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Stroll through an urban jungle, desert, forest


Tracy

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Up in the Bay Area today and my brother brought me to a house in Alameda that had the biggest one of these I’ve ever seen. In person or in pictures. Stared at this thing for 10min in awe.

To put it in perspective, the fence is 6ft so it’s gotta be well over 15ft tall and nearly 10ft wide. Enjoy the epic Furcraea Macdougalii…..

-dale 

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On 4/28/2023 at 4:16 PM, Billeb said:

Up in the Bay Area today and my brother brought me to a house in Alameda that had the biggest one of these I’ve ever seen. In person or in pictures. Stared at this thing for 10min in awe.

To put it in perspective, the fence is 6ft so it’s gotta be well over 15ft tall and nearly 10ft wide. Enjoy the epic Furcraea Macdougalii…..

-dale 

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Dale I often chuckle when I see smaller specimens planted which i know will develop into what you have posted.  I believe this is Furcraea macdougallii .  Well grown specimen.  There are many big specimens growing around the North San Diego County.   

Last evening a noticed this in bloom.  The Euterpe edulis in the same garden took a beating this winter and spring.   I hope it pulls through as better weather arrives.   It has survived for a long time in this spot but clearly didn't appreciate damp and cool this year.

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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A classic climbing rose a couple of houses down the street.  Cecile Brunner rose on a trellis. 

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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Coastal flowers blooming and Washingtonia robusta above some collapsing cliffs in the neighborhood. 

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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Maybe because it is in bloom this large specimen jumped out on this morning's Mother's day walk.  The homeowner stepped out as I was taking my photo so I asked how long ago he planted it.  I was surprised it was a small plant just 15 years ago.   I have never grown Proteas and Leucadendron, so have no sense of their speed of growth.   We walk by this a couple of times a week, just shows how easy it is to miss things.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Was waiting for my car to finish a smog check so strolled down to Moonlight Beach a couple of blocks away.  There are a couple of interesting gardens adjacent to the northern edge where I enjoyed a few minutes. 

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On a bike ride today and this thing stopped me in my tracks…. :w00:  At least 4ft of fat trunk under that old man beard. 
 

-dale 

 

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4 hours ago, Billeb said:

On a bike ride today and this thing stopped me in my tracks…. :w00:

Looks like a leaf from another interesting palm photo-bombing the upper right hand corner of the photo and trying to distract from the Old Man Dale.  I'm guessing the C crinita wasn't the only intriguing plant you saw in that garden.  Maybe you will have to go for another ride over the weekend?

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1 hour ago, Tracy said:

Looks like a leaf from another interesting palm photo-bombing the upper right hand corner of the photo and trying to distract from the Old Man Dale.  I'm guessing the C crinita wasn't the only intriguing plant you saw in that garden.  Maybe you will have to go for another ride over the weekend?

@TracyThe palm to the right was a pretty beat up Hyophorbe Lagenicaulis. It was huge and likely looks fantastic by the end of summer but right now….the leaf burn is real. See attached. Couldn’t believe the old man tho  jeez…..

The house was littered with aloes, succulents and other drought tolerant plants. 
 

-dale

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Visiting a little different neighborhood, so seeing a few different wildflowers than when walking at home.  In fact these are Alpine flowers, from Hinteres Lauterbrunnental.  Spectacular blooms happening right now in the meadows fed by snowmelt. 

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A bigger perspective of the stroll.  Jugenfrau is hidden amongst the clouds in the background. 

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A hillside covered in what appear to be Azaleas.  They are the prevalent ground over as one transitions at the treeline here.

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1 hour ago, Tracy said:

A hillside covered in what appear to be Azaleas.  They are the prevalent ground over as one transitions at the treeline here.

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Azalea or Rhododendron, Possibly this: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/130539-Rhododendron-ferrugineum   /  https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/122452661 ...Appears to be the only sp. common to the area.

  Just finished reading an article about how a different species of Rhodo. introduced from S. Europe is trying to take over certain areas of Scotland and England and how locals are quite upset ( to put it mildly ) that local officials are being too lax about full eradication .. Forest cited in another article read over was part of a recent documentary  David Attenborough had done.

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9 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Azalea or Rhododendron, Possibly this: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/130539-Rhododendron-ferrugineum   /  https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/122452661 ...Appears to be the only sp. common to the area.

  Just finished reading an article about how a different species of Rhodo. introduced from S. Europe is trying to take over certain areas of Scotland and England and how locals are quite upset ( to put it mildly ) that local officials are being too lax about full eradication .. Forest cited in another article read over was part of a recent documentary  David Attenborough had done.

Thanks for the link Nathan.   I mentioned to my wife while we were on the trail that we had seen something very similar in the Spanish Pyrenees while hiking there a few years back. Based on the range in the link, it was most certainly the same species of Rhododendron. 

Later yesterday we were passing through a heavily wooded area as we descended into Grindelwald and saw these interesting very fine wispy plants.  It was the first time we encountered them in days of hiking or at least the first time we noticed them.

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10 minutes ago, Tracy said:

Thanks for the link Nathan.   I mentioned to my wife while we were on the trail that we had seen something very similar in the Spanish Pyrenees while hiking there a few years back. Based on the range in the link, it was most certainly the same species of Rhododendron. 

Later yesterday we were passing through a heavily wooded area as we descended into Grindelwald and saw these interesting very fine wispy plants.  It was the first time we encountered them in days of hiking or at least the first time we noticed them.

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:greenthumb: 

That's the one great thing about using iNaturalist..  Makes narrowing down IDs of plants you might not be super familiar with easier ..though of course, it isn't perfect, no app will ever be 100%.

Sometimes i'll type in something simple ..say " Composites, or Lilies ", then narrow down the map to local scale, and go from there as far as whittling down a list of possible matches ( Not always easy w/ some plant families, IE: some stuff in the  Sunflower family, lol )

Other times, i'll use the " Similar Taxa / Species " option, ..and proceed through the same  detective work process..  Anyway..

Wispy plant looks like a Horsetail..  From what i could find, could be one of at least 2 sps there.. ( Wood, Or Great Horsetail seem to be a pretty close match, but, there could be a couple other possibilities )

Curious,  i looked around to see if i could figure out what Large-leaved plants below it might be.  Hedge Leaved Androstyle, Adenostyles alliariae,  Seems to fit, but w/ out any flowers on it,  could just as easily be something in the Carrot family, etc plants in other families w/ large leaves that grow there..

 

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On 12/31/2022 at 1:00 PM, Tracy said:

There were also some nice cycads and Aloidendron including a young A pillansii.  Liked seeing Dendrobium speciosum mounted in the fork of the tree too.

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orchid on tree is very nice but probably is myrmecophila, which have hollow pseudobulbs that house ants in nature.  this orchid genus generally prefers more heat/sun than dendrobium speciosum.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Caught these in bloom at the Harbaugh Seaside Trail in Solana Beach.

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Beautiful xeric garden paths flank an otherwise unremarkable single story apartment complex in the suburban neighborhood of my childhood. 

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On a nearby corner lot, agave grow in the understory of redwoods. Such unlikely combinations seem to be one of the horticultural gifts of living within the bounds of marine influence in California.

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Chris

San Francisco, CA 

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  • 2 weeks later...

A few Sunset District euphorbia.

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And a bodhisattva covered in nasturtium.

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Chris

San Francisco, CA 

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38 minutes ago, Rivera said:

A few Sunset District euphorbia.

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And a bodhisattva covered in nasturtium.

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Sign post "Do not park here" is classic.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cussonia paniculata at the SF zoo. 

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Also there, Cussonia paniculata ssp. sinuata

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Chris

San Francisco, CA 

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2 hours ago, Rivera said:

Cussonia paniculata at the SF zoo. 

Long before I got my Cussonia spicata, my friend George Sparkman had a Cussonia paniculata which I got to watch grow over several years at his place in Fallbrook.  Great silvery color on this species when grown in sun.  From what I read about these two species, C paniculata has better cold tolerance than C spicata.

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1 hour ago, Tracy said:

Long before I got my Cussonia spicata, my friend George Sparkman had a Cussonia paniculata which I got to watch grow over several years at his place in Fallbrook.  Great silvery color on this species when grown in sun.  From what I read about these two species, C paniculata has better cold tolerance than C spicata.

I don't know much about either. It seems C paniculata used to be available from Annie's Annuals as well as grown and distributed by San Marcos Growers, but neither list it amongst trees they grow anymore. Seems to be a relatively rare plant around here. I haven't seen any Cussonia at all in the neighborhood other than these at the zoo, but the local nursery does have a couple of C spicata right now. 

I do have a Cussonia paniculata seedling, and a potential spot in the landscape for it. It's tiny and hasn't developed its mature foliage, but the root system is substantial for the plant's size.

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Chris

San Francisco, CA 

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4 minutes ago, Rivera said:

I don't know much about either. It seems C paniculata used to be available from Annie's Annuals as well as grown and distributed by San Marcos Growers, but neither list it amongst trees they grow anymore. Seems to be a relatively rare plant around here. I haven't seen any Cussonia at all in the neighborhood other than these at the zoo, but the local nursery does have a couple of C spicata right now. 

I do have a Cussonia paniculata seedling, and a potential spot in the landscape for it. It's tiny and hasn't developed its mature foliage, but the root system is substantial for the plant's size.

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I know that your neighbor in the Sunset, Daryl told me he grew Cussonia spicata for a period of time.  As I recall he had issues with the root system so removed it several years ago.

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5 hours ago, Tracy said:

I know that your neighbor in the Sunset, Daryl told me he grew Cussonia spicata for a period of time.  As I recall he had issues with the root system so removed it several years ago.

I'll have to ask him about it the next time I see him! An aggressive root system would be most unwelcome in such a densely planted landscape as Darold's... probably not so good for mine either.

Chris

San Francisco, CA 

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I did have one, and it grew well, however I don't remember why I removed it.  (Most likely to yield space for a palm.)  :)

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San Francisco, California

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  • 1 month later...

Metrosideros excelsa, pōhutukawa, or the New Zealand Christmas tree is easily the most common street tree in my immediate neighborhood. Occasionally, one of them is large enough to be sending down this species' characteristic aerial roots that would eventually form buttressing trunks. This can't happen in the street or sidewalk of course, so those aerial roots get pruned and it's rare to see one achieve massive stature like this one in the SF Botanical Garden. Regrettably, I didn't capture a photo of the whole tree. 

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Here are others near my house. In some ways, this is a tough place to be a street tree so it's easy to understand why these are ubiquitous.

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Bonus scenes from the SF Botanical Garden... the nikau grove

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Telanthophora grandifolia (giant groundsel)

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And some Howeas amidst other Oceanic vegetation 

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Chris

San Francisco, CA 

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2 hours ago, Rivera said:

Metrosideros excelsa, pōhutukawa, or the New Zealand Christmas tree is easily the most common street tree in my immediate neighborhood. Occasionally, one of them is large enough to be sending down this species' characteristic aerial roots that would eventually form buttressing trunks. This can't happen in the street or sidewalk of course, so those aerial roots get pruned and it's rare to see one achieve massive stature like this one in the SF Botanical Garden. Regrettably, I didn't capture a photo of the whole tree. 

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Here are others near my house. In some ways, this is a tough place to be a street tree so it's easy to understand why these are ubiquitous.

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:greenthumb: Holy Canoli! lol.. Did not realize these could get that large up there, err, anywhere outside habitat in N.Z. ..  A sales rep from Monrovia who brought some in to where i'd worked told us these would stay under 15ft or so.. Was skeptical, thinking 15ft sounded smaller than what one might expect, esp. if given a little room ( like the street specimens by your house ) ... but did not think they could reach the size you got shots of from the garden..   Pretty neat.

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13 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:


:greenthumb: Holy Canoli! lol.. Did not realize these could get that large up there, err, anywhere outside habitat in N.Z. ..  A sales rep from Monrovia who brought some in to where i'd worked told us these would stay under 15ft or so.. Was skeptical, thinking 15ft sounded smaller than what one might expect, esp. if given a little room ( like the street specimens by your house ) ... but did not think they could reach the size you got shots of from the garden..   Pretty neat.

Yeah, no doubt, it's a monster. 

It doesn't command as much attention, but there's a nice pukanui / Meryta sinclairii in the midground far right of the nikau grove photo. Not big, but a good looking plant. I haven't found any for sale, and I am attempting to start from seed. Maybe I should be making friends with the garden staff. 

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Chris

San Francisco, CA 

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The Metrosideros at the SF Botanic Garden is now smaller than it had been.  in 1995 a severe windstorm caused the top 1/3rd of the tree's height to break off.  This was the same windstorm that caused millions of dollars of damage to the 19th century wood and glass Conservatory. 

  Metrosideros is so well suited for our microclimate that they grow too aggressively.  I have seen them as street trees broken off completely by car accidents, and the root system will just send up multiple new growth shoots.   If one prunes the roots, the root end will send out multiple new leads.  I planted two in my tiny backyard, and eventually removed one.  This tree is too strong growing for a yard only 8 meters wide.  I cut my remaining one back to branches about 12 cm in diameter, only for the tree to sprout myriad new growth points from dormant back buds.   

Don't plant this tree in a small yard.    :bummed: 

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San Francisco, California

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22 hours ago, Rivera said:

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They have these planted along the sidewalk outside the infill development that replaced the greenhouses across the street from my house.  I didn't realize they could get so large either.  Somewhat similar climate here to what you have but get a little warmer and fewer days of heavy fog during spring and summer than you do.  That said, we did have heavy May Gray, June Gloom, which returned again right after Hilary departed in late August.  I hope they don't get that big, or they will be blocking my gardens winter light since they are all south of my yard running west to east.

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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1 hour ago, Tracy said:

They have these planted along the sidewalk outside the infill development that replaced the greenhouses across the street from my house.  I didn't realize they could get so large either.  Somewhat similar climate here to what you have but get a little warmer and fewer days of heavy fog during spring and summer than you do.  That said, we did have heavy May Gray, June Gloom, which returned again right after Hilary departed in late August.  I hope they don't get that big, or they will be blocking my gardens winter light since they are all south of my yard running west to east.

They're usually moderately sized. Many in the neighborhood are still under 20 ft, but I imagine they'll eventually reach the 30-40 ft range unless they face unforeseen circumstances. Suckers generally get removed, as do aerial roots on mature specimens, so that limits their lateral spread somewhat. 

Darold's comment is a testament to their resiliency. They take drought well here and seem to establish more easily than Arbutus unedo, Lyonothamnus floribundus subsp. aspleniifolius, Eriobotrya deflexa or Podocarpus gracilior, which are all common street trees in our neighborhood.

They're definitely not in the size class of blue gum eucalyptus, Monterey cypress, or Norfolk Island pine though.

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Chris

San Francisco, CA 

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On 9/25/2022 at 2:47 AM, Tracy said:

Strolling through my urban neighborhood prompted me to stop a few times to enjoy the desert, forest and occasional jungle that I passed.  What about your neighborhood? Anything prompt you to stop?

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Love the cactus in flower and draceana Draco 

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  • 2 months later...

A nice little Macrozamia growing in a front yard on this morning's walk in Encinitas. 

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22 hours ago, Tracy said:

A nice little Macrozamia growing in a front yard on this morning's walk in Encinitas. 

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If this is a little Macrozamia, what species would you consider to be huge?

Hi 69°, Lo 42°

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Casas Adobes - NW of Tucson since July 2014

formerly in the San Carlos region of San Diego

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10 hours ago, Tom in Tucson said:

If this is a little Macrozamia, what species would you consider to be huge?

Hi 69°, Lo 42°

My wife asked me if it was a young CIDP.  I don't know my Macrozamia species well enough to identify it.  It is a chunky monkey with a wide caudex, filling out that front yard space well.  Any takers on guessing the species of Macrozamia?

33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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14 hours ago, Tracy said:

My wife asked me if it was a young CIDP.  I don't know my Macrozamia species well enough to identify it.  It is a chunky monkey with a wide caudex, filling out that front yard space well.  Any takers on guessing the species of Macrozamia?

I'm only now starting to learn the basics of guessing cycad species with any success at all. Doing a mediocre image search gas led me to one that resembles a CIDP:

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Macrozamia moorei

Hi 74°, Lo 48°

Edited by Tom in Tucson
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Casas Adobes - NW of Tucson since July 2014

formerly in the San Carlos region of San Diego

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Pretty spectacular.   With the South American 

8 hours ago, Tom in Tucson said:

I'm only now starting to learn the basics of guessing cycad species with any success at all. Doing a mediocre image search gas led me to one that resembles a CIDP:

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Macrozamia moorei

Hi 74°, Lo 48°

palm weevil having arrived down the street and lots more CIDP to feed on, I 'll have to make a pitch for these to my neighbors.   The tough part would be growth speed.  One could go blue too with Macrozamia macdonnellii.

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  • 1 month later...

I don't have to venture far to see this Aloe marlothii that is blooming above the fence in a neighbor's yard.   Interesting timing since mine are not in bloom a couple of hundred yards away from this specimen. 

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  • Like 4

33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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