The pawpaw is one of the more exotic looking trees native to this region. This understory tree was once common across our landscape but years of clearcutting have all but removed it from its natural setting. It is prized for a combination of traits that give it all-season interest. In May, it displays showy, deep reddish-purple flowers that give rise to large, custard-like edible fruits by the end of summer. It is in its full glory in fall as the green leaves change to bright yellow.
Grown in moist, well-drained, fertile soil, the pawpaw spreads to form a grove. It has soft wood and needs protection from the wind, making it an excellent choice as a woodland edge tree. Planting these trees in full sun will enhance their fall color and allow for greater fruit production.
The pinxterbloom azalea is a native, deciduous azalea that occurs naturally here at the Arboretum. These shrubs spread via underground stems and can grow to be 8-10 feet tall. They are extremely adaptable, growing in partial to full shade and in a variety of soil conditions from dry, sandy soils to moist stream banks. The pinxterbloom is most attractive in the spring, when it is adorned with trusses of 6-12 narrow, fragrant, white to pink flowers.
To see the Arboretum’s collection of pinxterbloom azaleas, follow the Woodland Walk in early May when they are at their peak.
Tiarella is a spectacular native plant that gets its common name from the white, foamy-looking flowers. It is an easily grown perennial that can be used as a ground cover in somewhat shaded areas.
This hardy plant has something to offer all year round. In late April it exhibits dense, white, feathery spires that give it a lace-like appearance. The handsome “maple-leaf” foliage is attractive all summer long, sometimes turning red in autumn. Depending on the variety, the summer foliage can vary from solid, deep green to variegated with dark red markings. There are also different varieties selected for their growth habit with some being “runners” and others being “clumpers.” Foam flower is perfect for mixing with lower-growing woodland flowers in moist soil.