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Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’

Witch Hazel Jelena Blooms

Jelena is a vase-shaped, winter-blooming shrub that grows slowly to a height of around 12 feet. The red-orange flowers are often said to be non-fragrant, but I’ve occasionally caught a mild whiff of perfume. None of the x intermedia hybrids are as fragrant as the native species, but they do have good ornamental value. The odd ribbony flowers stand out in the stark landscape of early to mid-winter, and the fall color is outstanding. One characteristic I don’t particularly care for is that many of the dead leaves are retained until well after the blooms start opening. My shrubs are still fairly small, so I usually just pull them off, allowing the flowers to shine.

Scientific name: Hamamelisintermedia ‘Jelena’, syn. ‘Copper Beauty’

Common names: Jelena witch hazel

Family: Hamamelidaceae

Native Range: Hybrid found at Arboretum Kalmthout in Belgium by Robert DeBelder (whose wife was named Jelena). Parents are the Chinese species, H. mollis, and the Japan

Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’

Roundleaf Sweetgum

Scientific name: Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’

Common names: Round-lobed sweetgum, roundleaf sweetgum, alligator-wood

Family: Altingiaceae

Nativity: Eastern North America, parts of Central America

Location: Charlotte, NC

Date: December 5, 2015

Notes: Liquidambar styraciflua, our common native sweetgum, typically has pointed, star-shaped leaves. The sweetgum with round-lobed leaves was discovered in the forests of North Carolina back in the 1930s. It has since been cultivated, but generally considered a rarity. In recent years, it has become more widely available.

I have begun to notice these more and more being used as street trees. Rotundiloba is sterile — no spiny fruits to deal with — which makes it a good choice for this, or for general landscape use. It is also has a narrower spread than the species, which can be a plus.

The fall color of sweetgums is intense and can involve a range of shades from yellow through the oranges and every shade of red all the way to burgundy-black, sometimes all on the same tree at one time. Crushed leaves emit a characteristic spicy scent.

Roundleaf Sweetgum Street Tree

Antsy Acorns

Live Oak Acorns on Tree

I learned something on my walk today. Sometimes southern live oak acorns sprout while still on the tree!

live oak acorns

Don’t they look like worms crawling out? Live oak acorns aren’t viable for very long after they fall from the tree, and sometimes they get  a head start.

Root Tip of Sprouting Live Oak Acorn

That jelly-like glob at the end will help keep the root tip from drying out until it gets good soil contact, and then adhere it to the ground once it lands.

Southern live oaks (Quercus virginiana) are host plants for Horace’s Duskywing, White M Hairstreak, and Northern Hairstreak butterflies, and the Consular Oakworm moth. Hopefully the caterpillars of one of these is the reason for so many ragged leaves!

[EDITED 11.08.15 to add:

Acorns sprouting on the tree is called vivipary and is most likely to occur during warm, wet fall weather. It is common in southern live oaks and sometimes occurs in other oak species as well.

Collection and Care of Acorns PDF

“A New Method of Germinating Acorns for Forest Planting” by John W. Harshberger, 1916

The Importance of Root-cap Mucilage for Plant and Soil
Root cap mucilage can serve several purposes. It might also keep excess water out of the acorn.

Southern Live Oak

Thanks to members of the NCNPS Facebook page for prompting me to dig a little deeper! ;)]

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