Arbutus: Arbutus glandulosa

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by TonyR, May 8, 2007.

  1. TonyR

    TonyR Active Member

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    Sydney, Australia
    This is a tree growing in my family's garden in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, on deep basaltic soil at 900 m altitude and high year-round rainfall. Minimum temperatures are between about minus 2 and minus 5 C most years.

    Back in the 60s and 70s I worked at the Sydney Botanic Gardens (actually "Royal" Botanic Gardens but I dislike calling it that). At some time in the late 60s I chose the seed of this from a landmark Seed List from UC Davis (or was it Berkeley?), with many fully documented wild collections from highlands of Mexico and Peru. I seem to recall Dennis Breedlove was one of the major collectors. The Gardens' horticulturalists at that time were unimpressed by unfamiliar plants, so most of the accessions were never planted and when eventually rootbound in the nursery in the early 70s were offered to staff to take away. I am sure I took several carloads! My father and I planted this one in his garden in about 1974 and it has never looked back.

    A. glandulosa occurs in highlands of central and south Mexico. It's closely allied to the widespread A. xalapensis and I believe some botanists treat it as a synonym of that species. Its main distinguishing feature is supposed to be the glandular hairs on leaf stalks and margins and inflorescence, which can be seen in these pictures. Its chief glory, though, is the peeling of the old bark in midsummer, which I should think is much like that of your native A. menziesii.

    It would be interesting to know if any progeny of this collection became established in California.

    The pictures of peeling bark were taken in December, those of flowers, fruit and leaves only last weekend.

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  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Britain zone 8/9
    Very nice! What else did you get then?

    That ought to be a shooting offence!
  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

    Also agreed!
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    WA USA (Z8)
    Same views here.

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