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By Baja_Costero on Jan 20, 2018 9:58 PM, concerning plant: Lebombo Aloe (Aloe spicata)

Tree aloe from Southern Africa which may grow upright to 3-6 feet tall or as a shrubby collection of heads. May also be unbranched. Leaves are channeled and recurved, giving each rosette a slumping posture.

Named after the shape of the inflorescence, which develops during winter as an unbranched, densely flowered spike with short, yellow, bell-like flowers. Multiple heads in bloom can be quite striking. The flowers open from the bottom up with a wave of orange exserted stamens and great quantities of sticky brownish nectar. They make excellent subjects for close up photography, especially when that nectar reflects or transmits the light.

One of a few aloes with similar flowers. Can be resolved from A. vryheidensis (South Africa) based on the shape of the rosette and the recurved leaves. Very similar to A. tauri (Zimbabwe) which grows a much shorter stem, also to A. castanea (South Africa) which can grow a taller stem.

Like these other aloes, its leaves may turn intense orange and red colors in response to stress, especially drought stress. This colorful foliage can provide striking seasonal interest in the garden.

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By ILPARW on Jan 20, 2018 9:37 PM, concerning plant: Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)

Unfortunately, this east Asian invasive shrub is the most common shrub in southeast Pennsylvania and the second in northeast Illinois. I enjoy cutting them down to pieces in the woods and then axing the base. It looks alright for awhile in spring with its young foliage and white flowers, but after that it is definitely ugly and twiggy and sort of smelly. The little red berries are not very nutritious for American birds. It is also a weed shrub growing in abandoned alleys, yards, and waste places. It should be declared as a noxious weed and destroyed. It was brought over in the 1800's with other shrub honeysuckles of northeast Asia to be an ornamental plant.

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By ILPARW on Jan 20, 2018 9:17 PM, concerning plant: Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

The Black Locust grows in its native range in open upland sites in two regions: the Appalachian Region from central Pennsylvania and southern Ohio down to northern Georgia & Alabama and the Ozark Region of southern Missouri, Arkansas, and east Oklahoma. However, mankind has spread it all around the South, the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Northeast of the US. I think I saw some running around wild in southern Germany in 1981. It often is a weed tree, growing in abandoned lots, alleys, and waste places. It is fast growing of 2 to 3 feet/year and lives about 50 to 100 years. The fragrant white pea-like flowers are nice. The rest of the tree is not ornamental. It is weak-wooded and very messy by dropping lots of twigs, branches, and brown, woody, legume pods; and it can form a colony from prolific root suckering. I don't recommend it for landscaping and I don't know of any nurseries that sell any. It is considered as a non-native invasive plant in many states where it is not in its original native range. I don't mind some wild trees around, but not too many.

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By ILPARW on Jan 20, 2018 8:44 PM, concerning plant: Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

The Common Sassafras is a beautiful small to medium tree of the Laurel Family. It grows in open woods or woodland edges or in open fields in upland sites from New England down to central Florida over into eastern Texas & Oklahoma, most of Missouri, through central Illinois, through all Indiana up into most of lower Michigan into the southern tip of Ontario. It grows about 1.5 to 2 feet/year and lives up to about 100 years. It develops a taproot and coarse lateral roots, so it is not easy to transplant. I did transplant a few young trees about 3 feet high volunteering for Tyler Arboretum one early spring, carefully making nice rounded soil balls. Sometimes Sassafras can develop a colony from ground suckers, but many times it does not. It gets bright red fall color in full sun, but can turn yellow or orange in some shade. A few larger, diverse nurseries sell some and some native plant nurseries sell some for naturalistic landscapes. I don't see it planted by homeowners hardly at all, though there are two planted in a yard a few blocks away from me. Some landscape designers use it in professional landscapes or in parks. I think it should be planted in landscapes more often.

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By SharonsFlorida on Jan 20, 2018 11:03 AM, concerning plant: Florida Tick Trefoil (Desmodium floridanum)

These photos appear to be of Desmodium incanum which is not native to Florida.

Desmodium floridanum has solid upper leaf surfaces and loments (seed segments) of 2-4 segments. Also, Desmodium floridanum is not a listed species.

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By jmorth on Jan 19, 2018 1:54 AM, concerning plant: Large Cupped Daffodil (Narcissus 'Firecracker')

This creation by J Lionel Richardson (Irish, middle of last century) is both seed and pollen fertile. Used 8 times as a seed parent, 22 times as a pollen parent.
The cup color intensifies with the passage of a couple of days.
Declared a "Classic" by the American Daffodil Society.

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By ILPARW on Jan 18, 2018 4:12 PM, concerning plant: Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

The American Tuliptree is a very common tree in upland mature or climax woods of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic. Its native range is from southern New England down to central Florida over into Louisiana up to southern Illinois, almost all of Indiana into southern Michigan into the southern tip of Ontario. It is fast growing of about 2 to 2.5 feet/year and lives about 200 years. Its unusual sort of squarish leaves turn a good yellow in autumn. Its flowers are solitary, erect, cup-shaped, 2 to 3 inch magnolia-like yellow-green with orange splotches that look tulip-like, as its Magnolia Family members. Its roots are shallow and deep, fibrous and fleshy and poorly branched. It is occasionally planted in landscapes in the East, and also in the Midwest where it does well in the neutral pH soils there. It needs acid soil for the seedlings to succeed, so its native range ends before crossing the northern Illinois border. It is a weak-wooded tree that is best to have other trees around for support, and it is not for small yards, but large properties. It is sold by some larger, diverse nurseries and native plant nurseries in the East and Midwest US.

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By ILPARW on Jan 17, 2018 9:39 PM, concerning plant: Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)

Sourwood grows in upland sites in or around forest from southwest Pennsylvania and southeast Ohio down to northwest Florida into Louisiana up into areas of Kentucky. It grows about 1 foot/year and lives about 150 to 200 years. It has thick, glossy, leathery leaves that turn a good red in autumn. The small, bell-like, slightly fragrant flowers are in curving spikes in July followed by tan capsules in late summer and fall. Its root system has some deep lateral roots so it is somewhat difficult to transplant and is best to move in early spring. It is expensive to buy so that it is used mostly by landscape designers in some professional landscapes, mostly in the South, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Northeast; infrequently in some areas of the Midwest where the soil is definitely acid. It is a beautiful, high quality small to medium tree.

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By Australis on Jan 17, 2018 8:43 PM, concerning plant: Orchid (Claudehamiltonara Hidden Gold)

This is a cross of Orchid (Guaritonia Why Not) and Orchid (Brassocattleya Richard Mueller).

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By ILPARW on Jan 17, 2018 4:30 PM, concerning plant: Ironwood (Ostrya virginiana)

The Eastern Hophornbeam (Ironwood) is a large understory tree in woods growing on upland sites and on hills and slopes, and it is very shade tolerant. Its native range is from Nova Scotia and southeast Canada and New England down to northern Florida into east Texas a little up to northern Minnesota & southeast Manitoba. I have seen it wild in a fair number in certain locations of forest, especially on hills, in northeast Illinois. It leaves that look in between elm & birch are 3 to 5 inches long x 1.5 to 2 inches wide with doubly toothed margins that turn a good golden color in autumn. In late summer one sees clusters of tan bladder-like seed-bearing pods that get to 2 inches long. The shaggy gray-tan-brown bark is pretty. It grows about 8 to 12 inches/year and lives about 150 years. It forms a taproot so it is difficult to transplant and must be moved in early spring as a young tree. I've seen it infrequently planted in parks and public town areas and professional and naturalistic landscapes in the Chicago area. A few large, diverse nurseries and some native plant nurseries sell it. I think it is a wonderful small to medium tree for many landscapes.

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By ILPARW on Jan 17, 2018 3:46 PM, concerning plant: Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

Usually a small understory tree in upland woods or fields from southern Pennsylvania down through northern Georgia and central Alabama & Mississippi, areas of Louisiana and far east Texas up in eastern Kansas & southeast Nebraska to along the Mississippi between Iowa & Illinois through southern Michigan into the tip of southern Ontario and all around Lake Erie. I have seen it in the wild in just some localized areas, not spread out everywhere. It grows about 1 foot/year and lives about 150 years. Its root system produces deep, coarse lateral roots so transplanting is sort of difficult, best done in early spring. It is a very interesting sort of tropical-looking tree with a large, delicious fruit tasting like banana. A few people grow it in their yard for its fruit. The only landscapes that I have seen it used are in arboretums and botanical gardens; it should be used more as an ornamental tree. A few large, diverse nurseries, a good number of mail order nurseries, and some native plant nurseries sell it.

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By Australis on Jan 16, 2018 10:07 PM, concerning plant: Orchid (Epicatanthe Butterfly Kisses 'Mendenhall')

This is a hybrid of Orchid (Cattlianthe Trick or Treat) and Orchid (Epidendrum magnoliae).

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By ILPARW on Jan 16, 2018 9:15 PM, concerning plant: Alabama Snow Wreath (Neviusia alabamensis)

I was just looking through the book of The Living Landscape by Rick Darke & Doug Tallamy, concerning native plant - naturalistic landscapes, and there are two wonderful photos of this shrub in white bloom on page 195 and it looks good. It reminds me of the Vanhoutte Spirea or Bridalwreath. Mr. Darke uses it on this property as part of the shrub border, a deer-proofing screening shrub, and as a woody plant cut flower. It was first discovered in Alabama in 1857. It has been further found not just in two areas of northern Alabama but also in spots in Mississippi, Arkansas, southern Tennessee, and Georgia. It has simple, double-toothed leaves that turn greenish-yellow to yellow in autumn. It bears erect clusters of flowers without petals, but with numerous, showy, feathery, white stamens in late April into May. It grows about 1 to 1.5 feet/year. It has a fibrous root mass that makes it easy to transplant, and it can be divided like a perennial. Next time I visit Morton Arboretum in northeast Illinois, I'll have to look for their specimens. I took photos of a shrub in a pot at a native plant sale in northern Delaware by the Delaware Native Plant Society.

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By ILPARW on Jan 15, 2018 7:10 PM, concerning plant: Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

The Eastern Redcedar Juniper is a common species growing in upland locations on hills, slopes, and fields in a large native range from southern Maine down to just over the north Florida border into east Texas up to western Nebraska, to eastern South Dakota & southern Minnesota to southern Wisconsin & Michigan into the southern tip of Ontario. The sort of prickly foliage is made of younger awl-like needles and older, soft scale-like needles bluish or grayish or bright green. It reproduces by tiny yellowish male cones on all male trees and by tiny red-purple female cones on all female plants borne in spring. The female plants bear gray or blue berry-like cones that are loved by birds and small mammals. It grows about 1 foot/year and lives about 300 years. It has shallow, fibrous roots and yet develops a taproot, but can be transplanted in spring or fall. This American species often is infected with the Cedar Rust fungus that originally came over from east Asia, but does not damage the juniper, only developing a rounded brown gall housing the spores. (The similar Chinese Juniper does not show any galls or at least any big ones.) After being released during wet weather in spring, the spores infect various members of the huge Rose Family as Apples, Crabapples, Serviceberry, Hawthorns, Pears, and Floweringquince, where the foliage of the deciduous plants become spotted with yellow and brown spots in late summer and fall. Otherwise, this is a good quality, reliable coniferous tree. There are a number of compact and dwarf cultivars that have been taken from this species.

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By ILPARW on Jan 15, 2018 4:51 PM, concerning plant: Ground Juniper (Juniperus communis var. depressa)

This variety of (depressa) is the North American form of the Common Juniper species that grows wild in different areas all over the Northern Hemisphere. In North America it is native over most of Alaska and Canada, areas of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Rocky Mountains, areas of the Dakotas, northern Minnesota, central & southern Wisconsin, most of Michigan, northwest Indiana, northern Ohio, areas of Pennsylvania & New York, much of New England, and some areas down the Appalachians. It is usually a low, wide-spreading shrub, but can be a groundcover. The sharp, prickly awl-like needles are whorled in 3's, are gray-green to blue-green with white stripes down the middle of the needles, and foliage gets a purplish to brown cast in winter. The female plants bear blue to gray berry-like cones from late summer into winter that are loved by birds and mammals. This straight species variety is not used in landscaping or sold at conventional nurseries. A few native plant nurseries may sell this for naturalistic landscapes. There are a number of different cultivars from the Common Juniper that were once occasionally sold in the US, but I don't know of any that are really good plants. A bunch of other junipers make better ornamental choices.

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By ILPARW on Jan 15, 2018 3:03 PM, concerning plant: Blue Rug Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis 'Wiltonii')

The 'Blue Rug' or 'Wilton' Creeping Juniper is a very popular groundcover sold at many conventional nurseries and garden centers. It is very short of about 4 to 6 inches high and intensely blue foliage that is soft from the leaves being the feathery scale-like type rather than the sharp awl-type of leaves that junipers can also have. It gets some purple-bronze color in the winter, but not as much as most other cultivars. It is usually a female clone that bear some silvery-blue berry-like cones in late summer into winter. It came from cuttings taken from plants on Vinalhaven Island off the Maine coast in 1914 and introduced into the trade by South Wilton Nurseries in Wilton, Connecticut.

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By ILPARW on Jan 15, 2018 2:50 PM, concerning plant: Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis 'Plumosa')

This is the Andorra Creeping Juniper that was introduced by Andorra Nurseries in Philadelphia, PA into the trade in 1907 and is gray-green in color during the warm season. It used to be very popular in the 1950's through the 1970's, but it has mostly been replaced by the Youngstown Compact Andorra Creeping Juniper that is a little shorter of about 18 inches high and that does not get hit hard by the Phomopsis Juniper Blight that can damage the original Andorra Juniper a lot. It is a male clone that does turn purple-bronze during the cold part of the year.

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By ILPARW on Jan 15, 2018 2:36 PM, concerning plant: Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis 'Bar Harbor')

'Bar Harbor' is a commonly used cultivar of the Creeping Juniper that is about 12 inches high at the most. It was selected from cuttings from wild plants on Mount Desert Island, Maine, where it grows in crevices on the rocky coast and is often in reach of the salty ocean spray. There probably are several different clones around, most of which are male (staminate) and do not bear the bluish berry-like cones that are eaten by birds, though there are reports of some female clones. The warm season foliage is bluish-green while during the cold season it turns a purplish-bronze as does the straight species. It is a good cultivar that grows well in most any well-drained soil with full or partial sun exposure.

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By ILPARW on Jan 14, 2018 2:18 PM, concerning plant: Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)

The Black Tupelo or Black Gum is a beautiful, high quality tree that grows in the wild in wet bottomlands to upland forest edges from southern Maine down to central Florida into east Texas to southern Missouri & Illinois, in all Indiana up into southern Michigan into the tip of very south Ontario. It is slow to medium in rate, growing from only 4 inches/year to about 1.25 foot/year; in nurseries and landscaping usually about 1 foot/year. It lives about 150-200 years. Its dark, shiny simple leaves are about 2 to 5 inches long and with smooth margins, and leaves turn a good to excellent autumn color from bright yellow in some shade to orange to bright red in more sun. The fruit is a fleshy bluish to purple berry in clusters of 1 to 3 on long stems, loved by birds and small mammals. It develops a taproot and is difficult to transplant, but nurseries can do it in early spring B&B or with containers. This species is sold by some large, diverse nurseries and native plant nurseries. I see it infrequently in the average yard, even in the Mid-Atlantic, unless it was there before the house was built, but I see it in various spots in the wild near the woods in Pennsylvania and Delaware, and occasionally planted at estates, parks, office parks, and in other professional landscapes.

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By ILPARW on Jan 14, 2018 1:01 PM, concerning plant: Pond Cypress (Taxodium distichum var. imbricarium 'Prairie Sentinal')

This cultivar is a more narrow, conical form of the species. In landscapes I would say that about 60 feet high x 15 feet wide is the most expected size. It is offered online at several different online nurseries.

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