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Sabal_Louisiana

Why is Sabal mexicana seldom grown east of Texas?

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Sabal_Louisiana

I suspect it is because most growers in the Southeast don't think about it. It is seldom supplied by nurseries because the default of its type for the region is the common S. palmetto. The two species look so similar anyway. However, it might be just different enough to add a little unique flavor to the landscape. I'm sure someone is apt to mention that S. Mexicana is better adapted to the drier climate of Texas but if it can be grown in humid Houston why not elsewhere? Likewise, cold hardiness should not be an issue for the deep South anyway.

Also, I am wondering how far north can S. Mexicana be cultivated in the south central US? My guess is to the Red River, or just beyond.

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mdsonofthesouth

Cold and or wet winters might be an issue?

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RJ

I think you just have to look at the native range of both: 

S. Mexicana 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabal_mexicana#/media/File:Sabal_mexicana_range_map.png

S. Palmetto

https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/misc/ag_654/volume_2/sabal/palmetto.htm

 

At least in the SE US S. Palmetto is much more abundant. Native in FL where it grows all year and ships wholesale at less then $100/tree.  From a purely economic standpoint it just makes more sense to use what is retally available and abundant.  I agree to a palm enthusiast it might add some flavor but to the common person that can't tell the difference from Palmetto and a coconut it makes little difference. Just my ,02

Edited by RJ
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jimmyt

Palmpedia Says:

   Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 11. Mature and established Texas palms can tolerate occasional temperatures down to 12ºF (-11ºC), with minor or no leaf damage. More cold hardy data on the Texas palm is expected as its cultivation becomes more widespread. Some palm enthusiasts are reporting success with growing Texas palm in USDA Zone 7b.

I have a mature one in the ground for 8 years and did tolerate a winter low of 8 F,  2 years ago with minimal leaf burn only. 

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Mr.SamuraiSword

yeah with all the growers in florida either growing or replanting hundreds of thousands of palmettos every year, why change what they have been doing for decades?  

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PalmTreeDude

Why would Sabal mexicana be more cold hardy? Doesn't it grow naturally in places that don't get as cold as where the Sabal palmetto grows naturally (Like S.E. North Carolina and Coastal South Carolina)? If that's the case, I might try one here. 

Edited by PalmTreeDude
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mdsonofthesouth
4 minutes ago, PalmTreeDude said:

Why would Sabal mexicana be more cold hardy? Doesn't it grow naturally in places that don't get as cold as where the Sabal palmetto grows naturally (Like S.E. North Carolina and Coastal South Carolina)? If that's the case, I might try one here. 

 

Probably for the same reason why rhapidophyllum only grows in the DEEP south, yet is the most cold hardy palm in the world.  I would like to try one of these as well. Maybe right next to my palmetto instead of a trachycarpus there. 

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Xenon

Sabal mexicana is not a "desert" or dry weather palm. Its natural habitat is usually near water. The Sabal Palm Sanctuary near Brownsville is definitely humid, it felt more oppressive than Houston when I visited in late fall (temps were still well into the 80s, near 90F).  Its range also extends well into the Mexican tropics.


As for Houston itself, I think S. palmetto is actually slightly more common though S. mexicana can still be seen. S. mexicana is probably dominant in San Antonio. Another odd thing is that about south of Victoria, Texas and definitely towards the Corpus Christi area,  S. palmetto is pretty much absent and you only see S. mexicana. 

Edited by Xenon

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RaleighNC

There was a nice Sabal mexicana that did quite well at the Raulston Arboretum  in Raleigh, NC (zone 7b) for about a decade. It was planted as a 2 gallon in 2007 and ultimately died in about 2017. It was starting to trunk, and was very impressive by then.  Seems a lot faster than S. palmetto. If I were in zone 8, I certainly would be trying it.

Edited by RaleighNC

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NC_Palms
4 hours ago, PalmTreeDude said:

Why would Sabal mexicana be more cold hardy? Doesn't it grow naturally in places that don't get as cold as where the Sabal palmetto grows naturally (Like S.E. North Carolina and Coastal South Carolina)? If that's the case, I might try one here. 

Interestingly, many species of Sabal are hardier than you'd expect for their latitudes. For example, Sabal causiarum and Sabal domingensis are both at least zone 8b palms yet are endemic to the Caribbean region.  I think there may be an evolutionary reason behind it, but I am no expert. This would be a good question for Scott Zona. 

Also, it is important to note that a zone 7b climate in Texas is different than a zone 7b climate in perhaps North Carolina. I've seen photos of Washingtonias and Phoenixes in zone 7b locations in Texas while in a Washingtonia wouldn't even stand a chance anywhere in Raleigh or Charlotte. This is ultimately due to precipitation levels in the winter. 

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mdsonofthesouth
34 minutes ago, NC_Palms said:

Interestingly, many species of Sabal are hardier than you'd expect for their latitudes. For example, Sabal causiarum and Sabal domingensis are both at least zone 8b palms yet are endemic to the Caribbean region.  I think there may be an evolutionary reason behind it, but I am no expert. This would be a good question for Scott Zona. 

Also, it is important to note that a zone 7b climate in Texas is different than a zone 7b climate in perhaps North Carolina. I've seen photos of Washingtonias and Phoenixes in zone 7b locations in Texas while in a Washingtonia wouldn't even stand a chance anywhere in Raleigh or Charlotte. This is ultimately due to precipitation levels in the winter. 

 

Feeling the fronds of a sabal of any variety or a rhapidophyllum vs say a chamaerops or trachycarpus puts all the wonder away about their robustness. So much thicker and hardier than the others that reminds me of the comparison of magnolia grandfloria leaf vs say an oak or maple.

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UK_Palms
58 minutes ago, NC_Palms said:

Also, it is important to note that a zone 7b climate in Texas is different than a zone 7b climate in perhaps North Carolina. I've seen photos of Washingtonias and Phoenixes in zone 7b locations in Texas while in a Washingtonia wouldn't even stand a chance anywhere in Raleigh or Charlotte. This is ultimately due to precipitation levels in the winter. 

There's a Dutch guy on here who would say otherwise. He is growing Filifera / Filibusta seedlings in Amsterdam, that have been left outside all winter and are actually submerged in water up to their trunks. The pot they are growing in literally resembles a pond. So they are in cold, waterlogged soil over winter, yet they are still surviving and don't look too bad. 

Are you saying you can't even get Robusta or Filibusta through winter in coastal North Carolina? I thought there were Robusta's present there...?

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NC_Palms
14 minutes ago, UK_Palms said:

There's a Dutch guy on here who would say otherwise. He is growing Filifera / Filibusta seedlings in Amsterdam, that have been left outside all winter and are actually submerged in water up to their trunks. The pot they are growing in literally resembles a pond. So they are in cold, waterlogged soil over winter, yet they are still surviving and don't look too bad. 

Are you saying you can't even get Robusta or Filibusta through winter in coastal North Carolina? I thought there were Robusta's present there...?

Coastal NC is a zone 8a/8b climate. I was referring to the inland sections of the state which are primarily a cooler zone 7b climate. 

Washies aren't necessarily bulletproof palms here but they are present, especially along the southeastern coastline near Wilmington and the SC border. Many Washies were killed off last winter during the historic freezes. I am even growing a few W. filifera here as well, and despite living in a zone 8a climate, I still have to protect mine a few nights during the winter. 

 

 

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NC_Palms
1 hour ago, mdsonofthesouth said:

 

Feeling the fronds of a sabal of any variety or a rhapidophyllum vs say a chamaerops or trachycarpus puts all the wonder away about their robustness. So much thicker and hardier than the others that reminds me of the comparison of magnolia grandfloria leaf vs say an oak or maple.

Most plants adapted to coastal environments have thicker leaves to protect themselves from salt spray. This makes sense because Rhapidophyllum is naturally found in hardwood forest while many species of Sabal and Magnolia grandiflora are common in coastal settings like maritime forest. 

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UK_Palms
31 minutes ago, NC_Palms said:

Coastal NC is a zone 8a/8b climate. I was referring to the inland sections of the state which are primarily a cooler zone 7b climate. 

Washies aren't necessarily bulletproof palms here but they are present, especially along the southeastern coastline near Wilmington and the SC border. Many Washies were killed off last winter during the historic freezes. I am even growing a few W. filifera here as well, and despite living in a zone 8a climate, I still have to protect mine a few nights during the winter. 

 

 

 

Fair enough. I am inland like yourself and also suffered from historic freezes in February 2018 and January 2010. Most winters are pretty mild here, but we are always at risk of a big freeze once every 5 years or so. Especially inland here, away from the coast.

But this year, I have just had a 9b winter at 51N. I probably didn't need to protect anything at all, but I guess it is better to be safe than sorry. Are you planning to keep the Filifera long term? I mean surely they'll be too big and difficult to protect once they get to a certain size? Just wondering what your approach to this would be, as I am in a similar boat as you.

I have 12 Washies in total (1 Robusta, 3 Filifera, 8 Filibusta) but they are all at manageable sizes at present. At what temperature do you protect the Filifera? 

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PalmTreeDude

@UK_Palms and @NC_Palms, can you post pictures of your filifera(s)? I don't think I've seen a small filifera before outside of seedling pictures and pictures from habitat. 

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Tropicdoc

Just being cynical..... but can you really tell the difference between Mexicana and palmetto? Not with seeds or the flowers, but the actual palm.

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Xenon
30 minutes ago, Tropicdoc said:

Just being cynical..... but can you really tell the difference between Mexicana and palmetto? Not with seeds or the flowers, but the actual palm.

Yes Sabal mexicana has a larger crown with longer petioles and is just more robust overall.  The better palm imho. 

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NC_Palms
23 hours ago, UK_Palms said:

 

Fair enough. I am inland like yourself and also suffered from historic freezes in February 2018 and January 2010. Most winters are pretty mild here, but we are always at risk of a big freeze once every 5 years or so. Especially inland here, away from the coast.

But this year, I have just had a 9b winter at 51N. I probably didn't need to protect anything at all, but I guess it is better to be safe than sorry. Are you planning to keep the Filifera long term? I mean surely they'll be too big and difficult to protect once they get to a certain size? Just wondering what your approach to this would be, as I am in a similar boat as you.

I have 12 Washies in total (1 Robusta, 3 Filifera, 8 Filibusta) but they are all at manageable sizes at present. At what temperature do you protect the Filifera? 

I usually protect my W. Filifera when it gets below 20ºF.  

 

22 hours ago, PalmTreeDude said:

@UK_Palms and @NC_Palms, can you post pictures of your filifera(s)? I don't think I've seen a small filifera before outside of seedling pictures and pictures from habitat. 

Mine are still pretty small since I only planted them last August. They were actually a little larger before Hurricane Florence came but all the rain gave them some damage. 

This is the only photo I have, which happens to be my worst specimen lol. I took this photo around Christmas, but luckily these palms are active growers in the winter time so it looks a little better as of late March. 

IMG_1901.thumb.JPG.f30ad3a88b0d65a826ca1c1c519b743b.JPG

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Ubuntwo
6 hours ago, Xenon said:

Yes Sabal mexicana has a larger crown with longer petioles and is just more robust overall.  The better palm imho. 

In most situations this seems to be the case. However I know of a circumstance where sabal palmettos grow with much longer petioles and broader crown. You can see it most prevalently in Coral Gables/Old Cutler around Miami. Anyone who's ever driven to Fairchild will know what I'm on about. I'm unsure of the specific cause, maybe the oolitic limestone and humidity has something to do with it, or maybe it's a genetic variation. 

Some examples from google maps:
One https://www.google.com/maps/@25.6270864,-80.3019243,3a,75y,304h,86.58t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1seye1FT8M7Oy79qfbPoalgA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Two https://www.google.com/maps/@25.6194756,-80.3106563,3a,39.4y,325.57h,85.82t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sxMScxKgV9AYkH5nsu55DRg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Three https://www.google.com/maps/@25.682883,-80.2728573,3a,38.9y,316.06h,96.47t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sxJbEcuBbBzDesMQYoupPmg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Four https://www.google.com/maps/@25.6183919,-80.3104552,3a,71.1y,15.8h,75.24t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s9u8eQkrqwwzVn9mlNqysxg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Five https://www.google.com/maps/@25.6275079,-80.3016929,3a,75y,280.2h,89.41t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sSz9EBw1lUejOOSxSnRuRUg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Six https://www.google.com/maps/@25.6186695,-80.3124542,3a,60y,0.21h,93.15t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1swvgQxXBrmA8atGYvH3V51A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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Jeff985
42 minutes ago, Ubuntwo said:

Their petioles grow longer and their trunks are thinner when they are grown in shade. The same is true of the mexicana. 

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Tropicdoc

Same is true of livistona chinensis 

 

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Brian F. Austin

I live in Austin and see many mexicanas here. There is a lot of palmettos being brought in for commercial plantings at fast food restaurants, apartments, etc...

When driving around town, I don't really notice new mexicanas being transplanted much,  most of them are older established trees in yards or volunteers around creeks and parks. But conversely, about once a week I'll see some fresh palmetto being propped up at a new business. With all of the growth going on here, I would think landscapers and nursery men are doing well. Too bad they are using palmettos though instead of Mexicanas. I would love to see them use more sabal brazorias in the landscape too, they have really impressive leaves and are hardy.

I started a thread a while back about mexicanas in Austin...

 

 

 

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Sabal_Louisiana

I took a semester off from college back in 1990 and stayed up in Dallas for a while. I seem to recall that even the Mexicanas (or S. texana as it's been called) had bitten the dust from the '89 freeze. 0F at DFW in that one. UGH.

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Tropicdoc

how does mexicana compare to Bermudana.

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buffy

Bermudana is pretty fragile in comparison. At least the ones I've tried. Mexicana is a tough cookie. I put cold damage in this order -- minor/etonia/tamaulipas, Brazoria, palmetto/mexicana, uresana, causiarum/bermudana, domingensis, yapa/pumos. I recommend uresana and up for 8a/8b.

If you don't have a tamaulipas, you need one. They're my favourite little sabal.

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OC2Texaspalmlvr
On ‎4‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 9:17 PM, buffy said:

Bermudana is pretty fragile in comparison. At least the ones I've tried. Mexicana is a tough cookie. I put cold damage in this order -- minor/etonia/tamaulipas, Brazoria, palmetto/mexicana, uresana, causiarum/bermudana, domingensis, yapa/pumos. I recommend uresana and up for 8a/8b.

If you don't have a tamaulipas, you need one. They're my favourite little sabal.

Where would you place Louisiana on your sabal hardiness list. I will be trying Riverside here shortly once back from Jungle Music

Louisiana and Causiarum will stay in pots till I find my forever home B)

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buffy

S. minor 'Louisiana' is a trunking S. minor. It's bullet proof.

Dude...where you are, I'd be planting a lot more tropical stuff than that. Get you a collection of Chamaedoreas for your pots. Plenty of those will do fine in your forever home later. The big Sabals will just suffer in pots after awhile. Are you planning to live on the coast long term?

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OC2Texaspalmlvr

Staying on the coast is the plan I work in Texas City so I may move farther south from there looking for acreage =) . I have lost soo many palms in my short time in Texas kinda gun shy to spend any significant money on palms for zone pushing. Both major winter events that destroyed my garden happened when I was working a T/A 13hr days 7 days a week no chance to cover palms.

The sabals wont be in pots for long

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GottmitAlex
2 hours ago, OC2Texaspalmlvr said:

Staying on the coast is the plan I work in Texas City so I may move farther south from there looking for acreage =) . I have lost soo many palms in my short time in Texas kinda gun shy to spend any significant money on palms for zone pushing. Both major winter events that destroyed my garden happened when I was working a T/A 13hr days 7 days a week no chance to cover palms.

The sabals wont be in pots for long

What's your hardiness zone?

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NCpalmqueen

So many sub topics here.  :-)  I am interested in the NC folk who are growing out of zone palms and how they fared with the vortex winter two years ago.   Were your palms protected?

 In my former location (Apex, NC), I tried every concocted palm conceivable rated z8a/b in my 7b/8a zone (approx. 13-14 yrs).   Mexicanas are not long-term.  Filifera is not long-term...of course, it is very difficult to find the real deal.    Filibusta made it to about 8 years before succumbing with 10' of trunk.  Forget robusta.  I've had some success with Sabal Riverside.    Causiarum is short-term but pretty while it lasts.  Same with Uresana.  Forget Pumos or Domingensis...pipe dreams.  I used to have a dozen large trunking palmettos.  When I moved 5 yrs ago, only one palmetto remained.  I wish I had gotten seed from it.  It was the plumpest sabal I had.    Also had some luck with Sabal Lisa, although when I had to move it, it did not like it and bit the dust.

I am at the stage that OC2Texaspalmlvr is.  At my current residence, I have my hardy palms in the front yard (trachys, Birminghams, needles, etc), and I have only a handful of out-of-zoners, most notably jubaea and its hybrids that I've been babying for 10+ years.  They get covered and get supplemental heat most winters.  We didn't have a winter this year.

Would love to meet up with NC palm people.  We used to have get-togethers of palm nuts years back.     

 

 

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Jeff985
52 minutes ago, GottmitAlex said:

What's your hardiness zone?

Costal Texas City is 9B. Inland is 9A. There was a hard freeze in January 2018. Depending on which weather station you look at it got down to 23-25 degrees. Some queens were damaged and some more tropical stuff was killed. There are still some large pygmys in the area and the queens are looking good again. 

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buffy

At those temperatures I'd grow so many more palms.

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Jeff985
15 minutes ago, buffy said:

At those temperatures I'd grow so many more palms.

There’s some pretty nice stuff growing there. Before the January 18 freeze there were some really nice foxtails growing out in the open. I doubt any survived that freeze, but there are still some nice tropical landscapes. I’m actually thinking about moving there. Also considering Galveston, and Freeport. 

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Nickp2000
On 3/28/2019 at 10:15 AM, Sabal_Louisiana said:

I suspect it is because most growers in the Southeast don't think about it. It is seldom supplied by nurseries because the default of its type for the region is the common S. palmetto. The two species look so similar anyway. However, it might be just different enough to add a little unique flavor to the landscape. I'm sure someone is apt to mention that S. Mexicana is better adapted to the drier climate of Texas but if it can be grown in humid Houston why not elsewhere? Likewise, cold hardiness should not be an issue for the deep South anyway.

Also, I am wondering how far north can S. Mexicana be cultivated in the south central US? My guess is to the Red River, or just beyond.

I would say the red river would be playing it safe. I personally think they can grow about 40 miles north of that over to extreme southern Arkansas into central Mississippi. If you go west they will need to be grown farther south because the climate of north central Texas can be harsh in winter

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OC2Texaspalmlvr

League City Tx saw 20° with freezing rain. Definitely not normal maybe once every ten years. Either way i wasn't prepared for it being from OC Cali. Which in turn i lost alot of nice palms =/ 

Screenshot_20190515-214123_Chrome.jpg

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Jeff985
36 minutes ago, OC2Texaspalmlvr said:

League City Tx saw 20° with freezing rain. Definitely not normal maybe once every ten years. Either way i wasn't prepared for it being from OC Cali. Which in turn i lost alot of nice palms =/ 

Screenshot_20190515-214123_Chrome.jpg

League City is 9A, so it was still in it’s zone for the January 18 freeze. Barely. 

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OC2Texaspalmlvr

2 colder winters in a row , more then i was expecting for sure, very much a rookie move on my part lol. Hopefully nothing too drastic for awhile so i can grow some decent size palms again 

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Jeff985
10 minutes ago, OC2Texaspalmlvr said:

2 colder winters in a row , more then i was expecting for sure, very much a rookie move on my part lol. Hopefully nothing too drastic for awhile so i can grow some decent size palms again 

I understand. All my big purchase palms are stuff that should be bulletproof. Phoenix Sylvestris, Sabal Palmettos. I have a Queen with about 10 feet of trunk. I have some zone pushers but I bought them cheap. 

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Xenon

Just to show you the potential that is there...

This royal in Galveston looks (looked?) so majestic rising out of the live oaks:drool:
royalgalv.thumb.JPG.e9e4cd01a6a35d4863b13719c353b56d.JPG


If you zoom in and squint from the other side (from Aug 2018), you can see the crownshaft is still green and maybe a bit of spear pushing?? Regardless, probably got near 20 years with that beauty. I know at least some of the royals at Moody Gardens survived though, a few foxtail palms too. 
https://www.google.com/maps/@29.2879979,-94.8051465,3a,75y,350.25h,114.27t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sozt1gUvt9Sc-VaNx7d4M3g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

(sorry for the thread hijack)

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