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 kbwall@ncsu.edu 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.

2023 Plant Selection

Acorus gramineus 'Chabosekisho'
golden sweet flag

Per Ted Stephens of Nurseries Caroliniana: "I found this incredibly dwarf Acorus in a nursery near Niigata, Japan, which is on the west coast on the China Sea. So far it appears to only get about 1-3 inches high and makes a little mounding dark green clump. This selection would make a great combination plant in a bonsai pot because of its dwarfness. We are growing it in full sun where it is doing quite well. One characteristic of Acorus gramineus is that it will tolerate wet feet so it is a great miniature plant for a tiny water garden."

  • evergreen perennial to 1"
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 6

Agave lophantha 'Goldfinger'
century plant

Top half of each leaf turns brilliant gold in winter. This variety produces offsets so will will always have more to spread around.

  • succulent to 18"
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 7b

Akebia longeracemosa
chocolate vine

A rare woody vine from Taiwan that is a bit less vigorous than the widely known (and sometimes cursed) Akebia quinata with almost-evergreen leaves that hang on into the winter. Vanilla-scented brown-purple flowers dangle in clusters (racemes) on long peduncles (similar to Wisteria) in late spring (after A. quinata) and are followed later in the year by large blue fruit. It produces more fruit when there is another Akebia nearby. The racemes are monecious with the smaller male flowers dangling beneath the larger females. Unusual and attractive. Hardy in zones 7 to 9.

  • woody vine to 25'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy to zone 7
  • purple flowers in spring
  • blue fruit in fall
  • fragrant flowers
Akebia longeracemosa

Alpinia pumila

  • hardy

Baptisia 'White Gold'
false indigo

Chartreuse foliage and white flowers. Like all Baptisia species, this is drought tolerant and easy to grow.

  • herbaceous perennial to 36"
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 4
  • white flowers in spring

Begonia 'Red China'
begonia

A rare hardy begonia with chocolate purple-brown leaves that are bright red on the underside. Also in the trade as U584.

  • herbaceous perennial to 12"
  • plant in part sun
  • hardy
  • colorful leaves
Begonia 'Red China'

Berberis wallichiana
Wallich's barberry

This evergreen Berberis species is from Nepal and Myanmar and features glossy leathery leaves. It prefers moist soil and dappled shade but will tolerate dry, shallow, and heavy clay soils too. Leaf backs are bright silver. The yellow flowers are tightly grouped into clusters of 10 to 25 and are followed by blue-black fruit covered with a whitish waxy coating.

  • evergreen shrub to 9'
  • plant in part sun
  • hardy to zone 6
  • yellow flowers
  • blue-black fruit

Berlandiera pumila 'Chocoholic'
chocolate flower

Clusters of 2" yellow daisies that emit a delicious fragrance of chocolate...especially in the morning.

  • herbaceous perennial to 36"
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 7
  • yellow flowers in summer

Buxus harlandii
Harland boxwood

Rarely offered in the trade, this is a superior dwarf boxwood for the deep south. It has charming bright green leaves, plus a distinct, dense, rounded form. It can form a multi–stemmed mound with foliage to the ground. Drought tolerance and pest resistance is better than most boxwoods.

  • evergreen shrub to 4'–6'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy to zone 7
Buxus harlandii

Buxus harlandii 'Richard'
Harland's boxwood

Camellia japonica 'Anacostia'
Japanese camellia

Semi-double pink flowers in late winter / early spring. Extended blooming period during the winter months.

  • evergreen shrub to 8'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy to zone 7b
  • pink flowers in Feb.-Mar.
  • heavy bloomer
Camellia japonica 'Anacostia'

Camellia ×vernalis 'Hiryû'
vernal camellia

  • evergreen shrub to 15'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy to zone 7b
  • red flowers in winter

Caragana pygmaea
pygmy caragana

A deciduous fine-textured shrub with small yellow pea-like flowers. Tough. Drought tolerant, wind tolerant, cold tolerant, alkaline tolerant, salt tolerant, pollution tolerant. Makes a great hedge.

  • deciduous shrub to 5'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 3
  • yellow flowers
  • drought tolerant

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Hibari'
dwarf Hinoki falsecypress

This is a slow-growing, upright conifer with deep green scale-like foliage held tightly against the stems. Plants are very upright and open and make a very architectural accent in the garden. It would make a very nice small specimen or bonsai. Also commonly sold under the cultivar name 'Chirimen'.

  • dwarf conifer to 4'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy to zone 5
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Hibari'

Codonopsis lanceolata
bonnet bellflower

  • perennial vine to 5'–10'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy to zone 6 hardy
  • green-purple flowers in summer

Codonopsis pilosula
bonnet bellflower

Called dang-shun in Chinese, this shade-loving deciduous vine is a popular herbal remedy to replenish vital energy, or 'qi' (similar to Panax ginseng). The roots are crunchy, very sweet, and delicious.

  • herbaceous vine to 10'
  • plant in part sun
  • hardy to zone 5
  • green flowers in summer

Cornus quinquenervis (compact form)
alder wood

Costus curvibracteatus
orange tulip ginger

  • herbaceous perennial to 3'
  • plant in shade to part shade
  • hardy to zone 9

Dahlia imperialis 'Double or Nothing'
tree dahlia

Growing 9' in a single season, the tall stalks are topped in late fall with double, pink, 3" flowers. A great back-of-the border plant.

  • herbaceous perennial to 9'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 8
  • pink flowers in late fall

Delosperma sawdahense
ice plant

A drought tolerant Arabian mat-forming succulent with pink flowers in summer. Not tolerant of wet soil. Seems to do best in rocks crevices, where it has a cool root run. However, it is a good container plant too.

  • dwarf succulent to 4"
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 6
  • pink flowers in summer

Dianthus deltoides

  • herbaceous perennial to 6"-12"
  • plant in sun
  • hardy
  • neon pink flowers in summer
  • butterfly/pollinator friendly and deer resistant

Edraianthus dalmaticus
dalmatian rockbell

Tufts of 2 to 4" inch grass-like leaves provide a backdrop to clusters of violet-blue bell-shaped flowers that appear in late summer. Perfect for a rock garden.

  • herbaceous perennial to 4"
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 6
  • violet blue flowers in late summer- early fall

Erysimum witmannii
wallflower

From the Carpathian mountains of eastern Europe comes this extremely fragrant wallflower. Full sun and very well drained soil (scree, rock garden etc.) are needed. This is a biennial or short lived perennial at best.

  • herbaceous biennial to 12"
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 4 hardy
  • pale yellow flowers in spring
  • fragrant flowers

Eucomis 'Reuben'
pineapple lily

  • perennial to 18"
  • plant in full sun to light shade
  • hardy
  • pinkish-purple flowers in late summer

Euonymus oxyphyllus
Korean spindle tree

Tiny white spring flowers and lovely summer foliage are followed in September by outstanding red fruits, giving this ornamental tree year-round interest.

  • deciduous small tree to 15'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy to zone 5
  • white flowers in spring
  • red fruit
Euonymus oxyphyllus

Ficus palmata subsp. virgata 'Icebox'
Punjab fig

A 2017 JLBG introduction, 'Icebox' is from a Chris Chadwell seed collection at 6,900' elevation in Kumaon, India. Sandpapery on top and velvety on the bottom, the 1'x1' leaves are held along the very fuzzy stems.

  • deciduous perennial to 30'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 7b
  • small edible fruit in early fall

Hedychium 'Kin Ôgi'
ginger lily

6' tall stalks topped in late summer with stunning 1' tall fragrant, butterscotch-orange flower stalks make this a standout in the garden.

  • herbaceous rhizome to 6'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 7b
  • butterscotch orange flowers in late summer

Hibiscus pedunculatus
pink mallow

This hardy, easy-to-grow, drought tolerant shrub is perfect for small spaces, where its bright pink blossoms will stand out all summer. A hummingbird magnet.

  • deciduous shrub to 5'x3'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 8
  • pink flowers in summer
  • attracts birds
Hibiscus pedunculatus

Hosta 'Vanilla Bean'
hosta

'Vanilla Bean' forms a tiny 4" tall by 8" wide clump with wavy leaves whose center pattern emerges yellow and ages to vanilla, outlined with a lovely two-tone green border. Clumps are topped with short stalks of dark purple flowers beginning in mid-June.

  • herbaceous perennial to 4"
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy to zone 5
  • dark purple flowers in June-July

Ilex vomitoria ('Condeaux' gold sport)
yaupon holly

Iris xiphium

Kadsura longipedunculata
Chinese kadsura

This twining evergreen vine from China is wonderful for growing up into large trees, along fences or best of all over open pergalas where the creamy white flowers and brilliant, glossy red fruit will dangle beneath the foliage on long stalks or peduncles as the scientific name implies. The flowers are somewhat reminiscent of its shrubby cousin the anise tree or Illicium.

  • evergreen vine to 15'+
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy to zone 7
  • yellow flowers in summer
  • red fruit in fall
Kadsura longipedunculata

Kniphofia foliosa
red hot poker

Tall spikes feature orange above yellow flowers that rise from strappy foliage on this drought tolerant, robust perennial.

  • rhizomatous perennial to 5'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 8
  • orange and yellow flowers in late spring to early summer

Limonium gmelinii subsp. hungaricum
Siberian stattice

Vigorous, clump-forming perennial with vivid sprays of lilac blue flowers all summer.

  • herbaceous perennial to 18"
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 3
  • lilac blue flowers in summer
  • butterfly/pollinator friendly

Lonicera standishii var. lancifolia
lance-flowered Standish's honeysuckle

  • hardy

Mahonia oiwakensis
Chinese mahonia

  • evergreen shrub to 6'
  • plant in part sun
  • hardy to zone 8
  • yellow flowers in late summer–fall
  • deer resistant

Mahonia (shenii hybrid)

×Mangave 'Queen for a Day'
mangave

A selection from Walters Gardens plantsman Hans Hansen, this sport of xMangave 'Mayan Queen' has jagged-edged, glaucous blue-green foliage with a dramatic dark purple border. Great container specimen where it isn't winter hardy (like Raleigh).

  • evergreen succulent to 18"x3.5'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 9
  • brown flowers

Marshallia caespitosa

Platycladus orientalis 'Coral Queen'
Oriental arborvitae

Lovely as a screen or specimen, this Oriental arborvitae shines in the sunshine year-round. Drought tolerant, fast growing.

  • evergreen tree to 20'x15'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 6
Platycladus orientalis 'Coral Queen'

Polyspora
fried egg tree

This low maintenance, fragrant, showy member of the tea family offers showy 4" spring blooms with crepe paper-like white petals surrounding bright yellow centers. This specimen was collected by Aaron Floden, Tom Mitchell and Bleddyn Wynn-Jones in Vietnam.

  • evergreen shrub or tree to 20' x 10'
  • plant in part sun
  • hardy to zone 8
  • white with yellow centers flowers in spring

Prunus 'Umineko'
Japanese flowering cherry

  • deciduous tree to 12'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 6
  • white flowers in spring

Pulsatilla montana subsp. jankae
mountain anemone

Perfect for a rock garden or border, bright green prostrate foliage disappears beneath masses of upright flowers that appear on short stems in spring before being replaced by fluffy seedheads in summer.

  • hebaceous perennial to 7"
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 4
  • purple flowers in early spring

Sabal minor 'Swan Quarter'
dwarf palmetto

A hardier than normal palm from Swan Quarter, NC.

  • shrub to 6'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 7b

Salvia elegans 'Golden Delicious'
golden pineapple sage

  • hardy semi-hardy

Sisyrinchium patagonicum
Yellow blue-eyed grass

Delicate golden yellow flowers with a garnet-purple throat open in early spring above slender, grassy foliage. Prefer well-drained soils.

  • herbaceous perennial to 2'
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 8
  • golden yellow flowers in early spring

Stewartia rostrata
Chinese stewartia

  • deciduous tree to 15'
  • plant in sun to part shade
  • hardy to zone 6
  • white flowers in spring

Typhonium trilobatum 'Galloway Giant'
Galloway giant three-leaf typhonium

A large form of the aroid, Typhonium trilobatum, colected by the late plantsman Alan Galloway. Found from India to South China, and south to Malaysia. Trifoliate leaves emerge in spring and form a 18" tall by 2' wide mound. In summer, cupped, liver-red flowers appear from the base of the foliage. Moist alkaline woodland soils are best.

  • deciduous to 18"x2'
  • plant in shade
  • hardy to zone 8
  • liver red flowers in summer

Zephyranthes
sp. nova yuccadoensis yucca do rain lily

Carl Schoenfeld of the former Yucca Do Nursery found this unpublished species growing under oaks and hornbeams on the north side of La Bufa del-Diente in the Sierra Chiquita mountains of Tamaulipas, Mexico. He believes it's the long-missing second parent of Labuffarosea rain lilies. A non-offsetting species with 10" long, needle-thin foliage, topped with 2" bright pink, diurnal flowers with white throats, starting at JLBG in mid-June and repeating several times each summer. This will always remain a single bulb.

  • herbaceous perennial bulb to 10"
  • plant in sun
  • hardy to zone 7b
  • vivid pink flowers in mid summer to early fall