Far Out Flora

Quarryhill Foliage Fever

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Styrax japonicus - Japanese Snowbell

Styrax japonicus - Japanese Snowbell

Second part of our trip over to the Quarryhill Botanical Garden up in Glen Ellen, CA included all those Asian tree / foliage species they love to grow such as this Styrax japonicus (Japanese Snowbell). It gets white to pinkish flowers in late spring, and then develops these egg shaped fruits as seen above late summer / fall. Danger Garden has a nice commentary on their fruit. Fortunately, this guy was not used as a median strip walkway tree lol.

Acer pentaphyllum - Asian Maple

Acer pentaphyllum - Asian Maple

This could be one of the rarest trees in the whole bunch on their 25 acre garden. The Acer pentaphyllum (Asian Maple) is the iconic plant for the Quarryhill Botanical garden…even is used at part of their logo. William A. McNamara wrote a fantastic article on A. pentaphyllum that is a must read for Maple lovers.

Idesia polycarpa - Igirl Tree

Idesia polycarpa - Igirl Tree

Idesia polycarpa (Igirl Tree) is a dioecious tree…aka boy parts and girl parts are found on separate trees. In order to get fruit, they need to be grown relatively close to each other. Hum, so which is pictured above? Since the fruit is supposed to start out red then turning a dark purple…I’m guess we have a girl tree here. What a beaut. We hear the fruits are edible, but we never eat random plants/fruits/berries/etc.. during our travels. Love that contrast between the chartreuse leaves and the deep purple berries.

Broussonetia papyrifera - Paper Mulberry

Broussonetia papyrifera - Paper Mulberry

Don’t know a lot about this tree, Broussonetia papyrifera (Paper Mulberry), but leaf shape is pretty sweet. Read that it does go deciduous…and bet can make one great leaf pile to jump in.

Toona sinensis - Chinese Mahogany

Toona sinensis - Chinese Mahogany

One challenge during our visit was trying to get good picture of the whole tree. You really can’t get far enough away to get an entire tree in a single photo, and we still try to grab little nuggets here and there. The Toona sinensis (Chinese Mahogany) best feature was the trunk and bark. The trunk was so straight, and the branches just seemed to be an afterthought…almost attached afterwards like one of those old school silver Xmas trees, sans the conifer look.

Cornus capitata - Himalayan Flowering Dogwood

Cornus capitata - Himalayan Flowering Dogwood

The fruit on this Cornus capitata (Himalayan Flowering Dogwood) was starting to form. The round fruit above starts out green, but then turns a brilliant red raspberry color late fall. I found some great pics of this tree at a place where we need to visit on one of our trips north…I’m talking about you ..Digging Dog Nursery up in Albion, CA.

Mega Spider

Mega Spider

Gratuitous spider photo. Not sure what kind of arachnid you are, but glad I saw it before my face fell into your web. Anybody know this guy? It was just smaller than a Saqajuia dollar…and about the same color.

Liriodendron chinense - Chinese Tulip Tree

Liriodendron chinense - Chinese Tulip Tree

Liriodendron chinense (Chinese Tulip Tree) reminds me of a couple sidewalk trees that grow along the streets of San Francisco…aka, the L. tulipifera. The leaves are unique where the apex seems to be lopped off. You can bet that when I took plant ID…I could not miss identifying this one.

Cercidiphyllum japonicum - Japanese Judas Tree

Cercidiphyllum japonicum - Japanese Judas Tree

Saved this tree for the end. There were a couple times while hiking around the gardens that we kept getting whiffs of candy smells…almost like burnt brown sugar. Turned out to be this gorgeous tree, Cercidiphyllum japonicum (Japanese Judas Tree…aka Katsura Tree). Not exactly sure why it produces it scent, but it gets more intense as fall approaches. Okay, I want to think it’s because of attracting pollinators. But I still think a fun tree to point out to the kids.

Hey, if you missed it a couple weeks ago, catch up on more of the blooms going on at Quarryhill Botanical Garden here.

– Far Out Flora

7 Comments

  1. Broussonetia papyrifera has an interesting story. In the Hawaiian language it’s called “wauke.” Seemingly native to temperate zones of Asia, it migrated with the people who would become the Polynesians into the tropical Pacific in their sea-going canoes. That’s why it’s considered one of a list of essential “canoe plants” — along with taro, coconuts, turmeric, sugar cane etc.
    Why did they take up precious boat space with this tree? Its bark is the source of a cloth called kapa, used for clothing and sheets. It’s also a source of cordage. People would have been naked without it.
    It’s funny that a temperate plant would become an essential part of a culture centered in the tropics. The few I’ve seen in Hawai’i don’t achieve tree-like dimensions probably in part because of the climate but also because its bark is being harvested.

  2. I told myself (sternly) last year that I need to do a fall visit to Quarryhill to get a little Norcal fall color that isn’t grape oriented. Black Friday maybe ? Everyone else can go to the mall..not me .

  3. What an odd sensation! That first photo could have been taken right in my front garden today, for a moment I thought maybe you were here.

    I’m not sure which I love more, the Paper Mulberry or the Asian Maple, both are just wonderful!

  4. Toona sinensis has the most awesome seed pods. They are like wooden roses. Next time you are around one search the ground under the tree. I had a bunch on one of my bookshelves while I was in school.

    It is actually the fall leaves of the Cercidiphyllum that have that burnt sugar smell. I’m not really sure if it serves a purpose or what that purpose might be. It is wonderful though. The oldest acsessioned tree at the New York Botanical Garden is a Cercidiphyllum.

  5. I’m pretty certain that the spider you took a picture of is a Cat-faced spider. They’re a great predatory spider to have in the garden…and harmless to humans.

  6. I love the smell of Katsura leaves in the fall.

    That Acer pentaphyllum is pretty sweet too

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