Thursday, August 27, 2009

Saucer Magnolia

Magnolia x soulangiana is a hybrid of Magnolia liliiflora and Magnolia denudata. This magnolia is covered with fuzzy buds,

a couple of these deep pink flowers,

and lots of giant green aggregate fruits. This fruit is about 5 inches long.

The tree is multi-stemmed, so it looks like a giant shrub.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Horse Chestnut

If you walk through the cemetery right now, you might think that fall is coming early.
Some trees are losing their leaves,
and when you crunch through the leaf litter, it smells like fall. It turns out that only the horse chestnuts are dropping their leaves, but it's not because their yearly schedule is off. They have anthracnose. That's an umbrella term for diseases of hardwoods caused by a group of related fungi. It seems that the cemetery only has a problem with the fungus Glomerella cingulata, known to attack horse chestnuts; I haven't seen evidence of anthracnose on any other type of tree.

The fungus starts out by killing spots on the leaves.
These spots grow bigger...
and eventually the entire leaf dies.
There are some trees with not a bit of green left. Although the fungus won't kill a tree, the defoliation will weaken it over time. The horse chestnuts in Green-Wood appear to be strong, though. They've managed to bear fruit despite their infection.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


There are about 10 genera in the Dogwood family, and between 45 and 65 species (depends on which taxonomist you consult). The flowers (well, actually the bracts ) and fruit are useful in identifying the type, but since that time has passed, I'm missing some clues. My guess is Cornus florida.

These leaves should be changing to red in a month or two...

Friday, August 21, 2009

More Japanese Maples

From afar, this Japanese maple is pretty attractive.
It has these lacy leaves and a bit of a drooping habit that, combined, make it look like a hazy mushroom.
But I thought there might be more to this tree, so I took a look underneath. I love these twisting branches.
There was another Japanese maple right across the road.
Not quite as exciting under the hood, but beautiful nonetheless.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Paperbark Maple

I wasn't looking to post about this tree again - I was actually just walking up the hill to get a look at the chapel in the morning sun.

When I turned to head back toward the road, I was struck by the paperbark maple. The sun shining through the bits of peeling bark made the tree appear to be on fire (click on the photo to see what I'm talking about).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Franklin Tree

John and William Bartram discovered this tree in Georgia in 1765. William placed it in the new genus Franklinia, which he named after his father's friend Benjamin Franklin. Franklinia alatamaha is the only species in the genus.

Franklinia is extinct in the wild. Each tree that exists today has descended from seeds collected by Bartram.

Franklin trees bloom in late summer/early fall. The flowers have white petals and orange stamens. Here's an article with more info.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Silk Tree

Before I could see this tree, I knew something was in bloom because the air smelled so sweet. This silk tree is near Chapel Avenue.

Weeping Beech

To get a European beech weeping, just add "pendula" to the end of its name.

The leaves of Fagus sylvatica pendula are just like those of its non-weeping counterpart.

Not only are the branches pendulous, they are slightly contorted.

The cemetery has many weeping beeches, but the most enchanting one hangs over Larch Avenue.

To continue up the road, you have to walk (or drive) under the canopy.


I thought this one was dead because it stayed so still for me. And then, of course, I got too close and had a good scare.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Camperdown Elm

The Camperdown elm wouldn't exist had it not been for David Taylor. In Scotland around 1840, working as the Earl of Camperdown's head forester, he discovered a mutant contorted branch in the forest. The first Camperdown elm was cultivated by grafting the branch to the trunk of a Wych elm (Ulmus glabra).

(peeking under the canopy)

Every Camperdown elm in the world is from a cutting of that original tree. Cuttings are usually grafted onto Wych elms, but other grafting stock can be used, including Dutch elm, Siberian elm, and English elm.

seed pod revisited

As the seeds mature, the capsule dries out. It will eventually fall off, allowing the seeds to spread.

The show isn't over, though. New flowers keep popping up, and I imagine this will continue throughout the summer.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Japanese Snowbell

This Japanese snowbell (Styrax japonicus) looked more like a shrub than a tree. It's the fruit that caught my eye.

It's a small ovoid drupe held in a five-lobed calyx.


I found this mulberry tree on a hill above Sylvan Water, one of the four ponds in the cemetery. A mulberry tree (Morus) has leaves of three different shapes:



or half and half.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Not a tree, but can't help myself. The flower is starting to die and you can see the seed pod developing.

Japanese Maples

There are hundreds of different cultivars of Acer palmatum. They are chosen for leaf shape and color among other charateristics. Here are leaves of three different trees.

A Japanese maple has leaves with either 5, 7, or 9 palmate (fanning out from one center point) lobes. This one has 7 lobes. The margins are toothed.

These are leaves of a Japanese red maple. You can see that the leaf margins are only slightly toothed (compared to the other two trees).

The leaves of this tree are lacier. The margins have deeper teeth and the lobes are divided almost all the way down to the petiole.