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Trees with outstanding inflorescences

AESCULUS CARNEA The red hybrid horse chestnut is very variable, the cultivar briotii should always be chosen. A. hippocastanum, the common horsechestnut, growing into a very large tree, is well known. The double-flowered baumannii is smaller and does not produce conkers. A. indica, the Indian horse chestnut, has the largest flower spikes of all, pink-flushed, in June and July; A. octandra, the sweet buckeye, a smaller tree, has flowers that are pale yellow; A. pavia var. atrosanguinea is a small tree with crimson flowers in June. CATALPA BIGNONIOIDES The Indian bean has many foxglove-like flowers in a pyramidal, erect spike in July and August. The individual flowers are white marked with yellow and purple. Does well in the heart of London.

CLADRASTIS TINCTORIA The yellow wood has pendent clusters of scented pea-like white flowers with a yellow blotch on the standard in June. Does not always flower but has handsome foliage.

CRATAEGUS The many-flowered inflorescences of the numerous thorns, mostly with white but sometimes red or pink flowers, are well known and very similar. A choice should be made from those that also bear showy fruits.

DAVIDIA INVOLUCRATA The pockethandkerchief, or dove tree has its small flowers surrounded by two large white bracts, making it a remarkable sight in May.

FRAXINUS ORNUS In May the manna or flowering ash is usually densely covered with clusters of small, white flowers.

KOELREUTERIA PANICULATA The golden-rain tree or pride of India carries in August erect pyramidal spikes of many small yellow flowers each with a red spot at the centre. The foliage also is attractive.

LABURNUM By far the best, with the longest chains of flowers and the sweetest scent, is the hybrid L. x watereri.

MAGNOLIA Ofthe large tree magnolias, the following have large and magnificent flowers: M. campbellii (pink), M. delavayi (creamy-white), M. denudata (pure white), M. grandifiora (white), M. mollicomata (rose-purple), M. obovata (creamy-white), M. sargentiana (rosepink), M. tripetala, umbrella tree (creamcolored).

MALUS There are very many floriferous crab-apples, both with white, pink and rose-colored flowers. It is best to choose those which also produce interesting fruit or have colored foliage.

PAULOWNIA P. fargesii and P. tomentosa (syn. P. imperialis) have broad spikes of heliotrope foxglove-shaped flowers up to 30cm (lft) long which are not produced every year, because of winter frost damage to the flower buds. PRUNUS A selection from this very floriferous genus is best made when a second attribute, such as early flowering, decorative fruit, autumnal leaf color or decorative bark is present. The Japanese cherries, with flowers ranging from white to shades of pink and even yellow, must be chosen on beauty of flower alone.

PYRUS The ornamental pears are with few exceptions not commonly planted other than for their foliage, as neither their flowers nor fruits are significant.

SORBUS The rowans and service trees have decorative clusters, in some kinds large, of white or rarely pink flowers, but they are best selected by giving attention to the merits of their foliage and berries.

STYRAX S. japonica flowers freely in June, the bell-shaped flowers hanging from short shoots; S. obassa has similar flowers, fragrant, on spikes at the same season and in addition has large, almost round leaves that turn yellow in autumn. TILIA The very many small clusters of pale yellow flowers that are carried by all species of limes in June and early July must be mentioned if only on account of their scent. T. cordata is the best for a small space, as it is slow growing.


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