Rare and Unusual Trees
Vic Ciccolella loves rare and unusual trees and shrubs. For over 20 years he has been collecting seeds, swapping plants with other collectors and keeping an eye out for ‘sports’ or irregular growth on plants which may give rise to new forms or varieties. There are now around 1400 trees and shrubs on Vic’s 5-acre property near Sydney, and his collection is still growing.
Rare trees featured in our segment:
Weeping bald cypress (Taxodium distichum Weeping Form)
The bald or swamp cypress is a deciduous conifer native to the Florida Everglades. It can live happily in boggy areas, and has ‘knees’ or vertical woody growths which enable it to breathe when the root system is underwater. Vic grew this weeping form from a selected seedling. It would look wonderful growing next to a pond or beside a creek or riverbed.
Fastigiate purple prunus (Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’ Fastigiate Form)
This unusual form of the purple leafed prunus grew from a chance seedling. It has never been pruned or trimmed, but in 7 years has grown into an upright, narrow shape similar to that of a pencil pine. Don thinks that this fastigiate form of the purple prunus has great potential as a street tree, because it would not obstruct pedestrian or vehicular traffic, and does not grow tall enough to hit power lines.
Weeping sasanqua (Camellia sasanqua ‘Kim’)
Vic propagated this camellia from a chance seedling. It has weeping, shiny foliage, and formal white flowers tinged with pink. It is named after Vic’s daughter, Kim.
Vic’s unusual and rare trees are not available at nurseries now, but may be in the future.