Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ampelopsis arborea and Rhamnus carolinianus two scary genera germinating: Native ampelopsis (not Porcelainberry) and Carolina Buckthorn

One of the plants that most impressed me on the Fern Valley Tennessee/Alabama collecting trip was Carolina Buckthorn. Deeply incised veins in dark green leaves are almost reason enough to grow it, so the ~1/3" red fruits are a just a bonus. We saw plants 10'-20' tall but Dirr list the national champion at over 40'. It was a beautiful plant and I'm ecstatic to see good germination.

The Ampelopsis we all know is A. brevipedunculata, Poreclainberry. I have seen vines upwards of 75' tall with diameters of 3-4". It's a scary Asian plant and absent the diseases and pests that normally control it, it rampages through our landscape. This native is also an "enthusiastic" vine with purple berries. Compound leaves, bi- or even occasionally tri-, distinguist it from its evil Asian relation.

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