The Trumpet Trees of March
Starting in late January, peaking in late March, and continuing on sometimes until May, what are arguably the most spectacular blooming trees in The Arboretum's collection punctuate the landscape here with their solid canopies of vibrant, almost hot-pink blooms.
They are Tabebuia impetiginosa, also known as the Pink trumpet tree, a South American native that produces its brilliant display of color in early spring through early summer. Tabebuias initiate bloom soon after most or all their leaves suddenly drop. This often leaves the tree covered only in its clustered trumpet-shaped pink blooms -a sight that takes eyes not used to such a brilliant display some time to get used to; it is almost impossible not to see them as they compete with the peacocks for the eyes of The Arboretum visitors.
The Arboretum helped introduce Tabebuia impetiginosa and other related species into the horticultural market during the 70’s, including an apricot colored cross between Tabebiua impetiginosa and chrome-yellow flowered Tabebuia chrysotricha that is still occasionally offered for sale (when it’s available) at The Arboretum's L.A. Garden Show.
Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii
This Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii has one branch that has become distorted. This particular type of distortion is called “fasciation,” and it occurs when the cells at the growing tips of plants grow abnormally. This bizarre yet beautiful distortion occurs rarely in plants, and can be the result of insect damage, the effects of chemicals, physical damage, or natural mutation. Sometimes fasciated plants that are stable are sought out as desirable collector’s items. These plants are sometimes referred to as “cristate,” a term derived from the Latin word for a rooster’s comb.
Prunus x blireiana
Prunus x blireiana is a hybrid between Prunus mume and Prunus cerasifera 'Atropurpurea'
Michelia doltsopa 'Silver Cloud' located across from the Meyberg Waterfall.
The 'Alma Stultz' Story
In the mid 1950’s Thomas Payne introduced a spectacular double flowered tree to the horticultural community here in Los Angeles. Originating in China, Prunus persica is more commonly referred to by the fruit it produces; peaches and nectarines. Although it requires water only once every one to two weeks, it can hardly be considered in the same water-saving ranks as such native plants as Arctostaphylos, or Ceanothus. So why did Payne introduce this non-native, non-fruiting flowering nectarine? He first noticed the late-winter flowering tree in the yard of his neighbor, Joseph Johnson.
Johnson had obtained the tree from none other than celebrated horticulturalist Luther Burbank. Hearing that Johnson would be moving, and fearing that the new neighbors would not appreciate the
trees profuse display of azalea-like blossoms, Payne took steps to preserve the spectacular tree, propagating it from cuttings and naming the tree after Johnson’s daughter. In 1956 Theodore Payne introduced Prunus persica var. nucipersica to Southern California’s then booming nursery industry as the ‘Alma Stultz’ flowering nectarine.