by Jim Atwater
One of the rarest trees in Highland Park is the Korean evodia, or bee bee tree, introduced in 1905 by the great plant hunter Earnest “Chinese” Wilson. It is located below the center of the reservoir just north of the lilac collection.
A medium-sized tree, it can reach 50 ft. in height with a comparable spread and is known for its abundance of white flowers in August, beloved by bees, hence its nickname. After flowering, red capsules appear lasting from late August to November, providing a crimson glow when bathed in the rays of a setting autumn sun.
A zone 5 plant, it was devastated during the bitter winter of 1934 when the temperature reached -22° in the Rochester area. Reputed to be short-lived, its will to survive must be great as evidenced by its present imposing size now 72 years later.