We are more than just a beautiful garden

Specialty Plant Collections

While you might say we never met a plant we didn’t like, we have concentrated our research, breeding, and conservation activities on several groups of plants that are near and dear to our gardening hearts.

Our impact

plants trialed in the garden
plant taxa currently in the garden
new plants introduced to horticulture
Pushing the boundaries

Horticultural research

JLBG has been at the forefront of the expanding understanding of the taxonomy and adaptability of many popular groups of plants such as Agave, xMangave and Yucca, Baptisia, Aspidistra, Polygonatum, aroids including Amorphophallus and Arisaema, Asarum (largest cold-hardy collection), Epimedium, ferns and geophytes such as Crinum, Hymenocallis, Lycoris, Habranthus and Zephyranthes.

Our goal is to secure a wide diversity of species and, where possible, a wide range of genetic material for each species. We focus on preserving genetic germplasm through ex-situ conservation, scientific and taxonomic research, plant breeding, and sharing of unique, native, and rare perennials. JLBG believes propagation and widespread sharing of all plants, and especially those which are rare in their native habitat, is the best way to preserve those genetics in the face of constant climate change. By making our plants widely available, JLBG hopes to increase the genetic diversity of ornamental gardens and reduce collecting pressures on native plant populations. JLBG also works to clarify nomenclature issues in the horticulture industry by assembling complete collections of specific plant groups. We hope you will explore our specialty collections and join us in supporting our exciting continuing research into these amazing plant groups.

Plant nomenclature guidelines

Our extensive photo study galleries are devoted to cataloging as many plants in our specialty collections as possible to assist others in identifications and study. It is our hope that they can also prevent duplicate use of cultivar names, share origin info when known, and prevent confusion in the botanical gardens and the commercial trade.

Please remember that all images are Copyright property of the photographer and cannot be used for commercial purpose without the permission of the copyright owner. All images are owned by Juniper Level Botanic Garden unless otherwise indicated. We truly hope you enjoy browsing the galleries.

Information, corrections, and new images are always welcome and can be sent via email to tony@jlbg.org 

According to the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants:

1. A cultivar name (always in single quotes) can only be used once per genus. 

2. Latinized cultivar names have been prohibited by The Code since 1959. These include ‘Variegata’, ‘Marginata’, ‘Mediopicta’, etc. This rule was instituted when it was recognized that there could be dozens of unique margined/centered forms of a single species.

3. Of those Latinized cultivar names used prior to 1959, the first one officially published is the only one that is valid. Since this is often almost impossible to track down with certainty, it is best that all such Latinized names, unless documented prior to 1959, be abandoned.

4. Cultivar names should be nouns in a modern language.  ‘Golden’, ‘Crested’, ‘Ruffled’ are adjectives and can not be used by themselves.

Specialty Plant Collections Gallery

Below are groups of plants/genera of which JLBG has a particular interest/focus, and where our collections are among the top in the world. Each of thumbnails links to a photo gallery selected from our archive of 172,000 images. We hope this valuable resource will be used to supplement the paucity of good information and images commonly available on-line.


Agave (Century Plant)

76 species with 16 subspecies or varieties, 4 undetermined, 64 nothospecies; 1240 clones

Agave is a genus of 287 species in the Asparagaceae, native to the Americas. At best, only 30 of those are winter hardy for us here in Zone 7b. Consequently, we started to hybridize agaves here to increase the potential garden diversity. We currently house the world's largest Zone 7 hardy agave collection and a large collection of variegated, non-winter hardy containerized specimens.


Amorphophallus (Voodoo Lily)

52 species, 20 undetermined, 26 nothospecies; 569 clones

Amorphophallus is a genus of tuberous plants in the Araceae and contains 239 species at the end of 2023. Voodoo lilies or corpse-flowers as they are commonly known, are native to the Old World, specifically tropical and southern Africa, Madagascar, tropical and subtropical Asia to Northern Australia.



Arisaema (Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Cobra Lily)

85 species (including subspecies and varieties), 2 undescribed, 13 undetermined, 24 nothospecies; 579 clones

Arisaema are mostly tuberous members of the Aroid family, native to both North America and much of Asia, with a few taxa in Northern Africa. Most species emerge in late winter or early spring and are summer dormant. Not only do we collect arisaemas, but we have made a number of interesting hybrids. There are currently 210 known species.


Arum (Arum Lily)

29 species (including subspecies and varieties), 10 undetermined, 7 nothospecies; 247 clones

Arum is another tuberous genus of Aroids but unlike Arisaema, they typically emerge in fall and go dormant in summer. Most arum are dryland plants, with the center of distribution in Europe. There are currently 26 known species.


Asarum (Wild Ginger)

92 species (including subspecies and varieties), 15 undetermined, 5 nothospecies, 1 undescribed; 613 clones

Asarum are woodland plants belonging to the Aristolochiaceae. Most are evergreen, while a few are deciduous. The flowering season for most species is winter to early spring. They are distributed in North America, Asia, and one species in Europe. There are 177 known species. We've been told that our collection is the most extensive in the world.


Asparagus (Asparagus Fern)

22 species (including subspecies and varieties), 3 undetermined, 1 nothospecies; 60 clones

Asparagus has a natural distribution in Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe. They are used for food, ornamentals including hanging baskets, and for flower arranging. We feel that many more species are suitable as winter hardy ornamentals. There are currently 214 known species in the genus Asparagus.


Aspidistra (Cast Iron Plant)

46 species (including subspecies and varieties), 9 undetermined; 5 nothospecies, 3 undescribed; 246 clones

Aspidistra is a genus of woodland evergreen perennials in the Asparagaceae, all native to Southeastern Asia. Ornamentally, they have been grown for hundreds of years, primarily as house plants. When we began collecting aspidistra species in 1980, there were only 16 known species. There are currently 218 known species. We currently hold one of the most extensive collections in the world. To say interest in the genus has grown recently is a grand understatement.


Aucuba (Japanese Laurel)

7 species (including subspecies and varieties), 1 undetermined, 1 nothospecies; 146 clones

Aucuba is a small genus of only 11 species of evergreen shrubs in the Garryaceae, all native to Southeast Asia. Aucuba japonica is the most common species grown ornamentally around the world in warm temperate climates.


Baptisia (False Indigo)

18 species (including subspecies and varieties), 4 nothospecies; 190 clones

Baptisia is a North American native genus in the Fabaceae. They are valued ornamentally for their floral show and tough constitution, but in the past, they were used as a source of indigo dye, where true indigo was not winter hardy. There are around 20 known species. JLBG has the world's most extensive living baptisia collection.


Carex (Sedge)

128 species (including subspecies and varieties), 1 undescribed, 18 undetermined and 4 nothospecies;257 clones

Carex is a worldwide genus of plants in the Cyperaceae, found naturally on every continent but Antarctica. There is an incredible array of species with ornamental value, which is our focus. We understand that our living collection is now probably the world's most extensive. There are currently 2061 known species.


Colocasia (Elephant Ear)

7 species (including subspecies and varieties), 1 undetermined; 179 clones

Colocasia is a small genus of only 14 species in the Araceae, all Asian endemics. Colocasia are used both ornamentally and culinarily around the world, with the primary cultivated species being Colocasia esculenta.


Crinum (Crinum Lily)

28 species (including subspecies and varieties), 1 undescribed, 16 nothospecies; 408 clones

Crinum is a genus in the Amaryllidaceae with a wide natural distribution that includes the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. Crinums range from desert growers to wetland denizens, from dwarf to large. We currently have the world's most extensive living collection. There are currently 114 known species of Crinum.


Disporopsis (Evergreen Solomon's Seal)

8 species (including subspecies and varieties), 3 undetermined, 1 nothospecies, 2 undescribed; 70 clones

Disporopsis is a small genus of only 11 species of evergreen Solomon's seals in the Asparagaceae, all native to Asia. These woodland perennials make excellent shade garden plants.


Disporum (Fairy Bells)

12 species (including subspecies and varieties), 1 undetermined; 46 clones

Disporum is a genus of 24 species in the Colchicaceae, found naturally from Indo-China through the Russian Far East. Although appearing similar to Polygonatum, they are actually unrelated. In the garden, they are prized as woodland perennials.


Echinacea (Coneflower)

4 species (including subspecies and varieties); 111 clones

Echinacea is a North American genus of only 9 species in the Asteraceae. Most echinaceas were seed grown prior to the 1990s, when breakthrough breeding work by the Chicago Botanic Garden's Jim Ault opened the doors for breeders around the world. Since that time, the number of clones has proliferated wildly.


Epimedium (Fairy Wings)

51 species (including subspecies and varieties), 5 undescribed, 2 undetermined, 10 nothospecies; 343 clones

Epimedium is a genus of 64 species in the Berberidaceae. Its distribution is primarily Asia, with only a few from the region when Europe meets Northern Africa. Epimedium are prized for early spring flowering in the woodland garden. Medicinally, they are the active ingredient in many of the male enhancement products, being known as Horny Goat Weed in China. We hold one of the top 5 living collections in the world.


Eucomis (Pineapple Lily)

12 species (including subspecies and varieties), 1 undetermined, 1 nothospecies; 61 clones

Eucomis is an African native genus of 13 species in the Asparagaceae. Known in gardening circles as pineapple lilies, Eucomis are great dryland plants for full sun. Hybrids have expanded the range of foliage as well as flower color.


Farfugium (Leopard Plant)

1 species with 3 varieties, 1 nothospecies; 123 clones

Farfugium is an Asian genus in the Asteraceae, consisting of 2 species, with Farfugium japonicum being best known as a garden plant for light shade which flowers in October and November. Japanese plant breeders have led the way in developing new cultivars, but this is also an area in which JLBG is currently engaged.

Ferns and fern allies

Ferns and fern allies (Hardy Garden Types)

82 genera, 370 species (including subspecies and varieties), 29 undetermined, 30 nothospecies; 936 clones

Ferns are a huge group found worldwide, consisting of numerous genera. We currently have ferns and fern allies in 24 families. New taxonomic works are revising genera and relationships at an unparalleled rate. We currently maintain the world's most diverse living fern collection, thanks to our botanical travels around the world.

Gesneriads, Hardy (Sinningia, Hemiboea, Etc.)

Gesneriads, Hardy (Sinningia, Hemiboea, Etc.) (Hardy Gloxinia)

27 genera with one bigeneric cross and one unknown; 61 species and 4 unidentified;107 clones

The Gesneriaceae family consists of 152 genera and approximately 3,540 species, scattered around the world. While most species are tropical, our focus is those that have winter hardiness down to single digits F, in the ground.

Habranthus and Zephyranthes

Habranthus and Zephyranthes (Rain Lilies)

Habranthus (Rain Lily)
11 species, 3 nothospecies and 9 undetermined; 101 clones

Habranthus is a genus of 30 species of bulbous rain lilies in the Amaryllidaceae, native only to North, Central, and South America. Meerow merged the genus Habranthus into Zephyranthes, but we have not followed his lead. The flowering season for habranthus is late spring and through the summer, with plants flowering shortly after rain events.

Zephyranthes (Rain Lily)
27 species, 6 undetermined, 2 undescribed; 279 clones 

Zephyranthes is a genus of 150 species in the Amaryllidaceae, with a native distribution in the Americas. JLBG has one of the world's largest living collections. We do not follow Meerow's work in lumping Zephyranthes and Habranthus in a single genus.


Hedychium (Ginger Lily)

19 species (including subspecies and varieties), 1 undescribed, 8 undetermined and 2 nothospecies; 92 clones

Hedychium is a genus of 142 species in the Zingiberaceae, mostly native from Indo-China through Southeast Asia. While much of the genus is tropical, we have found 15 species that thrive outdoors here in Zone 7b.


Helleborus (Lenten Rose)

14 species (including subspecies and varieties), 13 nothospecies; 665 clones

Helleborus is a genus of 15 species of mostly evergreen perennials in the Ranunculaceae, native to Southern Europe, Northern Africa, and a disjunct population in China. Hellebores are all winter flowering species. Most of the wild species aren't particularly attractive, but the results of interspecific breeding have created some truly amazing garden plants.

Hemerocallis species

Hemerocallis species (Daylily)

16 species (including subspecies and varieties), 1 undetermined and 2 nothospecies. 261 clones

Hemerocallis is a genus of 16 species in the Asphodelaceae, native throughout most of temperate Asia. We have a relatively limited collection of cultivars compared to most daylily collections but have nearly all of the known species. Some species open nocturnally, while others open in the morning.


Heuchera (Coral Bells)

3 species (including subspecies and varieties), 2 undetermined; 99 clones

Heuchera is a genus of 44 known species in the Saxifragaceae, with most native to North America, with a disjunct population in the Russian Far East. Heucheras are not long-lived perennials, and most need exceptional drainage to thrive.


Hibiscus (Mallow)

17 species (including subspecies and varieties), 1 undetermined; 170 clones

Hibiscus is a genus of 434 species in the Malvaceae, that are native throughout the warm temperate world. While much of the genus is tropical, our focus is on the winter hardy members of the family. Most of the hybrids in our collection are selections or hybrids of Hibiscus moscheutos.


Hosta (Plantain Lily)

22 species (including subspecies and varieties) and 2 undetermined; 947 clones

Hosta is an entirely Asian genus of 22 species in the Asparagaceae. It is due to extensive interspecific breeding that hostas are one of the top perennials in the world today. In the wild, most hostas grow in grassland prairies.



18 species (including subspecies and varieties) and 3 undetermined; 150 clones

Hydrangea is a genus of 86 species in the Hydrangeaceae, native to both the Americas and the Asian Far East. The majority of plants in the trade belong to either Hydrangea macrophylla, serrata, quercifolia, paniculata, or arborescens. We choose to recognize the genus Hydrangea in a somewhat broad sense, not combining other genera within the group including Schizophragma, Cardiandra, Dichroa, Decumaria, Pileostegia, Platycrater, and Deinanthe.


Hymenocallis (Spider Lily)

34 species (including subspecies and varieties), 37 hybrids and 42 undetermined; 268 clones

Hymenocallis is a genus of 65 species in the Amaryllidaceae. The genus is native to the Americas. Currently, JLBG has the world's most extensive living collection, much which was inherited from the late Victor Lambou.



67 species (including subspecies and varieties), 12 nothospecies, 6 unknowns; 505 clones

Iris is a large genus of 311 species in the Iridaceae, with a native distribution throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and into Northern Africa. Most gardeners only grow the Iris x germanica hybrids, but we feel there are so many other garden worthy species. Sometimes the genera Pardanthopsis and Belamcanda as well as the intergeneric hybrid between these genera, X Pardancanda, is listed within the genus Iris as broadly interpreted.


Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker)

15 species (including subspecies and varieties), 2 unknown; 64 clones

Kniphofia is a genus of 77 species in the Asphodelaceae, with an almost exclusive distribution in Africa. These Sunbird pollinated perennials are primarily distributed in Southern Africa, but they have proven to be quite winter hardy even in Michigan.


Liriope (Monkey Grass)

9 species (including subspecies and varieties), 6 unknown and at least 1 new species; 114 clones

Liriope is a small genus of 8 species in the Asparagaceae, with a native range only in Southeastern Asia. We currently grow at least two species that have yet to be published. Virtually all of the plants in commerce belong to either Liriope muscari or Liriope spicata.


Lycoris (Surprise Lily, Hurricane Lily)

9 species with 5 varieties, 6 undetermined, 29 nothospecies; 1097 clones

Lycoris is a genus of 8 species in the Amaryllidaceae, with a distribution in Southeastern Asia. Despite authorities on-line listing 25 species, anything other than the 8 are hybrids, many of which have been re-named numerous times. We have the world's most extensive lycoris collection.


Mahonia (False Holly)

20 species (including subspecies and varieties), 6 undetermined, 4 nothospecies; 68 clones

Mahonia is a genus of 70 species in the Berberidaceae, native to North and Central America as well as Southeastern Asia. Some authorities incorrectly have tried for years to merge this with the genus Berberis, but it was found to be better treated as Berberis, Alloberberis, Moranothamnus and Mahonia as segregate genera. We are currently conducting an extensive mahonia breeding program.





92 named cultivars and 230 clones

A botanical curiosity as a bigeneric cross, these architectural plants are hybrids between Agave and Manfreda. As a member of the Asparagaceae, these plants really clue you into that fact when they send up their giant inflorescences as they mature, which look very similar to spears of Asparagus before they mature. 


Ophiopogon (Mondo Grass)

19 species with 4 varieties, 29 undetermined: 124 clones

Ophiopogon is a genus of 82 species in the Asparagaceae, all native to Southeast Asia. While many species are tropical, our focus is on those which are winter hardy here in Zone 7b. Virtually everything in commerce is a selection of Ophiopogon japonicus.


Podophyllum (Mayapples)

12 species, 5 nothospecies and 26 other hybrids- 141 clones

We wouldn't have a woodland garden without adding this group of plants. Most Americans know this genus from our native species Podophyllum peltatum, the Mayapple. This group is more widespread in Asia, where the other members of this genus are sometimes listed in the other genera Sinopodophyllum and Dysosma. Some botanists who would like to lump all of these together also want to include the members of the genus Dyphylleia, the Umbrella-leafs. Podophyllum and Dysosma combined account for around 14 species, all from Southeast Asia. These bold foliaged members of the Berberidaceae are well known throughout the world for the statement their leaves make in the landscape. We have been doing a lot of hand crosses within the genus over the past few years and are really excited with some of the results so far.


Polygonatum (Solomon's Seal)

57 species with 4 varieties, 3 nothospecies, 25 undetermined and 1 undescribed; 351 clones

Polygonatum is a genus of 76 species in the Asparagaceae, with a distribution throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. We currently have one of the largest collections in the world.


Reineckea (False Mondo Grass)

3 species, 5 undescribed, 29 clones

This interesting small genus in the Asparagaceae is commonly overlooked by even the most keen of plantspeople. We have amassed the largest collection from all the known collections. Most sources only list a single species, Reineckea carnea, lumping most of the other species within this. We feel this was done in error, and recognize 4 currently named species, and we feel there could be another species which have yet to be published.


Rohdea (Sacred Lily)

10 species with 2 varieties, 6 undetermined, 1 nothospecies and 1 undescribed; 276 clones

Rohdea is a genus of 27 species in the Asparagaceae, with a distribution in Southeast Asia. Between species and named clones, we probably have the world's largest living collection.

Ruscus and Danae

Ruscus and Danae (Butcher's Brooms and Poet's Laurels)

2 genera, 6 species with 1 variety and 1 nothospecies; 64 clones

These Mediterranean Asparagaceae are interesting evergreen perennials whose "leaves" are actually modified stems called cladodes. 


Salvia (Ornamental Sage)

47 species with 1 variety, 3 undetermined, 1 undescribed, 2 nothospecies; 275 clones

Salvia is a huge genus of 1018 species in the Lamiaceae, with a worldwide distribution. Our focus is on perennial species that are winter hardy in Zone 7b. A recent treatment lumped Rosmarinus and Perovskia within a broadly interpreted Salvia.


Sarracenia (Pitcher Plant)

10 species with 2 varieties, 17 nothospecies; 277 clones

Sarracenia is a genus of 11 species in the Sarraceniaceae , with an entirely North American distribution. The genus are all bog denizens, which derive their food from digested prey.


Sauromatum (Voodoo Lily)

4 species and 58 clones

Sauromatum is a genus of 11 species of tuberous Aroids from with an Old World Distribution Form China West to India, into the Arabian Peninsula and throughout most of Central and Southern Africa.


Tricyrtis (Toad Lily)

13 species with 1 variety, 2 undetermined: 150 clones

Tricyrtis is a genus of 23 species in the Liliaceae, with a distribution throughout Southeast Asia. These late summer to fall flowering woodland denizens light up the garden.


Trillium (Toadshade)

34 species with 4 varieties, 14 nothospecies, 10 undescribed, 8 undetermined; 1898 clones

Trillium is a genus of 55 species in the Trilliaceae family, sometimes lumped within a broad Melanthiaceae, with a distribution in both North America and Eastern Asia. JLBG currently has the largest living collection in the world of Southeastern subgenus Sessilium.


Typhonium (Dwarf Voodoo Lily)

12 species, 3 unknown and one nothospecies; 21 clones

Typhonium is a genus in the Araceae, currently comprising 72 species. Typhonium are found in Eastern and Southern Asia, New Guinea, and Australia. In 2000, the genus Sauromatum and Typhonium was combined under a broad Typhonium interpretation, but in 2010, with the advent of better DNA testing, the two genera were once again separated. 

Winter Hardy Cacti

Winter Hardy Cacti

40 genera, 243 species with 85 varieties and subspecies, 26 nothospecies, 27 hybrids, 16 unknown, 713 clones

We find that most people don't think of the wet, humid summers and cold, wet winters of the Southeastern US would be good for what most people think are desert plants. We have found we have good luck with proper siting of cacti native to the Southwest US in our crevice and alpine beds, and plants from South America from Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina thrive in our climate. These are all members of the Cactaceae, known for their adaptation to dry climates by the reduction of their leaves and stems into spines.


Yucca (Soapwort)

29 species with 3 varieties, 4 undetermined, 1 undescribed, and 5 nothospecies; 327 clones

Yucca is a genus of 52 species in the Asparagaceae, with a distribution in both North and Central America. JLBG has what is most likely the world's most extensive collection.

Zingiberaceae, Hardy

Zingiberaceae, Hardy

8 genera, 10 species, 5 unknown; 43 clones

JLBG's hardy ginger collection includes the genera Alpinia, Amomum, Boesenbergia, Cautleya, Curcuma, Elettaria, and Zingiber, with a close cousin Costus included within this number. This does leave out our largest group, Hedychium, but it has its own gallery. 

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