Friday, May 28, 2010

Japanese Snowbell

The Japanese snowbells have been in bloom for about two weeks.

The pendulous white blooms of Styrax japonicus are reminiscent of the Carolina silverbell...

but these petals are separated.

Whenever I went up to a Japanese snowbell to get a closer look or to enjoy the sweet fragrance, I couldn't hear anything but the buzzing of bees: bumblebees...

and honey bees alike. The pollinated flowers will soon give way to showy fruit.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mountain Laurel

Mountain laurel is a broadleaf evergreen native to the eastern United States. It gets part of its scientific name, Kalmia latifolia, from Pehr Kalm, a Finnish botanist who sent plant samples to Linnaeus in the mid-eighteenth century. The flowers are grouped in corymbs of a few dozen.

The ten stamens of each flower are pressed into the five conjoined petals, puckering them into a sort of decagonal bowl.

Mountain laurel is in the Heath family, along with rhododendron and azalea.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

White Fringetree

Chionanthus virginicus is native to the eastern United States. It's in the same family as lilac, privet, and forsythia.

Its fragrant flowers have four long, thin white petals that each taper to a point.

The white fringetree can be shrubby; this specimen has more of a tree-like form.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


The honey locusts are leafing out.

This leaf can't decide if it wants to be pinnately or bipinnately compound.

The flowers buds are growing on the honey locusts...

while the black locusts (Robinia pseudoacacia) have already bloomed.

The flowers look like pea flowers (locusts are in the same family as the pea) and smell just as delicately sweet.

All the black locusts I've seen are still young, which means about another 100 years of sweet pink blossoms. Thanks, Art!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Carolina Silverbell

Halesia tetraptera (Halesia carolina) is native to the eastern United States. It's in the Storax family (along with the Japanese Snowbell).

This small ornamental tree drips these charming white pendulous flowers in the spring.

Here's a view from underneath.

It is just starting to leaf out. Four-winged fruit will develop as the summer progresses...