Connoisseur Plants

Connoisseur Plants are rare, new plants, or hard-to-find old favorites. These wonderful plants are being offered to our upper level members, Collector (formerly Sponsor) level and higher.

Please note that several plants are available in very limited quantities. For some plants, we don't know the full range of hardiness, only how it has behaved at the JC Raulston Arboretum. Sometimes, we cannot find any information in our references on a particular taxon. This does not mean that the plant doesn't exist, perhaps just that we are staying one step ahead of published information. One of the purposes of the Arboretum is to test new plants for suitability to the southeastern United States. By growing some of these "new-to-us" plants in your own garden, you can be a part of this evaluation process. Feedback from you is invaluable!

Happy choosing, and thank you for your continued and invaluable support of the JC Raulston Arboretum.

To submit your selections, please use the form link in the e-mail you received on February 21, 2024 from Kathryn Wall. If you need assistance, please e-mail Kathryn at or call (919) 513-7004 Selections should be placed no later than end of day March 3, 2024.

Note: The distribution year listed below is the year the plants were awarded. Members request them early the following year. And they're picked up or delivered shortly thereafter.

2001 Plant Selection

Acer pseudosieboldianum subsp. takesimense
Ulleung-Do maple

Small deciduous tree. Foliage and form like Japanese maple with gray-green bark. Red-orange fall color. Plants grown from seed collected from our original tree dating back to the 1985 Korean expedition.

  • small tree to 20' in 10 years
  • plant in part shade
  • hardy to zone 4
  • green flowers in spring
  • great fall color

Bignonia capreolata 'Jekyll'

Semi-evergreen twining vine. Flowers are rich orange with yellow throat inside. Best flowering in full sun. This plant was originally found by Dr. Michael Dirr from a plant growing on Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia. 1 gallon, 10" tall

  • to 18'–30'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy

Browallia americana
bush violet

Annual with small blue flowers with white centers. Prolific bloomer in full sun. A tender plant. Most seed sold in United States is from dwarf selections. These are from wild-type seed, and the resulting plants are robust and in constant bloom. (1 quart)

Calycanthus ×raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine'
Raulston allspice

A JC Raulston Arboretum 2001 release. This is a hybrid between Sincalycanthus chinensis and the native Calycanthus floridus. It is a medium-sized shrub with large glossy leaves and 3" wide wine-colored flowers that are blushed white, blooming from spring through early summer. Grows best in partial shade. The first offering of this plant! 1 gallon, 6" tall.

  • deciduous shrub to 8'–10'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy
  • burgundy flowers in spring

Castanopsis sclerophylla
Chinese tan-bark oak

Medium-sized, broadleaf, 30', evergreen tree, related to evergreen oaks. Rich, dark green foliage, iridescent bronze on the undersides. Formerly known as Lithocarpus chinensis. Zone 7. Native to China. Sun to light shade. (Cutting-grown plants)

  • semi-hardy

Cephalotaxus harringtonia 'Gnome'
dwarf Harrington plum yew

Evergreen shrub with dark green needles. Dwarf cultivar reaching 3' by 3' and forming dense mound. Best sited in shade, but it can handle sun. Cultivar originated at the famous Hillier Arboretum of Britain. 1 quart.

  • hardy

Chamaecyparis thyoides 'Webb Gold'
golden Atlantic white-cedar

Conical evergreen with soft yellow-gold foliage. Slower growing and prefers full sun and moist, but not waterlogged sites. 2 gallon, 10".

Conoclinium dissectum
Texas ageratum

Herbaceous perennial with abundant, small blue flowers, similar appearing to annual ageratum or blue mistflower (Eupatorium coelestinum) that are produced in the autumn. Grows 2'–3' tall. 1 gallon, 2' tall.

  • to 2'–3'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy

Cornus mas 'Aurea'
golden Cornelian cherry

Large shrub or small deciduous tree. Yellow flowers in spring, followed by bright gold-yellow leaves, turning chartreuse by summer. Rich, gray-brown exfoliating bark on older plants. 1 quart. Plants from rooted cuttings.

Cornus officinalis 'Spring Glow'
cornelian cherry

Large shrub or small deciduous tree. Bright yellow flowers in spring. Dark glossy leaves and gray-brown exfoliating bark. A plant selected at the JC Raulston Arboretum for its outstanding heat tolerance, compared to other cultivars. 1 quart.

  • to 15'–25'
  • plant in sun to partial shade
  • hardy

Dendropanax trifidus
tree ivy

Small broadleaf evergreen tree with large glossy three-lobed leaves on juvenile plants. Yellowish-green flowers followed by black fruit. Not well known, but hardy through Zone 7. Appears almost tropical. 1 gallon, 1' tall.

  • evergreen shrub to 15'–25'
  • plant in sun to shade
  • hardy to zone 7
  • yellowish green flowers in fall
  • black fruit in winter

Deutzia rubens
white deutzia

Vigorous deciduous shrub with white flowers. Graceful arching branches, leaves have white undersides. Nice clean foliage. Full sun to about 6' tall.

  • to 6'
  • plant in sun to light shade
  • hardy

Digitalis viridiflora
green foxglove

A herbaceous perennial foxglove with clean, dark green, smooth leaves and spikes of greenish-yellow flowers. Native to the Balkans. Seed from German seed exchange. 2 gallon with nice, large rosettes.

Diospyros japonica
Japanese date-plum

Deciduous tree closely allied to Diospyros lotus of Eurasia. Medium-sized shade tree with nice fall color, and our specimens showed no signs whatsoever of the leaf spot that plagues our native persimmon (Diospyros virginiana). These plants were grown from seed wild-collected in Taiwan. 1 quart. Very nice specimens.

  • deciduous tree to 30'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy to zone 7b

Edgeworthia chrysantha
golden paperbush

Small deciduous shrub with nodding terminal clusters of very fragrant yellow flowers clothed with silky hairs. Blooms in winter. Plant in shade to part shade. (1 quart)

  • deciduous shrub to 4'–6' tall
  • plant in sun to shade
  • hardy zone 7
  • fragrant yellow/white flowers in winter–early spring
  • winter flowers

Edgeworthia papyrifera (ex. 'Eco Yaku')

Deciduous shrub with blue-green foliage. Creamy-white flowers in late winter have silvery-silky flower buds. Plant in shaded protected site. 'Eco Yaku' is a superior form of this species, collected by Don Jacobs (of Eco Gardens) on an expedition to Yakushima Island, off the southern coast of Japan. (1 quart, 10"–12" tall)

  • hardy

Forsythia ×intermedia 'Tremonia'

Deciduous shrub with yellow spring flowers. Sun. Attractive, deeply cut leaves, unusual for forsythia cultivars, with a vigorous upright habit.

Franklinia alatamaha
Franklin tree

Deciduous shrub or small tree. Showy white flowers in summer to fall, often coinciding with rich scarlet fall color. Locate in partial shade. Once native to southern Georgia on the banks of the Altamaha River, but now considered extinct and only known from cultivation.

  • deciduous tree to 30'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy
  • white flowers in late summer

Helianthus giganteus (pale yellow)
giant sunflower

Herbaceous perennial sunflower reaching heights of 5'–6' tall. Attractive foliage, topped by large clusters of pale yellow flowers in late summer to early autumn. A show-stopper when in flower.

Helianthus 'J.C.'s Buttercream'

Herbaceous perennial sunflower, a tall-growing plant reaching up to 5'. In autumn, plants produce a profusion of soft yellow blooms. Originated as a chance hybrid in the Perennial Border at the Arboretum.

Helianthus simulans
swamp sunflower

Herbaceous perennial sunflower with yellow flowers produced in September to October. Tolerant of heavy or wet soils. An uncommon native sunflower found in several southeastern U.S. states.

  • herbaceous perennial to 3'–8' tall
  • plant in sun
  • hardy
  • yellow flowers in October
  • showy seed heads fruit in fall and winter
  • butterfly pollinator friendly, attracts birds
  • glorious floral display in October

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Lynn Lowrey'
oakleaf hydrangea

"A newly introduced hydrangea found in the Tunica Hills region of Louisiana, a place renowned for its rich flora. This cultivar, supplied to us by David Creech, Ph.D., of Stephen F. Austin University's Mast Arboretum, has been the most vigorous of all the oakleaf hydrangeas that we have grown to date. It was originally listed under the name 'Angola Prison'."

  • hardy

Hylotelephium telephium
common orpine

Evergreen herbaceous perennial with 1'–2' spread. Flowers are red-purple in late summer. Blue-gray, succulent foliage.

Hypericum aviculariifolium subsp. uniflorum

Low-growing, sub-shrubby to spreading plant with small (1/4") blue-green leaves, offset by bright yellow flowers in summer. Plants were grown from seed supplied to us from a botanical garden in Hungary. (1 quart)

Hypericum erectum

Herbaceous perennial St. John's-wort from Japan. Green leaves with small yellow flowers on erect stems in mid- to late summer. Grown from seed from Japan. (1 quart, 1' tall)

Hypericum 'Hidcote'
shrubby St. John's-wort

A hybrid St. John's forming a small, semi-evergreen shrub with dark blue-green leaves. Large waxy golden yellow flowers bloom profusely in summer. Named for the famous garden in England from where it likely arose.

  • hardy

Hypericum tetrapterum
St. John's-wort

Herbaceous perennial St. John's-wort from Europe, 3'–4' tall, producing terminal clusters of bright yellow flowers in summer along winged stems. (1 quart, nice, full plants)

Ilex cornuta 'Autumn Fire'
early-fruiting Chinese holly

Evergreen holly with early-maturing red fruits—September for us in Raleigh. The original plant came to us as seed collected in Korea by J. C. Raulston.

  • hardy

Ilex 'Rock Garden'
dwarf holly

A true genetic dwarf evergreen holly, one specimen in our collection is only 2' tall after eight years. This is a female with large, bright red berries. A complex hybrid with several parents.

  • to 2'–3'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy

Illicium parviflorum 'Forest Green'
yellow anise

A more compact and improved form of the broadleaf evergreen shrub, yellow anise-tree, with darker green leaves. Does well in wet soils and sun or shade—more sun tolerant than any other Illicium. A recent introduction by Michael Dirr, Ph.D., of the University of Georgia.

  • broadleaf evergreen shrub to 10'–15' tall
  • plant in part sun
  • hardy
  • yellow-green flowers in late spring
  • brown fruit in fall
  • lovely green foliage, darker than wild type

Illicium 'Woodland Ruby'

A stunning new hybrid of the red-flowered Illicium mexicanum and white-flowered Illicium floridanum f. album introduced by Woodlanders Nursery. Ruby-pink starfish-like flowers are larger than those on either parent. Extended blooming period from the Mexican parent. Destined to be a future winner.

  • evergreen shrub to 8' or more
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy to zone 7
  • ruby-pink flowers in early summer–fall
  • deer resistant
  • a flowering machine

Jasminum iraidii
shrub jasmine

A species which we received from a seed exchange company in China several years ago. Pubescent leaves with yellow flowers and black seed. Cold hardy in Raleigh. Medium-sized deciduous shrub. Cuttings from our original plant.

  • deciduous shrub to 3'–5' tall
  • plant in sun to light shade
  • hardy
  • yellow flowers in spring

Jasminum parkeri
Parker's jasmine

Compact, prostrate, evergreen shrub. Handsome tiny foliage with bright yellow flowers. An overlooked gem. Sun to part shade. Zones 7–11.

  • evergreen shrub to 1' tall × 2.5' wide
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 7

Juniperus virginiana 'Woodlander's Weeping'
weeping eastern redcedar

Large evergreen tree with pendulous branches. Originated from cuttings collected by Woodlanders Nursery from a specimen growing in Hancock County, Georgia. (1 gallon, 8" tall)

  • hardy

Kadsura japonica 'Shiromi'
Japanese kadsura vine

Evergreen vine of modest growth rate with yellowish white flowers followed by white to pink-tinged fruit. Sun to shade. Zone 7. Native to Japan to Korea. (12" plants)

Lagerstroemia indica 'Low Flame'
crepe myrtle

One of several dwarf crepe myrtles from Greenleaf Nursery, listed as growing only to 3'–6' or 6'–12', depending on the source. 'Low Flame' produces reddish-pink flowers in summer.

Lathyrus chloranthus 'Lemonade'
yellow sweet pea

A relative of sweet-pea with yellow flowers. (1 quart, good sized)

Lonicera periclymenum 'Graham Thomas'
European woodbine

Deciduous twining vine with abundant, large white to yellow flowers. Cultivar named for the famed British plantsman, Graham Stuart Thomas. One of the most striking of the honeysuckles when it is in flower.

  • hardy

Lonicera sempervirens 'Magnifica'
trumpet honeysuckle

Twining, deciduous vine with bright, 2" orange-red tubular flowers, yellow inside in summer. Red berries set in fall. Great for hummingbirds. Prolific bloomer, even into a mild winter. Zone 4. Cuttings taken from a plant saved from the West Arboretum construction site.

  • hardy

Nerium oleander
hardy oleander

Cold hardy oleander with double yellow flowers. Tony Avent discovered it while working at State Fairgrounds.

Penstemon 'Purple Tiger'

Hardy herbaceous perennial with showy purple flowers held on erect stalks, similar in appearance to foxglove (Digitalis). (1 gallon)

Phedimus spurius 'John Creech'
Caucasian stonecrop

Low-growing, mat-like form with thick bronze discs for leaves. Full sun and good drainage suggested.

  • hardy

Philadelphus scaber
rough mock-orange

Deciduous, medium-sized shrub with fragrant white flowers. A Korean species. Received as seed collected from the famous Chollipo Arboretum in South Korea.

  • to 8'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy

Phlomis tuberosa
tuberous Jerusalem sage

Herbaceous perennial with pubescent, arrowhead-shaped foliage and purple to pink flowers in summer.

  • hardy

Physocarpus capitatus
western ninebark

Upright to spreading deciduous shrub, 3'–8' tall, producing white flowers. The three-lobed leaves recall those of the currants, but this plant is actually related to Spiraea.

  • hardy

Potentilla fruticosa 'Maanelys'
Moonlight shrubby cinquefoil

Small, compact and dense shrub with rounded habit. Soft yellow flowers persist from June to frost. Full sun for best flowering. Performs well in dry locations. Despite the fact that the shrubby Potentillas are not known to grow in the southern United States, this cultivar has performed well beyond our expectations, forming a nice plant with spring interest.

  • hardy

Rhododendron 'Fred D. Cochran'
Carla hybrid azalea

Red-flowered evergreen azalea with superior resistance to root rot. An NC State University introduction. Hybridized by and named in honor of Fred Cochran, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of the NC State University's Department of Horticultural Science.

  • evergreen shrub to 3'
  • plant in sun to shade
  • hardy
  • red flowers in spring

Rhododendron 'Keisetsu'
Satsuki hybrid azalea

Evergreen azalea producing 3" red flowers with pink to white centers in May. Also with leaves streaked yellow-gold throughout, especially prominent on new growth. Zones 6–9.

Rhododendron 'Silver Sword'
Girard hybrid azalea

Evergreen azalea with narrow leaves striped white on the margins and rosy-red flowers in spring.

Rosmarinus officinalis 'Tuscan Blue'

Rigid upright rosemary with bright blue flowers. One of the cold-hardy cultivars.

  • evergreen shrub to 4'
  • plant in sun; well-drained soil
  • blue flowers in winter

Salix alba 'Dart's Snake'
contorted white willow

Large, deciduous tree with contorted branches, long leaves, and yellow bark. Great for wet areas and good winter interest. Fast growth rate.

  • Narrowly upright deciduous small tree to 15'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy

Salix pendulata

Small, deciduous tree with weeping branches. Fuzzy white buds in winter.

Salix purpurea 'Nana'
dwarf purple-osier

Compact (3'–5') deciduous shrub with purple branches fading into gray. Attractive gray-blue foliage present during the growing season.

  • hardy

Salix purpurea 'Pendula'
weeping purple willow

Weeping pussy-willow with purple twigs. Medium-sized deciduous shrub good in wet locations.

  • deciduous tree/shrub to 8'–15'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy
  • white-green catkins flowers in spring

Spiraea japonica 'Gumball'
Japanese spirea

Compact, deciduous shrub producing pink flowers in flat-topped clusters in late spring. Fall color a muted purple.

Spiraea media
Russian spirea

Deciduous shrub with white flowers and some of the largest leaves you'll see on a spirea. Leaves also an attractive blue-green color, turning pink-purple in fall. Received as seed wild-collected on Mount Sorak in South Korea.

  • hardy

Spiraea thunbergii 'Fujino Pink'
apple-blossom Thunberg spirea

An exciting new cultivar of the commonly known Thunberg spirea. Unlike the typical white-flowered form, this cultivar produces flowers, pink in bud, opening to an apple-blossom white. Fall color can be intense red to orange to purple. (1 gallon, 1' tall)

  • deciduous shrub to 3'–5'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy
  • apple-blossom pink flowers in early spring

Stachys germanica
downy woundwort

Herbaceous perennial with leaves covered in soft, woolly hairs. Produces spikes of pink-purple flowers in spring. Plants derived from seed collected in Portugal.

  • hardy

Styrax japonicus 'Snowfall'
Japanese snowbell

A plant selected from the NC State University campus displaying a dense, rounded canopy. Produces abundant, white flowers in spring. Exfoliating bark starts early on this cultivar. (1 gal, 18" tall)

  • to 15'–30'
  • plant in part sun
  • hardy

Tetradium ruticarpum
Himalayan bee-bee tree

A fast-growing small to medium deciduous tree, with large pinnate leaves. Native to the Himalayas, eastern and southeastern Asia.

Thermopsis chinensis
Chinese false lupine

This herbaceous perennial is closely related to both the lupines and the false-indigos (Baptisia). Plants produce abundant spikes of clear-yellow flowers in spring—best display occurs in full sun. From seeds collected at a garden in Germany.

  • herbaceous perennial to 15"
  • plant in sun
  • hardy
  • yellow flowers in spring

Thuja occidentalis 'Degroot's Spire'
columnar American arborvitae

This is one of the narrowest, columnar forms of Thuja occidenatalis. This conifer, with a medium growth rate can be used as an accent plant. Very distinctive.

  • columnar conifer to 10'–20'
  • plant in sun to light shade
  • hardy

Thuja occidentalis 'U. of Conn. Dwarf'
dwarf American arborvitae

This superb dwarf form of American arborvitae hails from University of Connecticut. Mature plants form a tight, dense globe, only 3' tall after five to ten years. Plants are derived from cuttings salvaged from the original specimen that formerly grew in the West Arboretum (now the construction area). (2 gallon, 8" tall)

Thuja plicata 'Grovpli'
Spring Grove western redcedar

This beautiful new cultivar was received from Michael Dirr, Ph.D. Good as a specimen planting or as a quick-growing screen. It is similar in many regards to the widely planted 'Green Giant'. (2 gallon, 8" tall)

  • hardy

Thujopsis dolabrata var. hondai
northern Japanese false arborvitae

This northern form of the false arborvitae from Japan displays densely-set, dark green foliage. For us, the plant forms a dense shrub, although in cooler climates it forms an upright (cone-shaped), evergreen tree.

  • evergreen shrub to 8'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy

Thujopsis dolabrata 'Variegata'
variegated false arborvitae

This form of the false arborvitae displays branch tips speckled creamy white, which on well-grown specimens, gives the entire plant a white cast. Our plant grows as a shrub, but in cooler climates, may be tree-statured.

  • evergreen shrub to 15'
  • plant in sun to light shade
  • hardy