botanical nomenclature

Podophyllum peltatum 'Maid Marion'

March flowers bring May Apples, along with a Taxonomic headache

We’ve been fascinated by mayapples of the genus Podophyllum, ever since first studying them in my NC backyard over 60 years ago. It was always a bit disappointing that they went dormant in late May, and often seem to be afflicted by several foliar diseases. It was not until three decades later (mid-1990s) that I

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Agave ovatifolia 'Vanzie'

Re-arranging Limbs on the Family Tree – When is an Agave not an Agave?

The botanical world has long been a tug of war between the taxonomic world of lumpers and splitters. Lumpers prefer to combine as many plants as they can into a single genus or species, while splitters prefer to categorize in the opposite direction, creating new genera and species when they feel the science dictates. We

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Dicentra exima

Cultivars – Evil or Misunderstood?

It’s shocking the number of articles, both in print and on-line that demean plant cultivars, as though they are the scourge of the natural world. These articles repeatedly proclaim that cultivars are not native, not environmentally desirable, and not of use to pollinators. Sadly, this is an indictment of our educational system, since it shows

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Adiantum poiretii 'Argentine Lace'

Argentine Lace

Juniper Level Botanic Garden has an extensive hardy fern collection, and looking quite amazing for mid-January is Adiantum poiretii ‘Argentine Lace’. This maidenhair fern was grown from our 2002 Argentine spore collection of a little-known and rarely-grown species, native to South America, South Africa, and the Arabian peninsula. It has thrived for us at JLBG

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Zhejiang Wintersweet

Here’s a winter-flowering shrub that few people have grown. Flowering now in the garden is the evergreen Chimonanthus zhejiangensis, a little-known relative to the more popular, deciduous Chimonanthus praecox. This is a small genus of only six species in the Calycanthaceae family, all native to China. Our plants originated from seed from the Shanghai Botanical

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An aster by any other name

Looking great in our trials in early November is Symphotrichium dumosum ‘HillandSchmidtii’. Also, known as Aster dumosus before its name change, this fascinating 2018 Zac Hill/Jeremy Schmidt collection from Wilkes County, Georgia has proven to be quite a winner, so it will certainly be slated for a future Plant Delights catalog. We initially though this

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Elliot’s Eragrostis

Flowering this month in our parking lot dryland garden is the true Eragrostis elliottii. Back in 1999, we introduced a plant under that name, which had been identified as that species by a Florida taxonomist. Well, it turned out to be the South African Eragrostis chloromelas that’s now being sold nationwide as Eragrostis ‘Wind Dancer’.

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