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styrax

Pic of the Day - Styrax japonicus (Yamaguchi dwarf)

This dwarf selection makes a dense ball. We love the genus Styrax here at the JC Raulston Arboretum and a recent study by Matt Lobdell at the University of Delaware showed the the JCRA had more species than any other garden in the US (19 when he performed his research).  Since that time we've added a few and now have 31 total taxa of Styrax including a couple of as yet unidentified species from Vietnam and quite a few selections of Styrax japonicus.  One that we are extremely excited about is a dwarf form from the acclaimed Japanese plant collector Yamaguchi-san that he gave me a few years ago.  It makes a tight ball of deep green foliage and although we have not yet seen it flower, Mr. Yamaguchi tells me it flowers well with typical white flowers that are a bit smaller than the species.  We hope to be able to propagate it next year and begin distributing Styrax japonicus (Yamaguchi dwarf) to nurserymen and our members in the near future.  If you think of a great name for this plant, let me know - some names rattling around in my head include 'Yamaguchi Cutie', 'Emerald Snow Globe', or if we are going for the obscure 'Emerald Tope' (to play on J.C.'s selection 'Emerald Pagoda', a tope is a dome shaped monument to house Buddhist relics but it is also a small gray-skinned shark - think of the gray fruits - and also means to drink to excess, kanpai!).

Yamaguchi-san next toan ancient Cryptomeria on my 2011 visit to Japan.

Detail from Mathew Lobdell's poster on Styrax.

 

Pic of the Day - Styrax japonicus 'Evening Light'

Young plants really start to show off by their second year in the garden. Glossy, purple foliage combines well with other plants in the garden.

The new purple leaf snowbell, Styrax japonicus 'Evening Light', is already proving to be a showstopper plant in only its second year in the garden.  The foliage emerges purple and has only deepened as the spring progresses.  Based on last year's observations, the color should fade some as the heat of the summer kicks in.  The reddish young stems are attractive even in winter.  White bell flowers show up beautifully against the dark foliage in mid-spring after the leaves have emerged.  Based on reports and the observable short internodes, this should be a relatively slow grower and stay tight and relatively dwarf, perhaps 8'-12' in 10 years.  Plant in full sun for best color and flowering.