Arboretum Scene: Large Fothergilla
Showy spring flowers and brilliant fall color make the large fothergilla (Fothergilla major) a great addition to the garden!
Native to the southeastern U.S., this erect shrub grows up to nine feet tall and produces small, coarsely toothed dark green leaves that turn delicious shades of yellow, orange, and cherry red in autumn. One- to two-inch-long bottlebrush-like white, sometimes pink-tinged, flower spikes appear in abundance in spring, usually as the leaves are also beginning to open out, and emit a strong fragrance of honey.
The “bristles” on these spikes are actually stamens—fothergilla flowers lack proper petals. Large fothergilla performs best in a full sun to light shade and moist to wet, acidic soil.
A great place to see large fothergilla in the Arboretum is around the upper pond of the Woodland Garden.
—Randall Hitchin, Arboretum Foundation