Perspectives Online

Raulston Arboretum redbud collection among the best

Dr. Dennis Werner (right) and Mark Weatherington with one of the 40 types of redbud at the JC Raulston Arboretum.
A collection of 40 different types of redbud trees at the JC Raulston Arboretum at N.C. State University has been named a North American Plant Collections Consortium collection, recognition that the collection is among the best in the nation.

The North American Plant Collections Consortium is a program of the American Public Gardens Association in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service and the U.S. National Arboretum. In designating outstanding collections of various landscape plants, the consortium seeks to preserve plant germplasm and, according to the American Public Garden Association Web site, “promote high standards of plant collections management.”

Mark Weathington, JC Raulston Arboretum assistant director and curator of collections, coordinated the effort to designate the JC Raulston Cercis, or redbud, collection an NAPCC collection. Weathington said a detailed application and site visit by an NAPCC representative were part of the process. He added that gardens or arboreta whose collections receive the designation must demonstrate a commitment to holding and developing the collection.

The redbud collection is the first at the JC Raulston Arboretum to receive the NAPCC collection designation, Weathington said.

Dr. Dennis Werner, JC Raulston Arboretum director, said reviewers noted the comprehensive nature of the redbud collection and its research value. Weathington said reviewers also noted that Werner has developed a redbud breeding program that should begin making new redbud cultivars available to the public in 2009.

The 8-acre JC Raulston Arboretum is a nationally acclaimed garden with one of the most diverse collection of cold-hardy temperate zone plants in the Southeastern United States. While it is open to the public, the arboretum is primarily a working research and teaching garden that focuses on the evaluation, selection and display of plant material gathered from around the world. Plants especially adapted to Piedmont North Carolina conditions are identified in an effort to find better plants for southern landscapes. Arboretum plant collections include more than 5,000 species or cultivars of annuals, perennials, bulbs, vines, groundcovers, shrubs and trees from more than 50 different countries.

— Dave Caldwell