Such a heading might well conjure up early twentieth century photographs of the Arboretum safely ensconced in our archives. Yet, if you can look beyond the brilliant autumn leaves and dazzling colors of seeds and fruits almost everywhere in the living collections of the Arnold Arboretum, there are a few gems of black and white to be seen and enjoyed. You just have to search them out.
Below, the small black fruits of Lindera umbellata (a species of spicebush 552-91*A), a member of the laurel family (Lauraceae) which also includes sassafras, cinnamon, and avocado; the white fruits of Symphoricarpos hesperius (creeping snowberry, 626-2007*B) in the honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae) and Cornus drummondii (roughleaf dogwood, 1031-80*MASS, last month). Finally, Tetradium daniellii (bee bee tree, 702-2008*A), whose small reddish fruits are now splitting open to reveal black seeds couched on what seem like creamy white bed sheets. This last tree, a member of the Rutaceae (citrus family) is a late flowering species native to Asia – and honey bees love it – hence its name.
Bring a loupe if you really want to enjoy the small fruits and very small seeds of the bee bee tree adjacent to the old puddingstone foundations of the Bussey Estate barn just off of Beech Path. No need for a hand lens to take in the beautiful smooth gray bark on this magnificent large specimen. Keep an eye out if you want to find the creeping snowberry, since our very modest-sized specimens just outside the gates of the Dana Greenhouse entry road (next to the split rail fence) can easily be overlooked.
-Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum