Sunday, May 2, 2010

Blue Star

Amsonia

A family of excellent, long lived hardy landscape perennials native to the eastern U.S., that should be much more widely used in the landscape. Mature plants can be sheared back to 6 inches above ground after flowering to promote compact growth. All have attractive yellow fall foliage color. Amsonias are very easy to grow and not generally eaten by deer, rabbits or insects. Disease problems are nearly nonexistent other than rust which is rare.
Propagation is from seed or division while dormant. Seed should be soaked overnight before sowing.

* photo taken on April 11 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum

* photos taken on May 1 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum


Amsonia 'Blue Ice' ( Blue Ice Amsonia )

Very vigorous in habit, reaching up to 2 x 5 feet; it is denser in habit as well as longer and heavier blooming than other Amsonias. It is thought to be a hybrid between Amsonia montana & A. tabernaemontana. A great plant for edging and it's spread can be easily restricted.
The narrow deep green foliage turns to an attractive golden yellow in autumn.
The showy, lavender-blue flowers, up to 0.7 inches across, are borne late spring into early summer. The blooming season typically last around 5 weeks.
Hardy zones 4 to 9 in full sun or partial shade. Drought tolerant.

* photos taken on May 1 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum








* photos taken on May 16 2010 @ Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore, MD






* photo taken on 4th of July 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photos taken on May 17 2012 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Oct 22 2012 in Harford Co., MD

* photo taken on Oct 28 2012 in Harford Co., MD

* photo taken on May 21 2014 in Harford Co., MD

* photos taken on May 20 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on May 20 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on July 9 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on May 20 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Nov 9 2016 in Annapolis, MD

* photo taken on May 4 2017 in Ellicott City, MD

* photos taken on May 18 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on May 19 2017 in Ellicott City, MD


Amsonia ciliata ( Downy Blue Star )
Also called Fringed Bluestar. A perennial, reaching up to 5 x 4 ( rarely over 3 ) feet, that is native from Alabama to North Carolina; south to Florida. There is also a separate population from Oklahoma to southern Missouri; south to central Texas and Arkansas.
The very attractive foliage resembles A. hubrichtii and is glossy deep green in color turning to golden-yellow in autumn.
The flowers, up to 0.6 inch each are white to bright blue. They are borne on clusters up to 3 x 3 inches in size, during early summer.
Hardy north to zone 4. Resistant to heat, drought, flood, urban conditions, insects and salt.

* photo taken on 4th of July 2010 in Washington, D.C.


* photos taken by Mark A. Garland @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database


* photo taken by Clarence A. Rechenthin @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* historic archive photo


Amsonia elliptica ( Chinese Amsonia )
A perennial, reaching up to 2.5 x 2.5 feet in size, that is native to alluvial meadows in Anhui Province in China and also in Japan where it is endangered. It is very similar to Amsonia tabernaemontana but more upright.
The lance-shaped leaves are up to 4 x 0.8 inches in size. The glossy mid-green foliage turns intense golden-yellow to orange during autumn.
The bright blue flowers, up to 0.8 inches wide, are borne late spring into early summer.
Hardy zones 5 to 8 in full sun to partial shade.

Amsonia hubrichtii ( Arkansas Blue Star )

A perennial native to the south central U.S. ( Ouachita Mountains of Oklahoma and Arkansas ) that forms an upright bushy clump up to 5 x 6.5 ( rarely over 4 however reports of 6 exist ) feet. Extremely rare in the wild, this plant was discovered as recently as 1942. It looks great combined with ornamental grasses, Itea, along a woodland edge or next to water. Looks awesome in front of deep burgundy red foliage plants or large deep green color evergreens when planted in groups. Somewhat slow to establish however very vigorous once it finally does settle in.
The very narrow linear leaves are up to 3 inches in length. The foliage is very glossy, luxuriant deep green, turning to intense golden-yellow during autumn.
It bears abundant heads of blue, star like flowers during late spring into early summer.
Hardy zones 3 to 9 in full sun to partial shade on well drained soil. Can be cut back after flowering for denser neater habit. Very low maintenance, heat and drought tolerant and is not generally eaten by deer, rabbits or insects.

* photos taken on May 15 2013 in Ellicott City, MD

* photos taken on May 5 2010 in Columbia, MD




* photos taken on May 6 2010 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD




* photo taken on May 16 2011 in Washington, D.C.


* photo taken on Aug 21 2011 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photos taken on Aug 25 2011 @ Scott Arboretum, Swarthmore College, PA





* photos taken on May 21 2014 in Harford Co., MD

* photos taken on Aug 15 2014 @ Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD

* photos taken on May 9 2015 in Ellicott City, MD

* photo taken on May 4 2017 in Ellicott City, MD

* photo taken on May 19 2017 in Ellicott City, MD


'Alba'
White flowers; otherwise identical to species.


* photo taken on May 16 2011 in Washington, D.C.

* photos taken on June 9 2012 in Ellicott City, MD
* photo taken on Oct 28 2012 in Ellicott City, MD

* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on May 20 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Oct 22 2014 in Edgewater, MD

* photos taken on May 28 2017 in Ellicott City, MD



Amsonia illustris ( Ozark Bluestar )
A clump forming perennial, reaching a maximum size of 4+ x 5 feet, that is native to wet soils from eastern Kansas and southern Missouri; south to Texas.
The narrow, lance-shaped leaves, up to 5 inches in length, are very glossy, deep green.
The bright blue flowers are borne on clusters up to 3 x 3 inches in size, during early to mid summer.
Hardy zones 3 to 9 in full sun to partial shade. Clay tolerant and pest free.

* photo taken on May 16 2011 in Washington, D.C.


Amsonia jonesii ( Jones Bluestar )
A slow growing but very long-lived, attractive, erect, vase-shaped perennial, reaching a maximum size of 4 ( rarely over 3 ) feet, that is native to the southwestern U.S. ( Utah to Colorado; south to Arizona to New Mexico ).
A well grown mature plant can have up to 300 stems.
The fine-textured, lance-shaped leaves, up to 4 x 0.25 inches, turn intense yellow during autumn.
The pale blue, long, tubular flowers are borne in large clusters.
Hardy zones 4 to 8 in full sun on just about any well drained soil including clay.
Drought tolerant.

Amsonia kearneyana ( Kearney's Bluestar )
A highly endangered perennial, reaching a maximum size of 3 x 6.5 feet, with up to 50 hairy stems. This thick rooted plant is native to the floodplains of the Baboquivari Mountains in Pima County, Arizona with another population just to the south in Sonora Mexico.
The lance-shaped leaves are up to 4 x 0.8 inches, are luxuriant mid-green.
The white flowers, up to 0.8 inches in length, are borne in rounded terminal inflorescences.
They are followed by a follicle, up to 4 inches in length.

Amsonia ludoviciana ( Louisiana Bluestar )
An upright bushy perennial, reaching up to 3.5 x 3 feet in size, that is native to pine flatlands and open bottomland forests in the southeastern U.S. ( from northern Louisiana to central Mississippi to central Georgia ). It is now extinct in Mississippi and does not currently occur in eastern Texas or Alabama thought likely did before the wholesale destruction of Longleaf Pine flatlands through much of the Deep South. It is globally endangered.
The elliptical leaves resemble that of Amsonia tabernaemontana but are mid-green with a white midrib above; downy white beneath.
The mid-blue flowers are borne on showy clusters during late spring.
Hardy zones 6 to 9 in full sun to partial shade on sandy, well drained soil. It is extremely heat and drought tolerant.

Amsonia montana ( Short Stack Amsonia )
Also called Amsonia tabernaemontana 'Montana' and it most likely is nothing more than a compact form of A. tabernaemontana. Herbaceous bushes reaching up to 28 inches x 3 feet. It is very similar to Amsonia tabernaemontana but much more compact.
The bright blue flowers are up to 0.6 inches across. The flowers are borne above the glossy deep green foliage during late spring to early summer.
Hardy zones 3 to 9 in sun or partial shade. It is more prone to chlorosis on alkaline soil than other Amsonias.

* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on Aug 2 2013 in Stratford, Ontario

* photo taken on Apr 17 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC


Amsonia orientalis ( Oriental Blue Star )

Sometimes called Rhazya orientalis; it is the Asian counterpart to the North American Amsonias. It is native to floodplains in northeast Greece and Turkey. It is endangered with extinction in the wild. Oriental Blue Star has a very long-lived, woody rootstock and becomes a bushy perennial, reaching up to 4 x 7 feet in size.
The leaves, up to 4.5 inches in length, are gray-green.
The bright blue flowers, up to 0.5 inches wide, are borne during early summer.
Hardy zones 5 to 7 in full sun.

* photos taken on May 1 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.




* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on Apr 24 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC


Amsonia peeblesii ( Peeble's Bluestar )
A bushy perennial, reaching up to 3 x 5 feet, that is native to grasslands in north central Arizona.
The leaves, up to 3 x 0.4 inches in size, are deep green, turning to golden-yellow during autumn.
The white to pale blue flowers, up to 0.6 inches in length, are borne on terminal clusters during late spring into early summer.
Hardy zones 7 to 8 ( est ) in full sun on very well drained soil. It is extremely drought tolerant but does not tolerate the humid summers of the eastern U.S.

Amsonia rigida ( Stiff Bluestar )
Also called Marsh Bluestar. A dense, stiffly upright perennial, reaching up to 3.3 x 3 feet in size, that is native to open bottomland woodland in the southeastern U.S. ( from Louisiana to central Mississippi to central Georgia; south to the Gulf Coast and northwest & far northern Florida ). It likely once existed in eastern Texas where it is not currently found in the wild. A single plant may have up to 50 or more stems.
The narrow, lance-shaped leaves are glossy deep green.
The foliage contrasts nicely with the reddish-brown stems.
The very pale blue flowers are borne on large open clusters during mid to late spring. Hardy zones 6 to 9 in full sun to partial shade on moist but well drained soil.

Amsonia 'Seaford Skies'
The very attractive hybrid between Amsonia hubrechtii & A. tabernaemontana, that originated in a Virginia garden. It can reach up to 3 x 5 feet, with luxuriant green, narrow, willowy foliage that turns intense golden-yellow during autumn.
The deep blue, starry flowers are borne in pyramidal terminal panicles up to 3 inches across.
Hardy zones 5 to 9 in full sun to partial shade. Drought tolerant. Cutting stems to within 8 inches of the ground results in fuller growth.

* photos taken on May 16 2011 in Washington, D.C.



Amsonia tabernaemontana ( Blue Star )
A perennial, reaching a maximum size of 4.5 x 4.5 feet, that is native to moist forests and bottomlands in the southeastern U.S. ( from southeast Kansas to central Illinois to Massachusetts; south to eastern Texas to northern Florida ).
The lance-shaped leaves, up to 6 x 2.3 inches in size, are luxuriant green.
The bright blue flowers, up to 1 inch, are borne late spring into early summer.
Hardy zones 3 to 9 in full sun to partial shade on deep moist soil. Tolerant of flooding.

* photos taken on May 6 2010 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD



* photos taken on July 17 2010 @ Morris Arboretum, Philly, PA



* photo taken on May 16 2011 in Washington, D.C.


* photos taken on July 31 2011 in Hyde Park, NY






* photo taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photos taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

* photo taken by Clarence A. Rechenthin @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* historic archive photos


'Fontana'
Reaches up to 4 x 5 feet in size, it is nearly identical to the species except somewhat darker blue flowers contrasting with deep purple stems.

'Salicifolia'
A willow leaf form reaching up to 5.5 x 5 ( rarely over 4 ) feet in size.
The leaves are long and narrow, up to 8 inches in length. The foliage constrasts nicely with the dark stems and turns to glowing orange-yellow during autumn.
The blue starry flowers up to 0.7 inches across are borne in loose clusters up to 5 x 3 inches in size.

* photos taken on May 1 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum


* photo taken on 4th of July 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


* photos taken on October 17 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


* photo taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA


'Storm Cloud'
Foliage is purplish-black at first during spring, turning to deep green with silver veins. The stems remain purplish-black throughout spring. It is otherwise similar to the species.

* photos taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA


Amsonia tomentosa ( Gray Amsonia )
Also called Woolly Amsonia. A many stemmed, short woody plant, reaching up to 2 x 2 feet, that is native to the southwestern U.S. ( from Utah to Colorado; south into Mexico ).
The narrowly-oval leaves, up to 1.5 inches in length, are woolly bright bluish-gray ( a smooth green leaf form also occurs ).
The star-shaped flowers, up to 1 inch long, are white with a slight blue tint. They are borne during early spring.
Hardy zones 8 to 9

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