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This glorious conifer constitutes the sole member of both its genus and plant family. It is without a peer in its beauty; on a mature specimen, its rich needles compose a sculpture of form, texture, and color that is unrivaled. The foliage develops a bronzy tint in winter. While it often grows to 30 feet in cultivation and 90 feet in the wild, its slow-growing nature inspires patience.
This deciduous, monoecious, coniferous tree grows to 100 feet tall. Its oddly shaped, branch-pitted trunk is often deeply fluted and "buttressed" and has orange-brown bark. Attractive, lacy foliage is bright green in early summer, turning golden bronze before falling in autumn. Female cones are light brown and ovoid, while male cones are rounder, pendent, and darker brown.
Yellowwood is a vase-shaped spreading tree with dark green foliage that turns a delicate yellow or orange in the fall and smooth light gray bark. Breathtaking, pendulous, foot-long, wisteria-like clusters of fragrant white flowers appear in late spring and early summer, often in alternate years.
The golden larch is a lovely deciduous conifer whose lacy foliage turns golden in autumn. Its bright green needles are slightly larger than those of the European larch. Golden larch becomes a large pyramidal tree with an ultimate height of about 50 feet in cultivation. Its broad, horizontal branches are arranged in an open growth habit. In a big garden, it makes a neat specimen that never fails to attract attention.
Sourwood, the lone species of the genus, is found in woodlands and along streams of eastern North America. This plant (named for the sour taste of its leaves) forms a pyramidal tree to 30 feet tall, with canoe-shaped, glossy leaves that turn vivid maroon, yellow, or purple in autumn. In late summer, its delicate panicles of fragrant, urn-shaped flowers spray forward, decorating the tree in white. The blossoms, which resemble lily-of-the-valley, are followed by yellowish seed capsules that turn brown and persist into winter. It makes an outstanding specimen both for a prominent position and also for a naturalized setting.
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