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Tomas

Ecotype and hardiness

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Tomas

I only grow one ecotype selected for its hardiness, Caesalpinia pulcherrima, but the result is astonishing. Many have tried to grow the C. p. that is so common through the tropics, but I think it is impossible in the more temperate regions, too tender. Then I received the seeds of C. p. that supposedly was selected from a population growing in a colder part of Mexico, and these plants are doing wonders for me. The Syagrus romanzoffiana Santa Catarina is said to be another ecotype, hardier than the commonly grown S. r. Could you suggest another ecotypes of tropical or subtropical plants?

 

Tomas

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Silas_Sancona
4 hours ago, Tomas said:

I only grow one ecotype selected for its hardiness, Caesalpinia pulcherrima, but the result is astonishing. Many have tried to grow the C. p. that is so common through the tropics, but I think it is impossible in the more temperate regions, too tender. Then I received the seeds of C. p. that supposedly was selected from a population growing in a colder part of Mexico, and these plants are doing wonders for me. The Syagrus romanzoffiana Santa Catarina is said to be another ecotype, hardier than the commonly grown S. r. Could you suggest another ecotypes of tropical or subtropical plants?

 

Tomas

Such a list is likely quite big but, like the Caesalpinia pulcherrima you were able to source,  your best bet is trying to obtain seed of X species collected from specimens located near/ at the northern ( or southern most ) edges of it's range, or X population growing at a higher -and potentially cooler- elevation.

Here, in Arizona, if someone in a cooler ..or maybe wetter..  area wanted to try say Saguaro, you'd be better off collecting seed from plants growing up near Sedona.. or in the mountains surrounding Tucson rather than collecting seed of specimens growing near Ajo or Yuma where it is generally warmer, even in winter, and much drier than either Sedona, or near Tucson..  still might not work, but.. in theory at least, seed from those areas might have better odds of tolerating a wider set of conditions.

A few, off the top of my head.. would include things like Ceiba speciosa, Floss Silk Tree,.. perhaps other Ceiba/ Bombax/ Pseudobombax sp. Tabebuia **now Handroanthus ** impetiginosus, Pink Trumpet Tree.. Ranges all the way from south of the Amazon in S. America, to the hill country just east of Hermosillo, Sonora Mexico, just south of Arizona.. Other Tabebuia ( **also now re-classed into the Genus Handroanthus** ) like chrysantha, and umbellata that originate in places that might experience cooler winter temps than others..  etc..  Same thoughts extend to Orchids, Palms, and so on..

 

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mnorell

It is so interesting to me that you bring up these two forms of Caesalpinia pulcherrima, because I rarely see them discussed. The ecotype that shows hardiness is the form typically sold in the U.S. southwest, and I have noticed the two different morphologies for many years but have never seen them documented officially. I believe the hardier (and more drought-tolerant) form grown in the southwest as "red bird of paradise" is the Sonoran form of the plant (and that hypothesis would be consistent with your statement that your seed came from colder northern Mexico), though it is only a guess on my part, mostly because I know the species is documented as native in Sonora, and also that it is the hardier form that is cultivated in the northern Sonora desert. It is sold and grown in the USA at least as far east as Louisiana/Mississippi, and perhaps it has made it into north Florida/Georgia because of its adaptability to zone 8 gardens. But from Central Florida southward and throughout the Caribbean and Hawai'i, what I have always called the "Caribbean form" takes over completely. I was at the Fairchild Ramble in November 2018 and a few of the "Sonoran" form were being sold by a vendor I know. I was surprised to see it being sold as far south as Miami, and both the vendor and also one of the senior horticulturists at Fairchild were astounded as they had neither seen it nor heard of it before. The vendor told me she had purchased them from a source that called the form "Rex."

The "Caribbean" form familiar to the more tropical-ish growers has a pure milky-green stem with nasty rose-like prickles; the "Sonoran" form planted by the gazillions in the southwest has stems where the prickles have been reduced to stiff hairs, and there is a purplish hue in many of the plant's parts. The coloration of the flowers is also more diffuse as there is not much of a defined color-break between yellow and red. I have never been able to find any description/recognition of these two variants of this species in any publication, something that has baffled me for years.

The "Caribbean" type is indeed far less resilient to cold than the Mexican/Sonoran form. I tested both forms and the Caribbean color-morphs in the past and I found the the form of the Caribbean type with pink flowers is the least hardy. However, I used to grow the pure yellow 'flava' type (which otherwise has characteristics of the more tropical form) in Los Angeles and it survived the rather chilly winters and comparatively cool springs/summers there, including the nasty 1990 freeze (mid-20s in my Los Feliz garden).

Also, I think the "Santa Catarina" form of Syagrus romanzoffianum was debunked years ago in terms of its hardiness as it comes from warmer littoral forests. The hardy form is a big, robust form that grows further inland in more mountainous territory and still evades widespread cultivation in the USA. There was a long thread started in 2008 on this: Silver Queen discussion

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gilles06

Ciao Tomas,

There are many ecotype plants that have different hardiness from the main type.

I am thinking about beccariophoenix alfredii "high plateau" from Magagascar, tecoma stans var augustata from Arizona, anthurium "Oaxaca" from Mexico, archontophoenix "illawara" from Australia, livistonia saribus "green petiole"...maybe also some southern attalea dubia, and from high lands roystonea borinquena. The list may be longer.

Salut

 

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Tomas

Michael, from my experience I would add that the Sonoran form is initially very slow growing and prone to root rot.  When bigger, it will take a lot of moisture also in winter.

With Syagrus r. Santa Catarina I was refering to a form sold here in Europe with this name but defined as originating from the high mountains inland of the state Santa Catarina, ignoring the previous use of that name in the USA.

 

Gilles, do you grow some of these? I too know the Anthurium Oaxaca, found it when searching about the hardines of Anthuriums, does it sell in Europe?

How did the seeds of C. p. do for you?

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gilles06

Ciao Tomas,

The seeds germinated not all, i still have 2 seedlings, and yours?

I am growing beccariophoenix,  archontophoenix, tecoma stans(i have seeds) and i am looking for the others...

^_^Salut

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Tomas

Gilles, the caesalpinia is easy to germinate, I usually have 90% success, it is the first winter that is difficult, I put 5 germinated seeds per pot, usually only two survive.

C.p..JPG

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