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Plant of the Month: Agarista

When I walk my dogs in spring, I am amazed by all the lovely fragrances our floras add to the outdoor, sensory experience. I make a point of walking a Midtown street for the honey like fragrance of Agarista populifolia or Florida leucothoe. The panicles of bell-shaped flowers are abuzz with honey bee activity which, when I kept bees, was assurance the ‘girls’ were finding a good nectar source.

If you have a shady, damp, woodland-like area or a shady boundary line that needs a screen, look no further than agarista to fit the purpose. The upright stems, growing to about 12 feet, will sucker to fill in a space. The irregular branching produces coppery new growth which ages to a dark green. It does fine if it is chopped back, rebounding quickly. And those flowers…

Carol Dorsey


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