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-RLR's "Favorite Palm"

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One of the funniest things about Bob Riffle was his inability to settle on a favorite palm -- I always said it was the one in front of him at the moment.  He'd call me on his cell phone huffing around Montgomery or Fairchild or The Kampong and describe what he was seeing ... many favorites!

I'm writing an article about RLR for the IPS Palms publication and would like to include the list of his "favorite palm" as told to you all.  Trust me, I know there is more than one.

I realize these have been mentioned in other threads, but it would be easier to have them all in one place.  Thanks so much.

D.

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I can think of bob's book, The Tropical Look, and remember many times of him stating that this tree or this palm was the most..... and that it was "breathtaking" or "stunning" or "heartbreakingingly beautiful" or whatever. I'll look through and try to fish out some things. There are so many times that I've based my choices for my yard pretty much on Bob's book alone. Stand by, I'll see what I can find.

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Patrick, after you look, tell me which one you think is his favorite.  He told me so many that I can barely remember any.  

I do remember looking each one up and knowing that they wouldn't even survive the low temps in my living room let alone outdoors during a Seattle summer.

Thanks, Patrick.

D.

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Diane,

I'm not sure if he ever SPECIFICALLY mentioned it, but I suspect most of us think on a "parallel palm plane". So, therefore I nominate the " Kentiopsis Piersoniorum", My personal favorite....

With "Dypsis 215" a very close 2nd!

Thanks as always,

Bill

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Bob,s favorite palm .............................. I had that discussion with him a couple times.  He skirted the issue beautifully without saying.  He managed to always change the subject.  I think all palms were his favorite.  I have often been asked the same question and it is indeed a difficult question as it is for any major palm nut. :P

pablo

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Bob and I discussed Bactris for awhile as an excellent genus which the public shrugged off as spiny and not attractive. Bactris militaris was discussed as an incredible palm that never got much credit.

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Bill and Pablo and Christian, thanks for the input.  It's fun looking these palms up in the encyclopedia.  I know he had a bactris hanging over his fence on the side of a little troublemaker who used to throw things into his yard.  We discussed the possibilities of the spines a couple of times.   :>  

I know he put in some licualas but I can't remember the species.  L. grandis is one of my all-time favorites -- one of the ones that probably couldn't even survive my living room lows even under otherwise ideal conditions.

Instead of avoiding naming his favorite palm, he just told me what it was at the moment.  I would have taken notes but I have a feeling it's about 99 percent of the encyclopedia, so why bother?

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He always said that nothing compared to Mauritia flexuosa in habitat.  I concur.

Robert

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He always said that nothing compared to Mauritia flexuosa in habitat.  I concur.

That's the kind of schtuff I'm looking for!  Thank you.

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I will also say he seemed to stress his love of New World palms, hence his love for Bactris, Mauritia, and I know he had a thing for Geonoma as well....

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Thanks, Christian...

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This is what Bob wrote in the Licuala elegans thread on the old forum about Kerriodoxa elegans:

Robert Lee Riffle

Posted on: May 02 2006,04:54        

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GOD! They're beautiful!  

If Mauritia is NOT a true "fan palm" (it's more closely related to Calamus, Pigafetta, Salacca, Plectocomia and Raphia rather than it is to Sabal, Licuala, Livistona, Brahea, Washingtonia and Thrinax) then Kerriodoxa is MY fave fan palm genus.  And I can't seem to make them completely happy here ....

Somebody's gotta PAY!  Wal: front/center--50 pushups DOUBLE TIME and get the lead out!

--Sergeant Ruff RIff

Edited by Robert Lee Riffle on May 02 2006,05:17

End - -

So, I'm posting two Kerriodoxa photos in the other thread!

Bo-Göran

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Wal: front/center--50 pushups DOUBLE TIME and get the lead out!

I remember that. He was teaching me some type of life lesson, I was in need of so many, I can't remember what this one was.

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I would think that the Cyrtostachys renda would be included in his favorites.  In TTL, he says, "Never has nature been more profligate in lavishing beauty on a single plant."  (Lord, I love the way he writes.)

There's also a description of a particular grouping he said was one of the most splendid sights.  This was, I believe, in the Encyclopedia.  It was in the middle of a courtyard: a grouping of Ptychosperma elegans of varied heights and phoenix roebelenii, surrounded by alocasias, gingers and selloum, with ferns around them.

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I will also say he seemed to stress his love of New World palms

GOD! They're beautiful! ... then Kerriodoxa is MY fave fan palm genus.

I would think that the Cyrtostachys renda would be included in his favorites.  In TTL, he says, "Never has nature been more profligate in lavishing beauty on a single plant."  (Lord, I love the way he writes.)

This was a wonderful way to start my day, thank you.  It brought my old friend close to me again.

Wal, I found his comments to you and yours now in response delightful.

I loved the way he wrote, too; but more than that, I loved seeing what he knew.  It drove me crazy to learn he'd been posting someplace I hadn't been.  I sort of stalked his brain around the Internet; after all these years I still didn't want to miss a word.

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I think he mentioned Pigafetta at one point, but I can't find the post...

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I think he mentioned Pigafetta at one point, but I can't find the post...

El H-- I LOVE this thread.  He was SO bad!  Here's what he said in the encyclopedia:  "There are no more beautiful or magnificent palms."  

Thanks for this hour's laugh and smile.  Pigafetta is on the list.

D.

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Ray, the first one I killed was in a container--a heavy clustering red c.s. specimen.  Went off to Baton Rouge, Louisiana (drove--I know: INSANE) to do a talk thing in Feb. 2001.  Put the container under an oak but, when I got back a week later, the red beauty was (as Dave would say) totally "Norwegian Blue!!"

Death of the second one (large, clustering orange) was PLANTED on north side of house, getting sun only in the mornings.  Well, you KNOW how late the rainy season was this year and kust about every waking hour of June was devoted to dealing with the dying old forum and the creation of this'n.  Every "night" around 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. I'd remember that I needed to water but was too tired and the lights out there are not sufficient.  I pulled the brown spears out of the hollow trunks about a week ago. Every other palm near the vestiara (except for the small Verschaffeltia)  survived well, including the pinangas!  So, I blame ALLa yawl for my palm losses this year!  ;-))

I reckon he liked Areca vestiaria. "There is hardly a more beautiful combination of form and color in the plant world, making this palm excellent for almost any landscape circumstance.  It excels in close-up situations.  With enough moisture, humidity, and light, it works admirably well as a houseplant or in a greenhouse." Plus, look at the Monty Python quote. That is too funny. Thanks for the laughs, Bob.

Zac

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Now I'm feeling bad  :;): , I mean Robert told me his favorite palm was Acoelorrhaphe wrightii, The Paroutis Palm native to South Florida and the Caribbean. I even got him to pose next to this one at Glyn Whiddon's place down in South Texas.

For years I've been nursing my specimen along bragging on it now and then to Robert 'cause I knew it was his 'favorite' palm and now I read all this. There were others?--Kerriodoxa, Cyrtostachys, and that beauty Mauritia flexuosa!

You think you know someone so well and then...sniffle.

post-1-1156213729_thumb.jpg

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Thanks for the laughs, Bob.

Zac, he and Mike Burnett spent so much time preserving the old messages for this new forum.  We can be so glad that he unknowingly saved part of his legacy for us...AND so many of the laughs!

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You think you know someone so well and then...sniffle.

Let me dry your eyes, honey deer.  This picture illustrates what I always said -- his favorite palm was the one in front of him!  

I hope later this evening I have that photo in my email, suitable for printing.  It's a good 'un.

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My memories of Bob come from another place: a Compuserve Forum.  It is now known as The Books and Writer's Community, but past names include The Writer's Forum, and the Literary Forum.

As some of you have mentioned his writing and his sense of humor, I won't dwell on them, but say just that those are the things I remember most fondly.  I am, alas, not a "palm person," although I did ask questions about palms when I moved from San Diego to central Florida.  I don't even rmember what my problem was, but I remember that it was solved very quickly by Bob.

He was always a gentle-man, funny, and knowledgeable and we have all lost by his going.

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Somehow, this discussion seems the place for this ...

Bob Riffle, my gardening brother,

thought of palms as a father or mother.

Was it Palmae?  He'd love it --

"No other above it!"

he'd say of this, that, and the other.

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Hall and Janet,

Bob always had such a strong bond with the writers in the LitForum on CompuServe -- even before I knew him.  Thanks for taking the time to post here -- it's not always easy to wander into unfamiliar territory and we all appreciate it.  

He'd love the limerick!   :>

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Diane,

I concur that Bob had many favorite palms.  There is one palm that sticks out in my mind.  It was Johannesteijsmannia altifrons.  As you know, he wasn't too keen on common names.  I loved it when he'd rattle this name off his tongue as easily as I can say John Smith.  It's a beautiful palm by anyone's standards, and certainly by his.  I think he was especially fond of the name.  He remember him saying it many times.

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Johannesteijsmannia altifrons

Jana, thanks for adding this to the list.  I wasn't familiar with it but am now:

JOHANNESTEIJSMANNIA (yo-hahn´-nes-tysh-MAHN-nee-a) is a genus of four unsegmented but basically palmate-leaved, monoecious palms in southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and the western portion of the island of Borneo. These are undergrowth palms in tropical rain forests where they grow on slopes and ridges, never in swampy areas. All but one of these species forms no above-ground stem, the leaves growing directly from the ground in immense rosettes, and the exception has only a short trunk.

Johannesteijsmannia altifrons (AL-ti-frahnz) has the widest natural distribution of the genus and is found in Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, southern Thailand and western Borneo, where it grows in low mountainous rain forests at elevations usually above 1000 feet but below 3000 feet. The epithet is Latin for “tall frond” and alludes to the fact that the centermost leaves in a rosette may reach as high as 15 or even 20 feet. The petioles are six to ten feet long and are armed with tiny sawlike teeth which are also found on the lower margins of the younger leaf blades. The great diamond-shaped blades are as much as ten feet long in older plants and about six feet wide at their broadest points. They are a light to medium green on both surfaces and are held erect and only slightly spreading, but the older ones near the margins of the rosettes are usually spreading horizontally and somewhat pendent. There may be as many as two dozen of the giant leaves in a single rosette. This is the most widely cultivated species in the genus, and for good reason: it is supremely attractive. The species is threatened in Malaysia because of forest destruction and the gathering of the leaves for thatch. The species is sometimes called, in addition to “joey palm,” the diamond joey.

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He responded to me on another forum after I posted a picture of my row of Dypsis lutescens along a chain link fence.  He said that they were one of his absolute favorite palms even though they were so common and snubbed by many.  (They weren't his exact words but it was something like that)

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Bo, I remember the first time I ever saw ("in the flesh," as it were) a Licuala peltata var. sumawongii.  It was at Fairchild and I almost became prostrate in 'shock and awe.'  There are several there now (or WERE before Wilma) with 6-ft. wide leaves.

There really are few things in nature of comparable beauty/grandeur.

http://palmtalk.org/cgi-bin....ry18867

Well, here is another I think he would have considered to be one of his favorites.

Zac

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There are some excellent palms listed here and several that I didn't have on my personal list (until now...)

OK -- I admit it -- although I did sincerely enjoy finding and reading this post for the first time, my real reason for replying was that it was too depressing for me to see "John Bishock has passed away" every time I pulled up the PalmTalk site so I wanted to replace that title with something more positive. John was the person who initially sparked my palm obsession as the result of a "chance meeting" when I went out to treat his pond and I enjoyed many visits with the Bishocks (and still really value Faith's knowledge and assistance with my ever-growing collection).

Alright -- enough of the "thread hi-jack" but I felt I should "fess up"...

Tim

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There are some excellent palms listed here and several that I didn't have on my personal list (until now...)

OK -- I admit it -- although I did sincerely enjoy finding and reading this post for the first time, my real reason for replying was that it was too depressing for me to see "John Bishock has passed away" every time I pulled up the PalmTalk site so I wanted to replace that title with something more positive. John was the person who initially sparked my palm obsession as the result of a "chance meeting" when I went out to treat his pond and I enjoyed many visits with the Bishocks (and still really value Faith's knowledge and assistance with my ever-growing collection).

Alright -- enough of the "thread hi-jack" but I felt I should "fess up"...

Tim

Tim,

It's perfectly alright. Many of us will truly understand.

Jeff

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I have no idea what his favorite palm was, but I do remember a particular little fascination he had with Nannorrhops.

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