Plant of the Week

RBG is home to interesting cultivars from around the world! Check back to learn about a featured plant each week.

bright purple clematis bloom

Clematis “Ville de Lyon”

Week 25, June 2018; Laking Garden

The wild Clematis species native to China made their way into Japanese gardens by the 17th century. Japanese garden selections were the first exotic clematises to reach European gardens in the 18th century long before the Chinese species were identified in their habitat at the end of the 19th century. After it arrived in Europe, it acquired several meanings during the Victorian era, famous for its nuanced flower symbolism. It came to symbolize both mental beauty and art as well as poverty.

The entire genus contains essential oils and compounds which are extremely irritating to the skin and mucous membranes. Unlike black pepper or Capsicum, however, the compounds in clematis cause internal bleeding of the digestive tract if ingested in large amounts. Despite its toxicity, Native Americans used very small amounts of clematis as an effective treatment for migraine headaches and nervous disorders. It was also used as an effective treatment of skin infections.

Grow in fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Vining hybrids are best suited in locations where the flowering parts of the vine are in sun to part shade but the roots are shaded. Some light afternoon shade is usually beneficial in hot and humid summer climates. Clematis vines need a support on which to grow. Roots should be kept cool, shaded and uniformly moist. Root areas may be shaded with perennials, annuals or small shrubs. A thick root mulch is appreciated. Do not allow soil to dry out. Because of their adaptability and masses of spectacular flowers, clematis are among the most popular of all garden plants. In theory, it is possible to have a clematis in flower at any time throughout the year. Many varieties provide a second period of interest with a flush of flowers, or decorative seed heads. Due to their toxicity, when pruning them, it is a good idea to wear gloves.

Upon entering Laking Garden, proceed down the stairs. Adjacent to the Peonies you will find the Clematis garden to the far right.

bright pink peony bloom

Paeonia - Peonies

Week 23, June 2018; Laking Garden

The name Paeonia, stems from an ancient race of people known as the Paeonia’s. The geographic origin of this ancient race originally inhabited the whole Axius (Vardar) River valley and the surrounding areas in 490 BC in what is now northern Greece, Macedonia, and western Bulgaria. Peonies initially were grown for medicinal purposes with many cultivars hailing from China and Europe, where they were used to treat headache, asthma, and childbirth pain.

Most are herbaceous perennial plants 0.25–1 metre (0.82–3.28 ft) tall, but some are woody shrubs 0.25–3.5 metres (0.82–11.48 ft) tall. They have compound, deeply lobed leaves and large, often fragrant flowers, in colors ranging from purple red to white or yellow, in late spring and early summer.

You can find the peony collection at Laking Garden. As you exit the visitor parking lot and past the kiosk, turn to your right and follow the path just past the cottage along the lower terrace.

delicate blue-purple iris

Siberian Iris

Week 23, June 2018; Laking Garden

Our fascination with the genus Iris dates to the sixth century A.D. and its historical reference was not of an ornamental garden plant but of a medicinal plant. It was 1576 that Carolus Clusius published the first work that showed the intimate knowledge of Iris with most of the rare plants coming from Spain and Portugal. Known for spectacular colours, beautiful falls and delicate beards, the Iris has captivated audiences from all eras. Its stunning colour, form and textures captivated early 20th century impressionists such as Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh whose canvas’s have immortalized its form. The group of Irises known as the Siberica Group that features the Iris sibirica ‘Caesar’ cultivar located at the Laking Garden of RBG was developed by a Canadian F. Cleveland Morgan in 1930.

Siberian irises are very adaptable and hardy plants. They like lots of moisture in the spring and can survive dry periods in the late summer months but will be healthier plants and develop into specimen clumps faster if kept moist all summer. Try to plant them with other perennials that you normally irrigate during dry periods in July and August. They love full sun (especially in the northern areas) but will grow in light shade.

As you exit the visitor parking lot of Laking Garden and past the visitor kiosk down the stone staircase you will be met by the Iris collection of the RBG. There you will be met with a host of colors and textures representing the Iris collection of the RBG.

closeup of bright redbud blooms

Cercis canadensis 'Appalachian Red' – Eastern Redbud

Week 21, May 2018; Arborteum

Vibrant pink and white blooms fill the garden areas at Royal Botanical Gardens this week as Cercis canadensis, or Eastern Redbud adds spectacular spring cheer. This deciduous ornamental shrub or small tree is native to eastern North America from southern Ontario, south to northern Florida. C. canadensis is found within the family Fabaceae – a group that includes legumes, peas, beans, wisteria and locust trees.

COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) believes that wild forms of this noticeable spring ornamental is likely extirpated, meaning it is no longer found growing naturally in southern Ontario. Cultivated forms of C. canadensis and its associated cultivars can be found planted and featured in a variety of locations, such as parks, gardens and arboreta.

Cercis canadensis 'Appalachian Red' grows to a height of approximately 20 feet (6 metres) high by 20 feet (6 metres) wide, with an upright, rounded canopy. Clusters of reddish-purple buds on its branches open to bright pink sweet-pea like blooms in spring before the foliage appears. The glossy green leaves on this deciduous understory tree are heart-shaped, turning yellow in autumn; the bark is dark in colour, starting smooth and becoming scaly with ridges as the tree matures. In addition, a distinct zigzag branching pattern occurs on new growth.

Discover Cercis canadensis 'Appalachian Red' close to the Arboretum front gate. As well, enjoy several other varieties of C. canadensis throughout other garden areas at Royal Botanical Gardens.

small leaves on tree in foreground, birch bark in background

Betula papyrifera Paper Birch

Week 20, May 2018; Hendrie Park

Betula papyrifera, commonly known as Paper Birch, Canoe Birch, or Silver Birch, is a deciduous, broad-leaved tree native to northern North America. Genus name Betula is Latin for birch, while species name papyifera is from the Greek word `papurus` meaning papyrus or paper. The Greek word `fero` means to bear, which refers to paper-bearing.

Found in all Canadian provinces and territories, B. papyrifera is partial to colder climates and seldom grows naturally when temperatures exceed 21˚C (70˚F). As such, this species is typically short-lived and may survive only 30 years. In colder-climate regions, one can expect B. papyifera to grow for over 100 years.

Betula papyifera is the official arboreal emblem of Saskatchewan and has an extensive history of ecological and commercial usage in Canada. Indigenous communities used the bark for canoe construction and dwellings, and over the years, this tree became one of the most widely used woods commercially.

Betula papyifera is known for being one of the first species to grow in an area, often after other vegetation is removed by some sort of disturbance. This includes fires, avalanches, or heavy winds that can blow down trees.

This woody, deciduous tree is medium-sized (sometimes multi-stemmed) and may reach heights of 60 feet (18 metres) by a spread of 35 feet (11 metres) wide. Throughout the season, large, green and bronze-green leaves will cover the tree, turning an outstanding gold in the fall. This serrated, oval foliage is smooth on the upper surface, with each tapering to a pointed tip. The defining feature of Betula papyifera is its paper-like, white bark, which can be seen peeling from the trees as they mature. For the first few years of growth, this bark is reddish brown, appearing whiter as the tree ages.

Due to its extensive and lengthy history of usage around the world, Betula papyifera is one species of deciduous tree that is rarely if ever forgotten. Discover two young accessions of B. papyifera adjacent to the Scented Garden in Hendrie Park.

Take some time to enjoy the beauty of Betula papyifera on your next visit to the gardens!

bring pink blooms along stem of rhododendron

Rhododendron 'PJM' (PJM Group)

Week 19, May 2018; Rock Garden

The genus name comes from the Greek words rhodo meaning rose and dendron meaning tree. Additionally, the Rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal. PJM Group is a series of rhododendron hybrids that resulted from crosses between R. carolinianum and R. dauricum var. sempervirens. These hybrids are compact, rounded, small-leaved, evergreen shrubs that generally grow to (3-6’ / 1-2m) tall and are noted for having exceptional winter hardiness. Lavender rose or pink flowers (color varies with cultivar) bloom in clusters (4-9 flowers per cluster) in April. Elliptic, hairless, leathery, dark green leaves (to 2.5” / 6.5cm). Foliage acquires purple tones in winter.

Best grown in acidic, humusy, organically rich, moisture-retentive but well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers a sun dappled shade. Foliage may scorch in full sun. Acidify soils prior to planting and thereafter as needed. Plant in a location protected from strong winter winds. Good soil drainage is essential (doesn’t like “wet feet”). Poor drainage inevitably leads to root rot, therefore raised beds/plantings should be considered in heavy clay soils. Rhododendron 'PJM' (PJM Group) do not produce seed.

This plant is located close to the tennis bowl feature within historic Rock Garden. As you exit the visitor centre, these striking pink hues slightly to the right off the pathway will command your attention.

white magnolia blossom

Magnolia stellata - Star Magnolia

Week 18, May 2018; Arboretum

Magnolias are prized worldwide for their flowers and forms. Growing as large shrubs or trees, they produce showy, fragrant flowers that are white, pink, red, purple or yellow. Some forms are evergreen with glossy and leathery leaves and some evergreen types have buds, stems and undersides of leaves that are covered with attractive gold to copper to brown felt-like hairs.

Best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. However, it flowers best in full sun and appreciates consistent and even moisture in summer. This cultivar of Magnolia is generally intolerant of soil extremes (dry or wet). This plant is Intolerant of most urban pollutants and is best sited in locations protected from high winds. Mulch (compost or bark) helps retain soil moisture and prune only if needed immediately after flowering.

Located within the Magnolia collection of the Royal Botanical Gardens Arboretum, Magnolia stellata, commonly called star magnolia is a small deciduous tree that typically grows 15-20’ tall with a spreading, rounded crown. However, it can also be grown as a large oval to rounded shrub. It is noted for its compact size and late winter to early spring bloom of star-shaped white flowers. Each flower typically has 12-18 narrow strap-like tepals.

bush with wide leaves

Simmondsia chinensis - Jojoba

Week 17, March 2018; RBG Centre

Discovering a plant that has survived from prehistoric times is always exciting. Distinguished with a long, rich history, Simmondsia chinensis, known commonly as Jojoba, is native to the regions of the southwestern United States and Mexico.

Simmondsia chinensis has adapted to survive in environments that lack water. Mainly found on dry, desert hillsides, and steep-sided gullies cut by running water, S. chinensis is known by other common names, including deer nut, goat nut, wild hazel, and grey box bush, referring to the importance of this plant for grazing wildlife, as well as its place within the family Simmondsiaceae – the Goatnut family.


S. chinensis was first mentioned in the literature of Mexican historian Francisco J. Clavijero in 1789, who at that time noted that Baja Indian populations of California highly prized the fruit for food and the oil as a traditional medicine for cancer and kidney disorders.

One enormous credit that can be given to Simmondsia chinensis is that its use has (in part) helped to save the sperm whale from extinction, as the liquid wax contained in its seeds has very similar properties to that of the sperm whale. Long used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries – S. chinensis seed oil has greatly assisted with sperm whale conservation over time.

Simmondsia chinensis is an evergreen, dioecious shrub, meaning that male and female flowers occur on separate plants. Though not ornamentally significant, these tiny blooms are currently viewable on our male specimen in the Mediterranean Garden. Reaching to heights of approximately seven feet or two metres, this multi-stemmed shrub displays thick, leathery, yellow-green leaves (of two to five cm). Tiny flower clusters appear before being replaced by the small, acorn-like fruit that later covers the shrub.

Discover Simmondsia chinensis on the main level of the Mediterranean Garden in RBG Centre during your next visit.

Pinus strobus - White Pine

As the last drops of snow make their way through town and the garden areas continue to wake, now is the perfect moment to highlight the gorgeously majestic Pinus strobus, or Eastern White Pine.

Found from western Ontario to the Atlantic Provinces and throughout most of north central and the northeastern United States, Pinus strobus is known as the ‘Tree of Great Peace’ by the Haudenosaunee First Nations of Southern Ontario. In 1984, the Government of Canada proclaimed P. strobus as the official tree of the province of Ontario, Canada, for its many uses and because the tree was a great source of income and trade during the provinces early days.

Pinus strobus has the distinction of being the tallest northeastern conifer, reaching as tall as 100 feet or 30 metres high. Specimens found at RBG Centre reach 15-20 feet or four to six metres with trunks growing straight, supporting a tapering crown of whorled branches. This form becomes irregular in maturity, with a number of stout horizontal branches. The bark of P. strobus is initially a smooth grey-green, becoming dark grey-brown and deeply fissured into thick vertical narrow (to broad) rough ridges. Blue-green needles of 5 to 15cm are fine-toothed and found in bundles of five. These are soft, fine and flexible. Long, narrow cones of 8 to 10cm mark the conifer and surround the ground around where they have dropped.

Often seen as an attractive evergreen hedge in large areas, P. strobus is a horticultural standard in botanical gardens and arboretums. Explore Royal Botanical Gardens over the coming months to discover ornamental varieties that are available in RBG’s garden areas, some of which highlight compact growth patterns and intricate needle shape. One such variety, Pinus strobus ‘Mini-Twists’ is located in the White Garden at Hendrie Park.

Until then, stop by the main entrance of RBG Centre for several stunning specimens of Pinus strobus as we welcome in spring.

Callistemon viminalis - Weeping Bottlebrush

Effortlessly identified by its striking red blooms when in flower, Callistemon viminalis, or Weeping Bottlebrush, occurs naturally on the east coast of Australia from the tip of Cape York down to New South Wales. The word Callistemon comes from the Greek, ‘kellistos’, meaning most beautiful, and ‘stema’ meaning stamen or pollen producer. Species name viminalis is from the Latin word ‘vimen’ meaning pliant twig, which refers to the weeping habit of the branches.

Sottish botanist and paleobotanist Robert Brown formally described Callistemon in 1914, while making important contributions to botany through early use of the microscope. Due to recent discoveries made in plant nomenclature however, Callistemon viminalis is currently regarded as a synonym of Melaleuca viminalis.

This flashy, weeping tree has a somewhat bushy appearance where its trunk splits into several branches. Pendulous tendrils of light green-grey foliage that ends in light red leaves covers the tree, while brilliant red flowers that give the impression of spikes hang in between the leaves. New growth may also be found emerging from the ends of these striking inflorescences. Blooming begins in spring and continues sporadically throughout the year. Fruit of C. viminalis are actually small, woody capsules that can be noticed following the flowering period.

On your next excursion to Royal Botanical Gardens, explore the entire collection of bottlebrush or crimson trees and shrubs, now beginning to bloom. Two specimens of Callistemon viminalis are found on the upper level of the Mediterranean Garden in RBG Centre

Jasminum mesnyi - Primrose Jasmine

Fragrant yellow blooms of Jasminum mesnyi greet you in late winter and early spring. Ernest Wilson introduced J. mesnyi for the James Veitch Nursery in 1900; however, this species of flowering plant is native to Vietnam and southern China and carries a long history of cultivation. As such, the plant is naturalized today in parts of Mexico, Honduras, portions of the southern United States as well as many areas with moderate climates around the world.

Part of the family Oleaceae (the olive family), Jasminum mesnyi has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. Often used as hedging or screening, it is known primarily for its cheerful blooms and glossy foliage.

A rambling evergreen shrub, Jasminum mesnyi grows in a fountain-like mound of five to ten feet (1.5 to 3.1 metres) high, presenting long, slender, arching stems from root to tip and becoming woody near the soil with age. Glossy, dark green leaves are divided into three leaflets covering each stem and are intermixed with yellow, semi-double flowers throughout the peak bloom period. J. Mesnyi continues to flower sporadically into the summer months.

Enjoy the graceful beauty of Jasminum mesnyi on your next visit to Royal Botanical Gardens, located to the right of the main entrance to the Mediterranean Garden at RBG Centre.

Sansevieria trifasciata 'Black Coral' – Snake Plant

Upright, striking, and unforgettable, Sansevieria trifasciata, known commonly as snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue, is native to tropical western Africa. Similarly titled common names come from the sharp, pointed margins of its leaves. Viper’s Bowstring Hemp is another name for this species, as the fibrous leaves are one of the sources for plant fibres used to make musical bowstrings.

Through the crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM photosynthesis) process, Sansevieria trifasciata absorbs carbon dioxide at night, and then releases oxygen during the day. Two separate clean air studies (one conducted in Europe, and one in the United States) completed over the last ten years note that plants, including S. trifasciata are capable of purifying air by removing some toxics during nighttime hours. In addition to the visually stunning beauty of S. trifasciata, this popular ornamental can provide an important role for visitors to Royal Botanical Gardens.

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Black Coral’ is a stemless evergreen perennial with upright, pointed, sword-shaped leaves reaching up to three feet in height. When stands emerge from the soil, dark green leaves uncurl, extending vertically with grey-green cross-banding that appears over a dark background. Small, greenish-grey and lightly fragrant flowers rise from slim shoots and bloom each spring.

Enjoy the remainder of the winter exhibit, Frogs! and take a few moments to appreciate Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Black Coral’ currently blooming in the Camilla and Peter Dalglish Atrium - on the main floor of RBG Centre.

Zantedeschia aethiopica – Florist’s Calla Lily

Zantedeschia aethiopica, commonly called Florist’s Calla Lily, is not a true lily, but an arum in the family Araceae. This herbaceous, perennial, flowering plant is native to southern Africa in Lesotho, South Africa as well as Swaziland, though today the plant is naturalized throughout much of the world in locations close to streams, ponds and swamps, or in marshes.

Known to European horticulture since at least the 1660’s, Zantedeschia is named in honour of physician Giovanni Zantedeschi by the physician and botanist Kurt Sprengel. Species name aethiopica refers to the fact that it is native to Africa. Outside of horticulture, Zantedeschia aethiopica is widely known and extremely popular.

A stunning white spathe (floral bract) surrounds the central pale yellow spadix (floral spike) bearing tiny flowers. Zantedeschia aethiopica provides a breathtaking display wherever they appear above clumps of dark green arrow-shaped leaves of varying sizes.

Enjoy Zantedeschia aethiopica on your next trip to RBG Centre. This gorgeous flower is located on the second level of the Mediterranean Garden.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Primarvera' – Witch Hazel

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Primarvera', commonly known as Witch Hazel, is a deciduous shrub native to Asia in the family Hamamelidaceae. This flowering hybrid is a cross between Japanese witch hazel H. japonica and Chinese witch hazel H. mollis. Genus name Hamamelis comes from the Greek word ‘hama', which means at the same time, and ‘melon’, meaning apple or fruit in reference to the occurrence of both fruit and flowers at the same time. Hybrid name intermedia denotes that the plant is intermediate in colour, form, or habit.

Four species found in North America are H. mexicana, H. vernalis, H. virginiana, and H. ovalis. The name Witch hazel has its origins in the Middle English word ‘wiche’, taken from the Old English word ‘wice’, meaning pliant or bendable. Notably recognized in Europe, witch hazel was previously known for the use of its Y-shaped twigs as divining rods for water finding or water witching.

Hamamelis × intermedia 'Primarvera' is an upright, vase-shaped shrub with ascending branches and a spreading habit, typically growing up to 15 feet or 4.5 metres tall with an equal width. A popular ornamental plant, Hamamelis × intermedia 'Primarvera' is grown for its clusters of bright yellow, spider-like flowers with narrow petals up to 8 inches long, blooming from February to March. Broad oval, light green leaves decorate the shrub and turn an attractive yellow to orange in autumn. This variety is noted for its sweetly fragrant flowers and later bloom than most of the other intermedia cultivars that bloom close to the end of winter.

On your next trip to the Arboretum, discover the fantastic specimen shrub Hamamelis × intermedia 'Primarvera' – currently in bloom within the Synoptic Shrub Collection.

Justicia brandegeeana – Mexican Shrimp Plant

Colourful Justicia brandegeeana, commonly called Mexican Shrimp Plant, is a flowering evergreen shrub in the family Acanthaceae.

Hailing from Mexico and naturalized in Florida, this plant was used by the indigenous Haustec people of Mexico for traditional medicine. Notable uses were for a variety of ailments, including treating wounds, dysentery and other gastrointestinal disorders.

Justicia brandegeeana is an outstanding ornamental specimen, with its main appeal being an extended flowering season. It continues to bloom for months, halts for a short period, then begins to bloom again – totalling up to 10 months of flowering a year in a heated indoor environment.

J. brandegeeana grows rarely more than one metre or three feet in height. White flowers that are long and thin with speckled maroon throats emerge beneath an overlapping chain of bracts that form off the stems. These drooping, arching bracts are red-bronze to pink with a few modified leaves of lime green or yellow before the flower. On your next visit to the Mediterranean Garden, find the exciting Justicia brandegeeana at the top of the stairs on the upper level.

Roldana petasitis – California Geranium

Roldana petasitis, also known as California Geranium or Velvet Groundsel, is a large herbaceous shrub native to the mountainous areas of Mexico in the family Asteraceae. Roldana was first described by Mexican priest and naturalist Dr. Pablo de La Llave in honour of Eugenio Montaña y Roldan Otumbensi, a hero in a battle on the plains of Apam, near Mexico City.

Roldana petasitis grows to a height of 10 feet (3 metres) with an equal width. This sprawling perennial shrub displays large, velvety pea green leaves. During winter to early spring, branched inflorescences of greenish-purple flower buds appear above the leaves, opening to reveal hundreds of bright yellow flowers. These blooms are followed later in the year by numerous white fluffy seeds, which are dispersed by wind in the wild.

The rounded form and enormous leaves of Roldana petasitis give a tropical feel to the area where it is planted. Discover this exciting perennial on your next visit to RBG Centre, where it can be found on the main level of Mediterranean Garden.

Rhaphiolepis umbellata – Yedda-hawthorn

Rhaphiolepis umbellata, also known as Yedda-Hawthorn or Yeddo-Hawthorn, is an evergreen shrub native to Japan, Korea, and northern Taiwan in the family Rosaceae. Common name Yeddo (sometimes written Yedo) is the capital and largest city in Japan, which is now called Tokyo. Rhaphiolepis comes from the Greek words ‘rhaphis’ meaning needle and ‘lepis’ meaning scale. This is thought to describe the uniquely beautiful flower bract architecture.

Japanese Botanist Tomitarô Makino, who worked extensively on classifying plants in Japan (using the taxonomic system developed by Carl Linnaeus) authored texts and journals on botany in which he describes thousands of species, including R. umbellata. In North America, Richard Fox is noted as having introduced R. umbellata into cultivation at his Santa Clara nursery in 1884.

In Japan, the bark of this plant is used as a dyeing agent, while the seeds have been used as flour.

Rhaphiolepis umbellata is a slow growing, multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with a dense, rounded habit reaching four to six feet (one to two metres) in height with an equal width. Alternate, simple, glossy leaves emerge grey-green and mature to a dark green. Showy clusters of fragrant white flowers sprout from terminal panicles at the ends of the branches, and small, fleshy blue-black fruits hide amongst the leaves. On your next visit to Royal Botanical Gardens, catch the fragrant blooms of Rhaphioleps umbellata on the main level of the Mediterranean Garden at RBG Centre.

Cupressus nootkatensis 'Pendula' – Weeping Nootka False Cypress

Cupressus nootkatensis 'Pendula', also known as Weeping Nootka False Cypress, Yellow Cypress and Alaska Cypress, is a tree in the family Cupressaceae (Cypress family). In the early 1880’s, C. nootkatensis ‘Pendula’ was first introduced into the nursery trade by A. van Leeuwen Nursery in Naarden, The Netherlands.

In 1841, this cultivar was transferred into the genus Chamaecyparis because of its flattened sprays of foliage, however, 2010 findings in molecular genetics place the plant back in the Cupressus genus. Today, the ongoing debate about this change continues between botanists and taxonomists.

Species name nootkatensis refers to the former Nootka tribe, or to the First Nations Nuu-chah-nulth people of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, on whose lands the trees were first discovered. The native range of Cupressus nootkatensis includes the west coast of North America, from the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, south to the Klamath Mountains in northernmost California.

Cupressus nootkatensis 'Pendula' is a weeping evergreen reaching up to 25 feet (7.6 metres) in height by 12 feet (3.6 metres) wide. Gracefully drooping, upward curving branches display flattened sprays of bluish green to dark green foliage. Small, greenish-brown cones can be found sprinkled near to the ends of each spray of needles.

This spectacular specimen tree can be found on the west side of the Pinetum Trail at the Arboretum. On your next visit to Royal Botanical Gardens, take some time to explore the extensive trail system and discover Cupressus nootkatensis 'Pendula'!

Fortunella japonica ‘Sun Stripe’ – Variegated Marumi Kumquat

Fortunella japonica ‘Sun Stripe’, also known as Variegated Marumi Kumquat, is a small fruit tree in the family Rutaceae, shared with six other Asiatic species. F. japonica is also known as Citrus japonica, while Kumquat or cumquat, means ‘gold orange’ in Cantonese.

Indigenous to south Asia and to the Asia-Pacific region, the species was first described in 1178 A.D. Chinese literature. Robert Fortune, collector for the London Horticultural Society, introduced F. japonica into European horticulture in 1846. The species made its way into North America shortly thereafter.

Fortunella japonica ‘Sun Stripe’ is highly ornamental, often being immediately identified by its beautiful green and white edged foliage and extraordinarily striped fruit, which matures to orange as it ripens in late winter. F. japonica can grow to a height of 7 to 10 feet (2 to 3 metres) with an upright habit of growth. The tree holds small, fragrant white flowers interspersed with round fruit throughout the branches, often for months at a time, while the attractive bark further adds to this appealing accent tree.

Experience the beauty of Fortunella japonica ‘Sun Stripe’ today! It can be viewed on the second level of the Mediterranean Garden at RBG Centre.

Pittosporum tobira 'Variegata' - Japanese Pittosporum

Pittosporum tobira ‘Variegata,’ commonly known as Japanese Pittosporum, is a rounded, broadleaved evergreen shrub native to Japan, Korea, and China.

Pittosporum tobira and the cultivar ‘Variegatum’ have both received the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit, which illuminates its long horticultural history, where it has been popularized ornamentally both indoors and outdoors as accents, living privacy screens, and in floral arrangements.

Pittosporum tobira ‘Variegata’ is a compact broadleaved evergreen, reaching a height of 5 feet (1.5 metres) to 10 feet (3 metres) with varying widths depending on its habit of growth. On its own, this stunning ornamental provides a treat for the eyes, displaying leathery, obovate leaves in whorl-like patterns along each stem. The grey-green foliage is variegated, with irregular creamy white margins. Visit the Mediterranean Garden during spring and summer months to enjoy small white flowers, which appear in umbel-like clusters at the centre of each whorl of leaves.

Experience the elegant beauty of Pittosporum tobira ‘Variegata’ on the upper level of Mediterranean Garden at RBG Centre today!

Aloe arborescens - Candelabra Plant

Aloe arborescens, commonly known as Candelabra Plant, is a large, multi-headed succulent with a sprawling habit of growth and a native range that includes South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in the eastern part of Southern Africa. In its natural habitat, A. arborescens is often found growing on exposed ridges and rocky outcrops.

Aloe comes from the Greek ‘alsos’ meaning bitter, which refers to its bitter juice. Species arborescens means ‘tree-like.’ Traditionally planted as a living fence or security hedge, Aloe arborescens is persistent in a natural environment, displaying large blooms of vibrant red-orange flowers that are arranged in a type of inflorescence called a raceme. As such, A. arborescens has a long history of cultivation and has adapted to different habitats around the world.

Aloe arborescens is an attractive perennial succulent, growing in a sprawling pattern of rosettes situated at the end of branches. Thick, elongated, and fleshy, the leaves of A. arborescens are blue-green with small spikes along the edges. Their natural patterns beautifully decorate the area where planted.

When stopping into RBG Centre, drop by Mediterranean Garden to discover Aloe arborescens.

Euphorbia pulcherrima - Poinsettia

Euphorbia pulcherrima, commonly known as Poinsettia, is the most widely grown of all shrubby plants in the genus Euphorbia, belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae (Spurge family). The common English name ‘poinsettia’ was chosen by Historian and Gardener William H. Prescott in the mid-nineteenth century to recognize Joel Roberts Poinsett, botanist, physician and the first United States Ambassador to Mexico.

Species pulcherrima is known to grow wild in mountainous areas of the Pacific slope of Mexico, however, the native range extends from tropical and sub-tropical Southern Mexico to Central America. Euphorbia pulcherrima is displayed in numerous celebrations during the holiday season – including Dia de le Virgen (Virgin’s Day) in Mexico, and National Poinsettia Day in the United States.

The brightly coloured portions of Euphorbia pulcherrima are known as bracts, or modified leaves surrounding the tiny yellow flowers, or cyathia that are in the centre of the bracts. Cultivated varieties offer a wide range of colours and shapes, including pink, creamy white, yellow, burgundy, and include marbled, mottled or even wavy bracts.