Carbon tax on beech trees!

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
October 1, 2018

Carbon tax on beech trees!

Beech drops

A serendipitous encounter with a magnificent population of beech-drops on Peters Hill has really made my week. Beech-drops (Epifagus virginiana) is a flowering plant whose ancestors lost the ability to photosynthesize. It obtains all of its organic carbon by invading the fine roots of American beech trees (Fagus grandifolia). Not a touch of green can […]

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A kaleidoscope of fruits at the Arnold Arboretum

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
September 16, 2018

A kaleidoscope of fruits at the Arnold Arboretum

Broussonetia papyrifera

Late afternoons in September, with shadows blanketing the landscape and sun flecks dancing on individual trees and shrubs, are heaven. This is the perfect time to see the nearly limitless variety of colors, shapes, textures, and sizes of fruits at the Arnold Arboretum, without the distraction of fall colors. The fruits stand out against the […]

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How the pear got its spots

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
September 3, 2018

How the pear got its spots

Pyrus bretschneideri

Rarely, if ever, have I wandered through the pear (Pyrus) collection at the Arnold Arboretum and seen another person. So, this is a plea to venture to unfamiliar territory and enjoy looking at some wonderful pear fruits in various shades of green, with different fungal patinas—and take in their lenticel-spotted surfaces (more on lenticels below). […]

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Black locust levitates over the Arnold Arboretum

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
August 7, 2018

Black locust levitates over the Arnold Arboretum

black locust airborne

It was a sight to see. The trunk of a black locust tree (Robinia pseudoacacia) floating over the Arnold Arboretum! This rogue unaccessioned (and declining) tree planted itself in the living collections of the Arboretum some decades ago along the border with Centre Street. Yesterday, its crown was removed and the entire trunk was lifted […]

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Killer magnolias

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
July 20, 2018

Killer magnolias

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Everyone has heard of killer bees. But what about killer magnolias? That kill bees? Such is the case with the wonderful bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla). For the past few years, I have been tracking this phenomenon at the Arnold Arboretum in the specimens growing amidst the hickory collection. So, how do I know that bigleaf magnolias […]

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Insects prefer yellow

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
June 11, 2018

Insects prefer yellow

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Every spring and summer, I keep an eye out for species whose flowers regularly change color, typically from yellow to red. This is especially evident among the buckeyes and horse-chestnuts (Aesculus) where just-opened flowers will have prominent splotches of yellow (to attract insect pollinators) that change to red (upper image; Aesculus turbinata, Japanese horsechestnut; 219-35*A) over the […]

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Billions of buds are opening

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
May 8, 2018

Billions of buds are opening

DirectorsBlog5.5.2018 BudBurst_featuredIMG

Come. Now! There is an urgency to the explosion of billions of buds in the Arnold Arboretum right now. For the better part of a year, this growing season’s leaves and flowers have been encased in the dormant buds of every tree, shrub, and liana, waiting for the appropriate environmental signals to engorge with water, swell, […]

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Spring larch pilgrimage

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
April 17, 2018

Two wheelbarrows

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
April 8, 2018

Felled by the wind

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
March 13, 2018

Felled by the wind

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More than 20 large trees in the Arnold Arboretum came down or were severely damaged in the brutal Nor’easter on March 1, including several centenarians with important provenance. Most of the trees toppled by the winds had significant rot or underlying structural issues; it was only a matter of time. Like us, trees age, grow […]

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