SCARLET BEAUTY SHRUB ON THE MARKET; AWARDING WINNING MAPLE TREE
TOP-PERFORMING MORTON ARBORETUM SHRUB HITS THE MARKET
In Separate Development, Cherished Maple Tree Wins Award
LISLE, IL (January 20, 2011) – To a gardener, summer doldrums might mean that trees and other plants are finished blooming. But now, there’s a new shrub on the market that’ll help gardeners stay upbeat about summer. The Morton Arboretum has just introduced a Virginia sweetspire that blooms from mid-June to early July, when few other plants are in flower.
“This is a time-proven shrub that’s been in the Arboretum collections since 1958, and has been a top performer all along,” says Kris Bachtell, Arboretum horticulturist and Vice President of Collections and Facilities.
The plant, whose formal name is Itea virginica ‘Morton’ – Morton Virginia Sweetspire – SCARLET BEAUTY™, grows three to four feet tall and four feet wide in a five-to-six year period. It sports white flowers with a delicate fragrance, in dense clusters on three-inch-long stems. The flowers attract butterflies, and Bachtell says the plant has excellent pest resistance. This particular selection is more cold-hardy than most other sweetspire selections. The species is native to the southeastern United States, including southern Illinois.
Itea virginica ‘Morton’ is not only a late bloomer, it also brings up the rear on the fall color season, with lovely, scarlet-red foliage that peaks in early November and lasts through a hard frost.
Chicagoland Grows®, a partnership between The Morton Arboretum, Chicago Botanic Garden, and the Ornamental Growers Association of Northern Illinois, is bringing the new plant to market. The organization develops, evaluates, and selects trees and other plants that are suitable for upper Midwest growing conditions. After a selection is made, botanical gardens, universities, and municipal forests vigorously test it. If the selection performs well, propagators grow the plant and it is introduced on a limited basis to wholesale and retail nurseries. If the plant’s performance remains high, Chicagoland Grows conducts a full release to nurseries, as it has now done with Itea virginica ‘Morton.’
Another Arboretum-developed selection, Acer miyabei ‘Morton’ – Morton Miyabe maple STATE STREET®, has just earned the 2011 Woody Ornamental Plant of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Nursery Association. This medium-sized shade tree is oval shaped with dark green glossy leaves. The association calls this maple an “excellent street tree and a great replacement for ash and Norway maples.” Like the sweetspire, this maple was introduced through Chicagoland Grows.
The Morton Arboretum is a world-renowned leader in tree science and education, working to save and plant trees. The 1,700-acre outdoor museum features magnificent collections of 4,117 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission – the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. Central Time until sunset. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February. Visit Press Room at www.mortonarb.org, call to learn more.
Media Contacts: Gina Tedesco, (office) 630-725-2103,