What's In Bloom

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Sources for "What's in Bloom: Bloom Highlights" listings include the Chicago Botanic Garden's staff and database, as well as the publications and records of other botanic gardens, institutions, and the scientific community.

C.H.S. Centennial Collar Daffodil

First shared the attendees of a Gala hosted in the Graham Rose Garden in 1990 at the Chicago Botanic Garden, this narcissus features white petals and an orange split cup. Like other orange cultivars, the color matures to yellow over time and with higher light intensities. Its' cultivar name celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chicago Horticultural Society. Virtually unavailable in commerce it is an 'easy keeper' that is resistant to most pests and diseases.

Crimson Passionflower

Passiflora vitifolia is a spectacular red-flowered passion vine native to a broad region stretching from Costa Rica to northwestern South America. The deeply lobed green leaves resemble those of grapes—the grape genus is Vitis. The leaves are an important food source for larvae of Heliconius butterfly species; the adults visit the flowers to obtain nectar.

Pollinated flowers are followed by 5-inch, speckled, egg-shaped fruit with edible, juicy, whitish pulp. The fruit is very sour until fully ripened.

This is a large, and fast-growing vine (to 20 feet) that requires a warm, humid greenhouse with bright light to thrive in the Chicago area.

Eastern Redbud

Growing 20 to 30 feet in height, the eastern redbud is an ornamental North American native tree with a rounded habit and branches usually quite close to the ground. It blooms in early spring with cheerful purple-pink, pealike blossoms that appear all along the branches; they even sprout from the trunk. In the fall its leaves turn yellow, and it produces brown pods that provide winter interest. With its unique heart-shaped leaves and picturesque branching habit, it is a very attractive four-season tree. However, diseases can be a problem, particularly canker.


Gardenia jasminoides, native to southeast Asia, is a large shrub or small tree in the Rubiaceae family with large, white, very fragrant flowers produced at the ends of branches containing glossy deep-green leaves. Commonly called gardenia or cape jasmine, it was a favorite of the corsage industry — back when young couples (and those young at heart) — wore boutonnières and corsages when going out on dates.

The Rubiaceae is the third largest plant family, with 611 genera and more than 13,000 species. It contains a large number of commercially important species, including coffee, chinchona (quinine), woodruff (coumarin), psychotria (emetic ipecac — and a hallucinogen), and species used to produce red and yellow dyes.

Great Marsh Marigold

Great marsh marigold (Caltha polypetala) is a native of northern Europe and the Pacific Northwest from Oregon, up the coast, and to Alaska. Its glossy gold flowers are held well above the foliage and look like giant buttercups, to which they are related. The flowers have showy clusters of up to 40 stamens in the center. The leaves are round, with long petioles. This species differs from our local species, Caltha palustris, in its larger size. Some authorities believe they are variants of the same species. The native habitat is marshes or ephemeral wet spots in woods. This perennial prefers moist soil and will grow in sun or shade.

Jade Vine

Jade vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) is a rare find in U.S. botanical gardens. Aside from the Chicago Botanic Garden, only the Fairchild Botanical Gardens, south of Miami, Florida, and the Waimea Botanic Gardens in Hawaii have this interesting plant. The unusual color of the jade vine's blooms is the result of pigments in two different color classes being modified by high pH in the sap of the stems.

Native to the Philippines, only old, mature plants produce flowers. Jade vine is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae) and is bat-pollinated in the wild. The brilliantly colored, oddly shaped flowers are adapted for bats to hang upside down and sip the nectar within.

제이드 덩굴나무는 미국내의 식물원에는 흔하지 않은 식물입니다. 시카고 식물원외에는 단지 마이애미 남쪽의 페어차일드 식물원과 하와이의 와이메아 식물원에만 있습니다. 특이한 꽃색깔은 줄기의 높은 알카리성으로 인한 두 색깔의 혼합으로 기인합니다. 필리핀이 원산지인데, 오래되어 원숙되어야만 꽃을 피웁니다. 콩과이고 야생에서는 박쥐에 의해 수분됩니다.

Merrill Magnolia

Merrill hybrid magnolia is notable for abundant blooms, vigorous growth, and cold hardiness. Its clouds of 3½-inch flowers, each with 15 white tepals, are a fragrant sign that spring has really arrived. A faster-growing magnolia, Merrill begins blooming at a very young age.

Members of the genus Magnolia are known for the stunning beauty of their usually large flowers, which emerge prior to the foliage in spring, and are often fragrant. While shades of pink are the most common bloom color, the Magnolia palette also includes white, yellows, and purples. Another dominant feature is a prominent fruiting body of small follicles forming a cone-like shape. The species range from small trees to very large trees and shrubs.

Magnolias are an ancient genus that appeared before bees; early pollinators are believed to have been beetles. They are native to eastern and southeastern Asia and eastern North America, and Central and South America; most are not hardy in the Chicago region. Buds and blooms of the magnolias that do thrive here are often subject to damage from cold spring nights. The genus includes 300 species and numerous hybrids and cultivars. The Chicago Botanic Garden's collection includes almost 60 varieties of magnolia and more than 150 plants.

Red-Headed Pincushion Cactus

Dark red spines protect this cactus from herbivores throughout the year and in spring the brilliant pinkish red flowers attract insects to the nectar, and in the process pollinating the flowers. Bright red fruit in fall are favorites of a number of small native birds with beaks long enough to reach the fruit through the spines.  Like other cacti, this species thrives in bright light to full sun and very well drained soils.

White Trout Lily

White trout lily is one of the most common native wildflowers in woodlands of the Midwest. A member of the lily family, it forms large mats, and it will persist in spite of disturbances to the soil. Each plant sends up a 6-8 inch pale red-violet stalk topped by a nodding white flower with six reflexed petals and six yellow-tipped stamens. The leaves are narrowly ovate and are distinguished by chocolate brown spots over frosty gray-green leaves. This species covers large patches in McDonald Woods, and sometimes pops up in the parking lots. It is an ephemeral species, which means that the foliage will die back during the summer and the plants are shaded by other wildflowers. It also goes by the names dog-tooth violet and fawn lily.

Ylang-Ylang Tree

Ylang-ylang is a tropical tree that produces long-petaled flowers virtually year-round that emerge lime green and mature to lemon yellow. In its native Philippines, it is pollinated by moths and so the fragrance is most intense at sunrise. The highly prized fragrance is used in a number of colognes and perfumes and is also sprinkled on clothing before placing in long-term storage since it repels insects. In tropical humid climates, it can grow to 100 feet in height; however it is amenable to container culture, as long as a few key environmental factors are provided: bright indirect light, moisture-retentive soils that do not dry out, and high humidity.