August Banner
August 2011


In this issue
  • Arboretum Announces Deland Award Recipients
  • Members' Plant Giveaway on Saturday, September 17
  • Take a Class: Collecting and Preserving Insects
  • An Ancient Plant Rediscovered as a Sustainable Crop
  • Beat the Heat with Free Fun Friday on August 12
  • Plant Spotlight on Microbiota decussata
  • All Around Us: Paintings by Ricardo Maldonado

  • Members' Plant Giveaway on Saturday, September 17
    Heptacodium miconiodies

    Thinking about joining the Friends of the Arboretum or renewing your membership? August is a great month to do so, in time to qualify for the Members' Plant Giveaway on Saturday, September 17. This event offers members an opportunity to select free plants as our thanks for your support. Free plant quantities are determined by membership level, and attendees are also invited to participate in special drawings for remarkable plants from our greenhouse. Experts from the Arboretum staff and Plant Information volunteers will be on hand to answer your woody plant questions, and the Giveaway provides a great chance to visit the landscape during the change of seasons. Join or renew today, and look for a mailing to current members this month.

    Take a Class: Collecting and Preserving Insects
    Clouded sulfur butterfly

    Insects offer a wealth of information about the environments they inhabit. Since insects can be ecological indicators, monitoring their actions and populations in your landscape can guide approaches to care. On Wednesday, August 10, join Arboretum Horticultural Technologist Sue Pfeiffer for a closer look at these fascinating organisms. Sue will introduce you to insect anatomy, life cycles, and the major insect families and their identifying characteristics. Learn how to assess an insect population and methods to attract, capture, and collect insects for preservation and display.

    An Ancient Plant Rediscovered as a Sustainable Crop
    Cherimoya fruits

    A fruit tree native to highland valleys in the Andes, cherimoya (Annona cherimola) holds potential as a sustainable crop for the countries of that region and beyond. A wealth of genetic diversity, excellent organoleptic qualities (sensory food appeal), and high nutrition content make this fruit a potential component of Andean food security. I–aki Hormaza, a visiting plant biologist at the Arboretum, is coordinating a project to capitalize on our modern understanding of this ancient crop's potential. Join him on Wednesday, August 10 at 6:00pm in the Weld Hill Lecture Hall (1300 Centre Street, Roslindale) for a talk about his work that unites conservation, research, and production methods.

    Beat the Heat with Free Fun Friday on August 12
    Free Fun Friday

    Make the most of a summer day in the great outdoors without leaving the city! Free Fun Fridays feature events throughout Boston this summer, sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation. Come to the Arboretum on Friday, August 12 to enjoy activities for all ages between 10:00am to 3:00pm. Offerings include a science station, interactive nature-themed performances by Jackson Gillman, a giant scavenger hunt in the landscape, guided tours including a family tour in Spanish, and more! No registration is necessary.

    Plant Spotlight on Microbiota decussata
    Microbiota decussata

    Among the choices available at the Members' Plant Giveaway is a plant discovered 90 years ago in the remote Sikhote-Alin mountain range of Siberia. Microbiota decussata, or Russian arborvitae, is a monotypic (the genus contains a single species) evergreen shrub that forms a spreading carpet approximately one foot in height. Its flattened sprays of fine, lacy foliage are emerald green in the summer, and are similar in appearance and texture to cypress family relatives like Juniperus (junipers) and Thuja (arborvitae). M. decussata is exceptionally cold hardy (Zone 3) and grows best in partial shade to sunny locations, though winter foliage turns purplish-brown in full sun. Its low height and wide spread make it an attractive groundcover, and it fits in perfectly among mixed conifers or in an alpine garden or rockery. See examples growing in the Leventritt Garden, in the eastern terraces adjacent to the vine display.

    All Around Us: Paintings by Ricardo Maldonado
    The Last Ones

    When observing trees, change is a constant. Self-taught painter Ricardo Maldonado's work highlights the endless variations of light, shape, and color that define trees at various times of day, in different seasons, and in the changing weather. In an exhibition featured in the Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall, Maldonado embraces the shifting elements of the natural world, creating expressive yet wholly recognizable shapes that elicit unexpected emotions. Visit the exhibition through September 11, and join the artist at a free reception on Wednesday, August 3 from 6:00 to 8:00pm.

    All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives, except exhibition photograph courtesy of Ricardo Maldonado.

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    Arboretum Announces Deland Award Recipients
    Weld Hill Research Building

    This summer, the Arnold Arboretum presented its Deland Award for Student Research to three scientists investigating the comparative biology of woody plants. Juan Losada, a Ph.D. candidate at the Aula Dei Experimental Station in Spain, received a Deland Award to study reproductive biology in the Arboretum's extensive collections of Magnolia and Stewartia. Mariana Oliveira e Castro, currently working on her master's thesis at the University of Coimbra in Portugal, will use Deland funds to help to clarify the classification of Rhododendron species in the living collection. Preeti Rao, a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University, received a Deland Award to investigate the effects of urbanization on ecosystems, from the Arboretum's Bussey Brook Meadow to the Harvard Forest. The Deland Award for Student Research is supported by the Deland Award Endowment and the Cunin/Sigal Research Award Endowment.

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