Brake lights shine on white summer blooming tree
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Trees loaded with big white blooms are not common in late summer and early fall, so it's no surprise to see brake lights flash as cars pass these Japanese angelica trees (Aralia elata).
Angelica tree: Summer bloom, hardy to Zone 4
Japanese angelica tree (Aralia
elata) is hardy to zone 4. It grows best in sun but performs
well in shade so long as the soil is loose and well drained. These
trees have a tendency to sucker from the roots. They are relatively
slow growing to 20 or 25 feet tall and wide.
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There are several beautiful but hard
to find variegated forms of angelica tree. 'Variegata' and 'Silver
Umbrella' have white edges on each leaf. (The tree pictured above
is Aralia elata 'Variegata'.) 'Aureovariegata' leaves have a creamy
yellow margin. All are a bit smaller than the species, 15' rather
than 20'+. These varieties are usually grafted, in which case the
rootstock may be the less hardy (zone 5), thorny relative known as
devil's walking stick (A. spinosa). So don't allow suckers
to persist and do watch out for thorns as you grasp them to pull
Below, right: Japanese angelica
trees in bloom in August and sometimes into September.
Below: Sometimes aralia bloom
finishes in August. Then the blue-black berry clusters and rust
colored berry stalks are showy in fall.
Below: The angelica tree's flower
cluster is big and so is its leaf -- a big, compound affair
(the circled section of the young variegated aralia below is ONE
leaf comprised of many leaflets). So the structure is quite open
after the tree drops all the leaflets and the rachis that run
between leaflets. We like it as a coarse sculpture in