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Yellow Mandarin
Disporum lanuginosum

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Yellow MandarinMandarins are members of the Lily family - they are similar in general structure and appearance to Solomon's Plume and Rose Twisted Stalk. They are not common, but where found can be abundant. As they first emerge in mid-spring, they look just like Solomon's Plume - a single stalk of tightly curled leaves. As they mature, Mandarin stems will fork into usually three branches. The flowers are always found (usually in pairs) at the end of the branches, and always hang downwards. The slightest breeze will set these delicate flowers in motion.The flowers are a pale yellow-to-green, consisting of six narrow, sharply pointed petals. The stems are distinctly "crooked"  at each leaf junction.The one pictured here is usually referred to as "Yellow" Mandarin. I've found large patches of this particular plant north of Asheville close to the BR Parkway. They grow in rich, open hardwood forest. If you are very lucky, you might see a second, much rarer species -"Nodding" Mandarin, or Disporum maculatum. It looks very similar to the above, but the petals are cream-colored with small purple freckles. I've seen D. maculatum only in North Georgia so far.
A note on the nomenclature (naming conventions) on this site: Scientific names and classifications are constantly being argued and changed, and it drives me nuts. Although I use many different sources for knowledge, for naming consistency  I  use the  "Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas" by Radford, Ahles and Bell, 1968 edition. This book is a well-established authority for the plants of our region and I've been using it for years. If for some reason I must use a different source for a particular plant, I will make note of it within the descriptive text. Don't like it? Tough!

Fiona Dudley
986 Reems Creek Road
Weaverville NC 28787


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