By Julie Moir Messervy
William (Ned) Friedman is not only the Arnold Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and the Director of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, but also a wonderful writer and interpreter of the Arnold’s horticultural collections. His blog, Posts from the Collections, offers fascinating information about the plants and captivating photographs.
Here are a few highlights from my favorite recent posts.
In this five-part post, Ned shares some “photographic memories of the venerable plants of the Arnold Arboretum in 2015.” I especially love Part I: Encounters with Ornamental Bark. Shown above, clockwise from top, are paperbark maple (Acer griseum), London plane tree (Platanus x acerifolia), and hackberry (Celtis occidentalis).
Do you know how to tell if something is a thorn, a spine, or a prickle? These terms are not to be used interchangeably–take it from a professor of evolutionary biology! Ned explains the distinctions, using the Aralia chinensis shown above from the Arnold’s Leventritt Shrub and Vine Garden.
Fresh snow rendered the Arnold’s magnificent oak collection even more beautiful. Ned writes of how he captured the top image of “the soaring cathedral-like grouping of oaks on Bussey Hill,” contrasted with the white swamp oak (bottom left) he photographed on a clear, bright day in January. He notes, “no two days are ever alike in the living collections, even in the very same spot with the very same tree.”