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Emmenopterys henryi is a member of the Rubiaceae that E.H. Wilson introduced in 1907. It did not flower in the West until 1971 when it bloomed at Lake Maggiore in Italy. The tree reaches 60-100 feet but may take 20-40 years to flower. I feel lucky to have blooming one five minutes from home at the now famous Raulston Arboretum. It has become common to me now. This tree is 20 years old tops. Probably 99% of people visiting the "Raulston" never seen it as it hides between the conifer collection and a rather artistic outhouse called "The Necessary".

The genus name means "enduring wing" or "lasting feather" from the pale-colored, wide bract which accompanies the otherwise normal-looking flowers in the inflorescence. Click on the top photo to the left. These bracts are like smaller versions of the leaf but greenish-white to cream, havng only some chlorophyll in their heart. They will fad with pink tints if given some light.

The tree below at is nearly 30 feet tall and it's maze of bracts (shot 2 weeks after the pictures to the left) give it a greyish to faintly pink cast. It looks as if being favored by hundreds of white moths though the effect is more odd than dramatic. One could walk by this tree and never notice it, actually. Unless one is a dendrophile the curiosity factor could be low.

Click all images to enlarge.