It also makes a natural bonsai or trough plant. Sun to shade.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 1

Exochorda korolkowii – Turkestan pearl bush Exochorda korolkowii (Rosaceae)
Turkestan pearl bush
A rare species of pearl bush with typical pure white flowers opening in spring on an upright, rounded shrub. Nice summer foliage often gives way to showy yellow fall color. These plants were raised from seed acquired by the JCRA from Hungary. Some taxonomists consider this to be synonymous with E. racemosa.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 1

Hydrangea aspera 'Burgundy Bliss' – Chinese hydrangea Hydrangea aspera 'Burgundy Bliss' (Hydrangeaceae)
Chinese hydrangea
Large velvety leaves emerge deep burgundy on this showy flowering shrub. In cooler climates, the foliage retains this color while turning greenish in central North Carolina. Large lacecap hydrangea flower heads open from large buds in mid-summer. Showy and different than your grandmother's hydrangeas.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 2

Juniperus cedrus – Canary Island cedar Juniperus cedrus (Cupressaceae)
Canary Island cedar
A wonderfully variable juniper that is native around the Mediterranean area from Portugal through France to Iran, Israel, and back east to Morocco. In the wild it grows from a shrubby mound to an upright tree. These seedlings from Portugal are likely shrubby forms to 10'. The overall color is silvery blue on tough plants. Best in well-drained soils.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 3

Lonicera &timesheckrottii 'Gold Flame' – everblooming honeysuckle Lonicera ×heckrottii 'Gold Flame' (Caprifoliaceae)
everblooming honeysuckle
This moderate growing vine to 10' or 15' blooms over an extended period from late spring into fall on new growth. Pink flowers with creamy yellow interiors turning darker golden-orange with age attract butterflies and hummers. Perfect for a smaller pergola or fence or it can be pruned into a small shrub. Full sun for the best flowering.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 9

Meliosma parviflora – small flowered melliosma Meliosma parviflora (Meliosmaceae)
small flowered melliosma
This unpardonably rare tree is a true multi-season specimen. Loads of small, frothy white spring flowers give way to masses of brilliant red fruits by late summer. Yellow fall color is attractive, but the patchwork bark on mature specimens is as showy as just about any other hardy tree available. We've grown the tree for years. These seedlings are from seed collected at the Shanghai Botanical Garden. Full sun, to 25' tall.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 10

Myrica rubra – Chinese strawberry tree Myrica rubra (Myricaceae)
Chinese strawberry tree
A large shrub to medium sized tree, 12' to 60’ tall with a uniform crown, evergreen leaves, and smooth grey bark. Plants are dioecious and female plants bear edible dark red fruits to 1” in diameter. Male plants as well as female plants make attractive specimens even without fruit.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 6

Philadelphus coronarius 'Aureus' – golden mock orange Philadelphus coronarius 'Aureus' (Hydrangeaceae)
golden mock orange
A long grown, but hard to find deciduous spring flowering shrub. New foliage emerges shocking bright gold before toning down to chartreuse-lime. White, late spring flowers to nearly 2" across are sweetly scented. Best in full sun with regular water during the hottest parts of the summer.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 14
Number of photographs in J. C. Raulston's slide collection: 2

Phormium cookianum – mountain flax Phormium cookianum (Hemerocallidaceae)
mountain flax
Divisions from the JCRA's long-lived specimen bear dusky gray-green strappy foliage with darker edges. The upright, grassy leaves provide an architectural accent to containers and gardens. While having survived in the JCRA for many years, these plants should be considered tender away from the coast and afforded some protection. It has never flowered at the Arboretum, but should have tall flower stalks to 15' bearing yellow to reddish flowers.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 5

Pileostegia viburnoides var. viburnoides – evergreen climbing false hydrangea Pileostegia viburnoides var. viburnoides (Hydrangeaceae)
evergreen climbing false hydrangea
A must have for all plant lovers blessed with an abundance of shade. This evergreen hydrangea relative bears masses of frothy pink flower panicles like foam on a wave. Leathery evergreen foliage often takes on plum tones with cool weather. A vine with self-clinging rootlets perfect for clambering up a tree, fence, or shed. Quick growing to 18'-25' in shade and most soils.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 3

Pinus taiwanensis – Taiwan pine Pinus taiwanensis (Pinaceae)
Taiwan pine
One of the distinctive conifers of Taiwan with stout branches and long needles in bundles of 2. The straight stems and umbrella tops grow to 150' in its native habitat but are generally closer to 50' in cultivation. Sun, well-drained soil. From several collections in Taiwan.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 49

Planera aquatica 'Falling Waters' – weeping water elm Planera aquatica 'Falling Waters' (Ulmaceae)
weeping water elm
This rare weeping form of a rare native plant gets even the most jaded plants-person's heart palpitating. A small elm relative that typically grows to near 35' in wet soils from NC south and along the gulf coast. This form found in Columbia, SC is gently weeping and is quite graceful with its small serrated leaves and arching habit. We have found this species to thrive in moist to very wet soils. Sun to part shade.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 1

Platanus &timeshispanica 'Suttneri' – variegated London planetree Platanus ×hispanica 'Suttneri' (Platanaceae)
variegated London planetree
A variegated foliage form of the popular planetree with irregular white splashes and speckles on the leaves. As interesting as the leaves are, the incredible smooth white bark glows in the landscape like a white pillar. The tree is somewhat anthracnose resistant. Foliage stays nicest with some moisture, but established plants are fairly drought tolerant. Full sun to light shade.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 21

Podocarpus aff. fasciculus – Taiwan yew-pine Podocarpus aff. fasciculus (Podocarpaceae)
Taiwan yew-pine
We have tentatively identified this plant as P. fasciculus based on descriptions in the Flora of Taiwan. Some taxonomists have grouped this species with P. neriifolius but our plant does not agree well with the description of that species. At any rate, cuttings of this plant were collected in 2009 at nearly 6,500' in west-central Taiwan. New growth emerges rusty red before turning deep green. Based on the elevation at which this plant was growing, we feel it should be hardy in central NC. Sun to shade.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 2

Sabal blackburniana – cabbage palm Sabal blackburniana (Arecaceae)
cabbage palm
For pickup only. A palm of questionable background, this species is recognized by the typically conservative taxonomists at the USDA Germplasm Resources Network but is lumped into S. palmetto, S. bermudana, or S. domigensis. These plants are from seed received from Italy and may not be true to type. Plants in cultivation as S. blackburniana are solitary trunked trees very similar to S. palmetto often with smaller leaves and a bluish tint. These plants will certainly not be reliably hardy in central North Caroline but should be good for more southern and eastern gardeners. Ultimately to about 30' in cultivation, full sun, well-drained soil.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 1

Salvia penstemonoides – big red sage Salvia penstemonoides (Lamiaceae)
big red sage
Once thought to be extinct in the wild, but rediscovered in a few locales in Texas during the 1980's, this large sage grows 3' to 5' tall. Spikes of rosy-red flowers are frequented by hummingbirds during the summer. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil. Makes a dramatic presence in the garden and deserves to be more widely grown in gardens.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 14

Sarcandra glabra – sarcandra Sarcandra glabra (Chloranthaceae)
sarcandra
We have offered this evergreen subshrub previously, but these plants represent our 2009 collection in Taiwan. Leaves are glossy, medium-green in color, and strongly toothed on their margins. In summer to fall, bright orange-red berries are produced in terminal clusters. We have grown this species in our Lath House, since it benefits from protection from direct sunlight even in winter so it should be grown under pines or other evergreens. Somewhat tender and probably best in zone 8 gardens.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 7

Schisandra arisanensis – magnolia vine Schisandra arisanensis (Schisandraceae)
magnolia vine
A beautiful glossy-leaved twining vine we collected in Taiwan. Drooping panicles of yellow to reddish flowers are lovely, fragrant and unfortunately short-lived. The clusters of brilliant red fruits look especially nice dripping through the branches of conifers and evergreen shrubs. Sun to part shade.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 1

Stachyurus praecox 'Sterling Silver' – variegated golden spike-tail Stachyurus praecox 'Sterling Silver' (Stachyuraceae)
variegated golden spike-tail
A boldly variegated form of the woefully underused golden spike-tail shrub. The long acuminate tipped leaves are each outlined in bright white on this vigorous shrub for the shady garden. The arching fountain of branches drip with racemes of yellow flowers in late winter before the foliage emerges. Striking and different, 8'-10' tall and wide.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 25

Stauntonia aff. purpurea – stauntonia vine Stauntonia aff. purpurea (Lardizabalaceae)
stauntonia vine
Another Taiwan collection that we have tentatively identified as S. purpurea, a twining vine with evergreen palmately compound leaves with 3-5 leaflets. The showy flowers range from yellow with purple stripes to almost entirely purple. Grows in full sun to shade to 20'.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 1

Styrax japonicus Rubra Pendula Group – weeping pink Japanese snowbell Styrax japonicus Rubra Pendula Group (Styracaceae)
weeping pink Japanese snowbell
These cuttings from our best weeping, pink-flowered snowbell should be staked upright for the best landscape display or allowed to weep over a wall. Soft pink flowers brighten the spring garden on these vigorous growing plants. Find a prime spot for a specimen of this beautiful plant. Sun to light shade, 6' to 12' tall.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 43

Tricyrtis ravenii – Raven's toad lily Tricyrtis ravenii (Liliaceae)
Raven's toad lily
A high elevation, sun loving, herbaceous perennial collected in Taiwan in 2008. This species was only described in 2007 and has not made its way into the trade as yet. The upright stems are topped from mid-summer to frost with loads of 3-petalled, purple spotted flowers. The flower production beats any other toadlily we've come across so far.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 18

Tripterygium hypoglaucum – tripterygium Tripterygium hypoglaucum (Celastraceae)
tripterygium
A deciduous woody vine or sprawling shrub with frothy clusters of small white flowers followed by showy clusters of yellow-green, winged fruit. This is a rare and unusual species rarely encountered in western gardens. Grow in sun or shade, to 12' or more tall.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 1

Viburnum atrocyaneum – evergreen viburnum Viburnum atrocyaneum (Adoxaceae)
evergreen viburnum
One of our favorite viburnums with a dense habit, small glossy, evergreen leaves, and shiny blue fruit. The leaves emerge reddish before turning deep green. Flat clusters of white flowers in late spring are showy against the dark foliage but the metallic blue fruits are standouts in the fall garden. Sun to part shade, 4'-6' tall.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 2

Viburnum burejaeticum – Manchurian viburnum Viburnum burejaeticum (Adoxaceae)
Manchurian viburnum
Large felted, serrate foliage clothes this large shrub and turns brilliant burgundy in fall. Clusters of slightly fragrant white flowers give rise to dark blue-black fall fruits. Best in sun to part shade in any soil, to 15' tall.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 5

Viburnum corylifolium – hazel-leaf viburnum Viburnum corylifolium (Adoxaceae)
hazel-leaf viburnum
A very rarely encountered viburnum (Mike Dirr notes only seeing the plant once at Kew in his viburnum book) with rounded foliage resembling Corylus. Flat clusters of white flowers in spring are showy with the brilliant red fall fruits screaming in the Autumn garden. Fall color is burgundy. Full sun to part shade.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 1

Weigela praecox – early weigela Weigela praecox (Diervillaceae)
early weigela
Fabulous pink funnel-shaped flowers engulf this deciduous plant in early spring. Hummingbirds adore Weigela flowers. A native to temperate east Asia, specifically Japan, Korea, and Northern China. It is easy to grow and very reliable. 6' tall by 6' wide. Requires full sun to produce copious flowers but will grow in shadier spots.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 2

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