Monday, October 18, 2010

Meliosma

Generally easy to grow in suitable climates and lasting over a hundred years.
The handsome foliage is pest and disease free and remains lush green into autumn.
Propagation is from seed or layers. Seed tends to be sparse on isolated trees.
Its worldwide range was once much larger including central Asia, Europe and North America before getting pushed back considerably by Ice Ages over the past few million years.
These trees are extremely rate in North America though may become far more popular in the future. There is very little info on these trees online and hopeful more trials are done with them in the future, especially in regards to urban, salt tolerance as well as adverse conditions. I also thank world famous horticulturalist Barry Yinger of Pennsylvania for his info on hardiness originating from his own personal trials of some of the species listed below - several species turned out to be much hardier than generally listed on horticulture textbooks. Seed source may also affect hardiness of the Meliosma's in the same way as Cercis - Redbud from Florida and Ontario are essentially the same tree but not with the same climatic needs. If you live in the eastern U.S., Pacific Northwest or England ask your local landscaper for one of these.

Meliosma beanii
A very imposing tree native to central China reaching around 60 feet. Some records include: largest on record - 80 x 80 feet with a trunk diameter of 4 feet.
The pinnate leaves up to 12 inches in length are composed of up to 13 leaflets up to 6 x 2.5 inches.

Meliosma cuneiifolia
A medium size deciduous tree reaching a maximum height of 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 20 inches. It is a widespread native of southwestern and central China.
The NON pinnate, deeply-veined, elliptic leaves are up to 5 x 1.6 to rarely 10 x 3 inches. The foliage is glossy mid-green above and downy beneath.
The fragrant, white flowers are borne on upright clusters, up to 12 x 12 inches in size, during early summer.
They are followed by small black fruits.
The bark is blackish-brown.
Hardy zones 7 to 9 preferring full sun with some mid afternoon shading to partial shade on fertile, acidic to neutral well drained soil. Use seed source from Gansu Province in colder climates.

* photos taken on Mar 23 2011 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD


* photos taken on Aug 20 2011 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD




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







Meliosma myriantha
A deciduous, medium-sized tree reaching around 20 feet that is native to Japan. Some records include: largest on record - 66 x 30 feet.
The NON pinnate, toothed, oblong leaves are up to 10 x 3 or rarely 12 x 5 inches in size. The foliage is glossy mid-green above, bluish-white beneath.
The erect, yellowish-white flower clusters are up to 10 inches in length. They appear early to mid summer.
The branches are brown and the bark is smooth gray-brown to purplish-gray.
Hardy north to zone 7 but young trees should be protected from winter winds and late freezes. Established trees may survive temperatures as low as -12 F however with dieback of branches - however should also recover from that during following summer. Seed source from Shaanxi Province should be used in the colder regions.

* excellent photo links
http://natural-history.main.jp/Tree_of_life/Eukaryote/Plantae/Land_plants/Awabuki/IMG_4647.JPG
http://www.botanic.jp/plants-aa/awabuk_5.jpg
http://pds.exblog.jp/pds/1/201106/23/60/f0165160_2016310.jpg
http://kazuo-manyo.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/images/2011/06/02/meliosma_myriantha2.jpg

Meliosma oldhamii ( Oldham Worm-head Tree )
Also called Meliosma pinnata subsp. oldhamii. A handsome impressive deciduous tree, reaching up to 80 feet, that is native to southeastern China, southern Korea & Japan. Some records include: largest on record - 133 x 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 feet. Upright in youth, this tree later develops a spreading canopy. Reported to be slow growing in the Pacific Northwest, it is likely much faster growing in climates with hot humid summers as in the Mid Atlantic and Deep South U.S. where it has not yet been widely tested.
The pinnate leaves up to 20 inches in length are composed of 7 to 15 coarsely toothed Walnut-like, often drooping, broad leaflets up to 7 x 1.6 inches. The foliage appears early in spring.
The fragrant, very small flowers are borne in large erect panicles up to 12 inches long in late spring when the foliage is almost fully developed.
The flowers are followed by round berries up to 0.2 inches across.
The branching is coarse and stiff resembling the Gymnocladus.
Hardy north to zone 6, established trees may survive temperatures as low as -28 F however with dieback of branches - however should also recover from that during following summer. Problems with this tree and hardiness in England are more to do with late spring frost and cool summers rather than winter cold. Due to this trees expansive range in the wild, only seed source from parts of its range where winters freezes occur should be used in the U.S. and Great Britain.

* excellent photo links
http://www.asianflora.com/Sabiaceae/Meliosma-oldhamii-3.jpg
http://static.aujardin.info/cache/th/img10/meliosma-pinnata-var-oldhamii-540x405.jpg
http://www.asianflora.com/Sabiaceae/Meliosma-oldhamii-1.jpg

Meliosma parviflora ( Small Flowered Meliosma )
A small deciduous tree reaching around 25 feet that is native to central China. Some records include: largest on record - 33 feet.
The NON pinnate obovate leaves, up to 4.3 x 3 inches are deep green above.
The flowers are borne in terminal panicles, up to 12 x 8 inches in size, during summer.
The bark is smooth and gray.
Hardy zones 7 to 9 in hot summer climates though not known to be planted north to North Carolina.

* excellent photo link
http://www.asianflora.com/Sabiaceae/Meliosma-parviflora.htm

Meliosma rigida
A medium-sized, evergreen tree, typically reaching around 23 feet, that is native to southeastern China, southern Japan, Vietnam, Laos & Philippines.
The sparsely toothed, oblanceolate leaves are up to 10 x 1.8 inches in size. The leathery foliage is glossy mid-green. The leaves are clustered at the stem tips.
The white flowers are borne on terminal panicles during early summer.
They are followed by black berries, up to 0.4 inches wide, during early to late autumn.
The smooth bark is gray.
Hardy zones 8 to 10.

Meliosma simplicifolia
A fast growing medium size evergreen tree, reaching a maximum height of 66 feet with a trunk diameter of 10 inches. It is native to the Himalayas ( from northwest Pakistan to Tibet to Yunnan Province in China; south to India, Sri Lanka to Burma ).
The large elliptical or obovate leaves are up to 20 x 6.5 inches in size. The leathery foliage is coppery at first, turning to glossy deep green. The leaves are usually clustered at the stem tips.
The white flower clusters, up to 24 inches in length, are borne during late spring into early summer. They are followed by black berries, up to 0.3 inches wide.
Hardy north to zone 10. In England sizeable trees ( around 35 feet ) are only known to grow in Cornwall.

* excellent photo links
http://www.biotik.org/laos/species/m/melsi/melsi_en.html
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/37/Meliosma_simplicifolia_33.JPG

Meliosma tenuis
A deciduous, small tree, reaching a maximum height of 20 feet, that is native to Japan.
The attractive elliptical to obovate leaves, up to 5 x 2.5 inches in size, somewhat resemble that of the Zelkova but deeper-toothed. The foliage is glossy deep green.
The pale yellowish-green flowers are borne on panicles up to 6 inches long, during late spring into early summer.
They are followed by blackish-purple berries up to 0.2 inches wide.
The smooth bark is purplish-brown.
Hardy zones 5 to 9, tolerating both temperatures as low as -28 F without damage as well as hot humid summers. This is the hardiest of all Meliosma and should be trialed in the midwest for suitablity for urban plantings.

* excellent photo link
http://www.botanic.jp/plants-ma/mihaha.htm
http://pds.exblog.jp/pds/1/200806/02/60/f0165160_584375.jpg

Meliosma veitchiana ( Veitch Meliosma )
A bold striking large deciduous tree native to central and western China reaching around 80 feet or sometimes much more. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 13 feet; largest on record - 170 x 30 feet with a trunk diameter of 2.6 feet; largest in England - 50 feet in Sussex ( prefers hot summers ).
The large tropical looking pinnate compound leaves up to 40 inches in length are composed of 9 to 11 broad red stemmed leaflets up to 8 x 3.5 inches in length. The terminal leaflet is usually the largest.
The tiny fragrant flowers are borne in large clusters up to 18 x 12 inches.
The fruit stalks are pendulous.
Very coarsely branched with large buds, it looks somewhat like the Kentucky Coffee Tree in winter.
Hardy zones 6 to 9, this species unlike the others has a preference for hot humid summers and grows well in the Mid Atlantic region of the U.S. It has not been fully tested in the U.S. however it does grow in Washington D.C. and I suspect further north into Pennsylvania ( except for mountain valleys and peaks ) and New Jersey where hot summers harden it for winter.
It does not leaf out as early as some other species such as M. oldhamii and is therefor less prone to damage from late spring frosts. Very easy to grow however requires full sun ( which the National Arboretum tree below does not have ) and deep, moist soil.

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



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