ncbotanicalgarden ncbotanicalgarden

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NC Botanical Garden  A conservation garden focused on southeastern native plants through over 1,000 acres of display gardens and natural areas. Part of UNC-Chapel Hill.

Catesby's trillium (Trillium catesbaei) in the Local Flora section of our Piedmont Habitat. This beautiful southeastern native wildflower is most common in deciduous forests in the Piedmont (like our very own Battle Park, where you’ll find it every spring).

Sundial lupine (Lupinus perennis ssp. perennis) in our Sandhills Habitat.

A special sight greets walkers on the Elephant Rock Trail behind the Garden: the ice age relic population of Rhododendron catawbiense (Catawba rhododendron) in full bloom on the north-facing slope of Morgan Creek.
Catawba rhododendron is mainly confined to the southern Appalachian Mountains, usually above 6,000 feet in elevation. (Roan Mountain has a famously stunning display in late spring.) After being pushed into new territory by the last ice age, it retreated back to cooler climes when temperatures warmed. But a few populations, around 14,000 years old, remain in our area on north-facing slopes by streams - the coolest places they can find.

Take a walk on our Piedmont Nature Trails to see these incredible plants for yourself!

Clematis ochroleuca (curlyheads) in our Piedmont Habitat. Before long, these subtle and beautiful flowers will give way to curlyheads' whimsical, Seussian seed heads.

Rhododendron austrinum (Florida flame azalea), native to a small area from northern Florida and southern Georgia west to Mississippi, blooming now by the Totten Center.

Stunning native vine Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine) by our Water Gardens.

Phlox divaricata (woodland phlox) in our Mountain Habitat. Stop by this weekend to see these beauties (and lots of other new blooms)!

Foamflower heaven in our Piedmont Habitat! Tiarella cordifolia var. collina (heartleaf foamflower) is native to the southeastern US, where it grows in rich, moist woodlands. And it’s available now for your home garden in our Daily Plant Sale!

Native wildflowers in the Coker Pinetum: Iris cristata (dwarf crested iris), Podophyllum peltatum (mayapple), and Cynoglossum virginianum (wild comfrey). The Coker Pinetum (pronounced pie-NEE-dum) is a stretch of around 26 acres of land running along Manning Drive in Chapel Hill that connects NCBG with the UNC campus through beautiful wooded trails. Garden staff and volunteers have put in enormous amounts of work to clear this tract of land of invasives and restore native species. Where privet and Chinese wisteria once reigned is now covered in mayapple, spicebush, river oats, and trillium. Next time you need to get from campus down to Old Mason Farm Road, come experience it for yourself!

Catkins of Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood, American hornbeam) in our Piedmont Habitat. This delightful member of the birch family is found along streams and in rich moist woods in the eastern U.S. Its particularly hard wood is used to make tool handles, golf clubs, and other small items, but its petite stature as an understory tree has kept it from being widely commercially harvested.

Last week, NCBG staff, with help from the NC Plant Conservation Program and @tnc_nc, burned a large swath of Penny's Bend Nature Preserve in Durham that hadn't seen fire in around three years.

In addition to part of the meadow, we burned part of a steep, east-facing slope currently covered in a dense forest dominated by loblolly pines, which are not native to the Piedmont. With periodic controlled burns, loblolly pine removal, and understory restoration using locally collected seeds, we aim to return the wooded slope to its natural state (pre-European settlement): a more open, shortleaf pine savanna.

Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, owned by the Army Corps of Engineers and managed by the North Carolina Botanical Garden, is home to plants uncommon in much of the rest of the state because of its unusual geology.
Photos by NCBG director Damon Waitt.

Trillium grandiflorum (great white trillium) in our Mountain Habitat.

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