Ilex verticillata ‘Afterglow’ and mountain witch alder, Arborway Gate, 2018
Photograph by Larissa Glasser
Main Gate, Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
November 7, 2018
These two shrubs, just inside the Arboretum main gate (on your left), complement each other well as fall colors overtake the urban landscape. The Ilex verticillata ‘Afterglow’ (holly) on the left [120-98*H] was accessioned (of cultivated origin) just over twenty years ago, from Millican Nurseries in New Hampshire. The Fothergilla major (witch alder) [694-34*A] in the foreground is a much older accession, cultivated 85 years ago via Biltmore House and Gardens, Asheville, NC.
Michael Dirr praises this Ilex cultivar:
“Ilex verticillata is an amazing plant. I have seen it growing in fresh water ponds on Cape Cod, the entire root system completely submerged. Some stems on these plants were 4″ in diameter. The fruit will often stay showy into winter. It makes a choice plant along lakes and ponds especially in fall when the fruit-laden branches are reflected off the water.”
Fothergilla major (mountain witch alder), native to the Allegheney Mountains, is noteworthy for its fall color which Arboretum Senior Research Scientist Peter Del Tredici describes as “[A] foliage display that includes all shades of red, orange, and yellow in varying proportions on every leaf, creating an eyecatching ‘bonfire’ effect.”
Dirr, Michael., and Dirr, Bonnie. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants : Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses. 6th ed. Champaign, Ill.: Stipes Pub., 2009 [ catalog record ].
Del Tredici, Peter. Fothergilla. Horticulture 67(5): May 1989.