February 8
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Plant Genus of the family Celastraceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Celastrus Although often twining and usually considered as climbers, many of the 30-odd species in this genus are shrubs that can be grown as free-standing plants or trained against a wall as espaliers. Widespread except in Eurasia, most are deciduous and have rather thin leaves that often have serrated edges. Most species have separate male and female plants; the flowers of both sexes are small and cream to green in color and would be very inconspicuous but for the fact that they occur in small panicles. Both sexes are required to produce the showy fruit, which is a dry capsule containing a brightly colored fleshy aril that is revealed when the ripe capsule splits open. CULTIVATION: Easily grown in any well-drained soil in sun or part-shade, Celastrus species vary in hardiness but are generally tolerant of moderate frosts. They should be cut back immediately after fruiting, or in spring, and can be pruned quite severely if necessary. Propagate from seed, layers or half-hardened summer cuttings.
Euonymus Belonging to the family Celastraceae, and native to Asia, Europe, North and Central America, Madagascar and Australia, this genus consists of over 175 species of evergreen, semi-evergreen or deciduous shrubs, trees and climbers. The deciduous species are grown for their good autumn color of leaf and fruit while the evergreen species often have cultivars with variegated foliage. All are good ornamental garden plants, but not all are frost hardy. Stems and branches are 4-sided. The leaves are toothed or smooth depending on form. The small flowers grow singly or in axillary cymes and are yellow, green, white, some red-brown, appearing in late spring and early summer. Parts of the plant can cause stomach upsets or even severe poisoning if eaten. CULTIVATION: Most species of this genus will tolerate all types of soil but Euonymus alatus is especially good on alkaline soil. They all grow in well-drained soil in sun or part-shade but the evergreen species needs shelter from drying cold winds and slightly more moisture in the soil. Variegated forms show their variegation better in full sun. Propagate by sowing seed of species as soon as ripe into pots sheltered from frost. Most species will root well from nodal cuttings taken in summer from deciduous plants and from evergreen plants in early summer to mid-autumn. Mix sharp sand and grit into the compost for propagating.
Paxistima This genus consists of 2 North American species of low-growing, ornamental, evergreen shrubs. They have 4-angled corky stems and opposite leathery leaves that are sometimes finely toothed. The tiny, 4-petalled, greenish white or red-tinted white flowers are produced singly or in axillary clusters in spring and summer, followed by tiny, 2-valved capsules. CULTIVATION: They are fully frost hardy and will thrive in humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil in full sun or part-shade. Cut back occasionally to encourage a neat compact habit. Propagate from seed, layers or half-hardened cuttings in late summer.

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