Information you can trust

With over 60% of retail plants now purchased at the box stores, we wonder if most consumers know you can’t trust much if anything you read on a label at a mass marketer. Our most recent example is this tag on an Illicium parviflorum at our local Lowes. I particularly love the common name, Japanese Anise. Unfortunately, Illicium parviflorum is native only to Florida…quite a few miles from Japan.

The tag mentions full sun, which Illicium parviflorum certainly tolerates, but in the wild, it grows naturally in moist woodlands.

Then, there is the note about cool temperatures and warm soil promotes root growth. Well, warm soil does promote root growth for some plants, but not for all. Wouldn’t the soil have been warmer in mid-summer than now? Just wondering…

And, if that wasn’t enough, our staff taxonomist, Zac Hill spotted this tag for our native bald cypress, Taxodium distichum at a different Lowes store. The problem is that the plant is actually a Chinese Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia instead of a Taxodium. I wonder if they thought…”what the hell, those dumb consumers will never know the difference.”. After all, it’s just another little green lie. As Anita likes to say, ‘The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.”

9 thoughts on “Information you can trust”

  1. The metasequoia will probably be on sale at a deep discount soon as the leaves fall off- oh no the evergreen conifer is dying…

  2. I absolutely agree with you. When purchasing “big box” plants, I have always checked reliable internet sites first, so I know what I am really purchasing, and to know where to really place it in my landscape. I have always said to anyone who asks (and some who don’t) not to trust the “information tags” that are mostly “disinformation”.

    1. My question about the Illicium is which was actually wrong on the tag, was it the latin name or the common name?? I actually saw this at my local store a while back but I don’t think I caught the mistake at that time.

  3. And often the tags get switched by staff and customers – would imagine little kids would love moving tags around! My pet peeve besides this mislabeling is the incomplete labeling and/ or wrong care of the plant – i. e. Putting begonias in full sun and drenching them or just stating hosta.

  4. After reading this, I googled Illicium parviflorum and went first to the Missouri Botanical Garden website. Kind of amusing to read: “Native Range: Western North America.” I sent them a correction, which I hope they make.

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