Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Emergency Plant Collection Trip to Tennessee and Alabama

I like this plant, Cotinus obovatus, the American Smoketree. The leaves in the picture belong to a plant that I purchased from the FONA Plant Sale and gave to my mother. What I like about it are the leaves. Their veination, luminosity, the subtlety of their coloration throughout the season; even their petioles are attractive. And the flowers are okay too. This is one of the target species that Joan (FV Curator), Amy (Bonsai Gardener), and I will be after on our trip south next week. The other targeted species is Magnolia pyramidata, a smallish coastal-plain magnolia with attractive flowers with a peculiar scent. Since it is fall and fruits are ripening, there ought to be other interesting taxa available. Richard Olsen has expressed interest in Fringe Tree, and of course, Catalpa.

I found out today that we will be leaving on this trip next Monday, returning Friday. Wow! short notice. Apparently the trip is a result of the sudden unanticipated availability of funds. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth I always say. I am eagerly anticipating new plants, new scenery, new material.

Joan, Hannah (past FV Gardener), and I happened upon a monstrous specimen of American Smoketree two years ago in Pennsylvania on another collecting trip (see picture to the right). It is being reviewed now to be the Pennsylvania State Champion and would seem to be as large as the National Champion. It is curious how the world works; meaningless coincidence or Jungian synchronicity?

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