Cercidiphyllum japonicum var. sinense China[Title from recto of mount.] Alternate Title: Tree habit with man
Photograph by Ernest Henry Wilson (1876-1930), American, English
June 16, 1910
Ernest Henry Wilson (1876-1930) was the furthest traveled of all the Arnold Arboretum’s plant explorers and collectors of the early twentieth century. It is not an overstatement to credit Wilson with bringing Eastern Asian botany, history, and culture to widespread interest in western society, nor to exaggerate the introduction of thousands of Asian plant species to western gardens.
The purpose of his Wilson’s Arboretum expedition, which began in 1910, was to collect cones and conifer seeds in the central and southwestern parts of China. In September of that year, while traveling between Sungpan and Chentu, a landslide hit the expedition group, crushing Wilson’s leg. After several months in a hospital at Chentu, Wilson returned to Boston in March 1911, much earlier than planned. Before the accident, he had managed to take 374 images and to collect and ship bulbs of Lilium regale, the Easter Lily, to Boston.
Katsura, Cercidiphyllum japonicum, is our Tree of the Month at The Arnold Arboretum for September, 2017.
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