Even if it's barking, it ain't always a dog...

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Wee busts out of the late winter snowstorm to sprint across the finish line.

Yes, the inimitable India Quassiawood - Picrasma ailanthoides (formerly Picrasma quassioides as I learned it) - which is a relative in Simaroubaceae of Tree of Heaven.

You would never forget learning this plant after hearing Don Shadow pronounce it and speak at length about it in his unmistakeable Tennessee drawl.

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Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

pik-rass-ma kwash-ee-OY-deez
Never heard of it. Does it have those red stems like this picture.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Although I do have a fine Picrasma in my yard, I confess to knowing not much more about the genus than anyone else. But I can state that my fine fellow has no red stems. Of course, he's only about 6ft tall with a trunk caliper about pencil thick. Might be a century or two before he has the stature of the specimen shown by VV above. Unless of course he shares the growth rate of his evil cousin Ailanthus, in which case my guy will be studly by next season at the latest!

(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

Good job on the ID Wee! I had a difficult time believing VV when he said that I'd probably never have spoke/written the genus.

I didn't want to believe him.
Sadly, he was right, I know nothing about Picrasma ailanthoides.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Like VV said, I knew it as Picrasma quassioides -
Loved the name. Still do. A certain musical ring to it.
As soon as I heard it was renamed P ailanthoides, my enthusiasm waned.
How can you ever love anything named ailanthoides?
I mean, really?

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Say it raht...

Pah-CRAZZ-ma kwa-SEE-OY-deez - to y'all south of the Mason Dixon line.

(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

Geesh, that was helpful...why didn't I think of asking for the proper pronunciation before?

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

I'm deleting this message because it posted out of order???

This message was edited Mar 2, 2016 9:48 PM

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Uh oh - I see correct dates/times on these posts, and listed in the right order...

(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

Okay Loretta, post that message, I've been waiting a week to hear what you had to say...

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

And let's make it topical...

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

I forgot what I was going to say...

(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

Imagine my surprise ;)

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Well, then let's bring this full circle, and get back to examples of great bark.

Here are some examples of what Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava) grows up to be...

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Loretta, you didn't buy it because an alarm went off in your head.

Prunus serrulata suffers terribly from viruses. Kwansan is the worst. Michael Dirr writes about this, but when I saw one in a nursery my significant other had to have it. I told him about the virus issue, and told him the tree probably had only 15 years, and guessing by the age of this one, it was about 7 years of age.

It was really lovely. I treated it every year for viruses and cosseted it with a great location and appropriate watering, but it was undoubtedly virused when I got it. The decline began when we lost branches. I knew the end was near in the last spring, when that puppy produces a particularly spectacular flowering - a sure sign that the end is near - the plant is trying to propagate itself so that it has offspring that survive.

I replaced it with a prunus yedoensis. The cherry in the tidal basin area of Washington, D.C. A truly wonderful tree that is amazingly trouble free. The bark is nice, too. I highly recommend it.

Weird! When I posted this Loretta's musing about why she didn't buy this tree was just above. Now I can't find it!!!!!

This message was edited Mar 8, 2016 9:26 PM

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Ha! Now that I have found this thread (VV, that's why it was so quiet - it was undiscovered by some of us who drool over cool bark...) I can enjoy!

And acer griseum. Ah...VV sang its praises earlier. I had a single stem and now a multistem. One of the really cool things about this tree is that the bark exfoliates from a very young age. It's a pricey puppy, though...

(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

I don't know why but I just had to take another stroll around these fine threads again, and look at the bark again,. I like them all, but really want the Prunus serrulata, even if our time together is short and sweet. Although armed with new information, I just have to get it treated before the virus does.

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

Donna, thanks for the heads up. It is good to know. I'm with Robin, though. What actually stops me is a lack of room and the lack of heart to edit what I have already.
VV, that is a beautiful Buckeye but I can't say that I would be able to differentiate it from other trees in the winter. In general I can't say if I ever see buckeyes outside an arboretum and the ones I notice are shrubs. I'm going to challenge myself to find some in the wild this summer.

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

OK how about Pinus densiflora 'Umbraculifera'
These grow at NYBG taken a few years ago.

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Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

And a repeat on Pinus bungeana since I'm in the same folder, also at NYBG.

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Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

I'm sure I've posted this before, but here's my P densiflora Umbriculifera. MoBot has some beauties in their Japanese garden, much more mature than my guy. Mine is just now getting too tall for me to candle prune, so not super studly yet. But his bark character is already developing.

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(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

Shoot, I'm so drooling right now...

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

That is beautiful! I use to grow pinus densiflora 'oculus draconis' but it didn't make it through that first hard winter we had 2 years ago.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Super studly? LOL!

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Ooooh. I love the barking here.
I planted a regular P. densiflora a few years ago. I am looking out the window at it now, the bark is starting to get that orangey tone!
I am trying to get my sister to plant a P. bungeana at her new house.

(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

I think your sister should definitely plant a P. bungeana, that's such a beauty, and I love it.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Excellent, excellent, all.

Loretta, that second image of the Lacebark Pine is exquisite, especiallly the lighting. I wish the label could be photoshopped out.

No one should apologize for their postings, repeats or not. Showing the range of these lovely plants is just what we are all here for, along with the concomitant discussion of their merits.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

OK if VV decrees repostings a virtue then here's another one of my favorite overlooked barking trees, pseudocydonia sinensis (#1).

And a picture (#2) of a stewartia pseudocamellia in protective garb against deer rubbing. Actually this is a considerably old picture as I have upgraded the protection since the flimsy ones in the picture didn't work at all. I now have my guys protected with Humvee armor. But of course the reason I'm not posting the newer picture is because you can't see the tree - it's a fortress.

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(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

Quote from Weerobin :
But of course the reason I'm not posting the newer picture is because you can't see the tree - it's a fortress.

Lol, that was a good executive decision...unless you're promoting the latest tree outerwear that's barking down the catwalk.

If you've got an extra car, just wrap that around the tree.

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

Chinese Quince is a new one to me! That is very pretty!
Thank you, VV. Getting better at Photoshop is one of those things on my Bucket List that I never seem to get to.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Hey VV, just to let you know, I'm getting two more viburnums from Gary Ladman. That will make a nice number in a couple of years. I'm getting a couple of opulus compactums. Wow, do you know how hard those are to find? Even Gary only had three two years ago, and an evil person beat me to them. I was tempted to track them down.

I have two carlesi compactums he and Sue hybridized, ('The Blues 2' and 'Susie') a prunifolium 'Forest Rouge', a Sargenti 'Chiquita', two trilobums, a dentatum 'Chicago Lustre'. Now these. I also have four plicatum tomentosum 'Pink Beauty' plants I got from Plant and Gnome. I have some big suckers that I was going to take out and plant roses, but nah, it's gonna be viburnums. I am paying a fraction of what I was paying in 1998. And he ships them, THEN sends you an invoice, and then follows. up. Hey, it's not like I'm buying 50 or 100 plants, but he treats you as though you were.

I never would really have known about he and Sue if it hadn't been for you. Yeah, Dirr mentions them but not in a way that got my attention

As Gary says, he who dies with the most viburnums wins. That won't be me, but I'll do my best.

The really great part is the correspondence he and I exchange. I feel honored. What a guy.

VV, thank you, thank you, thank you! (This is probably embarrassing to you that I am doing this in public but when you do great things this is the price you pay!)


Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

You can embarrass me all you want - growing Viburnums well is the whole point.

By my count, you now have 10 or so taxa in the Viburnum clan. Last time I checked, I was up over 125 here at the Valley.

Seems you need to get up from your Laurus nobilis and dig some holes...

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

All that adulation runs afoul of the alleged assignment here: BARK!

Rolling along - who has a Fragrant Snowbell in their collection? Styrax obassia is a smooth operator with age, but its young twigs provide a distinct and reliable ID key no matter where you run across this garden gem.

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Yeah, I have to get with the program. But hey! I am a member of Raulston arboretum and I get six plants because of my membership level. And one of the ones I picked was:

Styrax calvescens
smooth 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.

It's on the way.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

I've planted several styrax species but only a few are hardy here. I have a full size S japonica which puts on an awesome spring floral show, but frankly haven't seen anything remarkable about the bark. My S obassia is 15yrs old but has been hindered by worsening overhead shade, never blooms very robustly - again nothing very notable about his trunk; haven't noticed it's young twigs but I'll definitely try to be more attentive. S americana flowers pretty well for me in understory situation. S formosana, S confusus and S hemsleyana lived several years, then none of them survived the harsh winter of a few years ago. I've never tried S calvescens - hope you're planning to overwinter in garage since I see it listed as z7-8. Hope you'll post pictures of it in bloom - it would be interesting to compare with others.
#1 Styrax confuses - cute 'court jester' flowers
#2 S wilsonii
#3 S formosana
#4 S japonica - nice big tree all budded up. Incredibly dense buds.
#5 S japonica in flower
Sorry no bark pix. Once it stops sprinkling I'll go out and check my S obassia's young twigs...

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Oh, Wee, thank you for the pictures. I have never actually seen them, since people do not grow them here. They are really lovely. I understand that this one is supposed to be hardy here - i guess I'll see!

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

The hardiness estimate was based on this quote from some guy's PhD thesis. Here's the link. I have no idea how valid the hardiness estimate is. I agree with you that uncertain hardiness is no reason to avoid trying it. You could be richly rewarded.


Here's the quote:

Styrax calvescens is rare in cultivation, more strongly represented in North
American collections than elsewhere. Grimshaw & Bayton (2009) list zone hardiness
to USDA 7-8. One accession of this species at the JC Raulston Arboretum (No
number, located in bed A08 as of 5/26/2012) is approximately 12 in height,
confirming this range. The species is often difficult to propagate from seed due to low
germination rates (Raulston 1991b).

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Donna's gonna kill it.

And I'll respectfully ask everyone to keep their blasted Flower Show to their own threads, thank you very much. Then again, that may be the 2010 Barboursville Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon paired with beef tenderloin talking.

On we go!

Cornelian Cherry is a goofy name for a really handsome dogwood that's native to Europe and near East Asia. I like to think this plant is better named Cherry Dogwood - Cornus mas. It barks pretty well.

**Cornus mas 'Redstone'

**Cornus mas 'Golden Glory'

**Cornus mas 'Golden Glory'

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Hey, it's free. Why not try it? I have some gorgeous abelias that I dig up and bring inside in the winter because they aren't hardy here. Nice of them to have such a small rootball. I'll try anything. I grow a musa in an alcove of my house. When it gets too big I just cut it down. I burlap tender plants in the winter. I have zone 6 roses that I was told not to grow that I have had for years (Zephirine Drouhin, Kathleen Harrop). I have zone 6 grasses that thrive without protection.

I have a bunch of stuff in my garage, which thank goodness is a two and a half. I overwinter hydrangea serrata there. And lilies in pots. It's fun. You only go around once.

I did the research. Some Chinese styrax are zone 6 hardy. I'm an optimist.

(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

The young twigs have peeling bark? That's a nice ID key.
How old is your Cornus mas 'Golden Glory'? Can you ID this bark?

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