June 29, 2009
The Pink Powder-puff Tree
Native to temperate and subtropical Asia, this somewhat short-lived tree with finely divided leaves and pink, powder-puff like flowers. It is a welcome addition to Southern California landscapes because of the light shade its canopy of delicate leaves provides. It is also used in Chinese medicine as an anti-depressant, and there is evidence it may work too; its flowers contain the human brain chemicals nor-adrenaline and serotonin.
This flower is one of the largest on earth (the Huntington Botanic Garden’s giant stinky flower, Amorphophallus titanum, is actually a structure composed of many flowers). Although it is not a carnivorous plant, Aristolochea flowers actually trap and detain bugs! First attracting insects with a scent that resembles dead animals, the Aristolochia flower then temporarily traps them with hairs located inside the bloom. These hairs wilt as the trapped insect struggles against them, eventually releasing them –but not before the its movements have managed to coat it with copious amounts of Aristolochia pollen. Once released these insects fly to other Aristolochia plants and pollinate them.
Cracks in the bark of this Southern Africa native produce an edible gum used in making candy and other food products. Check it out in the African section -but watch out for its huge 2-3 inch-long spines!
Enjoy the great outdoors at The Arboretum this summer. From the California Philharmonic's Festival on the Green to the wonderful walkabout around the Australian Discovery Area, you will find a cool place to explore and beat the heat. See the summer education calendar for scheduled events and programs. Click here to Download the Summer Calendar.
June 1, 2009
“June Gloom” is the phrase used to describe the morning low clouds that are common here in Southern California from May to early July. It's this weather that favors the flowering of Jacaranda mimosifolia, a lavendar flowering South American tree that has been planted all over the L.A. basin.
Another South American native that is blooming profusely now, Acacia visco, west of the Bauer lawn.
Fragrant Acacia visco flowers
This weeping shrub, commonly known as “Sky flower” is native to North and South America. The plant produces allelopathic compouds, i.e. substances that inhibit the growth of other plants around it.
Duranta repens in the Kallam garden