Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - an unusual newby

TPP is a plant collector, and oft times pushing the envelope on cold hardiness.  This winter the low temperature was -15 F (-26 C), and several plants surprised TPP with their cold hardiness.  This one is included in the list of uncertain cold tolerance, but the smallish shrub emerged in damaged and is now flowering for the first time.  TPP has seen it in flower before at the Missouri Botanical Garden, but never north of that.  So this is really a special flowering event here in northern Lincolnland.  There are a number of genera that are disjunct between eastern North America and eastern China.  Calycanthus floridus, Carolina sweet shrub, and Sinocalycanthus chinensis, Chinese sweet shrub both are now placed in the same genus by some taxonomists; they are in their own family.  The hybrid between these two species if becoming more familiar in horticultural circles, and TPP has all three.  The flowers have many parts, spirally arranged, and sometimes grading into one another (see link above).  At any rate here's the somewhat rare Sinocalycanthus flower showing both pinkish and yellow waxy tepals surrounding stamens and pistils.  Count us as a happy camper.


Eric said...

I am so envious of your Sinocalycanthus. Back when Lanny Rawdon was still in business he gave me a plant of it, but it only survived one year here--hot summer followed by cold winter. I still miss Arborvillage, so many shrubs and trees that now I can't find anywhere.

Katherine Wagner-Reiss said...

There is a healthy Sinocalycanthus in the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, in the Ladies' Border, an area that is south-facing and sheltered from wind.
I am currently reading and enjoying The Reason for Flowers by Stephen Buchmann. In it he writes that Calycanthus ( eastern and western spicebush) offers protein-rich "food bodies" at the tips of its tepals ( as beetle attractants). Not sure if these are visible to the naked eye or if a hand lens/ microscope is needed. Have you ever identifed these? I would love to see them.