Hardy Ornamental Flowering Trees and Shrubs – A




ABELIA CHINENSIS (syn A. rupestris).—The Rock
Abelia China, 1844. This is a neat, twiggy shrub, growing from 2
ft. to 3 ft. high, with slender shoots, and very pleasing, shining
green serrated leaves. The tubular, sweet-scented flowers are
produced in clusters at the ends of the shoots, even the smallest,
and are of a very delicate shade of pink—indeed, almost
white. It makes an excellent wall plant, but by no means refuses to
grow and flower freely without either shelter or protection,
provided a fairly rich and well drained soil is provided. From
August to October is the flowering period of this handsome
deciduous shrub. This is the only really hardy species of the
genus, for though the rosy-purple flowered A. floribunda from
Mexico has stood for several years uninjured in the South of
England, it is not to be relied upon. Both species are readily
propagated from cuttings.

A. TRIFLORA.—Himalayan regions, 1847. A half-hardy and
beautiful species with small lanceolate, entire leaves, and pretty
star-shaped flowers that are white and flushed with pink. The long,
narrow, and hairy calyx-lobes give a light and feathery appearance
to the flowers, which are produced continuously from May to
November. It does best as a wall plant, and several beautiful
examples may be seen in and around London, as also at Exeter, and
in the South of Ireland.


ADENOCARPUS DECORTICANS (syn A. Boissieri).—Spain,
1883. This little known hardy shrub, a native of the Sierra Nevada
mountains, in Spain, is one of great beauty, and well worthy of
extended culture. The flowers are produced abundantly, and are of a
bright yellow colour, resembling those of our common Broom, to
which family it is nearly allied. Peaty soil suits it well, and
repeated trials have clearly proved that it is hardy, at least in
the South of England.


).—California. This is one of the handsomest
species, of low, spreading habit, and blooming freely about

AE. GLABRA (syn Ae. rubicunda).—Red-flowered Horse
Chestnut. North America, 1820. If only for its neat and moderate
growth, and attractive spikes of brightly-coloured flowers, this
species must be considered as one of the handsomest and most
valuable of small growing trees. Being of moderate size, for we
rarely meet with specimens of greater height than 30 feet, and of
very compact habit, it is rendered peculiarly suitable for planting
in confined spots, and where larger growing and more straggling
subjects would be out of place. It withstands soot and smoke well,
and is therefore much valued for suburban planting. The long spikes
of pretty red flowers are usually produced in great abundance, and
as they stand well above the foliage, and are of firm lasting
substance, they have a most pleasing and attractive appearance. As
there are numerous forms of the red-flowered Horse Chestnut,
differing much in the depth of flower colouring, it may be well to
warn planters, for some of these have but a faint tinge of pink
overlying a dirty yellowish-green groundwork, while the finest and
most desirable tree has the flowers of a decided pinky-red. There
is a double-flowered variety Ae. glabra flore-pleno (syn Ae.
rubicunda flore-pleno
) and one of particular merit named Ae.
rubicunda Briotii.

AE. HIPPOCASTANUM.—The Common Horse Chestnut. Asia, 1629.
A fine hardy free-flowering tree, supposed to have been introduced
from Asia, and of which there are several varieties, including a
double-flowered, a variegated, and several lobed and cut-leaved
forms. The tree needs no description, the spikes of pinky-white
flowers, which are produced in great abundance, and ample foliage
rendering it one of, if not the handsomest tree of our
acquaintance. It gives a pleasing shade, and forms an imposing and
picturesque object in the landscape, especially where the
conditions of soil—a rich free loam—are provided. Ae.
Hippocastanum alba flore-pleno (the double white Horse Chestnut),
has a decidedly pyramidal habit of growth, and the flowers, which
are larger than those of the species, are perfectly double. It is a
very distinct and desirable large growing tree. Ae. Hippocastanum
laciniata and Ae. Hippocastanum digitalis are valuable for their
divided leaves; while Ae. Hippocastanum foliis variegatis has the
foliage rather irregularly variegated.

AE. PARVIFLORA (syn Pavia macrostachya).—Buckeye.
North America, 1820. This is very distinct, and possesses feature
which are shared by no other hardy tree or shrub in cultivation.
Rarely exceeding 12 feet in height, and with a spread of often as
much as 20 feet, this shrub forms a perfect hemisphere of foliage,
and which, when tipped with the pretty fragrant flowers, renders it
one of the most effective and handsome. The foliage is large, and
resembles that of the common Horse Chestnut, while the pure white
flowers, with their long projecting stamens and red-tipped anthers,
are very pretty and imposing when at their best in July. It
succeeds well in rich, dampish loam, and as a shrub for standing
alone in any conspicuous position it has, indeed, few equals.

AE. PAVIA (syn Pavia rubra).—Red Buckeye. North
America, 1711. A small growing and slender-branched tree or shrub,
which bears an abundance of brownish-scarlet flowers. There are
several good varieties, two of the best being Ae. Pavia
atrosanguinea, and Ae. Pavia Whittleyana, with small, brilliant red

There are several other species, such as Ae. Pavia humilis
(syn Pavia humilis) of trailing habit; Ae. flava (syn
Pavia flava
) bearing pretty yellow flowers; Ae. Pavia
macrocarpa (syn Pavia macrocarpa) an open-headed and
graceful tree; Ae. flava discolor (syn Pavia discolor); and
Ae. chinensis; but they have not been found very amenable to
cultivation, except in very favoured parts of the South of England
and Ireland.


AILANTHUS GLANDULOSA.—Tree of Heaven. China, 1751. A
handsome, fast-growing tree, with large pinnate leaves that are
often fully three feet long, and terminal erect clusters of not
very showy greenish-white flowers that exhale a rather disagreeable
odour. It is one of the most distinct and imposing of
pinnate-leaved trees, and forms a neat specimen for the lawn or
park. Light loam or a gravelly subsoil suits it well.


AKEBIA QUINATA.—Chinese Akebia. China, 1845. This, with
its peculiarly-formed and curiously-coloured flowers, though
usually treated as a cool greenhouse plant, is yet sufficiently
hardy to grow and flower well in many of the southern and western
English counties, where it has stood uninjured for many years. It
is a pretty twining evergreen, with the leaves placed on long
slender petioles, and palmately divided into usually five leaflets.
The sweet-scented flowers, particularly so in the evening, are of a
purplish-brown or scarlet-purple, and produced in axillary racemes
of from ten to a dozen in each. For covering trellis-work, using as
a wall plant, or to clamber over some loose-growing specimen shrub,
from which a slight protection will also be afforded, the Akebia is
peculiarly suitable, and soon ascends to a height of 10 feet or 12
feet. Any ordinary garden soil suits it, and propagation by
cuttings is readily affected.


AMELANCHIER ALNIFOLIA.—Dwarf June Berry. N.W. America,
1888. This is a shrub of great beauty, growing about 8 feet high,
and a native of the mountains from British America to California.
This differs from A. canadensis in having much larger and more
brilliant-tinted fruit, and in its shorter and more compact flower
racemes. The shape of the leaves cannot be depended on as a point
of recognition, those before me, collected in the native habitat of
the plant, differing to a wide extent in size and shape, some being
coarsely serrated while others are almost entire.

A. CANADENSIS.—June Berry. Canada, 1746. Unquestionably
this is one of the most beautiful and showy of early flowering
trees. During the month of April the profusion of snow-white
flowers, with which even young specimens are mantled, render the
plant conspicuous for a long way off, while in autumn the golden
yellow of the dying-off foliage is quite as remarkable. Being
perfectly hardy, of free growth, and with no particular desire for
certain classes of soils, the June Berry should be widely planted
for ornamental effect. In this country it attains to a height of 40
feet, and bears globose crimson fruit. There are several varieties,
including A. canadensis rotundifolia, A. canadensis oblongifolia,
and A. canadensis oligocarpa, the latter being by some botanists
ranked as a species.

A. VULGARIS.—Common Amelanchier. South of Europe, 1596.
This is the only European species, and grows about 16 feet in
height. It has been in cultivation in this country for nearly 300
years. Generally this species flowers earlier than the American
ones, has rounder and less deeply serrated leaves, but the flowers
are much alike. A. vulgaris cretica, from Crete and Dalmatia, is
readily distinguished by the soft white hairs with which the under
sides of the leaves are thickly covered. To successfully cultivate
the Amelanchiers a good rich soil is a necessity, while shelter
from cutting winds must be afforded if the sheets of flowers are to
be seen in their best form.


AMORPHA CANESCENS.—Lead Plant. Missouri, 1812. This is of
much smaller growth than A. fruticosa, with neat pinnate foliage,
whitened with hoary down, and bearing panicles of bluish-purple
flowers, with conspicuous orange anthers. It is a charming shrub,
and all the more valuable as it flowers at the end of summer, when
few hardy plants are in bloom. To grow it satisfactorily a dry,
sandy soil is a necessity.

A. FRUTICOSA.—False Indigo. Carolina, 1724. This is a fast
growing shrub of fully 6 feet high, of loose, upright habit, and
with pretty pinnate leaves. The flowers are borne in densely packed
spikes, and are of a purplish tint with bright yellow protruding
anthers and produced at the end of summer. It prefers a dry, warm
soil of a sandy or chalky nature, and may readily be increased from
cuttings or suckers, the latter being freely produced. Hard cutting
back when full size has been attained would seem to throw fresh
vigour into the Amorpha, and the flowering is greatly enhanced by
such a mode of treatment. A native of Carolina, and perfectly hardy
in most parts of the country. Of this species there are several
varieties, amongst others, A. fruticosa nana, a dwarf, twiggy
plant; A. fruticosa dealbata, with lighter green foliage than the
type; and others differing only in the size and width of the


ANDROMEDA POLIFOLIA.—An indigenous shrub of low growth,
with lanceolate shining leaves, and pretty globose pinky-white
flowers. Of it there are two varieties. A. polifolia major and A.
polifolia angustifolia, both well worthy of culture for their neat
habit and pretty flowers.



ARALIA MANDSHURICA (syn Dimorphanthus
).—Manchuria, 1866. There is not much beauty
about this Chinese tree, for it is but a big spiny stake, with no
branches, and a tuft of palm-like foliage at the top. The flowers,
however, are both large and conspicuous, and impart to the tree an
interesting and novel appearance. They are individually small, of a
creamy-white colour, and produced in long, umbellate racemes, and
which when fully developed, from their weight and terminal
position, are tilted gracefully to one side. Usually the stem is
spiny, with Horse Chestnut-like bark, while the terminal bud, from
its large size, as if all the energy of the plant was concentrated
in the tip, imparts a curious and somewhat ungainly appearance to
the tree. From its curious tropical appearance this species is well
worthy of a place in the shrubbery. It is unmindful of soil, if
that is of at all fair quality, and may be said to be perfectly
hardy over the greater part of the country.

A. SPINOSA.—Angelica Tree. Virginia, 1688. Amongst
autumn-flowering shrubs this takes a high place, for in mild
seasons it blooms well into October. It grows about 12 feet high,
with large tri-pinnate leaves, composed of numerous serrulate
leaflets. The individual flowers are small and whitish, but being
borne in large branched panicles have a very imposing appearance.
It is of free growth, and produces suckers abundantly.

See also FATSIA.


ARBUTUS ANDRACHNE.—Levant, 1724. This Mediterranean
species is of stout growth, with narrow Laurel-like leaves, reddish
deciduous bark, and greenish-white flowers that are produced freely
in May. A hybrid form, said to have originated between this species
and A. Unedo, partakes in part of the nature of both shrubs, but
the flowers are larger than those of A. Unedo.

A. MENZIESII (syn A. procera).—Tall Strawberry
Tree. North-west America, 1827. This is hardy in many parts of
these islands, particularly maritime districts, and is worthy of
culture if only for the large racemose panicles of
deliciously-scented white flowers, and peculiar metallic-green
leaves. The fruit is orange-red, and only about half the size of
those of our commonly cultivated species.

A. UNEDO.—Strawberry Tree. Ireland. This is a beautiful
evergreen shrub or small-growing tree, sometimes fully 20 feet
high, with ovate-lanceolate leaves, and clusters of pure white or
yellowish-tinged flowers appearing in September and October. The
bright scarlet fruit, about the size of and resembling a
Strawberry, is highly ornamental, and when borne in quantity
imparts to the plant an unusual and very attractive appearance.
Generally speaking, the Arbutus is hardy, although in inland
situations it is sometimes killed to the ground in severe winters,
but, springing freely from the root, the plant soon becomes
re-established. In a young state it suffers too, but after becoming
established and a few feet high, the chances of injury are greatly
minimised. Three well-marked varieties are A. Unedo coccinea and A.
Unedo rubra, bearing scarlet and deep-red flowers, and A. Unedo
microphylla, with much smaller leaves than those of the parent

A. UNEDO CROOMEI differs considerably from the former, in having
larger foliage, larger clusters of reddish-pink flowers, and the
bark of the young shoots of an enticing ruddy, or rather
brownish-red colour. It is a very desirable and highly ornamental
plant, and one that is well worthy of extended culture.

There are several others, to wit A. photiniaefolia, A.
Rollissoni, A. Millerii, with large leaves, and pretty pink
flowers, and A. serratifolia, having deeply serrated leaves. Deep,
light loam, if on chalk all the better, and a fairly warm and
sheltered situation, would seem to suit the Arbutus best.


ARCTOSTAPHYLOS UVA-URSI.—Bearberry. Britain. A neat shrub
of trailing habit, and with flowers resembling those of the
Arbutus, but much smaller. The leaves are entire, dark green in
colour, and about an inch long, and obovate or oblong in shape.
Fruit globular, of a bright red, smooth and shining. This is a
native shrub, being found in Scotland, northern England and

A. ALPINA.—Black Bearberry. Scotland. This is confined to
the northern Highlands of Scotland, is of smaller growth, with
toothed deciduous leaves, and small drooping flowers of two or
three together.


ARISTOLOCHIA SIPHO.—Dutchman’s Pipe. North America, 1763.
A large-growing, deciduous climbing shrub, remarkable for its ample
foliage, and curiously formed yellow and purple streaked flowers. A
native of North America, it is perfectly hardy in this country, and
makes an excellent wall plant where plenty of space can be afforded
for the rambling branches. What a pity it is that so ornamental a
climber, whose big, dark-green leaves overlap each other as if
intended for keeping a house cool in warm weather, is not more
generally planted. It does well and grows fast in almost any


ASIMINA TRILOBA.—Virginian Papaw. Pennsylvania, 1736. This
is a curious and uncommon shrub that one rarely sees outside the
walls of a botanic garden. The flowers are dark purple or chocolate
brown, fully 2 inches across, and succeeded by a yellow, oblong,
pulpy fruit, that is relished by the natives, and from which the
name of North American Custard Apple has been derived. In this
country it is quite at home, growing around London to quite 12 feet
in height, but it wants a warm, dry soil, and sunny sheltered
situation. As a wall plant it does well.


AZARA MICROPHYLLA.—Chili, 1873. This is the only
recognised hardy species, and probably the best from an ornamental
point of view. In mild seaside districts it may succeed as a
standard in the open ground, but generally it is cultivated as a
wall plant, and for which it is peculiarly suitable. The small dark
green, glossy leaves are thickly arranged on the nearly horizontal
branches, while the flowers, if they lack in point of showiness,
are deliciously fragrant and plentifully produced. For
wall-covering, especially in an eastern aspect, it is one of the
neatest of shrubs.

Other species in cultivation are A. serrata, A. lanceolata, and
A. integrifolia, but for general planting, and unless under the
most favoured conditions, they are not to be recommended. The
Azaras are by no means particular about the quality of soil in
which they are planted, and succeed well even in stiffish loam,
bordering on clay.