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 (formlery 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 from Kathryn Wall. If you need assistance, please e-mail Kathryn at kbwall@ncsu.edu or call (919) 513-7004 Selections should be placed no later than end of day February 27, 2022.

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.

2015 Plant Selection

Alpinia
ginger

This Taiwan collection (MWT14-1028) represents the highest elevation that we found alpinia growing in Taiwan. The relatively short, corn-like stems made an eye catching jade patch at 6383' on Guanwu Mountain. We haven't seen the flowers and so can't identify it yet but are excited to see what it will do.

  • herbaceous perennial to 30"
  • plant in sun to shade
  • hardy root hardy semi-hardy tender
  • in summer
Container size: 3" pot
Alpinia

Asparagus 'Ellington'
asparagus

This compact asparagus plant was found by Tony Avent in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province on Ellington Farm. It has been winter hardy for us, growing nicely in the JCRA Scree Garden in full sun since 2007, reaching 15" tall x 12" wide. It is covered with tiny white flowers in midsummer and red berries in fall. These plants have been grown from seed we obtained from Plant Delights Nursery.

  • deciduous perennial to 15"
  • plant in sun
  • hardy
  • white flowers in summer
Container size: 3" pot
Asparagus 'Ellington'

Astilbe cf. longicarpa
false goat's beard

This astilbe (MWT14-981) collected in Taiwan at over 5400' by the JCRA was growing on damp rock faces with long narrow seed heads. We haven't grown this one outdoors for long but think the airy panicles of white flowers should look lovely in a woodland garden.

  • herbaceous perennial to 1' × 2'
  • plant in part sun
  • hardy
  • white flowers in spring - summer
Container size: 3" pot
Astilbe cf. longicarpa

Aucuba japonica 'Tatsumaki'
Japanese aucuba

Mark Weathington states it very clearly, "I like to think of Aucuba japonica as the Rodney Dangerfield of plants. Despite a long history of success in the garden, it still just gets no respect." 'Tatsumaki' is one aucuba that you will definitely love and respect (or hate). This Japanese selection's name means 'tornado', describing its oddly twisted, long, dark green, leaves (6" x 2"). Your shade garden has plenty of room for this great plant, since it grows to only 3' tall in seven years. Relatively new in the trade, 'Tatsumaki' has performed well for us in the JCRA Lath House since 2012.

  • evergreen shrub to 5'–6'
  • plant in shade to part sun
  • hardy
  • burgundy flowers in winter
Container size: 3" pot
Aucuba japonica 'Tatsumaki'

Begonia aff. chitoensis
hardy Taiwan begonia

These hardy begonia seedlings (yes, we did say hardy) were collected during Mark Weathington's 2014 Taiwan expedition. They have not flowered for us yet, but we expect the flowers to be a light pink. Be aware that in spring this begonia emerges very late. It grows best in moist, well-drained woodland soils.

  • herbaceous perennial to 18"
  • plant in part shade to shade
  • pink flowers in late summer
Container size: 3" pot

Bomarea
bomarea

Bomarea should not grow in central NC coming as it does from cool cloud forests where it has no tolerance for our high heat. We have however been growing a bomarea from Mexico for several years which has intrigued us. This new unidentified species comes from Ecuador. It has not been tested outdoors in N.C. yet, so we are unsure how it will perform. Assuming it lives, it will make a lovely vine with alstroemeria-like foliage and huge heads of showy orange flowers.

  • herbaceous vine to 6' +
  • plant in full sun to part shade
  • orange flowers in summer
Container size: 3" pot
Bomarea

Buxus harlandii 'Goliath'
Harland's boxwood

Buxus harlandii is one of our favorite boxwoods with distinctive foliage and growth habit. This form popped up in the Southeast and looks like the species on steroids. There is no better group of plants for dry shade than boxwoods.

  • evergreen shrub to 6'
  • plant in sun to shade
  • hardy
Container size: 3" pot
Buxus harlandii 'Goliath'

Castanopsis cuspidata
Japanese chinquapin

A near relative to the oaks; this beautiful broad-leaved evergreen tree (to 30' tall) has great potential for a fast growing, fine textured shade tree for the Southern landscape in USDA Zones 6–9. These seedlings come from an allee lining the street outside of our favorite hotel in Kawaguchi, Japan.

  • evergreen tree to 30'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy
  • creamy yellow flowers in spring
Container size: 3" pot
Castanopsis cuspidata

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Juniperoides'
dwarf Sawara falsecypress

This venerable old cultivar makes a rounded shrub to about 3' tall with mint-green juvenile foliage for a soft-textured addition to the garden. In 5 years it has doubled in size in our Japanese garden.

  • dwarf conifer to 3'
  • plant in sun
Container size: 3" pot
Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Juniperoides'

Cryptomeria japonica 'Nana'
dwarf Japanese cedar

This is perhaps the oldest cultivar of Japanese cedar grown in the West. It was introduced to Europe by Robert Fortune in the 1800's. Expect it to make a low mound of bright green with needles held close to the branchlets. It is easy and reliable.

  • dwarf conifer to 3'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy
Container size: 3" pot
Cryptomeria japonica 'Nana'

Cunninghamia lanceolata var. konishii
Formosan China-fir

Formosan China-fir is a stately, large coniferous tree that can reach 75' tall in its native haunts. Thick, green needles are 1"-3" long, and are spirally arranged on branches. These plants were grown from seed (MWT14-871) collected by Mark Weathington during his trip to Taiwan in 2014. The parent plant was growing at nearly 4,000' elevation and had beautiful, long narrow leaves, quite distinctive from others we've seen..

  • evergreen tree to 35' (10 years)
  • plant in sun to light shade
  • hardy
Container size: 3" pot
Cunninghamia lanceolata var. konishii

Dactylicapnos macrocapnos
yellow bleeding heart vine

Yellow bleeding heart vine rambles along the banks and through shrubbery in its native home, the Himalayas of Nepal. In summer, heart-shaped, bright yellow flowers dangle in clusters and are followed in fall by pea-like pods. Use it as a climber, drape it over a shrub, or just enjoy it as it rambles along a bank in your garden.

  • winter hardy herbaceous vine to 6'
  • plant in shade
  • hardy
  • yellow flowers in all summer long
  • butterfly/pollinator friendly
Container size: 3" pot
Dactylicapnos macrocapnos

Daphne odora 'Mae-jima'
variegated winter daphne

The evergreen leaves of ‘Maejima' have broad, creamy yellow margins that make a perfect backdrop for its late winter carmine-pink flowers. Blossoms open in February or March and often last well into April with a fragrance that can fill an entire garden. Whether planted in a container or in the landscape, daphne needs to be grown in a well-drained soil.

  • evergreen shrub to 3'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • white flowers in winter
Container size: 3" pot
Daphne odora 'Mae-jima'

Deutzia pulchra
beautiful deutzia

This deutzia is often described as one of the best in cultivation. In late spring and early summer, dangling clusters of white star-shaped flowers often touched with pink, adorn this plant. The bark provides winter interest, as it peels to expose the orange bark beneath. It has an upright habit reaching 6' - 9' tall and is native to woodland edges and scrub in the Philippines and Taiwan.

  • deciduous perennial to 6'–9'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy
  • pink flowers in late spring
Container size: 3" pot
Deutzia pulchra

Eriobotrya japonica 'Wuling Hardy'
loquat

The loquat is a small evergreen tree indigenous to southeastern China and possibly southern Japan. In our region grow this lovely plant for its tropical look. Loquat trees flower in the fall and fruits in early spring, so do not expect fruit in Raleigh as they are typically damaged in zone 7. Foliage can be cut and brought inside for winter decorations and the flowers are white and fragrant. We collected this form in Taiwan in 2008 and it has proven to be extra cold hardy, surviving in single digits with little to no damage.(MWT-117.)

  • evergreen tree to 25'
  • plant in sun
  • semi-hardy
Container size: 3" pot
Eriobotrya japonica 'Wuling Hardy'

Ficus carica 'Alma'
edible fig

Have you always wanted a fig tree, but just never got around to getting one? Well, here is your chance to get a great one. Ficus carica 'Alma' is one of our favorite figs at the JCRA. It not only produces very sweet fruit, but it begins bearing fruit at a very young age. 'Alma' produces numerous figs that are medium to large and ripen to beautiful shades of yellow or bronze. These plants were grown from cuttings. Parent plant is from Paradise Nursery, Virginia.

  • deciduous tree to 10' × 10'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy
  • yellow fruit in mid to late summer
Container size: 3" pot
Ficus carica 'Alma'

Fuchsia 'Sanihanf'
Angel Earrings Cascading hardy cascading fuchsia

We've killed more than our fair share of fuchsia over the years. They generally hate both our cold winters and hot summers. This selection from Japan has blown us away in the Lath House where it has formed a clambering, viney-shrub that sprawls through other plants and drips the ballerina-like purple and pink flowers over an extended season. If it dies to the ground in winter, it will pop back up and begin flowering by mid-late summer. Grows best in some shade. Back on offer this year due to popular demand.

  • die-back shrub to 3'
  • plant in part sun
  • pink and purple flowers in all season
Container size: 3" pot
Fuchsia 'Sanihanf'

Iris 'Flower Shower'
standard dwarf bearded iris

'Flower Shower' is a delightful addition to any garden. It sports showy petals of dark red violet with violet beards and has a wonderful pronounced sweet fragrance. This outstanding reblooming iris reaches about 11 inches in height and grows best in sun to part shade.

  • herbaceous perennial to 11"
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy
  • dark red violet flowers in early summer–fall
Container size: 3" pot
Iris 'Flower Shower'

Juniperus communis 'Gold Totem Pole'
gold columnar common juniper

'Gold Totem Pole' is perfect for that special niche in your garden. This narrow, upright conifer ultimately reaches 10'-12' tall and only 1'-3' wide. New growth emerges golden and the evergreen foliage remains tightly bunched. Grows best in full sun and is drought tolerant.

  • fastigiate conifer to 10'–12' tall × 1'–3' wide
  • plant in sun
Container size: 3" pot
Juniperus communis 'Gold Totem Pole'

Lindera sericea
spicebush

This elegant deciduous shrub is native to the mountainous regions of Japan. In late winter, small yellow flowers appear in clusters near the ends of its still naked branches. Its leaves are the source of Kuro-moji, an essential oil widely distributed throughout Japan. In late summer female plants produce small, shiny black fruit that contrast beautifully with its bright yellow, autumn foliage. Plant in full sun to part shade for best results.

  • deciduous shrub to 6'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy
  • yellow flowers in late winter
Container size: 3" pot

Salvia lineata
Oaxaca Orange Wooly Sage

This native of southern Mexico's cloud forests grows in the city of Oaxaca. Tiny soft hairs cover the entire plant making it wooly to the touch. Spikes of red-orange flowers bloom from summer into fall. So far, the plants growing at the JCRA have been winter hardy and have reached about 15" tall. It looks best when growing in part shade among other perennials.

  • herbaceous perennial to 18"
  • plant in sun to part sun
  • hardy here
  • red-orange flowers in summer-fall
  • butterfly/pollinator friendly, attracts birds, deer resistant
  • hummingbird magnet
Container size: 3" pot
Salvia lineata

Salvia 'Newe Ya'ar'
silver sage

'Newe Ya'ar' (Neh-veh Ya-ar) is the product of Israeli research to develop a sage with excellent flavor that was tough enough to raise commercially in Israel's hot, dry ­climate. It is an early and prolific bloomer in spring, and grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. Although not reliably winter hardy outdoors in areas colder than Zone 7b, it can be potted up and brought indoors. We've had no problems even in single digits with plants staying mostly evergreen. (Salvia officinalis x S. fruticosa)

  • perennial to 3' × 3'
  • plant in sun
  • semi-hardy
  • lavender flowers in spring
Container size: 3" pot
Salvia 'Newe Ya'ar'

Styrax confusus
Chinese snowbell

This rare Chinese member of the snowbell genus should be more widely grown. It makes an attractive large shrub or small tree, typically reaching only 15'-20' tall. In spring, small white flowers with reflexed petals and golden stamens are borne on short racemes. In full sun, the leaves are medium to dark green above, and paler beneath. The dark gray-brown bark is handsome in winter. It is easy to grow and a perfect size for most landscapes.

  • hardy
Container size: 3" pot
Styrax confusus

Thuja occidentalis 'Tiny Tim'
dwarf American arborvitae

This dwarf American arborvitae cultivar is care-free and very slow growing reaching only 1' tall x 1.5' wide. Features scale-like, medium green foliage in flat sprays. Maintains its globular shape without pruning and is simply charming in a rock garden or container.

  • dwarf conifer to 1' × 1.5' wide
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy
Container size: 3" pot
Thuja occidentalis 'Tiny Tim'

Titanotrichum oldhamii
gold false foxglove

This fuzzy-leaved African violet relative is unaccountably rare in gardens. The dark green foliage makes a nice presence all season long until late summer when flower spikes emerge and grow to 24"–36" tall and display deep golden flowers with a burgundy throat. It is easy to grow and hardy in a woodland garden and brings much-needed color to the late season in a shady spot.

  • herbaceous perennial to 3'
  • plant in part shade to shade
  • hardy to zone 6b
  • gold w/ burgundy throat flowers in late summer to fall
Container size: 3" pot
Titanotrichum oldhamii

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Pink Beauty'
pink doublefile viburnum

'Pink Beauty' is a very handsome, deciduous shrub (6' - 8') with attractive tiered branching. In spring flowers are typically pink, but don't be surprised if the petals turn out to be white, edged in pink. The color may vary somewhat from season to season and depending on sun exposure and temperature. Plants may set good quantities of red fruit. Grows best in sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil. Hardy to USDA Zone 5.

  • deciduous flowering shrub to 6'–8'
  • plant in sun to light shade
  • hardy to zone 5
  • pink flowers in spring
  • red fruit in summer
Container size: 3" pot
Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Pink Beauty'