Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Arboretum in February

The Seattle Arboretum was started in 1934, covers 230 acres, and is home to over 5,500 species of plants (not including the weeds). In my opinion, the best time to go is in the winter - when the more unusual plants stand out.

Above is Ulmus glabra 'camperdownii', or Camperdown Elm. It looks like they take good care of it. They must inoculate it periodically to prevent it from getting Dutch Elm Disease.

The tree in the picture below must be some sort of crab apple, judging from the size and shape of its fruit, but I've never seen a crab apple with its fruit pointing upward. So it quite possibly could be some rarer member of the rosaceae family I've never heard about.

When I saw the tree (Arbutus menziesii or Pacific Madrone) below I immediately said to myself "Hey! That's the tree on the front cover of the book New Trees!"

As it turns out, no, it's not.

Seeing this next plant was a bit of a holy grail moment for me. I never realized there was a hardy, evergreen tree in the pea family with pinnate leaves (yes, I'm a plant geek).

Now, I could keep the name a secret, and not reveal it to the 10 people who read my blog. There are advantages to knowing information others don't know.

But, I'm not that kind of blogger. It's a Sophora microphylla. You can bet on me scouring the NW Flower and Garden show plant sale area looking for this tomorrow.

Below, a happy family of mushrooms feeding on the decayed remains of one of last winter's victims: Phormium tenanx.

This is a Lomatia myricoides. I have no idea why it is not more widely grown.

Finally, here's a plant that I've heard about but never encountered and never really cared about until now. This is a Daphniphyllum macropodum. Its genus name suggests its leaves look like the leaves of a daphne, but I don't see the resemblance. That doesn't mean I'm not completely in love with it. Look at it! It looks like a schefflera tree! And this is growing in the arboretum, where nobody really takes care of it!

I collected about 10 seeds, and put them in a seed tray to germinate. If it works, I'm going back for more...


  1. Thank you for not being that kind of blogger. I looked it up and found the Arboretum tree was the source of the plants at Forestfarm: http://www.farreachesfarm.com/Sophora-microphylla-p/p0040.htm

    Nice find! I need to visit the Arboretum someday...

    1. I was just at their talk tonight! They grow some incredible plants.

    2. I saw one of these at the NWFG Show today...amazing! Must have!