Spirea japonica, Japanese spirea

Identifying characteristics:

1. Simple alternate leaves with sharply serrate margins

2. Showy terminal pinkish flower clusters

3. Dry brown follicle fruits persist


Buxus sempervirens, Common Boxwood

Difficult to distinguish this sample from Buxus microphylla; could be either

1. Opposite evergreen simple leaves (distinguishes from Ilex)

2. White line on leaf back distinguishes from Buxus microphylla

3. Elliptical leaf <1″ long, broadest below middle

Rhododendron hybrid, Azalea (evergreen)

Identifying characteristics:

1. Evergreen shrub

2. Alternate shiny dark green entire leaves

3. Brilliantly colored funnel-form terminal flower clusters

Pieris japonica, Japanese Pieris

IDentifying features:

  1. Simple alternate evergreen leaves with shallow toothed margins held in whorls at shoot tip
  2. Pendulous clusters of small white urn-shaped flowers, followed by persistent dehiscent 1/4″ long brown capsules
  3. Reddish-bronze new growth

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Lady in Red’, Bigleaf hydrangea

Identifying characteristics:

  1. Large opposite serrated simple leaves
  2. Flowers are distinctive blue (on acid soil)  broad cymose corymbs
  3. Stems emerge from ground w/little branching
  4. Cultivar ID: red stems, veins, petioles

Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo’, Common Ninebark

Identifying characteristics:

1. Alternate, palmate leaves

2.Flowers in 1″ – 2″ cymes

3. Multi-stemmed shrub

4. Dark purple-green leaves (cultivar ID)

Berberis thunbergii ‘Aurea’, Japanese barberry

Identifying characteristics:

1. Single 0.5″ thorn at each node

2. Alternate simple leaves

3. Deciduous shrub with ovate leaves

Euonymus fortunei ‘Moonshadow’, Moonshadow wintercreeper

Identifying characteristics:

1. Opposite evergreen leaves, larger than boxwood

2. Serrated edges

3. yellow green stems

Kolkwitzia amabilis, Beautybush

Identifying characteristics

1. Opposite broadly obovate pubescent leaves with few teeth

2. Upright arching multi-stemmed habit

3. Peeling bark on older stems

4. 5-petaled white tubular flowers with yellow/peach centers in showy clusters

5. Bristly capsular fruit

Cornus alba ‘Ivory halo’, Red twig dogwood

Identifying characteristics:

  1. Opposite branching
  2. Red winter twigs
  3. Green and white variegated simple leaves

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