Post from the road – 11,500 feet up in China

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
September 15, 2016

Post from the road – 11,500 feet up in China

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  I write from the airport near Songpan China, in the north of Sichuan Province. I was supposed to head out first thing this morning so that I could teach tomorrow, but the extreme fog hugging the mountain tops and airport laid waste to those plans. Tonight, with a bit of luck, I will make […]

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“Great and curious blunder in dame nature”

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
September 7, 2016

“Great and curious blunder in dame nature”

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Think back to late spring and early summer, and conjure an image of the floral display in the buckeye and horse-chestnut (the genus Aesculus) collection at the Arnold Arboretum. The trees were filled with huge clusters (thyrses) of flowers. Now fast forward to September. The fruits are reaching their full magnificence: large and pear-shaped on the […]

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Lucretius at the Arnold Arboretum

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
August 20, 2016

Lucretius at the Arnold Arboretum

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In the beginning earth gave birth to plants After their kind, and ringed with shining green The hill and plains. The flowering meadows shone With verdure. Then between the various trees A mighty race began, all galloping To be the first to shoot up into the sky.*   Yesterday, standing at the base of a […]

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Franklinia – first flower

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
August 6, 2016

Franklinia – first flower

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Yesterday, I had a hunch I might see the very first flower of the season on the Franklin trees at the Arnold Arboretum. So off I went to the Explorers Garden on Bussey Hill, where two of the largest Franklinia plants in North America reside (2428-3*A and 2428-3*B, accessioned in 1905). With temperatures approaching 90°F and a […]

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Chestnuts in flower

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
July 16, 2016

Chestnuts in flower

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A century after an imported pathogenic fungus from Asia decimated billions of American chestnut trees (Castanea dentata) in the eastern United States, what remains of these once magnificent trees are the small root sprouts, easily found in forests if you keep an eye out for the distinctive toothed leaves. These sapling-sized trees grow some ten […]

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Botanical fireworks

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
July 5, 2016

Plant expedition report – Republic of Georgia

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
June 27, 2016

Plant expedition report – Republic of Georgia

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Steve Schneider, Director of Operations at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, has been scouting and collecting future plant accessions in the Republic of Georgia. The Arnold is teamed up with botanists from the Munich Botanical Garden, the National Botanical Garden of Georgia (in Tbilisi) and the Batumi Botanical Garden. Steve writes: Plant diversity here […]

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Leaf shadows on Peters Hill

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
June 18, 2016

Leaf shadows on Peters Hill

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This week, I wandered the east side of Peters Hill, admiring the landscape, taking in long views of the collections of crabapples, pears, poplars, and ginkgoes. I dove into the deep understory darkness of the old dawn redwood grove down near the railroad tracks. I was dazzled by the extraordinary work of the Arnold Arboretum […]

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Oyama magnolia in full bloom

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
June 12, 2016

Oyama magnolia in full bloom

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The spectacle of spring flowering magnolias at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is a show to see. However, summer flowering magnolias such as the Oyama magnolia (Magnolia sieboldii), the bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla), and the sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), while more subtle, are also worthy of a pilgrimage. Right now, one of the Arnold […]

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Mountain laurels fling pollen!

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
June 4, 2016

Mountain laurels fling pollen!

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This week has been close to perfect when it comes to rhododendrons and azaleas at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Both belong to the Ericaceae, a family of plants that also includes blueberries, cranberries, and the mountain laurel, Kalmia latifolia. The Arnold has two stunning groupings of mountain laurels, and they are just beginning […]

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