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Cold hardiness an acquired ability?

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teddytn

I’ve been thinking about cold hardiness for a long time. There’s the idea that every palm has a genetic ability to handle a certain  amount of heat and cold, but also if you can get a palm to survive to maturity and produce viable seed out of its natural range, with worse winter weather, the offspring should carry a better tolerance to cold than a palm in its natural range. Can this be a learned ability by palms over generations? 

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Swolte

That smells a bit Lamarckian to me.
:P
Classic theory would state that acquired traits cannot be passed on to the next generation as they would have to be coded back into the germline, so to speak. Variation in cold hardiness mostly occurs through 'random' mutations in DNA creating, for example, a hardier phenotype upon which natural or unnatural (us cold hardy palm hunters propagating the most hardy varieties!) selection can act. It's obviously more complicated than that but that would be the standard answer. I agree it is probably mostly right. 

The classic model is out of grace in genetics, though. More recently there's been some more evidence that there are ways in which certain acquired traits can be passed on through the germline (e.g., epigenetic inheritance in yeast for a well documented one) at least for a number of generations, so its not impossible! 

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Jesse PNW

I'm no expert, but I've done a little research on this.  I believe that scientists/biologists generally agree that environmental influences cannot change genetic coding.  Any genetic refinement which occurs, is simply an emphasis of one area of code in exchange for de-emphasizing or even deleting other sections.  

Mutations can occur, through the process of entropy (accident), when DNA replicates, but mutations virtually never benefit the mutated organism. 

I would like to know more about cold hardiness specifically, but I believe that non-hardy plants are damaged due to ice forming within the cells, rupturing the cell walls, and I don't know how any level of adaptation could overcome this.  

https://www.howplantswork.com/2010/01/07/how-plants-survive-the-cold-or-not/   Now we just have to figure out how to convert our palms to run on salt water or antifreeze. 

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teddytn
9 hours ago, Swolte said:

That smells a bit Lamarckian to me.
:P
Classic theory would state that acquired traits cannot be passed on to the next generation as they would have to be coded back into the germline, so to speak. Variation in cold hardiness mostly occurs through 'random' mutations in DNA creating, for example, a hardier phenotype upon which natural or unnatural (us cold hardy palm hunters propagating the most hardy varieties!) selection can act. It's obviously more complicated than that but that would be the standard answer. I agree it is probably mostly right. 

The classic model is out of grace in genetics, though. More recently there's been some more evidence that there are ways in which certain acquired traits can be passed on through the germline (e.g., epigenetic inheritance in yeast for a well documented one) at least for a number of generations, so its not impossible! 

I had to look up lamarkian evolution…That’s what I would say I’m hinting at yes. We know there’s truth to this is some regards. Dog breeding is a perfect example. A German Shepard, chihuahua, and Labrador all share a common ancestor in wolves and offspring in litters that show desired traits are matched with others to keep refining a desired attribute. So if for example we worked with Sabal palmetto bald head, arguably a more cold hardy stock than normal, and kept working the seedlings north and breeding the specimens that live long term. Is it possible to “make” a hardier version than already exists? 

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teddytn
8 hours ago, Jesse PNW said:

I'm no expert, but I've done a little research on this.  I believe that scientists/biologists generally agree that environmental influences cannot change genetic coding.  Any genetic refinement which occurs, is simply an emphasis of one area of code in exchange for de-emphasizing or even deleting other sections.  

Mutations can occur, through the process of entropy (accident), when DNA replicates, but mutations virtually never benefit the mutated organism. 

I would like to know more about cold hardiness specifically, but I believe that non-hardy plants are damaged due to ice forming within the cells, rupturing the cell walls, and I don't know how any level of adaptation could overcome this.  

https://www.howplantswork.com/2010/01/07/how-plants-survive-the-cold-or-not/   Now we just have to figure out how to convert our palms to run on salt water or antifreeze. 

Exactly why cactus dump their excess water and deflate in the winter to prevent themselves from being frozen. This is all for the sake of discussion of course. Is there a line in the sand that a given plant can tolerate this temperature period? Or working with cold tolerant outliers, the specimens that defy what should be possible, can that be passed down to offspring? Selective breeding basically

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Swolte
42 minutes ago, teddytn said:

I had to look up lamarkian evolution…That’s what I would say I’m hinting at yes. We know there’s truth to this is some regards. Dog breeding is a perfect example. A German Shepard, chihuahua, and Labrador all share a common ancestor in wolves and offspring in litters that show desired traits are matched with others to keep refining a desired attribute. So if for example we worked with Sabal palmetto bald head, arguably a more cold hardy stock than normal, and kept working the seedlings north and breeding the specimens that live long term. Is it possible to “make” a hardier version than already exists? 

Yes, but that can also be explained by the classic theory of Darwin's (un)natural selection and not Lamarck, necessarily. In this case, the breeder selects the dogs with desirable traits based on natural levels of variations (caused by mutation, etc...). Lamarck's Theory has been largely debunked at various levels (e.g., you working out your biceps religiously won't lead to a child with big arms) other than the more recent evidence of epigenetic inheritance (not really DNA but proteins that influence the expression of genes).  

But mechanism to create hardier palms would be to do as you said. Get 10000 seedlings and expose them to cold. Let 95% die and propagate with the rest. Repeat, repeat, repeat. TCHP is a breeder who actually did this almost deliberately with 1000s of his W. Filifera. 

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teddytn
38 minutes ago, Swolte said:

Yes, but that can also be explained by the classic theory of Darwin's (un)natural selection and not Lamarck, necessarily. In this case, the breeder selects the dogs with desirable traits based on natural levels of variations (caused by mutation, etc...). Lamarck's Theory has been largely debunked at various levels (e.g., you working out your biceps religiously won't lead to a child with big arms) other than the more recent evidence of epigenetic inheritance (not really DNA but proteins that influence the expression of genes).  

But mechanism to create hardier palms would be to do as you said. Get 10000 seedlings and expose them to cold. Let 95% die and propagate with the rest. Repeat, repeat, repeat. TCHP is a breeder who actually did this almost deliberately with 1000s of his W. Filifera. 

That makes perfect sense through the lens of the working out your arms analogy. This is all for selfish reasons of course lol, I just want as many palms as I can get to live at my house!

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GregVirginia7
10 hours ago, teddytn said:

Exactly why cactus dump their excess water and deflate in the winter to prevent themselves from being frozen. This is all for the sake of discussion of course. Is there a line in the sand that a given plant can tolerate this temperature period? Or working with cold tolerant outliers, the specimens that defy what should be possible, can that be passed down to offspring? Selective breeding basically

Understanding that photosynthesis is the engine that forms the sucrose used in plant cells to act as a form of antifreeze...suppose there’s a way to get a palm to take in sucrose through the roots to be stored for later use? Just a thought, not a genetic mutation but as a prophylactic? Cold hardy palms must manufacture some amount of the sugars necessary for cell use to get them through winter freezes so they’re obviously genetically wired to make and store the sugars to get them through the winter. 

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teddytn
17 minutes ago, GregVirginia7 said:

Understanding that photosynthesis is the engine that forms the sucrose used in plant cells to act as a form of antifreeze...suppose there’s a way to get a palm to take in sucrose through the roots to be stored for later use? Just a thought, not a genetic mutation but as a prophylactic? Cold hardy palms must manufacture some amount of the sugars necessary for cell use to get them through winter freezes so they’re obviously genetically wired to make and store the sugars to get them through the winter. 

I had a similar train of thought today. If you planted a Sabal minor and a non hardy Sabal let’s say mexicana, next to each other. Same climate, same everything. They’re closely related and have pretty much identical plant “parts” at least when the Mexicana is young. What’s the mechanics behind why if the temp drops to 5f the sabal minor can shrug it off, but the mexicana will be fried and most likely not survive. The exact outcomes of such an experiment don’t matter, we all get the just of it. So yeah exactly what you were getting at, what ability does the minor have that a non hardy Sabal does not have? Can it be acquired in some way. That’s what everyone always says is summer heat builds up sugars in palms and helps them deal with cold better during winter

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GregVirginia7
6 minutes ago, teddytn said:

I had a similar train of thought today. If you planted a Sabal minor and a non hardy Sabal let’s say mexicana, next to each other. Same climate, same everything. They’re closely related and have pretty much identical plant “parts” at least when the Mexicana is young. What’s the mechanics behind why if the temp drops to 5f the sabal minor can shrug it off, but the mexicana will be fried and most likely not survive. The exact outcomes of such an experiment don’t matter, we all get the just of it. So yeah exactly what you were getting at, what ability does the minor have that a non hardy Sabal does not have? Can it be acquired in some way. That’s what everyone always says is summer heat builds up sugars in palms and helps them deal with cold better during winter

My guess is, the Mexicana does not have the ability to store or move the sugars necessary to keep its cells from freezing and they burst...guess, when compared to the minor, it’s the genetics that make the minor more hardy than the mexicana so giving the mexicana a fair dose of, say, unsulphured molasses treatments through fall and into winter would do little to help the mexicana. But my Trachy that has been extremely cold hardy, may be genetically better at synthesizing sugars and maybe it would be able to benefit from root feedings as such, if it is indeed possible to pull the sugar up through the roots? Don’t even know if that’s possible. Photosynthesis may be the only mechanism. Just thinking out loud but where cold hardy palms are concerned, any little bit of help, real or imagined, matters LOL...I really want to try this regimen on my Brazoria. I’ll never know the results since there are so many variables but at the very least, the soil and it’s microbes will benefit.

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teddytn
35 minutes ago, GregVirginia7 said:

My guess is, the Mexicana does not have the ability to store or move the sugars necessary to keep its cells from freezing and they burst...guess, when compared to the minor, it’s the genetics that make the minor more hardy than the mexicana so giving the mexicana a fair dose of, say, unsulphured molasses treatments through fall and into winter would do little to help the mexicana. But my Trachy that has been extremely cold hardy, may be genetically better at synthesizing sugars and maybe it would be able to benefit from root feedings as such, if it is indeed possible to pull the sugar up through the roots? Don’t even know if that’s possible. Photosynthesis may be the only mechanism. Just thinking out loud but where cold hardy palms are concerned, any little bit of help, real or imagined, matters LOL...I really want to try this regimen on my Brazoria. I’ll never know the results since there are so many variables but at the very least, the soil and it’s microbes will benefit.

You may be onto something with the sugars, but there may be more at play. Mycorrhizal fungi, basically mushroom mycelium will form a symbiotic relationship with plant roots under normal organic conditions ( why I’m such a fan of organic gardening ) and will communicate together and share sugars in exchange for nutrients. The supposed hypothesis is that planting in a mass setting ( just like a forest would be ) with plants close to each other, they will be able to communicate and share nutrients with each other through the underground fungal network. I wonder if palms share sugars and accomplish what you mentioned…

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Jesse PNW

I remember reading that there were some folks, maybe in Texas? who started feeding their palms finely metered amounts of salt water starting in the fall, with the theory that the plants intercellular water would have a higher salt level, resisting freezing and rupturing.  I think it was mentioned briefly in a post, would like to know more about that if it is true. 

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Jimhardy

I think the biggest limiting factor in Trachycarpus( palms etc) is the structure of the growth point, palms need to keep moving that spear-

stagnation can lead to fungal infection as the multiple spears move and there is abrasion...It would be interesting for someone

to grow seeds, expose them to cold, take the ones that live....WAIT...until they produce seed, expose to cold again, pick out

the hardy ones again, over and over and over through successive generations and see if cold hardiness can be "bread" into them.

This would take a long time and a lot of dedication and some serious labeling skills.

I guess the shortcut would be a palm anti-freeze.....tried this to some extent with potassium...one issue is that

it encouraged luxuriant growth....not a good thing when hardening off is whats needed, my palms are alway tougher

coming out of the winter than they are going in BUT the cold soil temps in spring set this back some as the palms are not quite

moving yet.

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teddytn
3 hours ago, Jimhardy said:

I think the biggest limiting factor in Trachycarpus( palms etc) is the structure of the growth point, palms need to keep moving that spear-

stagnation can lead to fungal infection as the multiple spears move and there is abrasion...It would be interesting for someone

to grow seeds, expose them to cold, take the ones that live....WAIT...until they produce seed, expose to cold again, pick out

the hardy ones again, over and over and over through successive generations and see if cold hardiness can be "bread" into them.

This would take a long time and a lot of dedication and some serious labeling skills.

I guess the shortcut would be a palm anti-freeze.....tried this to some extent with potassium...one issue is that

it encouraged luxuriant growth....not a good thing when hardening off is whats needed, my palms are alway tougher

coming out of the winter than they are going in BUT the cold soil temps in spring set this back some as the palms are not quite

moving yet.

I’ve personally had problems with Trachycarpus getting moisture in the crown during winter. The weather in Tennessee is so wacky it can turn from above freezing and rain to below freezing and ice back to way above freezing and sunshine all in the same week in winter. I’ve thought of the same thing, long term experiment/ breeding program. This is not a new idea, I think it would be a multi lifetime project and would be a money pit. If I came into a giant sum of money I would try it. I haven’t experimented with potassium at all, how did you administer it and in what form?

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Jimhardy

I bought the Potassium off E-Bay in bulk...learned the hard way that

it caused to much growth right before winter...

 

I guess T.Wagnerianus was made from a breeding program as they have never been found in the wild.

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teddytn
50 minutes ago, Jimhardy said:

I bought the Potassium off E-Bay in bulk...learned the hard way that

it caused to much growth right before winter...

 

I guess T.Wagnerianus was made from a breeding program as they have never been found in the wild.

I’ll have to look into specifically potassium, thank you. 
I’ve heard that as well about Wagnerianus. That makes sense,  Japan and China have been in ground and pot cultivating trees and plants for 1000’s of years. Ive never owned a Wagnerianus. Is the growth habit around the spear the same or tighter/ more closed, than a Fortunei? I feel like a more closed spear area would help limit winter moisture into the crown

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Jimhardy

They are beautiful palms...growth point is the same basically.

Once ice gets in there you have abrasion too from the ice crystals,not

a good situation for a tender growth point.

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UK_Palms
12 minutes ago, Jimhardy said:

They are beautiful palms...growth point is the same basically.

Once ice gets in there you have abrasion too from the ice crystals,not

a good situation for a tender growth point.

I don't think 'ice' is the issue so to speak. I am in the UK and right out in the sticks, quite far inland, out in the rural countryside with no UHI effect. We get plenty of freezes and ice during winter, but we don't get extreme low temperatures like you guys. I had a pretty bad winter last year, which was abnormally cold with quite a bit of snow, but still nothing below about 20F. There was zero damage to Wagnerianus or Fortunei here. So I think it is the low temperatures that cause the issues, rather than ice.

If you have a low of 5F, both Wagnerianus and Fortunei will take damage. If you have a low of -5F, chances are that both types will be killed. Unless you have a freakishly hardy specimen. I have even heard of Fortunei being defoliated by 10F in Scandinavia. So having a crap ton of ice and 20F temps probably won't cause any issues. But having a low of 0F and no proper 'ice' may still kill a Wagnerianus or Fortunei. Having -5F and ice combined will probably be a death sentence for them. I suppose it is all relative though. Just my 2 cents. 

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Jimhardy

Save your money next time.

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ColumbusPalm

This could theoretically be tried with a plant that completes a life cycle much quicker than palms do and with a subtropical origin. An evergreen type plant that flowers quickly and is hardy in Z7-8 that could be tested with more mature plants than seedlings for a zone 6 or 5 climate. I'm sure something like this exists but I can't think of a good example. Maybe some type of magnolia? Breeding out the bad seedlings is essentially the same, but with something that can be reproduced from hardwood cuttings to test quicker I think would be a good addition to the ultimate experiment. 

Edited by ColumbusPalm
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DreaminAboutPalms

Not sure if anyone has studied the washingtonia genus but there seems to be some sort of cold hardy strain growing in central Texas. All the trees that survived the 80's arctic blasts recovered super quickly this year, as did their volunteers. Washingtonias transplanted from other locations don't seem to do as well here.

Not to mention this freeze was way colder and longer than the 80's freezes and we have had way more recoveries this year ~ probably 60% at least

 

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Jimhardy

Thats interesting about those palms coming back quickly....

I recall back 10-15 years ago the coveted Washys of choice were

the Truth or Consequences (New Mexico) survivors that survived down to ???  0 F ?

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teddytn
32 minutes ago, DreaminAboutPalms said:

Not sure if anyone has studied the washingtonia genus but there seems to be some sort of cold hardy strain growing in central Texas. All the trees that survived the 80's arctic blasts recovered super quickly this year, as did their volunteers. Washingtonias transplanted from other locations don't seem to do as well here.

Not to mention this freeze was way colder and longer than the 80's freezes and we have had way more recoveries this year ~ probably 60% at least

 

Me hinting at this being a learned ability. The trees that survived the 80’s cold blast that also survived last winter. I wonder if being repeatedly exposed to cold temps and surviving could trigger some kind of adaptation by the palm to handle cold better than a palm that has never experienced really cold temperatures. Hypothetically would a volunteer from those cold hardy survivor washingtonia and a volunteer from a California grown washingtonia that’s never seen extreme cold. If it was possible to measure each of their abilities to handle cold, would they be comparable or would there be a distinct difference? 

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DreaminAboutPalms
3 hours ago, teddytn said:

Me hinting at this being a learned ability. The trees that survived the 80’s cold blast that also survived last winter. I wonder if being repeatedly exposed to cold temps and surviving could trigger some kind of adaptation by the palm to handle cold better than a palm that has never experienced really cold temperatures. Hypothetically would a volunteer from those cold hardy survivor washingtonia and a volunteer from a California grown washingtonia that’s never seen extreme cold. If it was possible to measure each of their abilities to handle cold, would they be comparable or would there be a distinct difference? 

I think the cold events of the 80's weeded out all the washingtonias with weak genetics, and the ones that survived have the DNA to actually survive long term. 

There is literally no pattern to washingtonia survival down here. I know of a few that are on tops of hills, not protected from wind at all and survived - probably had -15 windchill at top of trunk near crown during storm. There will also be 15 foot filiferas protected by a building that are dead but then down the road a 40 foot tall hybrid pushing growth.

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DreaminAboutPalms

Also, the CIDP... We know CIDP's can tolerate much colder in dry conditions but surviving like they did in Texas after what we went through weatherwise, 7 days at or below 32 degrees, consecutive nights of 14,7,4 and 6 inches of snow is just mind boggling. They probably had higher survival rate than washies.

Before Palmaggaedon, lots of people quoted their hardiness at 15-20 degrees, but there are mature specimens coming back in Dallas from 0 degrees

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Jimhardy

Would be an interesting death match....W.Filifera against T.Fortunei...you gotta think home turf

advantage would decide it...a Washy would be more in its element(s) in Texas though, undefeated at home? :interesting:

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teddytn
3 hours ago, DreaminAboutPalms said:

Also, the CIDP... We know CIDP's can tolerate much colder in dry conditions but surviving like they did in Texas after what we went through weatherwise, 7 days at or below 32 degrees, consecutive nights of 14,7,4 and 6 inches of snow is just mind boggling. They probably had higher survival rate than washies.

Before Palmaggaedon, lots of people quoted their hardiness at 15-20 degrees, but there are mature specimens coming back in Dallas from 0 degrees

Survivor stories like that are amazing honestly. That sounds like the winter we get here every other year. Both are palms I wouldn’t consider planting here, but those results may open some possibilities for farther inland NC, SC, GA, AL, MS. Would definitely like to get my hands on some seeds from the washie and Sabal survivors in TX.

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DreaminAboutPalms
20 minutes ago, teddytn said:

Survivor stories like that are amazing honestly. That sounds like the winter we get here every other year. Both are palms I wouldn’t consider planting here, but those results may open some possibilities for farther inland NC, SC, GA, AL, MS. Would definitely like to get my hands on some seeds from the washie and Sabal survivors in TX.

This is in north Austin off the i35 and braker lane taken July 4th. Mixture of palmetto and Mexicana. This is a north facing location, no protection from wind and none of these trees have even been trimmed since the storm. There is hardly any burn to the fronds, only now are they getting brown as new ones grow. And they had ice on them for 5 nights straight. One looks like ctrunk snapped but that may be unrelated as it still has a full crown 

Not many Sabal deaths in Austin area but plenty still got burned. These are #BuiltDifferent

There are also hundreds of volunteers in the parking lot growing underneath. 

No pics but Chuys at 10520 N. Lamar Blvd has some Mexicanas that had no visible damage 

thumbnail_image1.jpg

thumbnail_image2.jpg

Edited by DreaminAboutPalms
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DreaminAboutPalms

North Austin CIDP, taken about a month ago. They aren't known for being fast growers but this thing recovered faster than pretty much any Washingtonia. Dallas has some amazing specimens as well 

425FAC45-AE13-44A5-B5A8-49B7F4DE22AA.thumb.jpeg.c2fb88a02980221b13dc601c1d3ee24d.jpeg

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teddytn
1 hour ago, DreaminAboutPalms said:

Meanwhile these are what the deciduous trees look like half a mile away. This video was taken July 28th... 

Holy $h!t that’s crazy mexicana’s survived where what should be dormant trees at the time died. Crazy

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UK_Palms

Back in April I harvested a bunch of seed from a couple of the big CIDP's in Southsea, Portsmouth, which is about 35-40 miles southwest of me on the south coast of England. These are the specimens that I collected the seed from. There are 7-8 big CIDP's on the Esplanade and about 5 of them were loaded with seed. 

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A lot of the seed was just lying on the ground, there for the taking...

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Really heavy fruit-set on these...

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I also collected some Butia seeds as well...

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CIDP fruits on the right...

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I had about 95% germination on the CIDP's with 3 weeks...

thumbnail_image0-58.thumb.jpg.4ef95ee9ae9a9345ee29a5ff58da3a54.jpg

 

Here are some of them, along with a bunch of Costco Medjool dates that I germinated...

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I wonder whether these will prove just that little bit hardier, having come from parent palms grown up here at 50-51N in the UK, which is in a less than ideal climate. This particular generation may not be hardier, but if I grow them on and ween out the weaker, less hardy ones, then grow the stronger ones on to maturity here inland, with no UHI influence, just maybe their potential offspring in 10-20 years from now may be hardier with tougher seedstock being developed. Given that would be 2 generation born and bred on UK soil. The experiment is well and truly in the works over here to develop and acquire hardy CIDP seed stock. They may be hardy in London and on the south coast, but they are seriously touch and go in my rural, inland location. 

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teddytn

@UK_Palms I would bet the offspring will be hardier. Do you think a washingtonia or CIDP would have survived even down south in England 50-60 years ago? 

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NOT A TA
On 8/18/2021 at 8:21 PM, teddytn said:

I’ve been thinking about cold hardiness for a long time. There’s the idea that every palm has a genetic ability to handle a certain  amount of heat and cold, but also if you can get a palm to survive to maturity and produce viable seed out of its natural range, with worse winter weather, the offspring should carry a better tolerance to cold than a palm in its natural range. Can this be a learned ability by palms over generations? 

If palms had the capability to evolve and become more cold hardy within a couple generations (or 50) the species would slowly march toward the poles, but they don't. Every once in a while slightly colder winters or other environmental factors knock them back to their comfort zone.

Many palms can survive outside of their natural environment due to the artificial germination of seed which would otherwise not have developed.  By germinating the seed and then growing plants large enough to withstand conditions that would have prevented natural germination and/or survive (as seedlings/juveniles) harsher winters than what occurs in it's natural environment we've removed those factors which are a part of what limits it's natural environment.  The plant is not likely to produce seed that would develop into a more cold hardy plant, it's simply a plant that had help to sprout and survive in a place where it wouldn't under natural circumstances. 

That said, with the constant technological breakthroughs in DNA and genetic manipulation there may be things coming that change everything as we know it.

Think about this. What if we sent a 20 year old human couple to one of the arctic circles and only provided them enough protection to allow them to live. Then after 10 years we had them create a child which was taken to a warm climate and raised to an adult. Would the child have any more cold tolerance than any other child?

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teddytn
1 hour ago, NOT A TA said:

If palms had the capability to evolve and become more cold hardy within a couple generations (or 50) the species would slowly march toward the poles, but they don't. Every once in a while slightly colder winters or other environmental factors knock them back to their comfort zone.

Many palms can survive outside of their natural environment due to the artificial germination of seed which would otherwise not have developed.  By germinating the seed and then growing plants large enough to withstand conditions that would have prevented natural germination and/or survive (as seedlings/juveniles) harsher winters than what occurs in it's natural environment we've removed those factors which are a part of what limits it's natural environment.  The plant is not likely to produce seed that would develop into a more cold hardy plant, it's simply a plant that had help to sprout and survive in a place where it wouldn't under natural circumstances. 

That said, with the constant technological breakthroughs in DNA and genetic manipulation there may be things coming that change everything as we know it.

Think about this. What if we sent a 20 year old human couple to one of the arctic circles and only provided them enough protection to allow them to live. Then after 10 years we had them create a child which was taken to a warm climate and raised to an adult. Would the child have any more cold tolerance than any other child?

I do hear exactly what you’re saying. It’s very easy to get a false sense of hope from some short years of success keeping palms alive when right around the corner may be a winter that matches or is worse than the coldest in the record books for a given locale. What I have seen with my eyes is life on earth is very adaptable and can range pretty wide extreme to extreme for a given species. I think there’s more to learn, and it may be as you say only through genetic manipulation that we see some big changes. I’m going to keep trying to fill my yard with palms and for sure will lose a bunch along the way. After one generation most likely no changes evident for humans or palms, but after 50 generations….I’m not sure, but I would like to think there would be a measurable difference.

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ColumbusPalm

I don’t think any palm that is in consideration is an invasive species which is what it would need to be to march to the poles (or elsewhere beyond their native range). I think the topic of conversation is how to stretch comfort zones by targeted/selective breeding and reproduction and if it’s possible. A reason these things are talked about in forums like this is because of strains like Trachycarpus “Bulgaria” or Sabal minor “McCurtain” that do stretch these limits and produce seed in a season. 

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UK_Palms
4 hours ago, teddytn said:

@UK_Palms I would bet the offspring will be hardier. Do you think a washingtonia or CIDP would have survived even down south in England 50-60 years ago? 

Hard to say. I suspect Washingtonia would have survived on the south coast back then, but they just simply weren't being planted here back in the 60's or 70's. We barely even had Trachy's back then. Just a few cordylines really. The Trachy's only really arrived in the 80's and then CIDP's in the late 90's to early 00's. Apart from the rare exception or two, like on Tresco, washingtonia's simply weren't being planted over here until the early-mid 2000's. I think the big Robusta at Tresco has been there about 50 years, but that is probably one of the first ever to be planted and also in the mildest spot in the whole of the British Isles.

Portsmouth's record low is only 17F / -8C, which is pretty high for their record low minima at 50N. Most years only go down to about 25F / -3C. They've probably never seen more than 72 hours below freezing either. The same applies for the entire south coast. I doubt that is anywhere near cold enough to knock out a mature, decent size, trunking CIDP or Washie. A small one could maybe kick the bucket during a major freeze event on the south coast, but bigger ones are pretty damn hardy, as proven by the Dallas CIDP's coming back after 0F / -18C and 250 hours below freezing. Nowhere on the south coast of England has ever seen anywhere near as cold as that. Not even half as bad conditions as the Dallas freeze.

I'm keeping tabs on the south coast washies. These ones aren't in Cornwall or southwest England. These are south central coast. Bournemouth - Brighton region. I cannot see these ones getting taken out by any amount of cold now, given that record lows are like 17F for most of these south coast areas. Plus these are getting pretty big and will be hard to kill off. We just need them to flower and produce seed now like the CIDP's...

1841358218_Screenshot2021-08-22at02_42_05.thumb.png.534569675d3c037718ce91ea506393c1.png

181517860_Screenshot2021-08-05at21_38_14.thumb.png.ffb022c0cbd098d7a98dde0354521d95.png.a17c9abf2f65a7c590b6aa31a688b507.png

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@teddytn At one point I believe Dactylifera was the original and only type in the Phoenix genus. But it spread west (CIDP), it spread north (Theophrasti), it spread south (Reclinata), it spread east (Sylvestris) and so forth. So it would have had to adapt and morph into different types in order to colonise new regions and different climates. Hence it became those Phoenix species. This would have happened without human intervention many thousands of years ago, so the process would have been very slow with perhaps only minor changes over many, many generations. But those changes did occur, hence why we now have CIDP or Theophrasti sp, instead of just Dactylifera. The original Phoenix type would have spread very slowly into new locations via birds and wind, further slowing down the rate of adaptations and changes.

However with human intervention, the process would probably be a lot quicker, since we are now growing them thousands of miles outside the natural range and forcing them to perform and produce viable seed, such as in England. So the rate of change/adaptation should be far quicker than in the past. A couple of generations of high latitude, low sunlight level, wet-cool climate grown CIDP's or Washies will almost certainly create genetic changes in the subsequent generations, resulting in hardier and better adapted offspring. Maybe not during the first or second generations, but almost certainly by the 3rd or 4th. That's just my theory anyway. There is no definitive evidence of that for palms, but it seems pretty plausible to me.

There is however evidence of lizards being introduced to Mediterranean islands which have quickly evolved over a couple of generations to be bigger, have larger heads and harder bites as well as different organ sizes and organ functions and different colours or patterns. So species clearly change according to their environment, however some may be far quicker than others to adapt. But those changes do seem to happen over a number of generations. Possibly even less generations when it is being forced under drastically different or harsher conditions. It may force the changes to occur quicker over less generations, compared to natural changes like in Phoenix Dactylifera's gradual move north to become say Theophrasti sp. I wouldn't be surprised if the UK seed stock eventually produces CIDP's with fatter trunks that can withstand more prolonged cold, so they can be grown in Scotland even. That's just a theory at this stage though and we have no idea how long it will take for these changes to actually occur.

Edited by UK_Palms
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Jesse PNW

Reptiles are indeterminate growers, they can get as big as their environment supports.  That's not evolution.  I've never heard of lizards changing organ functions over a couple generations, i would be interested in reading about that.  I have never heard any evidence of mutations occurring due to any type of external influence.  As far as which species of Phoenix came first, is that speculation or is there evidence?  

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UK_Palms
2 hours ago, Jesse PNW said:

Reptiles are indeterminate growers, they can get as big as their environment supports.  That's not evolution.  I've never heard of lizards changing organ functions over a couple generations, i would be interested in reading about that.  I have never heard any evidence of mutations occurring due to any type of external influence.  As far as which species of Phoenix came first, is that speculation or is there evidence?  

Here's the article about the Italian wall lizards, which was covered by National Geographic. Also, I was merely using it as an example of how physiological changes may take places over a couple of generations, as opposed to hundreds, or even thousands of generations. Especially when those changes are being forced by human intervention, as opposed to natural changes that would come about more slowly, without human intervention. Obviously lizards and palm trees are completely different things though and it doesn't prove anything. I was just making a point.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/lizard-evolution-island-darwin

Regarding the Phoenix species, well we know that dates from Dactylifera have been cultivated for food in the Middle East for at least 8,000 years now. Ancient coins, drawings/depictions, texts etc all show Dactylifera as being present, but there is no reference whatsoever to Theophrasti, Reclinata, Sylvestris CIDP etc. Despite the fact that these other species would have been present in the regions of southern Europe, north Africa and the Middle east during this time.

So those other Phoenix types either didn't exist back then, were totally unknown to people back then, or just had no importance whatsoever. But given the importance of palm leaves in religion, palm parts for materials and the use of decorative plants for palaces, you would think that early explorers, philosophers and cultivators would have perhaps collected seed, written about new plants and discoveries, or brought small plants back to Egypt, Israel, Iraq, Persia, Greece, Italy, etc. Instead we just see Dactylifera throughout history. European's knew about the Canary Islands 2,000 years ago for instance. 

A number of sources claim that a type of Dactylifera was the original Phoenix, which then branched off to become the various other Phoenix sp that we have today. Of course it is impossible to verify for sure, but we do know that not all Phoenix types existed from the get-go. There would have been an original ancestor, which could well be extinct today. That ancestor may have went on to become Dactylifera, which then went on to create the other Phoenix species as it spread into new regions with different climates. I think this is the most plausible scenario.

I believe genetic testing has proven CIDP and Sylvestris to be much younger than Dactylifera, but I could be wrong. I think I remember hearing that CIDP has only been in the Canary Islands for about 4,000 years roughly, compared to Dactylifera being present in the Middle East for over 50,000 years. So CIDP almost certainly came from Dactylifera. Not the other way round. And even if Dactylifera was not the original Phoenix species, I suspect all other Phoenix species present today would have came from Dactylifera still. Of course it's going to be impossible to verify that for sure, so one can only really speculate. The reality could be far different. 

Interestingly, this article discusses the genetic profile of North African date palms, including the famed Medjool type, which is in fact a hybrid between Dactylifera and Phoenix Theophrasti from Crete and western Turkey. It also says that human intervention (cultivation of Arabian Dactylifera in southwest Europe) led to the hybridisation of the two occurring approximately 3,000 years ago. So Medjool dates have Phoenix Theophrasti ancestry. Who would have guessed!?

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190114161126.htm

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Fallen Munk
On 8/20/2021 at 4:50 PM, UK_Palms said:

I don't think 'ice' is the issue so to speak. 

I agree.  The only thing the ice does to mine is bend the petioles from the weight.  Before and after.

Trachy froze.jpg

trachy after.jpg

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