This past week I took my graduate Native Woody Plants class on a field trip to Tyler Arboretum. Visiting arboreta represents a hallmark for the graduate students – to visit another place helps prove their identification skills. But, there were many other plants they had not learned – those that are non-native that are used in the landscape.
The first non-native was purple beautyberry in the white form (Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Albifructus’) (above). It was located in the parking area. It was stunning – at the peak of fruiting. The white fruit looked like a waterfall.
Then we saw the native winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata) (to the right) in fall color and fruit. The cold weather had not gotten to the foliage yet. Usually the leaves begin to turn black on the shrub and quickly fall off. The birds hadn’t gleaned it either. We were fortunate to see this amazing display of berries!
The tour would not be complete without seeing the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) (above). I think it might be the largest outside of California.
Here is a young giant sequoia (above) with its beautiful blue scale foliage. The typical form is pyramidal when young.
A view of Tyler Arboretum from the pond (to the right) looking back at the house. The fall colors waning – it is delightful to visit in any season.
The native state champion tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) (to the left) sits just outside the gates of the arboretum and can be observed just past the witchhazels (Hamamelis spp.) The trunk of the tree is mammoth and only sits feet from the roadway that leads up to the entrance to the arboretum. I am always in awe at the sight of old trees – wondering what they have seen in their lifetime.
As we continued to walk through the arboretum we found this perfectly shaped Japanese cryptomeria (Cryptomeria japonica) (below). The students loved its amazing shape and were happy to learn about it. In Japan, the wood is highly valued for building and has a welcoming fragrance. The wood is disease and insect resistant and there are many cultivars of the tree.
Our native red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) (below) was a welcomed sight to the class. Unmistakable - with its fire engine red leaves and berries. The plant is fabulous when planted en mass to make an eye-popping attraction and is ideal to replace our non-native invasive burning bush (Euonymus alatus).
My students agreed that this was a perfect place to visit. Here they are standing near a several hundred year old white oak (Quercus alba) (below).