Note: The JCRA launched a new Web site on March 1. Please visit us at http://jcra.ncsu.edu. This site, http://www.ncsu.edu/jcraulstonarboretum/, is no longer being updated.

Connoisseur Plants – 2013

Connoisseur Plants are rare, new plants or hard to find old favorites. These wonderful plants are being offered to our volunteers.

Please note that several plants are available in very limited quantities. For some plants, we don't know the full range of hardiness, only how it has behaved at the JC Raulston Arboretum. Sometimes we cannot find any information in our references on a particular taxon. This does not mean that the plant doesn't exist, perhaps just that we are staying one step ahead of published information. One of the purposes of the Arboretum is to test new plants for suitability to the southeastern United States. By growing some of these "new-to-us" plants in your own garden, you can be a part of this evaluation process. Feedback from you is invaluable!

This year we are offering a total of taxa from which to choose! Happy choosing, and thank you for your continued and invaluable support of the JC Raulston Arboretum.

Abelia &timesgrandiflora 'Abelops' – Sunshine Daydream variegated glossy abelia Abelia ×grandiflora 'Abelops' (Linneaceae)
Sunshine Daydream variegated glossy abelia
This sport of 'Little Richard' has creamy margined glossy semi-evergreen foliage that emerges with a burgundy tint. The young stems are often bright red as well. White flowers open from pale pink buds over most of the summer. The fragrant flowers attract pollinators throughout the season. The plants maintain a neat, dwarf habit without pruning.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 3

Acer cissifolium – ivy-leaf maple Acer cissifolium (Sapindaceae)
ivy-leaf maple
We collected this lovely maple near Mt. Ontaki in Japan at just over 6000' under collection # MWJ11-642. It makes a small tree with a 3-part, compound, heavily serrated leaf and bright fall color ranging from gold to red. The flowers are a cheery yellow and quite showy, appearing before the foliage in spring. It prefers a bit of shade in the southeast but is otherwise easy to grow. It can be pruned to a single stem but is often seen in landscapes as a multi-stemmed tree. (3.5" pot)
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 6

Acer pictum var. mono – painted maple Acer pictum var. mono (Sapindaceae)
painted maple
This small to medium sized maple is one of our very favorites at the JCRA with a nicely formed, rounded head. The fall color is typically a beautiful clear yellow. These plants are from seed we collected in Japan in 2011 where it was growing as a lovely understory tree near the gorgeous Ryuzu Falls in Nikko. Expect it to grow to about 35' in the landscape although in the wild it can grow to almost twice that height. Plant in high shade or full sun. (3.5" pot)
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 16

Afrocarpus falcatus – African yellowwood Afrocarpus falcatus (Podocarpaceae)
African yellowwood
This lovely podocarp relative is native to the southern regions of Africa and makes a soft textured, specimen conifer. In its native habitat it makes a huge tree but will be much slower in the landscape. These plants are from cuttings we received from Tifton, GA where it was thriving in an exposed situation. We imagine these will be fairly tender so they should be planted in a very protected spot or grown as an unusual houseplant where it tolerates low light conditions very well. (3.5")
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 3

Aster ageratoides 'Ashvi' – white Asian aster Aster ageratoides 'Ashvi' (Asteraceae)
white Asian aster
This lovely perennial aster is native across east Asia from Siberia down to Taiwan and will tolerate just about anything you can throw its way from full sun to relatively deep shade. Pure white flowers with a gold eye cover the plant from late summer well into fall. It is exceptionally cold hardy, spreading politely by underground rhizomes to make nice clumps to about 30" tall. (3.5" pot)
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 1

Begonia Semperflorens-cultorum Group (hardy white) –  hardy wax begonia Begonia Semperflorens-cultorum Group (hardy white) (Begoniaceae)
hardy wax begonia
JCRA Education Program Coordinator, Christopher Glenn brought us this lovely plant that he had been growing for years. It grows like a typical wax begonia with succulent bright green foliage and pure white flowers but has been winter hardy in his Wake Forest garden for many years. We haven't grown it for long here at the Arboretum but it looks awfully nice so far. (3.5" pot)
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 3

Buxus sinica var. insularis (spreading dwarf) – spreading dwarf boxwood Buxus sinica var. insularis (spreading dwarf) (Buxaceae)
spreading dwarf boxwood
We received this plant several years ago from Bruce Appledoorn of Appledoorn Landscape Nursery in Bostic, NC. It was passed down from his father and formed a low wide specimen at the nursery. It has settled in quite well here at the JCRA and we think it has real landscape potential. It is especially effective as a tall, slow ground-cover in the shady garden. (3.5" pot)
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 1

Callicarpa brevipes – beautyberry Callicarpa brevipes (Lamiaceae)
beautyberry
We collected the bright purple fruit of this relatively small, upright beautyberry at the South China Botanical Garden in Guangzhou, China. The narrow leaves emerge with a purplish tinge before bearing white to lavender flowers followed by the showy purple fruit. We’re not sure of the hardiness of this species but expect it to grow well in most of NC in sun to part shade. (3.5" pot)
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 1

Carpinus japonica – Japanese hornbeam Carpinus japonica (Betulaceae)
Japanese hornbeam
Among the Carpinus (hornbeams), there probably is none with more beautiful foliage than this species. Carpinus japonica, a small-sized tree reaching about 20' in height, bears attractive, finely-pleated leaves, looking as if they have been pressed. In summer, hop-like fruit catkins appear, light green in color and standing in contrast to the dark green leaves. Best in part-shade to part-sun sites. Hardy throughout NC. We collected this seed in 2011 under collection number MWJ11-652 in the Nagano region of Japan. (3.5" pot)
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 21
Number of photographs in J. C. Raulston's slide collection: 1

Chaenomeles (Chris's contorted) – contorted quince Chaenomeles (Chris's contorted) (Rosaceae)
contorted quince
This plant has come full circle for us. We offered 'Contorta' in a distribution and it was picked up by JCRA staffer, Christopher Glenn who wanted the apple blossom colored flowers of that selection. When his plant flowered, he was surprised to find he had a sport which flowered peachy-orange along the twisted stems. This makes a lovely plant for bringing winter color to the garden and cut stems can be forced indoors for a shot of spring when winter threatens to bring you down.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 8

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Elmwood' – gold Hinoki falsecypress Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Elmwood' (Cupressaceae)
gold Hinoki falsecypress
Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Elmwood’, sometimes seen as ‘Elmwood Gold’, makes a lovely rounded but somewhat flat-topped ball of gold in the garden. The sprays of gold foliage are quite attractive all year through and the uniform shape of the plant makes it easy to put in a landscape. We have found our plant to be quite burn resistant in full sun. Shaded portions of the plant such as interior branches will be green. If reversions or long shoots appear, they should be pruned immediately but we haven't seen any yet. Ultimate size is difficult to tell at this point but we think it will slowly grow to about 6’-8’ in a decade, probably ultimately becoming wider than tall.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 4

Cornus stolonifera 'Neil Z' – Pucker Up!™ red osier dogwood Cornus stolonifera 'Neil Z' (Cornaceae)
Pucker Up!™ red osier dogwood
We love this funky red-stemmed dogwood from the Proven Winners line. As they say, "Its glossy, puckered foliage is distinctive as well as attractive. The thick foliage delivers a high degree of leaf spot resistance. Compact growth and bright red winter stems add to this native shrub's year-round appeal." We've found this to be a great performer with a tidy, distinct look. Great for sun to part shade in average to wet soils. (3.5" pot)
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 2

Corylopsis glabrescens – fragrant winterhazel Corylopsis glabrescens (Hamamelidaceae)
fragrant winterhazel
These seedlings are from our 2011 trip to Japan, collected in Gifu under number MWJ11-588. The broad spreading shrubs mingled happily with several viburnum, rhododendron, and stewartia. Fragrant early spring flowers of primrose yellow help kick off the growing season. Blue-green foliage follows and turns buttery yellow in fall. Winterhazel is mostly pest and disease free and thrives in most garden situations.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 5

Daphne odora 'Zuiko Nishiki' – winter daphne Daphne odora 'Zuiko Nishiki' (Thymelaeaceae)
winter daphne
We've heard that plantsman extrordinaire, John Elsley 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. We've offered this before but it is back by very popular demand. (3.5" pot)
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 30

Dianthus 'Chris's Passalong' – hybrid sweet william Dianthus 'Chris's Passalong' (Caryophyllaceae)
hybrid sweet william
Christopher Glenn, JCRA education manager, has a great eye for plants. He brought this unnamed dianthus with him from Texas and has been growing it here ever since. We were so impressed with the old-fashioned charm of the exceptionally fragrant, neon pink flowers and the vigor of the evergreen mats of green foliage. Grow in full sun in a reasonably well-drained soil.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 5

Enkianthus cernuus f. rubens 'Yanagi-ba' – willow leaf enkianthus Enkianthus cernuus f. rubens 'Yanagi-ba' (Ericaceae)
willow leaf enkianthus
This is an unusual form of the lovely red-flowered enkianthus with extremely narrow, small leaves on an upright plant. Red, bell-shaped flowers dangle from the stems in spring. Fall color is brilliant red. Grow enkianthus anywhere you have success with azaleas, ideally in a moist, well-drained, acidic soil in sun to shade.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 2

Erica &timesdarleyensis 'White Perfection' – Darley heath Erica ×darleyensis 'White Perfection' (Ericaceae)
Darley heath
'White Perfection' is considered to be one of the best white heaths that will actually grow in the south, producing outstanding pure white flowers in late winter through early spring. This little evergreen has bright green needle-like leaves tipped with yellow in the spring. When given good growing conditions, it requires little or no shearing to maintain itself as a perfect mound with an erect habit.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 17

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 sport from that great plant 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. We offered this several years ago as ('Hoogendorn' variegated). Sun to part shade in moist, well-drained to fairly dry soil.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 7

Impatiens arguta 'Blue Dream' – hardy perennial impatiens Impatiens arguta 'Blue Dream' (Balsaminaceae)
hardy perennial impatiens
This is a vigorous and hardy selection of the blue impatiens that hails from Nepal and western China. It makes a loose, large clump of succulent dark stems and bright green leaves that weave through and around other shade perennials. In mid-summer dangling lavender-blue flowers with an orange throat decorate the plant, lasting until the first frost. It prefers some summer moisture to prevent wilting. Grow in shade.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 5

Iochroma australe 'Good Blue' – blue angel's trumpet Iochroma australe 'Good Blue' (Solanaceae)
blue angel's trumpet
We have been very pleasantly surprised that this Argentinian native has performed so well for us since 2009. It bears dangling trumpets of sky blue flowers in late summer and into fall and can even push out some flowers in spring after a particularly mild winter. In mild climates it can grow to be a small tree but is only marginally hardy in central NC and should be considered a die-back shrub. We leave the stems in place for the winter and mulch it well. When new growth emerges in spring, we cut back the old stems.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 4

Magnolia ernestii subsp. szechuanica – Sichuan michelia Magnolia ernestii subsp. szechuanica (Magnoliaceae)
Sichuan michelia
Formerly known as Michelia szechuanica, this elegant evergreen magnolia was grown from seed we collected at the Omei Shan Botanic Garden located at the base of the famed Mt. Omei (Emei) in Sichuan in fall of 2012. It makes a tall, narrow tree which flowers heavily and freely before forming bright red fruits and seeds. Hardiness is uncertain but we have been growing Magnolia ernestii from another source in our Japanese Garden for many years. Sun to light shade. (3.5")
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 1

Magnolia guangxiensis – Guanxi michelia Magnolia guangxiensis (Magnoliaceae)
Guanxi michelia
An evergreen michelia from Guanxi. This plant is a seedling from a plant at Quarryhill Botanic Garden in the wine country of CA. Plants should show heavy brown pubescence on new twigs and buds before opening enticingly fragrant white flowers in spring. The seedlings are all very uniform so we doubt there was any hanky-panky with other nearby magnolias. Hardiness is very uncertain. (3.5")
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 5

Magnolia maudiae – smiling forest michelia Magnolia maudiae (Magnoliaceae)
smiling forest michelia
This evergreen magnolia is a late winter bloomer producing white flowers from 4 to 6 ½ inches in diameter with an intoxicating fragrance. The first few years it will grow 2 to 3 feet in a growing season. Does best in full sun to part shade with protection from north winds. (1 qt)
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 144

Nageia nagi – broad-leaved podocarpus Nageia nagi (Podocarpaceae)
broad-leaved podocarpus
This unusual conifer has broad, plastic textured “needles” that look more like the leaves on a broadleaf tree. It is closely related to Podocarpus and was once included in that genus. It makes a large tree over time. Plants are typically dioecious but occasionally monoecious so male and female plants are needed to produce the fruit with a fleshy aril that is edible. These are plants from the UGA Tifton Research Station. (3.5")

Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 4
Number of photographs in J. C. Raulston's slide collection: 1

Pittosporum illicioides 'Strappy' – narrow-leafed pittosporum Pittosporum illicioides 'Strappy' (Pittosporaceae)
narrow-leafed pittosporum
This is an extremely narrow-leafed selection of the excellent evergreen anise leaf pittosporum. It has a fantastic pedigree having been selected by Sean Hogan of Cistus Design Nursery from a Taiwan collection of Dan Hinkley. Creamy yellow-white flowers in early spring are quite fragrant and give rise to bright orange-seeded fruit in fall. It makes a rather tall, open shrub, best in some shade.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 8

Rosmarinus officinalis 'Baby PJ' – compactrosemary Rosmarinus officinalis 'Baby PJ' (Lamiaceae)
compactrosemary
‘Baby P.J.’ is a truly different rosemary with tiny leaves mostly about 1/2″ long and late spring flowers of pale blue on a very compact, dwarf plant. The evergreen foliage and stems seem to be just as fragrant as its larger growing relatives and so could still be used for culinary purposes. As far as we know, this is the smallest rosemary on the market and while we’re not quite sure how hardy it is, we think it should be fine in zone 7b at least if given good drainage especially over winter.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 3

Tricyrtis 'Imperial Banner' – variegated toad-lily Tricyrtis 'Imperial Banner' (Liliaceae)
variegated toad-lily
We love this brightly variegated toad-lily and have found it to be one of the best growers we've tried. Stiffly vertical stems are clothed in narrow, rippled leaves each with a broad, creamy white central blotch. In late summer, the stems are topped with exquisite white flowers heavily spotted with purple.
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 7

Weigela florida 'Caricature' – variegated flowering weigela Weigela florida 'Caricature' (Diervillaceae)
variegated flowering weigela
Flowering weigela is an old-fashioned shrub that can be found growing in many mature shrub borders and gardens. There is nothing old-fashioned about this oddity though. Creamy white margins on each leaf are only the beginning. The foliage is curiously puckered and contorted with the central green portion growing larger than the constricting white margin. The overall effect is actually quite nice with a mound of foliage that sparkles in the sun and adds quite a bit of texture to the garden. Light pink, tubular spring flowers fade to white for a two-toned flower show. The puckered foliage seems to keep this plant somewhat more compact so expect Weigela florida ‘Caricature’ to grow to about 5′ over time, perhaps larger in rich soils. Prune immediately after flowering to control height if desired and grow in full sun to very light shade for best flowering. (3.5" pot)
Number of photographs in the Photograph Collection: 2

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