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JCRA e-Update - December 2010

In This Issue

Ilex vomitoria 'Yawkey'

Recent Members Only Additions

December Events

Lunchtime Lecture
"Plant Geek Nation—Growing Another Generation in Agriculture"
Liz Driscoll, NC's 4-H Youth Extension Specialist
December 1, 2010 (Wednesday)
11:00 AM

Poinsettia Open House
Sponsored by NC State Floriculture and the JCRA
December 5, 2010 (Sunday)
1:00 PM-5:00 PM

Holiday Wreath Workshop
December 7, 2010 (Tuesday)
6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Plantsmen's Tour
Mark Weathington, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections
December 14, 2010 (Tuesday)
1:00 PM

Ilex vomitoria 'Yawkey'

Ilex vomitoria 'Yawkey' - yellow-berry yaupon holly

by Mark Weathington, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections

Ilex vomitoria has long been one of the most versatile of evergreen shrubs for the garden. It ranges across much of the United States from Maryland to Oklahoma and south to Texas and the Chiapas region of Mexico. The red fall fruits provide food for a range of animals. 'Yawkey' is an outstanding selection from the T. A. Yawkey Plantation in Georgetown County, South Carolina. This form bears heavy masses of bright yellow fruits in late summer.

Yaupon holly was traditionally used by some Native Americans in a ceremony where the leaves and stems were brewed to make a tea much like the South American yerba mate made from Ilex paraguayensis. Because the ceremony included vomiting which was self-induced or caused by drinking great quantities of the tea while fasting, it was and still is widely believed that the holly is an emetic and gave rise to the Latin name. In reality, tea from this plant contains caffeine but does not cause any discomfort although those who claim that it is very tasty must have a more refined palate than myself.

Ilex vomitoria 'Yawkey' grows as a multi-stemmed shrub with twiggy branches and an upright, arching habit. It bears a heavy load of yellow fruits in late summer which often last until spring. Since it is a female, it needs a male pollinator nearby such as 'Stoke's Dwarf' or 'Will Fleming'. The fruits are eaten by a wide variety of birds including Florida ducks, mourning doves, ruffed grouse, cedar waxwings, and bluebirds. Armadillos, black bears, and foxes have also been known to eat the fruit.

Ilex vomitoria is most often found in coastal areas growing on sandy, well-drained soils. It also grows near brackish swamps, in pine barrens, forested wetlands, and woodlands. This wide range of habitats makes 'Yawkey' suitable for growing in sun or shade and in most locations from rain gardens to sand dunes. Fruiting will be heaviest in full sun. In natural gardens, plants can be allowed to grow without pruning. For more formal settings, it can be pruned into almost any shape or grown as a small tree by limbing it up. It can be sheared into hedges, pyramids, or other shapes. Pruning will impact fruiting.

Propagation of 'Yawkey' is relatively simple with semi-hardwood or hardwood cuttings taken from late June through March. Semi-hardwood cuttings can be rooted under mist while dormant material is best with bottom heat. Seedlings from 'Yawkey' will generally come true to type although the offspring’s fruit may not be as brightly colored. It makes a spectacular show in the fall and winter garden is one of the very best yellow fruiting hollies of any type available.

Coming Attractions

by Nancy Doubrava, Interpretive Specialist

Elm Circle
Ilex cornuta 'Sunrise' Mahonia ×media 'Hope'

Ilex cornuta 'Sunrise'
golden Chinese holly

Mahonia ×media 'Hope'

Camellia 'Snow Flurry' Camellia 'Carolina Moonmist'

Camellia 'Snow Flurry'
Akerman hybrid camellia

Camellia 'Carolina Moonmist'
Cochran hybrid camellia

Pyracantha 'Cadaune' Chimonanthus praecox

Pyracantha 'Cadaune'
Saphyr Jaune™ firethorn

Chimonanthus praecox
fragrant wintersweet

Sarcococca saligna Prunus mume 'Trumpet'

Sarcococca saligna
willow-leaf sweet box

Prunus mume 'Trumpet'
Japanese flowering apricot

Visit Showtimes for a much more detailed listing of what's in flower in December at the Arboretum.

Recent Members Only Additions

Three new videos were recorded for the Members Only section on the Arboretum's Web site in November.

Content in the Members Only section is password protected and is only available to Arboretum members. In order to access these special features, members need to know the password that was printed on the label (use all lower case letters) of the latest Friends of the Arboretum Newsletter or included in the e-mail with the latest monthly JCRA e-Update attached to it.

JC Raulston Arboretum e-Updates are published electronically every month for everyone interested in the Arboretum and are e-mailed to the Arboretum's members. If you are a member and need to update your contact information or wish to be removed from this mailing, please contact Judy Morgan-Davis.

Contact information:
JC Raulston Arboretum
NC State University
Campus Box 7522
Raleigh, NC 27695-7522

(919) 515-3132