Springtime blossoms that carry the cool lavender-pink tones of a sky after sunset are the crowning glory of Smirnov's rhododendron. From northeastern Turkey and Georgia, this species is also found in the highlands of the Caucusus where it grows alongside spruce trees and other rhododendron species. It has a rounded but upright shape, becoming leggy if not receiving adequate direct sunlight.
The deep green leaves are leathery with dark hairy scaled undersides and with slightly recurving edges....
Charming in scale, this small broadleaf evergreen shrub bears fragrant, ruffled white flowers in the spring. Native to the montane rainforests of Laos, Vietnam and Burma (Myanmar), it grows in soil and as an epiphyte, clasping its roots onto the moist bark of trees. Its smooth bark is rusty reddish brown and exfoliates, often seen on this upright, somewhat rangy plant.
Deep green leaves have sparse golden scales on their undersides. In spring, fragrant white flowers don the branch tips, usually...
(Yak Rhododendron, Yakushima Rhododendron)
Here is one of the most lovely and visually interesting rhododendrons! Not only are the leaves glossy with brown undersides, the flowers in spring are a blend of white and pink like a melting swirl of a strawberry sundae. A compact, tightly foliaged broadleaf evergreen shrub from Japan, the Yak rhododendron is endemic to the island of Yakushima, just south of Kyusyu. Here it grows on mountain slopes alongside laurels and Japanese cedars.
Glossy dark green leaves first emerge covered in a pale...
(New Guinea Vireya Rhododendron)
A magnificent tropical rhododendron with spectacular fiery orange-yellow flowers, Rhododendron zoelleri is native to the Moluccas of Indonesia eastward across the highland rainforests of New Guinea. It is usually found growing in mossy cliffs but also is an epiphyte, growing upon the trunk of trees high up in the forest canopy.
Being a shrub or small tree, there is much variation in growth rate, mature size, flower color and profusion as they are most often grown as seedlings. Their...
James H. Schutte
A fast-growing, prostrate, evergreen shrub that makes an excellent groundcover, this Taiwanese native spreads rapidly by prickly creeping stems to form dense carpets of dark shiny foliage. The three- to five-lobed leaves are slightly puckered above and gray-felted underneath. White five-petaled flowers appear in late spring and early summer amid and under the leaves. Yellow, salmon, or red dome-shaped berries follow. Several cultivars are available including 'Emerald Carpet,' with especially handsome...
Judith K. Mehl
(African Violet, Martinique African Violet)
One of many African violets in the trademarked Optimara series, ‘Martinique’ is a low-growing, evergreen perennial notable for its constant flowering and profusion of long-lasting blue flowers with ruffled white edges. The leaves are slightly hairy or velvety, heart shaped, thick, and held on stiff horizontal stems in a low rosette. The flowers rise above the leaves on slender stems and gather together closely in the center of the plant, making a colorful display.
African violets, native to the...
James H. Schutte
Lovers of fragrant plants take note! The small white flowers of this exceptional evergreen offer intoxicating fragrance very early in the season. Sweet box is a sprawling, densely foliated shrub that spreads via rhizomes and can form a thicket if left unmaintained. It is native to Afghanistan, Bhutan, south central China, northeast India and Nepal where it exists in the forest understory.
The glossy leaves of sweet box are oblong, lance-shaped and dark green. In late winter, small white blossoms...