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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.
Its great beauty and variety of sizes and shapes makes this deciduous conifer a candidate for extensive use. Bald cypress is a tall, conical, almost columnar tree with pale brown, shallowly fissured bark. Its bright green needles become golden in the fall. The cultivar 'Monarch of Illinois' is shaped totally unlike the typical bald cypress, but shares its delicate foliage and warm-looking, ruddy bark. It has a large, rounded crown, like a maple. With an ultimate height of about 85 feet and spread to 65 feet, it is suited to large gardens. A smaller cultivar, 'Shawnee Brave', has a narrow, pyramidal growth habit, an ultimate height of 70 feet, and a span of up to 18 feet.
This robust evergreen tree has a narrowly columnar crown with ascending branches, slender gray-green leaves, and smooth gray bark. Tapered green female cones ripen to brown.
This is a rounded to open-crown deciduous tree up to 70 feet tall and 30 feet wide with early, brilliant red fall coloring.
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.
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