Monday, March 23, 2015
CeratozamiasThis is the last of the major groups of cycads to be introduced and discussed in article form. It is a wonderful group of plants with plenty of ornamental and rare species. These are, for the most part, Mexican and Central American plants, some with thankfully a good deal of cold tolerance beyond what one would expect from their origins. Where I live now it gets pretty cold and most of the cycads are not very happy in my climate, but a few of these don't seem to mind it too much.
These are among the larger cycads in terms of leaf length and spread, as a group with some smaller species here and there. The leaflets of this genus are smooth and 'user-friendly' making them a rather 'safe' plant for the garden (though some have nasty short spines on their petioles, so careful when pruning). They are a rather lush, ferny-like group of plants, though they do have the typical plastic-like or leathery texture of most cycad leaves. They are among the more tropical looking of the cycads. And that should not be surprising as most are from forested or jungle areas of Central America.
Often Ceratozamias and Zamias can be confused as some are extremely similar in appearance. For me it can sometimes only be their cones that obviously sets them apart. Most Ceratozamias are a bright green, but a few color variations do exist. One species is noticeably blue in the leaves (Ceratozamia zoquorum) and some have very nicely colored new leaves, varying from orange to red-brown. Some have very wide, ovoid leaflets (the widest of all the cycads) and some have fairly narrow, pointed, lancelote leaflets. A few are very common but frankly, most are quite rare and a few nearly impossible to find (and costly when you do!). The female cones of this group are large and tend have pointed, dangerous looking horns/thorns along their edges, while the male cones are narrow and long with and much less threatening in appearance.
Currently there are about 24+ species of Ceratozamia, but it seems new ones are being discovered or described every 3-5 years.
The following are some of the more common species with a few very rare ones thrown in. I do not have photos nor have a seen a number of the currently accepted species, so I will leave those out of this introduction for now.
Ceratozamia beccerae- this is a very rare species and nearly impossible to find in cultivation. It is from a very small area in the Mexican jungles near Chiapas and Tobasco and few know of its native location (and want to keep it that way, so poachers won't decimate the species as so often happens with very rare and expensive collector plants). It is basically a stemless species with long arching leaves and well spaced very wide, very thick- plastic-like ovoid leaflets that are a pale sea green. Their cones are rather small compared to those of most other Ceratozamias- or at least the ones I have seen are (just a few inches tall). Small cones usually means a small number of seeds if the cones are lucky enough to be fertilized (all cycads are dioecious... either male or female, never both). So this plant very likely produces few seeds and has very few offspring, keeping it a very rare and endangered plant.
Ceratozamia decumbens- another rare species... not sure which is rarer, but I have seen this one in two different collections in southern CAlifornia while the other only one... so maybe this one is a BIT more available. Still basically unobtainable for the average collector. This is another Mexican species, found near Veracruz. And it, too, seems to be a stemless species with long, arching leaves and fairly long and wide, lancelote thick leathery dark green leaflets.
Ceratozamia euryphyllidia- another rare jungle species near Veracruz and Oaxaca, but a larger species with numerous leaves and relatively paper thin, wide leaflets. This one is more available just based on my having seen it in at least one botanical garden and in three different private collections... but still, a fairly unavailable species for someone like me. This one seems particularly wimpy having thin leaflets as well as wide. Most Ceratozamias with wide leaflets are from the shadier, junglier, warmer areas of Mexico, while those species with narrow leafets tend to be from drier, more rugged areas (and more likely to do well in my climate!).
Ceratozamia fuscoviridis- this has been known in the cycad trade for years as Ceratozamia 'Red Back' but finally has been described as this species. It is a very large plant from Hidalgo, Mexico. New leaves are an ornamental red-brown and quite striking, particularly in large plants. Leaves are very long with long, falcate, thick, leathery bright green leaves. This is a stemmed species. There are several plants in collections about California, but I don't think this is what would called a common plant.
Ceratozamia hildae- this is actually a very common species near Queretaro, Mexico and most collectors of cycads in this area of this one. It has uniquely clumped leaflets along the rachis in groups of 4-6 (sometimes more) a it like little bowties along the rachis. Leaves are long and arching and leaflets fairly well spaced along the rachis giving the plant a bit of a wispy look. It is another mostly stemless species, though old plants get one about a foot tall. I holds many leaves at a time, and suckers, as well, making a large, graceful shrub eventually. It is a very user-friendly species with very few spines to make pruning annoying. It prefers some shade in the inland climates but handles full sun along the coast OK. I am not certain of its cold hardiness, but it takes at least a pretty good amount of frost without problems. I am just not sure about deep freezes yet. It is not a good desert species, however, being fairly thirsty and intolerant of blazing hot sun and/or hot, arid winds.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Ornamental Camellias in southern California- the local botanical garden collectiThough not really my area of expertise (by a long shot) I have visited a number of public gardens in southern California and have not been able to ignore the huge Camellia collections in these gardens (particularly the Huntington and Descanso gardens which have two of the most extensive Camellia collection in the US). It is interesting to note that most Camellias are listed as growing in the colder zones in t he literature, and yet they seem to be quite happy in the Southern California zones (9b-10b), and think likely most Camellias should be 'upgraded' to being able to grow well in these zones. In addition to Camellia japonica, Camellia sasanqua and Camellia reticulata, many cultivars which grow fantastically here in southern California, there are at least another dozen rarer species of this Asian genus that are being grown seemingly without any problems in our local botanical gardens. Since there are less than 10% of the worlds cultivars growing in California it may be there are many cultivars that do not tolerate our dry summer heat, or relatively warm winters. But with all the general articles I could find on the web about growing Camellias, high heat intolerance was not mentioned very often if at all.
Flowering time for Camellias here starts in the late fall with some forms, and extends into mid spring with others, sometimes with a few blooming into early summer or starting in early fall. If one is saddened by the relative lack of rose blossoms in winter, this is a shrub or tree that can hold its own in the garden in terms of providing some needed flower color in the winter.
There are a LOT of Camellia cultivars in the world (I have seen numbers such as 30,000 and even 50,000). This is mind boggling when you realize that all Camellias are either white or red or some combination thereof. Two colors and about 6 general flower forms gives one 30,000 cultivars?! It is really no wonder that when I roam about for hours in the Camellia gardens of Descanso (which has the largest collection in the US with over 30,000 actual plants) and the Huntington (which has nearly 2000 cultivars.. less than 10% of the worlds cultivars!) that many of them start to look alike. I am dubious that there are not some cultivars that look SO MUCH like that there are not some that really should not be given a truly unique cultivar designation. Even among these two Camellia gardens in the Los Angeles area I find it hard to believe there are not at least a few cultivars that cannot be distinguished. But that may just be an ignorant novice's view of flowers.
The species: By far the most commonly grown ornamental Camellia in southern California is the Japanese Camellia, Camellia japonica. I would hazard a guess that about 85% of the plants in the local botanical nurseries are cultivars of this plant. Some botanical garden signs sometimes leave off the species name and just list Camellia 'so and so'. In most cases, when I research these plants, the vast majority end up being Camellia japonica.
This is a native of China, Taiwan, Korea and part of Japan… but for some reason it is called the Japanese Camellia.
This plant is a large shrub to tree (sometimes a fairly large tree over 40' tall) and most are grown in fairly dense colonies in which most of the flowers are getting at least some partial protection from full sun. Some are in full sun and sometimes one can see the flowers on the afternoon side of these trees are suffering from sun exposure. In general Camellia blossoms do not seem terribly durable or long lasting with most blooms looking the worse for wear at the end of the day. But some produce blooms in such massive numbers that there are still plenty of wonderful flowers on the tree to appreciate nearly all the time. The areas under some of these trees and shrubs are so thick with fallen flowers that there is a 'carpet' of dead and wilting flowers many inches thick.
Below are some of the many cultivars I have come across in California.
Camellia sasanqua is a Chinese and Japanese species known in southern California for its tolerance of full sun and profuse numbers of flowers. It is a shrubby tree to only 12' to 15' tall. Leaves are similarly leathery to Camellia japonica but slightly larger and with new maroon growth in spring. Flowers are striking though slightly smaller that those of Camellia japonica.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Loran Whitelock 1930-2014Most readers may have no idea who Loran Whitelock was, and unless they were involved in collecting, selling and/or growing rare tropical plants that would not be anything to feel bad about. But Loran was truly a botanical legend (a living one until this week) and was much admired by thousands of 'oddball plant' collectors throughout the world.
I first met Loran about 20 years ago when I was just getting into the 'weird plant' collecting part of my life. I had started with bamboo, graduated onto palms and then discovered cycads. I had already heard of Mr. Whitelock who was selling cycads under the name Cycad Gardens in Los Angeles. He was very kind on the phone and invited me to come by his place to look at what he had. I had no idea what to expect, but I had been to a number of cycad enthusiasts gardens and was very excited to meet one of the more famous cycad growers around. The cycad world is a relatively small one compared to what you might find in other plant groups so everyone in the cycad world knew who Loran was. He supposedly had a nice collection, but I had heard his prices were relatively high and that he was difficult to 'bargain' with. But when I met him, he did not seem like the 'legend' type at all. He was extremely nice, relatively quiet, and at the time was living with his wife, Eva, and his dog (can't recall that one's name) on a hill in Eagle Rock, California. The property was huge (relative to mine at least) and overlooked a good portion of the town. It was mostly hillside and fairly steep, with long winding trails through a densely planted garden of mostly cycads, but a good number of palms, ferns, succulents and other interesting plants. His house was atop the property and looked out over much of Eagle rock, as well as all his property, plants and his tenants buildings. Turns out he built it and did all the landscaping himself (at least all the design, but a lot of the work, too). The rental properties surrounding his were also amazingly landscaped with all sorts of extremely rare plants as well.
The more time I spent with Loran, the more I realized he knew a lot about just about everything I was interested in. His personal collection ranged from animals (had an extensive history of collecting snakes, birds, lizards etc. though the last few years he only had a few Gila Monsters), many palms including a lot of Central American species he collected ( including one he discovered himself- Dr.Hodel named the palm after him- Chamaedorea whitelockii), thousands of cycads (at least 90% of all the known 300+ species at the time including two species name after him), Euphorbias, Staghorn Ferns (Platyceriums), anthuriums (including another plant named after him), fossils, agaves and aloes (his Agave collection is one of the nicest I have seen), various other succulents, orchids, Tillandsias (aka air plants), Rhipsalis (tropical epiphytic cacti) and other unusual and weird plants. Loran also was a non-plant collector and art lover. His house was tastefully but extensively decorated with Tiffany Lamps, Foo Dogs, tapestries, sculptures, impressive and colorful framed beetle and butterfly collections and a lot of other works of art. There were even sculptures around the yard. Once he discovered I was an artist, he asked me to do some art work for him. Eventually I ended up being the illustrator for his well known text on cycads (sadly already out of print).
Every time I visited Loran's place he would act as if he was so grateful to see me, as if he never had visitors at all (which I know for fact was not the case by a long shot)... he definitely had a way of making one feel special. He would spend as many hours with me as needed until we got tired walking all over his property. His patience was amazing as I would take hundreds upon hundreds of photos every time I visited, and still I did not get a photo of at least half his plants. At times he would entertain multiple guests and never ever seemed out of sorts, was always welcoming and polite and answered the same question over and over again for the thousandth time without giving the person a hint it was the thousandth time. He was always full of sage advice and willing to give all the advice needed. Occasionally I would get a glimpse into one of his 'secret greenhouses', which probably really weren't secret at all, but which I rarely had the gall to ask to see inside (all sorts of incredibly rare stuff in there... and also packed from end to end, making it not only labor intensive to get around, but a bit dangerous as well, as many cycads have sharp teeth). But no matter who came over when, while Eva was there, he always took a lunch that she prepared for him (she was very protective of Loran), giving him a needed break and nutrition. During lunches, I would wander about aimlessly among plants. His collection includded many plants that would go for many thousands of dollars each (I have no idea what his collection was worth, but a fortune, I can guarantee... some plants worth at least $20,000 each, and possibly a few 2-4x that). He never seemed concerned about theft, though he had lost more than a plant or two over the years (many super rare cycads planted right along the roadside). The Whitelock plant collection includes some of the very rarest plants in the world, and many that are extinct, or nearly so, in the wild. It is truly priceless.
Since his death, his entire collection is being inventoried, ready for disbursement. All has been earmarked already from what I understand, with the vast majority going to the Huntington Gardens collection. What a boon! At least a one of kind collection such as his has a good home. Little depresses a plant collector more than knowing when he or she dies, little effort will be made by others to keep up the garden, and in most cases, all plants will be either sold cheaply, tossed out or bulldozed (I have lost two gardens so I know what it is like). Thankfully Loran was way too smart for that fate and planned far ahead... but of course few individuals on the planet have the sort of plants he had in is collection, so it makes perfect sense all the plant are going to be taken care of. I think that is one of the things that makes me happiest about my memories of Loran. Sadly all his wonderful landscaping will be lost, but I am sure he wouldn't have it any other way.
For someone who was so revered, and so influential in various fields of botany and plant collections, he was so incredibly approachable and friendly, it was hard to get my head around Loran's fame, and his personable personality and extreme deferential nature. He made friends easily and many of his friends became extremely loyal. For those who don't know the cycad world, and particularly the 'business of cycads', it is rife with name calling, rude behavior, grudges, jealousy, legal problems, name calling etc., and Loran, because of his prominence in his field, could not help become involved in some of that... but you would never know it by meeting him. Somehow it all seemed to have wash off of him, at least from what I could tell. I am sure he had his enemies in the cycad world, but I doubt he did much to cause that. Loran was a gentleman above all else, and a person who could truly be admired not only for what he knew, accomplished and advised, but for just who he was as a human being. I was incredibly fortunate to be able to have called him a friend. I will miss him very much.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Growing Plants and Living with a Blowhard.When I moved to ACton, California from the fertile valley of Los Angeles down the hill some 40 miles, I was fearing the worst for my plants. Would they survive the cold.. because it gets a lot colder here than in Tarzana? Would they survive the heat (gets not only hot here in the high desert (over 100 most of the summer) but also it is dry dry dry)? And what of these dusty, lifeless desert soils? I had many concerns, but wind was not one of them, as I was used to living through Santa Anas in the valley (and in most of southern California- a seasonal event)... these are warm, brutal desert winds that can howl though all of Los Angeles, knocking over trees and down power lines. But I was not prepared, nor had I even considered what would happen should EVERY DAY be windy, and some windy like a hurricane is windy.
When we first moved to Acton, it was on a particularly windy day... or so we thought. The property was rimmed with many nice Italian Cypress and they were all bowing under the force of the winds, which were, as expected, coming in from the desert. The wind blew all day and when continued on the second day, I began to wonder when the windy season was in this area, as this was not normally the windy season in the valley below. When asking about town, one vendor pointed out a T-shirt with a large title on it: Acton Wind Festival. So, it is exceptionally windy here... wonder when the festival is- hopefully it is this time of year. But then I see on the T-shirt's back the festival's dates: January 1- December 31. Uh oh... I began to suspect the T-shirt's advertisement was a joke and there really was no such festival (duh!). It was then I began to worry there were going to be a lot of windy days in Acton. Oh well, I had lived in windy places before (or so I thought).
At first the wind was sort of pleasant... kept it from getting super hot up here on our little hill in Acton which is considered part of the high desert. Even though the actual desert is a giant flat, featureless plain we can only see in the distance, it does get quite toasty here on our little hill (40-60 days a year over 100F). turns out wind is definitely a desert feature. Wind is also a hilltop feature, and our home is on the very top of a hill in Acton, which itself is on a giant hill, or rather a low mountain ridge separating the inland desert (Mojave) from the coastal regions of Los Angeles. And this ridge is actually a natural pass which is why the highway goes through Acton. And natural passes often let through more than just traffic ... they often are main passageways for stuff like weather. Eventually we began to realize that it was going to be windy a lot of the time, possibly much of the year. Some days were better than others with winds of only 15-20 mph, and others with winds up to 60mph (would lose roof tiles and blow over large potted plants on those days). Winds were so high that we could hardly stand on the edge of the property top with being knocked off balance (bad when walking through our new cactus garden!).
Wind can have a positive effect on some plants, in moderation of course (something we simply don't have here). Wind strengthens the stems of and trunks of plants by stimulating them to thicken their supporting structures. This makes them somewhat less prone to blow over, at least break off in parts. Some would-be pests are also blown away by strong gusts... sadly we have a pretty hardy bunch of pests up here in Acton and all the wind int the world does not seem to dissuade them much. After particularly bad winds some plants have lost all their leaves, yet the bugs are still on the naked stems wondering where their meals went. Wind also moves the air around improving a plants exposure to available carbon dioxide. It also helps to disperse their seeds. But really, these are small bonuses compared to all the bad things wind does.
We began to note that not only was it windy every day, but it came from different directions frequently, sometimes blowing from up to 3 different directions in the very same day, all gale force. This made putting things out of the wind nearly impossible because it was everywhere. There was no 'leeward' side to the house or property. And as time went on, we soon realized there was no 'windy season' either. Every single day was windy, and in most cases, all day long (though mornings were only mildly breezy until about 7:30 or 8AM)- nights were sometimes calm (too bad it's troublesome gardening at night).
Aside from being annoying, though, wind has other ramifications. I should not have worried about my plants I moved up from Tarzana... turns out worrying never helps! Almost all the plants died no matter how much I worried. And the wind turned out to be the primary cause of their demise. ...As it has been the demise of most new and supposedly acclimated plants I have acquired from local sources, as well. Wind is part of daily life in the Anteleope Valley and many of the plants grown here can adapt to it... but the wind one encounters atop a hill in a mountain pass town is an whole 'nuther thing. Growing plants on our property is like growing them in the back of a pickup truck driving down the freeway at top speed... all day long, every day, hot or cold, rainy or sunny. This constant high wind exposure has an effect upon many plants. The main one is that is simply it is incompatible with plant life.
Wind does physical damage to plants. That seems rather obvious of course and no one should be surprised by that. We have had trees blown over, branches, leaves, flowers and fruit blown off them, and all sorts of things blown onto or into them (such as our neighbor's trash). Our nectarine tree started out this season with about 20 fruits on it... one unusually blustery day and we are down to 2... the rest blown off in various directions. The apple trees bloomed well this season, but thanks to the wind, most flowers blew off and between two trees, we have a single apple growing. Any ornamental broad leaf tree that has been brought up here had most, if not all its leaves blown off by fall, making the process of going deciduous rather premature. Some trees now only sport leaves about a foot or so about ground level.
In addition, the constant wind has desiccating effects that I am just now beginning to grasp their magnitude. Leaves not only tend to get blown off, but they begin to curl and become deformed. Some trees have only miniature leaves, shrunken representatives of their former selves. Many flowers last only moments before they cave in on themselves from the loss of moisture. I have many cacti growing along one edge of the yard and they are among the few plants that actually seem to like this climate. However, despite their blooming frequently, flowers last maybe a few hours before they shrivel in the wind, or literally get blown off.
Desiccating winds have an additional negative effect upon plants. Most plants have the ability to alter their transpiration (loss of water through their foliage) by closing their stomas (microscopic 'pores' in the leaf surface). This life-saving action keeps the plants from dying on the spot from completely desiccating all their leaves... but this closed stoma situation also means there can be no active photosynthesis (I say active since xeric some plants have a way around this). The end result are plants that don't grow much and tend to be stunted. I cannot think of how many nice trees I have purchased, planted and now they are dwarfs of their former selves, with not only living leaves just a few feet about the ground but all their new growth is stunted and the branches hardly grow at all. Some find dwarf trees ornamental, but I was hoping to create some useful canopy up here, at least canopy high enough to plant under or even some day, walk under.
Cold winds in the middle of winter have a wind chill effect that is incredibly damaging. Not only is it desiccating, but it can physical scorch the foliage and sometimes the larger plant structures as well (branches and even trunks). Wind chill is a cooling of the 'resting air' basically exposing the plants to more cooling/freezing than they would experience were there no wind. So the winds can be a bit cooling on a hot day, and even warming on a cold, still day with a frost... but once real cold exists, they can actually make things a lot worse.
Winds change the shape of plants (most get shorter, some lean and many just looks scraggly and sparse all the time). Many of the plants I have in the yard have a distinctive lean to them, indicating the direction the wind blows most often. My location is rather unique and the multidirection winds have kept many plants from leaning in just one direction, and the constant leaning back and forth has seriously weakened some of their roots and they end up blowing over, one direction or another.
The wind also dries out the soil, which is incredibly dry already, and extremely porous (when one says 'well draining soil, one should be comparing that to Acton soil, which drains about as well as gravel does). So watering needs to be done nearly daily, even for drought tolerant plants (the word drought tolerant has a new meaning in this situation- even some of the most drought tolerant plants I know of require nearly daily watering, at least for the first few years, in this climate and wind exposure). It is no wonder this property was basically barren when we moved in. It was not just due to lack of canopy and water. It was due to the wind in a big part. And my efforts to make it less barren have been met with extremely variable success.
Another effect of constant wind, particularly in the desert, is the constant blowing of dust and sand. Not only do these particles damage foliage but they also can 'clog' the stomas making them unable to close, resulting in massive desiccation and leaf death.
So what is to be done about the wind? Wind breaks are one of my best hopes. I am currently growing Oleander and Eucalyptus on the hillsides to make a large living wind screen. Both are fairly drought and wind tolerant plants and I have seen many visual barriers in this town made with these plants... but none on hilltops. My efforts to grow Oleander have been successful in that it is still alive and it is growing... but not at the rate I imagine it grows in most other climates in which it can survive. At this rate, it will take a good dozen years to create my living wind break. The Eucalyptus is working out a bit better, but it's not as effective a wind break (unless planted as a solid wall of tree). I am also trying with many other desert trees that are supposed to make good light canopy for smaller plants, though these are all poor windbreaks. However getting any of these trees and shrubs up to size is so far turning out to be frustrating. Its a complex problem involving a chicken and egg scenario. Need a windscreen and canopy to grows these plants that I am growing to make wind screens and canopies...
Obviously staking up all trees is rather important (actually essential it turns out). Though particularly beefy winds just snap off these posts at ground level. In one case I have had to concrete in two 4x4 posts on either side of a tree and rope it up into place (in other words, upright... it worked... but not the most ornamental situation... and I don't really want hundreds of 4x4 posts concreted into the landscape all over the place).
Probably the best option (though highly costly, likely unsightful and probably not even legal) would be to surround the property with a high brick, rock or concrete wall. THEN I could protect the plants enough to allow them the luxury to become adapted to the weather (cold, hot, humidity etc.) without the complication of wind. Not realistic, sadly. Planting only plants that can survive massive constant winds has occurred to me... but what fun is that? Besides, in most cases, that would be the same as doing nothing and leaving this a barren hillside save a few native yuccas and creosote bushes... not really the look I was hoping for. Moving has occurred to me, too, but the wife, who has been blessed with the ability to care less about the garden as long as it doesn't affect her directly, is totally against it...we great views from up here... when you can stand still enough to enjoy them.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
The Marcus Collection- Important Contributions in Palm Science and CultivationSometimes we have to get off our high horses and give the people in the trenches some credit. That is not to say that the folks in academia and out in the field should be poo pooed, either, as what they do and what they contribute to the botanical world of knowledge is irreplaceable and vital. There are several well known, and many less well known, very important scientists active in studying palms and exploring palm habitats. And this research and publication they do has made, for us, the world of palm growing and collecting so much more exciting. And new discoveries keep us wanting more all the time. New books are gobbled up like best selling movies. Articles on palms are devoured like the lastest snacks (some are good for us, some not, just like some articles are dull and some are ful of useful and juicy tidbits).
But that does not mean that these scientists and researchers contributions are the only ones worthwhile and needing recognition and even funding. The people who make a living growing and selling palms often have something to contribute to the rapidly growing wealth of knowledge about growing palms... and sometimes the information we palm lovers and collectors glean from these people are even more important in terms of being directly applicable to our interests and hobbies.
And then there a few standout nurserymen/collectors who really should be recognized for their efforts and contributions to not only the world of palm growing, but also in species recognition and even the discovery of a number of new species of palm. There is little the palm world loves more than a new species of palm. Kudos to Dr. Dransfield, Hodel, Anderson, Noblick, Baker, Zona, Craft and all the rest for constantly adding dozens of new palms yearly to our list of things to dream about. But frankly, I don't really have much interest in growing rattans, scrubby little Syagrus species, super tropical Chamaedoreas and yet another horribly spiny Bactris (not to mention thanks to my ignorance in that area of Arecaceae, most of these palms tend to look alike to me). But who has grown more species of Dypsis that we, the ever thirsty collector, have acquired directly from, and then, thanks to his growing these palms in his collection, have been able to have them properly described (and of course, we have to give the palm scientists kudos for helping with that, too), thus adding to our list of described species that have incredible ornamental appeal? Who has made their nursery into a world class botanical garden as well? Who has hundreds and hundreds of rare species in their collection we can view that we would never ever be exposed to otherwise (unless we became world travelers, perhaps). And who has selflessly shared all this information they have discovered from their travels, their experiences growing hundreds of different species and then made many new and rare species available to the rest of the world? The first names that pop up in my mind are those of Jeff and Suchin Marcus, of Floribunda Palms and Exotics in Hawaii.
My last visit to the amazing garden of Jeff and Suchin Marcus left me reeling (as usual). I do not get a chance to visit yearly (a fact which I am certain Jeff is glad of), but every periodic visit to their outstanding and growing garden is like visiting some brand new collection. First of all, there are hundreds of new palms there every time I come by. And secondly, the palms that were there the last time have changed so much over the short time between visits, it is still like they are all new as well. So it is like seeing thousands of brand new palms every time I go. Sadly Jeff understandably does not have the time and interest to drag someone like me about his entire collection showing every individual plant (it would possibly take over a week!), and I never buy anything since I do not live locally (though I sure wish I did). Now I do not even live in a climate where I could grow anything I might order on line. Yet he is still gracious enough to give me an enthusiastic and animated tour lasting most of a day when he would certainly rather be doing something else.
Thanks to the efforst of Jeff and Suchin, we know have at least a half dozen more named species of Dypsis and many dozens of other new and exciting Dypsis palms that may not have correct names with them yet. And those are just the Dypsis… Jeff and Suchin have hundreds of very rare and nearly impossible to acquire species (mostly tropical, though) that simply cannot be found anywhere else for sale (at least mail order), and many of them not for sale anywhere at all in the northern hemisphere. And there are many more plants in their collection they have yet to propagate so are not available for sale… yet!
Their vast experiences collecting and growing palms from seed have also enabled them to be able to identify seedlings of many species, and many others at all stages of development (something even few field biologists can boast), know intimately the germination and growth rates of hundreds of species of tropical palm, discover an indefinable amount of information about plant anatomical features not obviously recognized in the literature, discover by trial and error many cultivational techniques useful for propagating and growing these critically endangered palms, and possibly most important of all, make them available to the public in a conservationally positive way. This last addition to the world of growing palms has lead to the awareness and appreciation of many exciting rare and endangered species, encouraging their discussion over the interenet and increasing the push for conservation and membership in local societies, and the international palm society.
Far from being just another nursery that Jeff and Suchin try to make a living off of, this gigantic endeavor of theirs should really be looked at more as a developing and treasured botanical garden, a controlled study and experimentation on growing rare species of palm (and some other plants as well) and a wealth of knowledge and information that simply is unobtainable from any other source, possibly in the entire world. One cannot really say enough about the importance of Jeff and Suchin's contribution to the world of palms and conservation as well.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Monocarpism in QuestionThis simple botanical term has a very simple definition: a monocarpic plant is one that flowers once in its life, and after that, dies. But when looking at the life of some of these monocarpic plants, or of some of the polycarpic plants (ones that flower multiple times during their lifespan and keep on growing before they die- the vast majority of flowering plants fit this definition) that have 'monocarpic tendencies', the idea of monocarpism becomes a whole lot more complicated.
There are a LOT of monocarpic plants, though my experiences lie mostly with the more unusual or tropical plants that fit this definition (mostly monocots), than of the much more common monocarpic plants most gardeners are familiar with. Just to run some of those more common plants by the reader to familiarize them with such plants: bananas, wheat, sunflowers, thistles, alysum, asters, zinnias etc. Many of the plants I am more interested in are monocarpic as well- the Agaves and many of its relatives, many bromeliads, some palms, some succulents, bamboo etc.
Monocarpic plants are often divided up into life span groups: annuals, biennials and perenials. Most of my favorite plants fit the perenial category (hard for me to get super excited a plant that's only around a year or so). Some people may be tempted to confuse the terms annual and monocarpic, even though many plants are both. Annuals live and die based soley on time of year... some germinate in spring and die in the fall when it gets cold... others germinate in the fall, sort of 'meditate over winter, and then live to summer and die then. But many of these annuals grow their entire season whether they flower or not (most flower) and some flower repeatedly .... if that is the case, they certainly are not monocarpic.
According to the definition, a monocarpic plant flowers only once (mono), then makes fruit (carpic), and then dies... no more growth occurs after flowering. Biochemically, these plants produce some sort of hormonal like substance that makes the plant direct all its energies away from growing foliage and other non-reproductive plant material, all towards the reproduction phase- eg. a flower (or flowers). Once it flowers, and if pollinated (by itself if monoecious, or by another if dioecious), fruit will form and from the fruit come the seeds, taking up the last bit of energy the plant has to give. Evolutionarily this seems a bit of a risk, but it obviously works or these plants would go extinct quickly.
Well, as it turns out many of these monocarpic plants have other strategies for passing on their genes aside from 'putting all their eggs in one basket' so to speak. Some produce bulbils, or small plantlets on their flower stalks. And some (many, actually) produce suckers or offsets from their root stock/rhizomes. And still others produce branches that continue on growing leaving only the flowering branch to die. All of these instances put a slight wrinkle into the orginal definition of monocarpism.
The bulbil producers can be excused in a way as their offspring are sort of 'pre-started seeds' and still the plant dies afterwards as its supposed to. But the suckering plants are a bit of a different case. Aren't these suckers part of the original plant? Admittedly, in most cases, one could remove the suckers without hurting the mother plant, so these offsets, it could be argued, are now their own plant and do not have to die for the definition to still fit. The mother plant still evenually dies (not right away sometimes...in fact, often not for years to come). These plants do not, however, grow anything more from that used up meristem or growth center that did the flowering- no more flowers certainly and not even any more leaves. But they do continue to grow in a way because their roots and rhizomes are part of the original plant yet continue to grow on and on. In some cases, these offsets are so closely associated with the mother plant that is very hard to tell them apart from it. One large clump forms and from this clump more flowers arise, often year after year, or even multiple times a year, with the clump not apparently changing much. Usually the mother plant dries up and dies and it is obvious that 'life' is over. But in many plants this death is very delayed and often goes unnoticed giving the impression that the plant as a whole is polycarpic. Indeed many of the genera belonging to the family Agavaceae and related family, Aspergaceae, are considered polycarpic even though their lives are a series of flowering events always from a different growth center or rosette of leaves that is nearly impossible to tell from the original. Below are some examples of plants that have a monocarpic flowering event, but live on in the form of offsets/suckers.
And sometimes these orginal plants not only produce offsets, but a second or third sets of flowers, albeit from root stock rather than the original growth center... but obviously NOT from the offsets (as many do not have any.. or any yet)- so some of these monocarpic plants flower multiple times (sort of goes against the definition). A great example of this occured in my own yard, with my Aloe mitis var NOVA. It was a beautiful plant I purchased only three years earlier, and was hoping it would go on living for many years... but alas, it flowered one year, to my dismay- such a short, uneventful life I thought (not a very long-lived agave sadly, despite its relatively large size and incredible beauty). So I was a bit surpised to see it still alive and basically intact the following year after flowering. It did not grow any more leaves, or change in any way that I could tell, but it certainly was not dead... yet. Then, to my surprise, it produce three more sets of flowers over the following 2 years that appeared out of the ground all around the plant. No offsets could be seen. These flowers, though much less impressive, were still on stalks a good four to five feet tall and had plenty of flowers (not noticed if any seed were produced). Eventually the plant started to look the worse for wear after three years, and numerous offsets could be seen, so I got tired of it and dug it up... no idea how much longer it would have survived, or if it would have kept on producing flower stalks from its roots.. but I felt this was indeed a bit of a stretch of the monocarpic definition... at least the above definition. Perhaps there needed to be a more accurate definition of this term monocarpic?
Then there is the situation with the branching species that are 'polycarpic/monocarpic'... ? Some of the Agavaceae, Nolinacea, Asparagacea and Arecaceae (Palms) are tall, branching plants that flower year after year and continue on living many decades (if not centuries for some species). Some scientifically minded say all Agavaceae are monocarpic despite this apparent polycarpic lifestyle, and change the definition of what monocarpic actually means. Many plants that appear to be truly polycarpic have been moved out of Agavaceae and into other related families, such as Asparagaceae (which still as its share of monocarpic plants), such as the Dracaenas, Cordylines, Nolinas, Beaucarneas etc. The arguement, however, made by some, is that these plants are still growing in a 'monocarpic' fashion. 'Monocarpic fashion' is a phrase I sort of made up, but I dont' know how else to describe these plants.
As far as the original definition goes, these plants mentioned above are polycarpic- they flower multiple times. They do not die after flowering, and many do not even fall back on the offset/suckering way of getting out of truly dying as some other monocarpic plants do. But what is actually going on at these plant's growth centers does sort of fit the monocarpic principle: after flowering, the meristem or growth center of any section of these plants (eg. at the end of a branch) does indeed no longer grow once it makes a flower/fruits, even though the rest of the plant continues on growing for many years, making more flowers and fruits and acting like a polycarpic species. Even the Yuccas that appear to grow as one tall, uninterupted trunking species up to some thirty or forty feet in the air, flowering spectacularly year after year, some argue are still showing 'monocarpic growth'. What these people argue, and frankly I cannot say whether they are correct or not... but suspect they might be, is that when these yuccas flower, that growth center does indeed die and will produce nor more flowers or fruits or even leaf growth. But then a branch or new growth center takes over with a new meristem forming, and continues the life of the yucca. What appears to be one solid, straight, uninterupted trunk is actually a yearly continution of linear branching that one could identify microscopically as a series of new growth centers, even though macroscopically it appears to be one solid trunk or branch. Maybe this is the case. But I say that does not make the plant itself a monocarpic species as some of these 'nit pickers' say it does. I prefer to say these tree Yuccas are polycarpic but grow in such a way that fits a 'monocarpic growth pattern'. As I said before, I basically made that phrase up. No idea if any botanically trained biologist would agree with that statement.
Some of my favorite plants, palms, also fit in this nebulous pseudo-monocarpic growth pattern. Arengas, Caryota mitis and Nannorhops are three relatively hardy and excellent landscape palms for southern California so we are quite familiar with this three genera of plants here. These plants are polycarpic in that they flower 'regularly' and contine to live on for years (some for many many decades) just like the yucca trees do. Each one of these is a branching or suckering palm and after a branch or sucker flowers, it dies in the typical monocarpic fashion... still leaving the remainder of the tree to continue life uninterrupted. So the argument could be made these palms are both polycarpic and monocarpic... sort of muddies the original definition a bit.
So what if you have a monocarpic plant that you do not want to die after it flowers? Can the cycle be stopped? Reportedly (at least I read this in one of the articles about monocarpic plant culture) one can chop off the flower as it's starting to form and this may prevent the whole hormonal change causing the plant to commit suicide by putting all its energy into the flowering and fruiting process, thus saving its energy for continued living and growing. Whether this is actually true I do not know. Plants that I have chopped off their flowers as they appear do not seem to divert their energies as I would have hoped and still end up dying even without a flower... but maybe I just jumped in too late? If they survived, would they continue on to flower again continuing their suicidal attempts to throw their lives away just for some spectacular flowering event and send a gazillion seeds into the world, hoping to pass on its genetics that way?
Anyway, my point, after all these photos and rambling ideas, is what exactly does it mean to mean to be monocarpic? Do we need a new definition, or just a new phrase as I have suggested?
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Update on life in Acton experiencesTime to write the second in a series (sometimes the 'series' is just a single article, when I threaten this sort of thing... keeps 'em guessing!) of adjusting to life in hell. Already started, but the exaggerations are so out of this world (literally) this time that any hope of seriousness is lost. No one will still feel sorry for me. The outrageous claims of wind damage, baking heat and death and the made up ozone loss (not really totally made up, though) are going to annoy readers this time around. Have to put in some real facts (heck, got a lotta dead plants on the hill I can photograph showing the brutality of my current climate situation... though in reality, could be just lazy watering habits that killed all these poor, unsuspecting, helpless recruits... nah! It was the #$%@&& weather! Sounds better that way, for sure). I have to say, I was surprised, despite my dire predictions, how hard it was to keep things happy in the summer here. It was the winter I was more worried about (and that may still become the case once I actually live through one up here). I dream of all the trees and palms getting tall one day, but my worries are the hot, drying wind that never seems to end, will continue acting like a swinging pendulum, keeping everything at a certain height - usually a lower one than each plant started at, too! I can't actually measure ANY growth in ANY plant I have planted 8 months ago, other than maybe the China Berry sapling, which has more leaves than before (not now, though... winter took care of that). But is it any taller? Or stems any thicker? Have even any cacti grown? New leaves on a palm? or ANY tree for that matter.. less, shorter, sadder, weaker or bent over (very common sight) is all I can factually record. How does anyone grow anything here? My thinking is I really need to water more, and set up an automated system to insure that. Ugghh.. I hate anything that requires electrical/motorized comprehension... oh well. gotta get over that. After over 50 years of shying away from technology, time to face it.
Well, winter has come and gone, though it was a relatively mild one from what I understand. We even had some measurable rains, though I could hold this entire year's rainfall in a Starbuck's coffee cup. But at least it rained enough to make what worthless leftover of a lawn I had, make a feeble attempt to start growing again (any progress is already stimied by an early summer... oh well). And it did bring upon my yard an impressive plague of weeds I was not besotted with last year (an even lower rainfall season)... but even those gazillion weeds are turning to crispy, necrotic ghosts of themselves this May... leaving only their insidious and annoying hair-like spines in the soil, making any 'putting on of hands' in the local dirt a painful and unforgettable experience. Even my Home Depot gloves are having to be tossed out as they become so full of urticating hairs they quickly become unusable (save as devices of evil torture).
And spring... another fleeting refreshing breeze that maybe lasted a week... well, the 'breeze' part is still here of course, but the refreshing characteristics have been promptly replaced by the more familiar 'blasting bellows of hell's furnace' (aka Acton winds). Oh well. Was sort of hoping last year's excessively windy weather was a fluke. It is turning out that last year was actually a 'mildly windy exception'. bummer. ...
Monday, November 18, 2013
Araucaria heterophylla versus columnarisOver the years during which I began learning about plants, I 'mis-learned' a lot of stuff, and 'un-learning' and 're-learning' has been a laborious and taxing exercise, though the easier so the older I get. My increasing knowledge of plants is dwarfed by the true plant experts out there, but I have learned enough about plant taxonomy and identification to know that anything and everything I have learned could still be proven wrong tomorrow. It is with this humble approach to plant identification that I begin my first article on mis-identification problems in the nursery trade, the Norfolk Island Pine controversy.
There are a number of plants that are sold relatively commonly at nurseries that are simply NOT the plants they say they are. Why do I care? Because in almost every case, I have been duped, too, and assumed the nurseries knew what they were advertising and selling. Thank goodness to Davesgarden and the massive worldly exposure my plant blunders get, or else I might never have learned what a sucker I am. But now that I know better, for some reason I feel it is my duty to try, as hopeless as it may be, to correct these errors in plant identification so you, the reader and potential plant buyer/collector, will not make the same mistakes I made.
Why should you care? Well, maybe it really doesn't matter to you what something really is. If you like it and it grows well for you, perhaps it doesn't. I need to know what something is or I am just never quite as happy about it. But in this particular case, the plant in question is different enough from what is actually being sold to most growers that getting the plant wrong could end up proving to me more than just a silly error in naming, but a landscape blunder as well. Some say buyer beware, and there is a lot to that. And in this instance, the error in identification is so widespread that it almost would be easier to officially rename each of these plants rather than re-educating the tens of thousands of people who already have things all wrong. But since officially renaming a plant for convenience is never going to happen, I am going to try to clear things up a bit for the few of you that might actually care or for whom getting things mixed up could save you some time in having to possibly dig up or return something.
I don't know the history of these two species in question that well, but Captain Cook, the famous explorer himself discovered both these trees and is responsible in part for getting them into world wide cultivation. And that may be where the problem first began. Somewhere along the line, between his day and some time later, the plant everyone assumed to be the Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) was really the Cook Pine (Araucaria columnaris). The names are pretty easy to understand- one is from the Norfolk Islands and the other closely related species is a native to the Cook Islands. The Norfolk Islands are off the east coast of Australia, about half way between New Caledonia and New Zealand. The Cook Islands are way out in the Pacific Ocean pretty much in the middle of nowhere, not close to anything except the island of Tonga. But as they are both from remote areas of the world, few know what the plants really look like in nature. Almost all those that profess to know these plants learned from what was already in cultivation, and probably already wrong. That sort of wrong is one of the hardest wrongs to make right. It is historically entrenched in our nursery trade so deeply that one has a difficult time going back far enough to find where the first mistake was made. And resistance to change is stubbornly strong.
If you look at these two trees growing side by side, it is pretty hard to see how they could be confused. But they do have a lot of similarities that they share with a lot of the other members of their genus, Araucaria. The only thing is most of those other species are not common in cultivation so misidentification is not an issue. And the other two (Araucaria bidwillii (the Bunya Bunya Tree) and Araucaria araucana (the Monkey Puzzle Tree)) that are more common in cultivation look quite different so no likely identification problems there... not to mention the latter has a very different cultivational picture (likes it cold). One of the problems with telling Norfolk Island Pines from Cook Pines is they also look quite a bit different (especially the Cook Pines) depending upon where they are grown- if along the coast, or in the hotter inland areas, or in the tropics... they look quite a bit different in each situation, enough so they can look like completely different species. So if a tree is that variable, then it is no wonder its true identification is at risk.
I got my first 'Norfolk Island Pine' as an indoor Christmas Tree (probably the most common way people end up with a Cook Pine) some 10 years ago, and proceeded, like many, to profess I knew what Norfolk Island Pines looked like, not only as juveniles like the plant in my living room, but from all the mature trees growing in the neighborhood (my neighborhood in Los Angeles seemed to be particularly fond of Araucarias as they were on nearly every block). I professed to the point of uploading my photos of these trees on Davesgarden and even writing an article about the use of Norfolk Island Pines as indoor Christmas trees (it was a seasonally timed article so I did not do a ton of research on it due to the time constraints). And for a year nothing happened in terms of me discovering how wrong I was. Because everyone else thought the same as I did!
Thankfully someone who actually knew better finally chimed in on some of my plant photos to tell me what an idiot I was and that all my photographs were of Cook Pines, not Norfolk Island Pines. Of course I knew better than this obviously crazy person did... after all, how could so many other plant people be wrong about something so basic? Well, after some 'real' research, and much to my dismay, I discovered I was indeed wrong, as was everyone else, as hard as it was to believe and accept. After getting over my embarrassment (hard to believe, after being told I am wrong 1000 times by now I still get embarrassed), I eventually tried to clear up the mess on Davesgarden. I moved all my incorrect photos, and reworked my article and uploaded as many correct photos of Norfolk Island Pines as I could. But this goof up is SO entrenched in the plant world that even the Davesgarden administration was (and still is) reluctant to touch other people's incorrect photos, at least when in comes to this mix up. When it comes to palms and a few other plants I know well, they listen to me and move things about... but not this time. It may take a lot more people complaining and (I hope) experts to chime in to get this monumental move to actually happen.
There are LOTs of photographs of Norfolk Island Pines on the internet. I think it is no exaggeration to say that at last 80% of those photos are wrong (they are almost all of Cook Pines actually). There are indeed some correct ones, and even better, a few photos of the two species side by side. The photos of immature plants are very likely all wrong, too, but since the two species look alike as juveniles, it will be harder to make a case to correct them as well. Since the Norfolk Island Pine is actually a fairly rare species in cultivation, it is not all that easy to demonstrate the differences to all other than showing photographs of the few I have seen, and point out the few other correct ones on the internet. Young plants (less than 3'-4' high) of each species are virtually identical, so that doesn't help, either, as it is at this size that most plants are purchased around the world. And of course it doesn't help that some very old and large Araucarias labeled as Araucaria heterophylla don't really fit either Araucaria heterophylla or columnaris... are these another species of Araucaria, or just my ignorance in not having seen enough really old specimens? Yes there are many photos I am not 100% sure either way, so I can sure understand others might be confused.
When it comes to large, mature populations of Norfolk Island Pines, I know of none other than I suppose on Norfolk Island itself. I would LOVE to have a bunch of photos of this species in nature to have, show and compare to the vastly more common Cook Pine, which is grown in large colonies in various locations (mostly in the tropics). One of the best examples of this are the large forests of Cook Pines on Hawaii (the big island, east side). These large groves of Cook Pines are excellent examples of how this tree can look so different in a tropical climate because these trees look almost nothing like the tiny, leaning, back yard, once-indoor-Christmas trees in southern California where I am from that dot our landscape in massive numbers. But even the island of Hawaii has frequently referred to their own stands of conifers as Norfolk Island Pines, so there will be a lot more convincing to do than just turning a few heads around.
The similarities: Both trees show the symmetry that makes this genus Araucaria so ornamental, though both to an exaggerated extent. The branches are set at regular intervals very unlike the seemingly random placement of branches in most other species of conifer. In warmer climates, the branches are far enough in both species apart that there are even spaces seen between them giving these trees an almost manufactured quality, rather than something nature would create (this open, symmetrical look is always the case with Araucaria heterophylla despite climatic variations, though) . Both trees have interestingly upright foliage (though not to the same degree). And both have a tall, triangular silhouette, that makes them 'ideal' Christmas trees, as least in shape, if not size. Both have the same ferny, soft, non-painful foliage when young that makes them popular indoor trees (though temporarily only).
The differences: 1) The Cook Pine, Araucaria columnaris, is named scientifically due to its columnar shape. Very old trees tend to lose a bit of their triangular silhouette and adopt a more columnar one as the lower branches fray away. And even younger trees do not obtain the same spread one sees in Norfolk Island Pines. Norfolk Island pines retain their strongly triangular silhouette pretty much their entire lives those some lower branch tip attrition seems to occur as well. So Cook Pines are somewhat to much narrower in their silhouettes. Both are solitary trees (though Cook Pines are often sold as clumps of trees (2-4 in a group) making some think these are suckering species).
2) There is a huge size difference between these two species, best appreciated when the two are grown side by side. Both can attain great height (over 100 feet), but the spread on a Norfolk Island Pine is massive, making it a poor choice for most back yards, while the Cook Pine, particularly in the Southern California climate, is a great, smaller tree for most little yards. The Norfolk Island Pine is some 3x as great a diameter at its base than most Cook Pines. This feature is the the primary differences between these two species and one that most don't appreciate since they rarely get to be seen in person.
3) Norfolk Island Pines, partly due to their greater size, have much more spread in between their branches giving them an even more symmetrical look than seen in most Cook Pines. Cook Pines are much more densely foliated (again, takes two side by side to really appreciate this fully). The tops of the Norfolk Island Pines have so much distance between the branches that it seems exaggerated and weird looking, a look rarely seen in Cook Pines. And Cook Pines have more foliage, in general, towards the center of the tree, while Norfolk Island Pines have little or no foliage there, giving them a much airier, almost naked look. These characteristics are among the better ones to tell these two apart.
4) Norfolk Island Pines have VERY upright foliage, with nearly all their branchlets facing straight up to the sky. On old plants with branches near the ground, some of the foliage may be more in disarray and not necessarily upright. But on Cook Pines, most of the lower foliage is rarely pointing upwards, and that that is, is not always pointing straight up.
5) Cook Pines tend to lean, sometimes so much so that they look like they are falling over (and sometimes they actually do). Some young Cook Pines lean at an early age, but most Cook Pines tend to lean a bit more as they age. I see this leaning far more pronounced in Southern California trees than I do on the island of Hawaii, where most Cook Pines are pretty much straight up and down. The cause of the leaning is not known to me. Norfolk Island Pines invariably grow straight up an down, perfectly symmetrically, their entire lives, at least here in California. This leaning is a very good way to tell Cook Pines, though unfortunately not all Cook Pines lean.
6) in my limited experience, Norfolk Island Pines do not branch, at least in term of forming a second major stem/trunk. Most Cook Pines do not, either, but many do.
7) Cook Pines have very flaky, peeling bark, at least relative to the Norfolk Island Pine (some of these Norfolk Island Pines have pretty flaky bark but it is RELATIVELY less flakey). To me, this is not a good way to tell these two apart, but this feature is discussed by others on the internet.
8) The foliage of Cook Pines is deeper green than the 'forest green' of Norfolk Island Pines (again somewhat of a subjective difference).
So below are some photos of both Norfolk Island Pines (many of these trees exist along the coast of Southen California, though 'many' is relative to the gazillions of Cook Pines there are along the coast) and Cook Pines.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
identification blundersidentification and info blunders: Araucaria heterophylla, Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, Cycas circinalis, Aloe harlana, Aloe ibitiensis, Aeonium urbicum
Sunday, November 17, 2013
idea correctionsCalifornia pepper tree NOT from California
palms and cacti mistakes.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
ideas for Nov and DecPandans, Yucca brevifolia, the Joshua Tree, Nursery identification blunders that are entrenched, Chamisa, UPdate on trying to grow things in the high deserts of California, Ceratozamias,
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