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Davidsonia Sep 1, 1971

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\".3 Cover
Fruiting panicles of the
'Scarlet Elderberry',
Sambucus racemosa ssp.
pubens var. arborescens
Red berries of Wild
Lily-o f-the- Valley,
Maianthemum dilatatum
(Wood) Nels. & Macbr.
VOLUME 2 NUMBER 3 Fall 1971
Davidsonia is published quarterly by The Botanical Garden of The University of British
Columbia, Vancouver 8, British Columbia, Canada. Annual subscriptions, four dollars.
Single numbers, one dollar. All editorial matters or information concerning subscriptions
should be addressed to the Director of the Botanical Garden.
A cknowledgements
The pen and ink illustrations are by Mrs. Lesley Bohm. The photographic credits are as
follows: pages 29, and 30 upper, U.B.C. Information Services, page 30 lower, Dr. R.L.
Taylor, pages 31 and 32, Dr. C.J. Marchant. Rhododendron  Species Collection  Has
New  Home
ROY L. TAYLOR, Director
On September 27th, the new Botanical
Garden nursery was officially opened in the
south campus of the University of British
Columbia. The development marks the first
major achievement of the new Botanical
Garden program initiated in 1969. The nursery
will be devoted to the propagation of new
material for other garden components soon to
be developed. In addition, the nursery will
house the foundation collection of
Rhododendron species.
To commemorate the opening of the
nursery, Dr. Douglas M. Henderson, Regius
Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden of
Edinburgh, planted the first Rhododendron of
the species collection in the new site. The
species was Rhododendron taliense, a plant
obtained from the Younger Botanic Garden of
Scotland in 1965. This species will be joined by
nearly 300 additional species of the
Rhododendron Species Collection at U.B.C.
The University Botanical Garden
Rhododendron Species Collection was initiated
in 1952 by Dr. T.M.C. Taylor and Dr. J.W. Neill
when plans were made to bring a major
collection of plants from the Royston Nursery
on Vancouver Island. During 1952 and 1953,
the owners of Royston Nursery, Ted and Mary
Greig, donated 1,000 rhododendrons to the
University of British Columbia. The collection
was placed in a nursery sited in what is now
Parking Lot A. The rhododendrons were used
for both research and landscaping purposes on
the campus.
In 1964, the University entered into an
active program with the Rhododendron Species
Foundation of Eugene, Oregon, which resulted
in the establishment of many new species in the
collection. In 1969, a co-operative program was
initiated with the Pacific Rhododendron
Society of Tacoma, Washington to add further
new species. Most recently, a new program has
Dr. Douglas Henderson, Regius Keeper of the Royal
Botanic Garden of Edinburgh, planting
Rhododendron taliense to mark the opening of the
new rhododendron nursery. He is watched by, from
left, Chancellor Allan McGavin, President Walter H.
Gage, Dean of Agricultural Sciences Dr. Michael
Shaw and Director of the U.B.C. Botanical Garden,
Dr. Roy L. Taylor 30
been initiated between the Botanical Garden
and Vancouver Chapter of the American
Rhododendron Society for the purpose of
stimulating interest in rhododendron species
and to enable the acquisition of species lacking
in the collection. It is hoped that with the aid
of these co-operative programs, the U.B.C.
Botanical Garden can develop one of the most
important collections of species suitable for
cultivation in north temperate regions.
1967-68, the Rhododendron Species
Collection was moved to the Department of
Physical Plant nursery in the south campus.
Plants were maintained in the nursery until the
development of the Botanical Garden nursery
was complete. All rhododendron species will be
transferred to the Botanical Garden nursery for
foundation stock. Hybrids will be maintained
and propagated by the Department of Physical
Plant for use in landscape plantings on campus.
The Botanic Garden species collection will be
used for research, teaching, breeding and
propagation of new plant material. A special
display garden will be established in the 30-acre
Marine Drive Garden in the new garden
development on the main campus.
Rhododendrons will continue to form an
important landscape element on the Point Grey
The new major garden development will be
the initiation of the Alpine Garden in the spring
of 1972.
Rhododendron taliense, the first rhododendron to
set roots in the new nursery, is given thorough and
expert treatment by Dr. Henderson (left) and
President Gage
Early stages of development of the nursery area. Mr. Max Foster, the contractor responsible for selective
clearing of the bush, operating a rock picking machine. Sizeable timber trees of Douglas Fir, Spruce and
Cedar have been left at intervals, anchored by mounds of soil, to provide shade for the rhododendron
collection Unusual   Annuals at  International House
The beds of annual species at U.B.C.'s
International House this year have again been
very successful. An entirely different range of
annuals than those of the previous year were
used creating a very varied and colourful
display. Selected from sixteen different
countries, many of them are rarely grown as
ornamentals yet have unusual and attractive
Perhaps the most striking plants involved
were some of the taller species dominated by
the showy Corn Cockle, Agrostemma (Lychnis)
githago from Britain whose magenta
five-petalled flowers some two to three inches
across were carried on four foot slender stems
and set off by delicate grey-green slender
foliage. Another spectacular plant is
Ammobium alatum from Australia whose white
double flowers with raised yellow centre are
borne to a height of three and a half feet on
deep green, glossy, leafless but broad-winged
stems. The latter take over the function of true
leaves. The plants tended to lean and become
more straggly as they elongated but this is small
disadvantage for the very long flowering season
(until first frosts) and the everlasting qualities
of the plants when hung upside down to dry.
A southern European everlasting species
which also has the advantage of strong upright
growth, whose light green leaves are silvery
below is Xeranthemum annum. It formed
dense, very floriferous clumps with one inch
Agrostemma   githago,   the  Corn   Cockle,   a   tall
graceful annual with large magenta flowers
diameter incurving deep mauve flowers and
again has a long season. Plants normally grow to
two feet but with us only attained 18 inches.
For a contrast between glossy bright green
foliage and rich yellow daisy-like flowers the
two foot (normally four foot) high Verbesina
enceloides "Milas", or Butter daisy from the
Australian Ammobium alatum, an 'everlasting'
flower whose white and yellow blossoms are carried
on dark green leafless winged stems
31 32
Centranthus macrosiphon from Spain has dense
masses of small bright pink flowers and is effective
grown in a massed planting
western U.S. provided a strong-growing
example although the proportion of flowers to
leaves is rather low. Somewhat shorter but
more showy were the bright pink heads of
Centranthus macrosiphon from Spain. They
were massed close together for maximum
Annual Poinsettias, Euphorbia heterophylla
from southern North America are easy to grow
and bright in midsummer with their top leaves
of brilliant red contrasting nicely with the dark
green lower ones. This year they were slow to
grow after planting out.
Of the smaller annuals used in the display
eighteen inch high Alonsoa warscewiczii, the
Mask flower of Peru, produced a continuous
display of graceful spikes of small light scarlet
flowers throughout the season and late into the
fall, while fragrant Californian Mentzelia
lindleyi gave a bright splash of colour with large
golden yellow flowers like those of Hypericum
on one foot high stems. The flowers open in the
evening lasting until the following midday. Being low growing these are good flowers for windy spots.
Argentinian Blumenbachia hieronymi forms a dense mat covered in nodding, incurving, white and orange
flowers, each having an intricate structure. Later on the seed capsules like miniature footballs one to two
inches in diameter cover the plant. One word of caution; the whole plant is covered with bristly stinging
hairs which inflict a nettle-like rash at the lightest touch!
Six inches high Nolana acuminata, the Chilean Bell flower, with Convolvulus-like flowers did well but
needs more space to trail. Eucharidium "Pink Ribbons" from California is an attractive relative of Clarkia
with small two-lipped orchid-like pink flowers. The reddish stems and leaf veins enhance the appearance.
Finally several very neat compact species were grown. Lopezia coronata from Mexico grew to twelve
inches high with spikes of small unusual salmon-pink and white, two-lipped flowers. At the time of writing
(October) the plants were still flowering along with bright green berries. The stamens of this plant release
their pollen explosively when a bee alights on the flower. South African A melius annus was very attractive
forming compact six inch high clumps liberally topped with soft deep blue flowers, some with a bright
yellow eye, others with blue. However, a number of the plants sickened and died prematurely and the
species does not seem to have a particularly long flowering season. Its colour contrasted sharply with the
dense clusters of yellow button heads of another South African Cotula (Cenia) barbata, the Pincushion
Two further dwarf annuals are worth mentioning. These are scarlet flowered twelve inch high Collomia
biflora from Chile and white flowered four inch highIonopsidium acaule from Portugal. The latter formed
a particularly compact, many flowered cushion.
Despite the long spell of cool wet weather which extended into July this year all these annuals
responded well to the later heat wave and mostly thrived, helped no doubt, by the sheltered aspect at
International House. However, some shade there from surrounding hedges may be a problem since most
annuals do need plenty of sunshine.
In 1972 the program will be continued with a further selection of annual species from all corners of the
world, continuing the international flavour of the landscaping at International House. Sambucus racemosa L. ssp. pubens
(Michx.) House var. arborescens (T. & G.) Gray
Member of the Family Caprifoliaceae
Natural Distribution
Sambucus racemosa ssp. pubens var. arborescens occurs in the coastal and subcoastal regions from
Alaska and the Aleutian Islands south through western British Columbia to western Washington and Oregon
and extending in the Californian Coast Ranges to the vicinity of San Francisco Bay. In B.C. it is typically
found west of the Coast Mountains in the Coastal Forest and Gulf Island Zone, and also in the Interior Wet
Belt Zone, in North Central B.C. and near Mount Robson.
The habitat is characterised as the Humid Transition and Canadian zones. Within these zones Sambucus
racemosa ssp. pubens var. arborescens is found in wooded, rather moist places (especially stream banks on
mountain slopes), at moderate or low elevations - below 2000' in the Coastal Forest of B.C. and below
3500' in the Interior.
Hardy, deciduous, large spreading, sometimes arborescent shrub, (l-)2 - 6(-8) m high.
Root system is widespread, fleshy and shallow.
The bark is warty, smooth, greenish when young, becoming dark reddish brown with age. "2 'i
Twigs are more or less 6- 10- sided or angled, stout, finely pubescent and green when young becoming
somewhat glaucous or even glabrous and brown with maturity and have minute thickened glandulous
stipules. The pith is very large, soft and brown in both stem and branchlets.
Buds are large (10mm), with 3 - 5 pairs of large reddish brown sharp pointed scales, solitary, ovoid. End
bud mostly absent.
Leaf scars opposite, broadly crescent shaped, large.
Leaves are pinnately compound, 5 - 7 (-9) foliate, opposite. The leaflets are 4.5 - 17 cm long, 2 - 6 cm
broad, narrowly ovate to narrowly elliptic, strongly acuminate at the tip, the sharply serrate margins with
teeth usually incurved, often strongly unequal at the base, more or less pubescent beneath but the hairs
sometimes confined chiefly to the midrib and main veins, and paler in colour beneath.
Flowers are produced from March to luly depending on the elevation. The inflorescence is paniculiform,
pyramidal with a definite central axis extending beyond the lowermost pair of branches, branches opposite
or subopposite, 4 -10 cm long. Flowers are 3 - 6 mm across, white or creamy, illscented, calyx lobes minute
or absent, corolla open-urceolate with 5 broadly spreading lobes longer than the tube, 5 stamens. Style very
short, 3 - 5 lobed. Ovary inferior, 3 - 5 celled, 1 pendulous ovule in each cell.
Fruit a berrylike juicy drupe, globose, bright red, occasionally yellow, chestnut or rarely white, 4 - 6 mm
diameter, without bloom. Contains 3 - 5 one-seeded smooth nutlets. Unpleasant taste, though considered to
be harmless by Szczawinski (1969).
Seed propagation is somewhat difficult due to complex dormancy conditions involving both the seed
coat and the embryo. The best treatment is probably a warm moist stratification period for two months
followed by a cold stratification period for 3 - 5 months. These conditions could be met by planting the
seed in late summer, after which germination should occur in the spring. 34
Figure 1. Sambucus MCemasa ssp. pubens vai.drbtiFescens   A. floral panicle,   B. singie flower,   C, cluster of fruits,
D. lanRituthnal cut-away \iew of the fruit showing seeds,  E, typical habit of shrub. Most propagation is by semi-ripe cuttings taken in July to early August with or without a heel. The
cuttings are best rooted in a 3 to 1 mixture of sharp sand and peat in a closed frame or under an
intermittent mist system. Rooting usually takes place within 15 to 20 days and hormone treatment is not
necessary. Foliage may be lost under mist but this seems to have no effect on the rooting. Care is needed in
transferring the rooted cuttings from mist to the 'growing on' media, although the risk can be reduced by a
gradual reduction of mist once rooting has taken place.
Hardwood cuttings about 8" long taken in late winter and planted outside to 2/3 their depth will give
about 50% success.
Nursery grown shrubs are easy to transplant when in the dormant state between October through March.
Conditions for cultivation
Shrubs are relatively fast growing 4' to T per year when young and established, the rate slowing with
maturity. The recommended hardiness zone for Sambucus racemosa ssp. pubens var. arborescens in Canada
is Zone 3 (Sherk & Buckley, 1968). The shrub will grow well in moist to dry ordinary garden soil, but too
much moisture in summer will prevent the shrub from fruiting freely under garden conditions. The shrub
will grow well in sun or partial shade and will tolerate deep shade. Growth may become rank and untidy, in
which case prune in early spring.
Landscape Value
Sambucus racemosa ssp. pubens var. arborescens is a member of a group which is much neglected as
ornamentals. It is scarcely a plant for the small garden but provides useful attractive background material in
an open shrubbery or as a hedge in a large area because of its bright red berries and attractive leaves. The
fruits attract birds, especially robins and bandtailed pigeons, and therefore it is worth cultivating for this
Availability 'IC
Readily available from nurseries in other provinces but not from B.C. suppliers because of lack of
Ornamental Cultivars
Sambucus racemosa plumosa aurea or 'golden plum elder' with golden yellow deeply toothed leaves is
available locally. A yellow berried variant has recently been discovered at U.B.C. It is now being propagated
in the Botanical Garden and is potentially a successful new cultivar.
Other Uses
In Europe the leaves and flowers of Sambucus racemosa have been used for dyeing leather yellow, and
the bark or wood with added alum and iron salts for dyeing green or brown. The Haida and Kwakiutl
Indians of B.C. both eat the berries of S. racemosa ssp. pubens var. arborescens - the former consider fresh,
dried or cooked berries as a delicacy while the latter usually mix the elder berries with other berries such
as salmonberries or salal berries to make them more palatable. In addition the Haida Indians consider the
bark to have medicinal properties (Mrs. N. Turner, personal communication) — for instance the inner bark
of the European S. racemosa has long been considered to be a hydragogue cathartic and, in large doses,
Diseases and Problems of Cultivation
The following insects and diseases have been reported for Sambucus racemosa ssp. pubens var.
1. Desmocerus palliatus - Elder Borer or Cloaked Knotty Horn. A dark blue beetle with a yellow 'cloak'
over the upper portions of the elytra which produces a creamy white 1" borer which burrows in the
base and stems of wild and cultivated elder. Causes dieback of branches and sometimes of entire
shrubs. Prune and burn all infested parts as soon as noticed. 36
2. Achatodes zeae - Elder Shoot Borer. Occasionally infests young shoots. Prune and burn all infected
3. Aspidiotus perniciosus - San Jose Scale. The female is yellowish covered with a grey circular waxy
scale, 1/16" diameter, elevated in the centre to form a nipple surrounded by a yellow ring; male
oblong, oval, develops two wings. Young scales small and nearly black, spending the winter on the
bark and growing when the sap begins to flow in the spring. The shrub may be sprayed while
dormant, parasites and some lady beetles help to control the scale.
4. Several species of aphids are known to infest Sambucus.
5. Cytospora sambucicola, Cytospora chrysosperma, Diplodia sp.,Nectria cinnabarina, Nectria coccinea
and Sphaeropsis sambucina are six fungi known to cause cankers on twigs and branches. When the
canker girdles the affected member the distal portion dies. Prune and burn stems and twigs showing
cankers. Keep shrubs healthy.
6. Leaf spots may be caused by any one of many fungi but are rarely important enough to warrant
control measures.
7. Powdery mildew on Sambucus is caused by one of 4 different fungi but again is rarely serious.
8. Root rots and wilts caused by fungi occur but are not common.
Origin of the name
The generic name Sambucus is believed to be from the Greek 'sambuke', an ancient musical instrument
made of elder wood, although some authorities believe it to be the classical Latin name for the plant now
called Sambucus nigra.
Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany. (8th edition). American Book Co., U.S.A.
Garman, E.H. 1963. Pocket Guide to Trees and Shrubs in British Columbia, (rev. ed.). British Columbia Forest Service
Publication B.28.
Grant, John A. & Carol L. Grant. 1967. Trees and Shrubs for Pacific Northwest Gardens. (8th printing, 1st paperback
edition). University of Washington Press, Seattle.
Hitchcock, C.L. et al. 1961. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 4. Ericaceae through Campanulaceae. University
of Washington Press, Seattle.
Lyons, C.P. 1956. Trees, Shrubs and Flowers to Know in British Columbia. (2nd revised edition). Evergreen Press Ltd.,
Vancouver, Canada.
Pirone, P.P. 1970. Diseases and Pests of Ornamental Plants. (4th edition). Ronald Press Company, New York.
Sanders Encyclopedia of Gardening. 1966. (revised by A.G.L. Hellyer). W.H. & L. Collingridge Ltd., London.
Sherk, Lawrence A. & Arthur R. Buckley. 1968. Ornamental Shrubs for Canada. Research Branch, Canada Department of
Agriculture, Publication 1286. Queen's Printer, Ottawa.
Szczawinski, A. & G.A. Hardy. 1969. Guide to Common Edible Plants of British Columbia. (3rd edition). Handbook No.
20. British Columbia Provincial Museum, Victoria, Canada.
Westcott, Cynthia. 1946. The Gardener's Bug Book: 1,000 Garden Pests and How to Control Them. The American Garden
Guild Inc. and Doubleday & Co. Inc., New York.
Data                                       1971
Mean temperature
Highest temperature
80° F
Lowest temperature
Grass minimum temperature
40° F
Total rainfall/No. days with rainfall
.78 78
Total snowfall/No. days with snowfall
Total hours bright sunshine/possible
Mean mileage wind at 3'
Mean mileage wind at 40'
Site: The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
Position: lat. 49°15'29"N; long. 123° 14'58"W. Elevation: 342.6' Botanical Garden Staff
Dr. Roy L. Taylor
Supervisor of Operations
Mr. Kenneth Wilson
Research Scientist (Cytogenetics)
Dr. Christopher J. Marchant
Research Scientist (Horticulture)
Dr. John W. Neill
R esearch A ssistan ts
Mrs. Marilyn G. Hirsekorn
Mrs. Sylvia Taylor
Secretary to the Office
Mrs. Morag L. Brown
Seed Exchange Program
Miss Evelyn Jack
Plant Accession System
Mrs. Annie Y.M. Cheng
Senior Gardener
Mr. James O'Friel
Mr. Harold Duffill
Mr. Leonard Gibbs
Mr. Sam Oyama
Mr. Tomomichi Sumi
Mr. David Tarrant
Mr. Isao Watanabe
Bursting capsules of 'Fireweed',
Epilobium angustifolium L.,
abundant in old bums and clearings
of the B.C. forest
First Extension Program Initiated
The introductory course in home gardening entitled
"Gardening through the Seasons" offered by the Botanical
Garden through the U.B.C. Center for Continuing Education
this fall has been very popular and attended by nearly fifty
members of the public. The informal lectures and practical
demonstrations were run by members of the garden's staff.
The course will be offered again in the coming year. Splitting seed cases of Aesculus hippocastanum L.,
the 'European Horse Chestnut', revealing the glossy
brown nuts. This is a large, fast growing
and attractive shade tree
Volume 2       Number 3       Fall 1971
Rhododendron Species Collection Has New Home 29
Unusual Annuals at International House 31
Sambucus racemosa L., 'Scarlet Elderberry' 33
Climatological Summary 36


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