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Arnold Arboretum

Plant list for the 2013 Plant Giveaway

The following plants will be offered to Arboretum members at the 2013 Plant Giveaway on Saturday, September 21, 2013. Members of the Friends of the Arnold Arboretum may select a number of free plants based on membership level. Quantities of specific plants may be limited and new selections may be substituted in cases of crop failure.

Most plants have been propagated from seeds and cuttings sourced from the living collections; accession numbers for source plants appear in parentheses following their scientific names. Clicking on the accession number locates the plant and its associated curatorial documentation in our living collections mapping application, Arboretum Explorer. For your information, quantity as of the publishing date for each plant is listed in brackets following the description, with a link to plant images in Google Images. This list of plants and their descriptions will also be included in the event brochure [pdf], mailed to all current members in August. Additional plants in small lots also will be available at the Giveaway; a list with descriptions will be provided to participants on the day of the event.


Betula dahurica

(Dahurian birch) Zones 4–7
Betula dahurica is native to east Asia and features peeling, papery bark similar to that of the North American river birch, B. nigra. In young saplings, the bark is white to tan, and turns reddish brown to dark gray with age. Trees grown in the eastern US should mature to be approximately 30–40 feet in height, often with multiple stems. Autumn leaf color is yellow-gold. This seedlot is derived from an attractive tree in our collection, which hails from Nagano Prefecture, Honshu, Japan. B. dahurica is a beautiful species and may be resistant to bronze birch borer. [60] [Images]

Betula schmitdtii

(Schmidt’s birch) Zones 5–7
Schmidt’s birch is native to the temperate forests of northeast Asia and remains a rather uncommon plant in cultivation. Its bark is dark gray—nearly black—and becomes slightly blocky or plate-like as the tree ages. In autumn, its bright green leaves typically turn a clear yellow. Trees can reach more than 35 feet in height, and produce wood so hard and dense that it sinks in water. This seedlot was collected from a centenarian plant at the Arboretum, which was accessioned as seed from the Imperial Botanic Garden of Tokyo in 1896. [50] [Images]

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Chabo-hiba’

(Hinoki cypress) Zones 5–8
A cutting propagated more than 40 years ago from a dwarfed specimen in our Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection provided the cuttings for these plants. The original clone has reached nearly half its potential height of 50–75 feet, and grows adjacent to the bonsai pavilion as a reminder of how dwarfed plants revert to their natural habits under normal growing conditions. Rare in the trade, ‘Chabo-hiba’ has a denser, narrower habit and is more slow growing than the species. Grow in moist, well-drained soil in full sun with protection from winter winds as part of an evergreen screen, or start a bonsai of your own. [20] [Images]

Liquidambar styraciflua

(American sweetgum) Zones 5–9
Our seedlings were grown from the unique golf-ball-sized seed capsules of a tree collected in 1979 by Arboretum staff along the banks of Missouri’s Castor River. Among this specimen’s eye-catching features is an extremely pronounced “winging” of its branch bark. Seedlings may carry this unique genetic feature, which contributes a spectacular texture to our landscape. Also of great interest are its glossy, star-shaped leaves that turn brilliant shades of orange, red, and purple in autumn. Plant sweetgum in full sun in moist, slightly acidic soil with lots of space for root growth. [50] [Images]

Magnolia officinalis var. biloba

(Variety of Houpu magnolia) Zones 5–9
Valued by the Chinese for centuries as a source for a variety of medicines, this fast growing, hardy variety of Houpu magnolia produces large, white, fragrant flowers in May or June. Distinguished from the species by deep notches at the tips of the leaves, this variety was originally described by Arboretum staff E. H. Wilson and Alfred Rehder in 1913, although its taxonomy remains disputed. A plant acquired from China’s Hangzhou Botanic Garden in 1981 provided the seeds for these seedlings. Full sun and well-drained soil are required to bring out the full potential of this very special plant, which can reach a height of 45 feet. [30] [Images]

Malus hupehensis

(Tea crabapple) Zones 4–7
Who wouldn’t want a tree collected by E. H. Wilson for their own landscape? Collected by the legendary plant explorer on expedition in China, an early specimen still survives near the Forest Hills Gate. One of horticultural guru Michael Dirr’s top five crabapples, this vase-shaped small tree with deep green, glossy foliage puts on a splendid and fragrant floral display with red buds that open and fade to white. Fall brings festive yellow/green fruits that are marble-sized. M. hupehensis is also among the few members of the genus that are self-compatible, producing seed and seedlings that are true to type. [100] [Images]

Malus sargentii

(Sargents crabapple) Zones 4–7
Originally collected in Japan and introduced by Founding Director C. S. Sargent in 1892, this compact, low growing crabapple will be a welcome addition to any flowering tree collection. Like M. hupehensis, this species is believed to be self-compatible and therefore should grow true to type from seed. Flowers are single, red in bud, and fade to white after opening. Highly fragrant, this plant will do very well in full sun and rich, loamy soil. Fire blight and leaf spot disease don’t seem to bother this crabapple, which despite its fine qualities remains difficult to find in the nursery trade. [100] [Images]

Metasequoia glyptostroboides

(Dawn redwood) Zones 4–8
You may be familiar with the story of the dawn redwood and the Arboretum’s role in distributing this living fossil to the world from its native China. For several years, staff have closely observed a tree growing near Dawson Pond that has all but abandoned its terminal leader, and so far exhibits a stunted, dwarf growth habit. To the surprise of Arboretum propagators, the majority of its seedlings seem to share this characteristic. Plant it in a sunny, moist spot and see if it follows the example of its source plant. [50] [Images]

Pseudolarix amabilis

(Golden larch) Zones 5–7
Arboretum benefactor H. H. Hunnewell shared P. amabilis seeds with us in 1896 which produced the magnificent, sentinel-like trees in our collection. We honor the tradition by sharing these seedlings with you. A slow-growing deciduous conifer, it lights up spring with a lime green flush of foliage that dazzles again in fall when it turns bright gold before shedding. Great as a single specimen and particularly effective when planted as a grove. Prefers acidic soil and full sun, preferably with wind protection. Avoid locations with standing water. [100] [Images]

Syringa pekinensis ‘Morton’ China Snow®

(Cultivar of Peking tree lilac) Zones 5–7
Selected by staff at the Morton Arboretum for its amber-colored, exfoliating bark, this cultivar originated as seed from an accession of S. pekinensis collected in China by Joseph Rock for the Arnold Arboretum in 1926. Grown as a single or multi-stemmed tree, it will attain 40–50 feet in height with an equal spread at maturity. Once established, it can tolerate drought, road salt, and other harsh conditions. Creamy white flowers appear in late spring, attracting honey bees and other pollinators. Deep green foliage throughout the summer gives this plant a solid three seasons of interest. [50] [Images]

Thujopsis dolabrata

(False arborvitae) Zones 5–7
Propagated from cuttings of a false arborvitae that was wild-collected in Japan in 1977. Dense, pyramidal, and slow growing, this beautiful evergreen may attain its full potential of 30–50 feet in height with a spread of up to 20 feet. However, with careful pruning, you may keep it more modestly sized for placement in a moist, shady garden. The sole species of a monotypic genus in the cypress family, Thujopsis means “like a cedar,” and like those plants its aromatic bark peels in long strips. Hard to find in the trade, false arbovitae makes a welcome addition to any conifer fan’s personal collection. [90] [Images]

Tsuga caroliniana

(Cultivar of Carolina hemlock) Zones 4–7
These seedlings represent a rare and exciting offering to our members. Grown from the seed of our 40-year-old specimen of Tsuga caroliniana ‘LaBar Weeping’, these young plants already show signs of the “weepy” habit of the parent plant. This particular seed lot was gathered by Senior Research Scientist Peter Del Tredici who patiently waited for seed to emerge, as this plant only produces cones every 5–7 years. Partial shade and well-drained soil will help it flourish. May grow prostrate or as a tree with staking. [20] [Images]


Amelanchier canadensis

(Shadblow serviceberry) Zones 4–9
On Prince Edward Island, former staff Miles Sax and Jonathan Damery collected deep purple fruits from an attractive shadblow serviceberry. In the words of our intrepid collectors, they were “sweet and pleasant tasting.” A multi-stemmed shrub or small tree, A. canadensis produces perfect white flowers in spring, and fall color is typically yellow and gold though orange and red tones may also appear. These plants do well in full sun to partial shade, and prefer moist, well-drained, acidic soil. Little pruning is required. [50] [Images]

Cephalotaxus koreana

(Korean plum yew) Zones 6–9
For gardens visited by browsing deer, we offer the Japanese plum yew. Grown from seeds collected and sown by our 2010 Hunnewell summer interns, this shade-tolerant evergreen shrub grows slowly, up to 10 feet in height. Male and female cones are borne on separate plants; fertilized female plants produce small, plum-shaped fruits. The parent of our seedlings exhibits the species’ spreading habit and featherlike leaf structure. Moist, well-drained soil provides the best medium to get this unusual shrub established in the landscape. [30] [Images]

Daphne x burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’

(Hybrid daphne) Zones 4–7
Perfect for small gardens, this hybrid of D. cneorum and D. caucasica is a deciduous to semi-evergreen shrub that grows 2–4 feet high with a 3–5 foot spread. Flowers in mid May are creamy white to pink-tinged, fragrant, and borne in dense terminal umbels. ‘Carol Mackie’ is distinctive for its cream-colored leaf margins, which hold their color all summer. Select a spot with partial shade and neutral soil for its permanent home as it does not transplant well. A somewhat delicate plant for those who appreciate a soft-textured landscape. [50] [Images]

Pinus banksiana

(Jack pine) Zones 2–7
These seedlings from an unusual form of Jack pine hold the exciting potential to create a woody ground cover in full sun. The parent plant was grown and selected from seeds collected by legendary Arboretum propagator Al Fordham along the harsh seacoast at Schoodic Point in Maine’s Acadia National Park. He described the source plant as dwarf, gnarled, and standing about 2 feet in height. The parent plant of our seedlings grows very low to the ground and spreads in all directions. Poor, acidic soils pose no challenge to these tough, adaptable plants. [50] [Images]

Rhododendron ‘Mist Maiden’

(Hybrid rhododendron) Zones 5–8
It’s unlikely you will need to do any pruning to this compact, slow growing rhododendron. Evergreen with a milk-chocolate-colored pubescence on the underside of its leaves, this superb cultivar is sure to adorn that spot in your yard calling out for an elegant specimen plant. This limited offering was grown from cuttings taken from a mature plant in the Dana Greenhouses complex. Its beautiful clusters of pink flowers fade to white and have delighted our nursery staff for years. We’re pleased to share its magic with our members. [30] [Images]

Thuja occidentalis

(Eastern arborvitae) Zones 3–7
Our seedlings exhibit the compact growth of the parent plant, a slow-growing dwarf cultivar of the species (T. occidentalis ‘Holmstrup’), though genetic variation may yield other interesting features in the future. Maximum growth occurs in full sun, maturing to a compact, easily pruned plant, 5–7 feet in height and 2–3 feet wide. Its apple-green foliage is arranged in dense, flattened sprays that overlap and radiate for a refined appearance. Perfect for use as a foundation plant or as a focal point in a rock garden, this shrubby evergreen thrives in moist, well-drained soil. [50] [Images]


Euonymus fortunei ‘Wolong Ghost’

(Cultivar of wintercreeper) Zones 4–9
This sun tolerant, shade-loving vine was selected for the distinctive white markings that run along its leaf veins. Truly versatile, it can reach heights of 40 to 70 feet when trained on a wall or trellis; without support, it will readily layer into the soil and spread as a ground cover. Flowers are somewhat insignificant as an ornamental feature, but they give way to pink-red capsules which open to reveal an orange, fleshy-coated seed that persists through the fall. Urban gardeners will love this unfussy plant, which thrives under most conditions when grown in moist—but not swampy—soil. [50] [Images]

Wisteria frutescens ‘Blue Moon’

(Cultivar of Kentucky wisteria) Zones 3–9
Although this show-stopping native vine is less aggressive than its Asian cousins (W. sinensis, W. floribunda), adequate space and a sturdy growing structure are still fundamental requirements. Thoughtful pruning, however, should keep its natural propensity for rapid growth in check. Once established, ‘Blue Moon’ will produce gorgeous racemes of blue flowers that cascade from the vine for a beautiful and dramatic ornamental display. Optimal flowering occurs in full sun, and it is not uncommon to enjoy one or two additional flowering events in a season. Grow this vine as a centerpiece in your garden for generations to come. [50] [Images]

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