Seasonal Plants of Interest, October 2012
Acer pectinatum ssp. laxiflora. This Acer flowered well and now we are reaping the benefit of the winged seed. The reddish pink wings envelope the seed, multiples are carried as a raceme from leaf axils. The colour darkening as the nights get longer and the temperature drops. Catch them on a day when the sun is shining behind them and the true beauty is appreciated.
Originating in Sichuan, China, this deciduous tree was observed growing on open south facing mountainside covered with regenerating trees and shrubs.
Blue blooded hybrid
With possible parentage of G. veitchiorum and G. hexaphylla the result is a distinctive and highly coloured hybrid of compact habit. During 1999 – 2003 hundreds of seedlings were raised, G.’ Braemar’ is one of the Berrybank Hybrids.
The multi flowered shoots ensure a long flowering season especially when picked over as the trumpet colour browns and fades.
See this growing on the revamped peat walls. In full bloom the closed trumpets are a distinctive royal blue with striations of white and a contrasting thin blue ink line. On opening the inner markings are as intensely coloured.
The deciduous foliage of Tripterygium regelii is yellowing gracefully. This ungainly climber reaches 5 metres in Japan from where seed was collected. In Amori Prefecture it was growing in mixed deciduous woodland on a south west facing slope at c. 900m.
The sturdy leaves are attached to the flexible brown shoots by stalks showered in minute bristles; these continue to appear on the midrib at the reverse of the leaf. The white flower panicles have matured to display collections of three winged nuts. The papery shell that forms this three winged form turns a graceful red as the autumn progresses.
Visit the Garden, enjoy the fallen leaf mosaics and admire the colours. The clocks change at the end of the month so take advantage of the day length during the next two weeks.
Red leaf stalks
The family Euphorbiaceae is more usually associated with the warmth of home at Christmas time when Poinsettias are the house plant of choice. Mallotus japonicus is also a member of the family reaching tree like proportions in a sheltered site. Originating from The south west corner of the lodge house at the east gate is suiting it admirably.
The simple, deciduous, deeply veined leaves are well shaped. Expanding from the bud covered in brown felt. It is the long slender red leaf stalk that adds interest to this plant. Terminal flower spikes carrying a multitude of small insignificant cream flowers appear at this time of year. The wood is pithy and as shoots mature a lenticel pattern forms on the bark.
A neglected genus
The terminal inflorescence is a paniculate umbel; often several auxiliary umbels are present surrounding this. These open later, if at all, than the main terminal cluster exhibiting their protruding white anthers, through magnification the slight rigid lime green stigma.
In the Chinese plant collection there is a much darker leaved variety E.l. var. setchuensis, in fruit. The individual berries splay out architecturally on individual stalks and darken deep purple. These are long lasting through the months into winter.