Hermaphrodite Conifer Cones at Arnold Arboretum — Are Not to Be Missed

Botany rule # 17: all conifer cones, for the last 300 million years (give or take) are unisexual. Each cone either produces pollen (male function through sperm) or seeds (female function through eggs). For well over a century, plant morphologists (members of a rarified discipline that focuses on the principles of plant form and was inaugurated by none other than Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) have known of conifer tree weirdos that can produce strange looking bisexual or hermaphrodite cones in addition to normal pollen-producing cones and seed-producing cones. While no one knows why this happens, it is rare and definitely something to see when the opportunity arises. [Week of April 29] at the Arboretum, one of our Lijiang spruces, Picea likiangensis (243-92*C) has broken bud, revealing hundreds of hermaphrodite cones right at eye level – and easily found at the south end of Conifer Path near Walter Street Gate.


Arnold Arboretum Welcomes Jessica Pederson as Head of Public Programs

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University recently announced that Jessica Pederson will be its new Head of Public Programs.

Pederson will lead a team of dedicated staff and volunteers to engage millions of Arboretum visitors both online and in person through creative events, programs, and public initiatives. As Head of Public Programs, Pederson will coordinate programming activities with partners in the city of Boston, Harvard University, and other civic and neighborhood organizations to advance the Arboretum’s commitment to equity and inclusion and promote its role as a community resource for education. Pederson marshals nearly two decades of experience in leadership at similar organizations including the Native Plant Trust, the Esplanade Association, and most recently the New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill. She also previously worked at the Arnold Arboretum as a Hunnewell Summer Intern at the Dana Greenhouses and as Visitor Education Assistant. “I am thrilled to return to the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, where my love for public horticulture and environmental education first took root,” said Pederson.


Check Out ‘Artists Redux’ Painting Exhibit at Arnold Arboretum

You still have time to see the an art show at the Arnold Arboretum featuring two Jamaica Plain painters. "Artists Redux" is an exhibit at the Arnold Arboretum’s Hunnewell Building Gallery in the Visitors Center through March 13 featuring work by JP painters Ginny Zanger and Lizi Brown. The Hunnewell Building is open every day 10 am to 4 pm


Pining for Beautiful Bark in the Arnold Arboretum

Looking for something unusual and eye-catching in the winter landscape? A hidden gem you might not be familiar with is Pinus bungeana, known commonly as lacebark pine. The bark of the species offers quite a vivid display—mottled and multi-colored, its hues graduate from white to gray, yellow, green, purple, and orange. As a bonus, the bark peels off in amorphous shapes, revealing more yellow bark beneath the surface which changes color by exposure to light. Flakes or plates of bark fall onto the ground beneath the tree like puzzle pieces, exposing new layers.


5 Proposed Design Concepts To Be Revealed During Arnold Arboretum Entrance Improvement Meeting on Jan. 21

The Arnold Arboretum will display five proposed concepts for its entrance improvement project at a Jan. 21 meeting. The Arnold Arboretum is hosting an open house for the project on Jan. 21 from noon to 3 pm at the Weld Hill Research Building (1300 Centre St., Roslindale). Landscape design firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates will be present to discuss the project, and the five proposed concepts for five entrances, and provide feedback on the designs.


Bird Bills, Tree Mob, Family Hike, Barking Up The Right Tree: January Arnold Arboretum Events

January may be cold, but there's lots of action at the Arnold Arboretum this month. Check out this list of events:
Winter Wellness Walk -- Sunday, Jan. 8, 1-2 pm
Stay connected to nature and enjoy the health benefits of a winter walk at the Arnold Arboretum. Docents will cover seasonal interest, Arboretum history, and plant collections. After the tour, warm up with a hot drink and further conversation with the docent and Arboretum Visitor Staff.


Ice Flowers at the Arnold Arboretum

“Ice flowers?” Never heard of them. That is, until last Tuesday, when the buzz at the Arboretum was all about the ice flowers on Isodon henryi (593-2010*A; 鄂西香茶菜), a Chinese perennial herbaceous plant in the mint family. Needless to say, I was there first thing the next morning! And this is what I saw. Word on the street is that you need air temperatures below freezing and soil temperatures above freezing.


Vouching For What We Grow at the Arnold Arboretum

This article was written by Devika Jaikumar

Carefully unfolding sheets of newspaper, I reveal tissue-thin dried blossoms of pressed lilac flowers, the rich purples and blues of their inflorescences faded to soft pastels. Despite the rigorous preservation process they have undergone, the powerful aroma of lilacs still permeates the air. The scent takes me back to the weeks leading up to the Arnold Arboretum’s annual celebration of Lilac Sunday, when I spent days collecting flower specimens while enveloped in their perfume. Pressing plants for preservation—a leaf with bright fall color folded in a wallet, a flower from a gifted bouquet pressed in a heavy book—is a tradition as old as time. By the 1500s, the word “herbarium” was adopted to refer to a scientific collection of pressed plant cuttings mounted onto paper.