WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/148623

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the green scene "a vigorous colonizer" Oriental bittersweet seed pods While you might think that picking bittersweet vines will help reduce its presence, you are just encouraging it to grow LESLIE J. MEHRHOFF more vigorously. will spread via underground rhizomes and, like burning bush, it is now found in the woodland understory. An herbaceous perennial, introduced for its ornamental attributes, is purple loosestrife, The Oriental bittersweet vine, Celastrus orbiculatus, is perhaps the Lythrum salicaria, and its purple-pink flowers are a striking feature of most notorious of the invasives when the yellow seed pods split open the summer landscape. But it is best avoided despite its spectacular in the fall to expose its bright orange-red seeds. Who hasn't collected presence. Its seeds remain viable for years and it's a vigorous colonizer, them for autumnal tabletop decorations or made wreaths from the forming a dense mass particularly in moist, wet sites where it eventu- twining woody stems? But these same stems will envelop a "host" ally overwhelms native species. plant, eventually strangling it. Seeds are dispersed by birds and, as any- Many of these exotics have visually pleasing elements but there are one who has tried to remove bittersweet knows, it is a nearly impossi- many alternative plants which provide similar aesthetic features. While ble task; the merest stem left near soil will root and re-grow. you might think that picking bittersweet vines will help reduce its presence, you are just encouraging it to grow more vigorously. The ing bush, Euonymus alata. A ball of fiery red in the autumnal land- berries contain the seeds which will pop out en route to your front scape, it was introduced as an ornamental in the mid-nineteenth door; the seeds will germinate and a whole new colony of bittersweet is century when it was featured as a low-maintenance plant, readily then established. Help prevent invasive species from spreading by care- adapting to a range of growing conditions. The small fall fruits are dis- fully removing all traces of them from your garden and replace with a persed by birds and, aside from the many backyards it inhabits, it is We l l e s l e y We s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 3 A top selling shrub prior to its "banned-in-Boston" status was burn- beautiful native species. Spread the word, not the weeds! commonly found in the understory of newer woodlands. Another introduced ornamental now on the invasive list is Japanese barberry, Berberis thunbergii, popular for its colored foliage. It produces showy fruits which the birds disperse, while established plants 20 RUTH FURMAN is a Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist (MCH). She trained in horticulture in England and spent many happy years working and gardening there. To reach Ms. Furman, email her at: Ruth@wellesleywestonmagazine.com.

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