Botanists and horticulturists love a challenge. That’s why this year we’re introducing a new feature in the newsletter: What Is This Thing? This month, Martha L. of Fort Worth asks us to identify a plant with small flowers than never open. The answer tells a fascinating story about the reproductive strategies of plants–and why some prefer closed to open marriages.
Many plants play an important role in holiday celebrations, from evergreen trees to poinsettias, but mistletoe is unique in many ways. It is not only a major player in multiple Western mythologies but also a fascinating example of hemi-parasitism. Not sure what that means? Read on for the details.
Every autumn, guests to the Japanese Garden frequently stop and marvel at a magnificent tree located just inside the east entrance. In the fall, the leaves turn bright lemon yellow. The color is so brilliant the leaves almost appear fluorescent, as if a bundle of yellow highlighters had taken root and sprouted. This is one of the Garden’s Ginkgo biloba trees, and it holds a remarkable story. “If you are looking for a tree to add to your landscape, consider the gingko. It is not only a reliable performer and beautiful tree but also a unique horticultural specimen,” says Sr. Horticulturist Steve Huddleston.