Creating a tropical maple?

Discussion in 'Plants: Science and Cultivation' started by jamkh, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. jamkh

    jamkh Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    The possibility of creating a tropical maple is there but the probability is very slim or even unlikely.The subject is centered on this unanswered probe " Is the behavior of a decidous tree controlled by its genectic make-up or is it a response to the changing seasons?" If the former is correct then the quest of a tropical maple is utterly hopeless. However I am somewhat convinced that it is the autumn season that enforces trees to shed leaves; hence I believe I have a fair chance to acclimatize maples to the tropics.
    I have subjected first year maple seedlings to a tropical enviroment created indoors in a closed chamber under artificial lights. Despite the avoidance of chill, most seedlings still go into hibination/domant state around October/November. However a few of the Palmatum seedlings, especially those that show excellent growth patterns, continue to grow new terminal shoots even as late first week of October .
    Below is a photo of such a seedling taken yesterday (approachig winter already). The green leaf portion of the plant represents the summer growth whereas the moroon portion grew in early October. There is no apparent signs of the plant going domant and I have a few of her siblings still sprouting new shoots right into mid-November. You will observe that this seedling has accelerated growth as the ruler is 16 inches long. If this plant does not suffer too adversely for the lack of domancy, then I cannot see why it cannot be tropicalized within a span of 4 years. This unexpected growth comes as a surprise as in the other forum most readers laugh and some even ridicule me for trying to experiment. Let's us see who has the last laugh?
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2006
  2. Daniel Mosquin

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

    Messages:
    10,479
    Likes Received:
    549
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    You can't create a tropical maple. You can, perhaps, grow a maple species native to a temperate area in tropicalesque conditions - at least for a time.

    The answer to the "unanswered probe" is available in Gan, S. and R. M. Amasino (1997) Making sense of senescence: molecular genetic regulation and manipulation of leaf senescence. Plant Physiology 113: 313-319 (Link to PDF):

     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,988
    Likes Received:
    678
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    There are tender, warm temperate/subtropical maple species already. These have simple, evergreen leaves. Sec. Palmata also includes tenderish Acer campbellii, like a Japanese maple but less elegant in habit and less hardy.

    Birch and katsura tree seeds planted in fall and grown indoors under lights can be kept going right through until the following spring.
     
  4. jamkh

    jamkh Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Thank you for the link to leaf senescence, which has given me lots of pleasurable reading.This phenominum applies to both temperate and tropical plants, though the triggering process may be different. Looking at it from a layman's simpler level, leaf senescence commences when the photosynthesis rate in a leaf falls below the level which makes it a contributor of food nutrition to the plant.
    However my unanswered probe refers to the domancy of deciduous plants or to put it in another context "Can deciduous plant thrive on without dormancy?". We are all aware of the requirement of dormancy as a condition for growth vigor in Spring. But this fact does not preclude that some deciduous plants may survive without undergoing dormancy, my formula for a tropical maple.
    Nobody can create a blue rose, but this fact does not stop scientists and hybridisers from trying. Hurrah for the human spirit.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2006
  5. Daniel Mosquin

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

    Messages:
    10,479
    Likes Received:
    549
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Ah, ok. Well, there are answers to that question as well.

    Here's an abbreviated answer from Dr. Joseph Armstrong: Re: a deciduous tree in a controlled environment (original question)

    Dr. Rolf Borchert is an plant ecophysiologist at the University of Kansas. He provides a number of his papers online which I think comprehensively addresses the question: The Phenology of Tropical Trees and its Environmental Control. In particular, check out: Borchert R, Robertson K, Schwartz MD, Williams-Linera G (2005) Phenology of temperate trees in tropical climates. Int. journ. Biometeorol.

    A recent book from the International Society for Horticultural Science on the subject as it pertains to fruit trees: Dormancy and the related Problems of Deciduous Fruit Trees

    Lastly, another bit of assumed evidence (i.e., I have no references, but I think it might be fair to state...) on the general lack of success from a historical perspective. Considering that European explorers and colonizers visiting tropical areas seemed to take a bunch of domesticated animals with them, is it possible they also took plants that were familiar to them? I'd say very likely, both as food and medicine. I don't know of any success stories three- or four hundred years later about these presumed temperate introductions into tropical areas.
     
  6. jamkh

    jamkh Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Daniel
    Thank you for the abundance of reference materials, of which papers by Dr Rolf Borchert prove very relevant.

    Quote:From "Borchert R, Robertson K, Schwartz MD, Williams-Linera G (2005) Phenology of temperate trees in tropical climates. Int. journ. Biometeorol. In Press"
    (1)Implicitly, within temperate species ranging from
    cold-temperate to tropical climates (Table 1) there should
    be eco-physiological races (ecotypes) that differ with
    respect to cold-hardiness, bud dormancy and response to
    day length. Such genetic differences were observed in a
    provenance test with Acer rubrum, in which seedlings of
    provenances from southern Florida to northern New York
    were grown outdoors in Gainesville, Florida (TJan=6◦C),
    located just north of Florida’s citrus growing area (Fig. 1;
    Perry and Wang 1960). Predictably, bud break in nonchilled,
    field-grown seedlings of northern provenances was
    several weeks later than in seedlings chilled in a cold-room
    for 1 month (Fig. 7, circles vs squares). Under the same
    temperature regime, bud break of seedlings from southern
    Florida (TJan=13◦C) was in mid-January, 5 weeks earlier
    than in local seedlings and 12–14 weeks before bud break
    of all chilled northern-provenance seedlings in mid- to late
    April (Fig. 7, diamonds vs squares). January temperatures
    in Gainesville were thus permissive for bud break of southern
    ecotypes, but not sufficient to cause bud break of the
    chilled northern ecotypes, which, like the species discussed
    above (Fig. 3C), probably require induction of bud break by
    increasing day length. In northern ecotypes of A. rubrum,
    and probably in other species adapted to cold-temperate
    climates, damage to young, frost-sensitive shoots by late
    frosts is apparently prevented by the combined requirements
    for chilling and increasing day length, which are
    lacking in southern ecotypes and in temperate trees growing
    in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    (2)Temperature-dependent phenology of temperate broadleaved
    trees and tropical tree phenology have been studied
    mainly in northern climates with a cold winter and in the
    seasonally dry tropics, respectively. Little is known about
    the transition from temperate to tropical phenology and
    the geographical boundaries between these major phenological
    patterns. In contrast to Europe, where the range
    of most broad-leaved tree species ends abruptly in the
    Mediterranean climate south of the Alps, in North America
    broad-leaved forests with a moist summer growing season
    range from 45◦N in northern USA to the tropical montane
    forests of Mexico and Central America at 15–20◦N
    (Fig. 1). Correspondingly, a number of temperate tree
    species or genera range from northern USA and Canada
    to Central America, Mexico or southern Florida (Fig. 1;
    Marquis 1990). In their northern range species such as Acer
    rubrum (Walters and Yawney 1990), Fagus grandifolia
    (Tubbs and Houston 1990) and Carpinus caroliniana may
    be deciduous for ∼6 months, but in the southern, tropical
    part of their range they exchange old for new leaves within
    a few weeks in January–February (Peters 1995; Tomlinson
    1980; Williams-Linera 1997; Williams-Linera et al.
    2000), i.e., their phenology is similar to that of tropical
    leaf-exchanging species (Borchert et al. 2002; Borchert
    2004). Along the N-S gradient of increasing temperature
    the transition from a temperature-driven, deciduous
    phenology to a tropical, nearly evergreen phenology
    thus occurs within the same, wide-ranging temperate
    species.

    From the above two quotations, it is evident that the temperate decidous species had undergone drastic phenotypic changes on their migration along the NS gradient from 45 deg N to 15-20 deg N. Reference: Quote: "Along the N-S gradient of increasing temperature the transition from a temperature-driven, deciduous phenology to a tropical, nearly evergreen phenology thus occurs within the same, wide-ranging temperate species."
    Thus what I am atempting to do is extend this NS gradient to reach the equator, where the climate is tropical rather than subtropical.
    Another interesting point can be deduced from Borchert's papers. Adaption to climatic changes has caused the time of bud breaks of the same specie to become different along the NS gradient. This phenominum of bud break timing has been inherited into the seeds as seedlings from different regions of the NS gradient perform the bud breaks similar to their mother trees even when these seedlings were germinated in one geographical location. Thus adaptations due to climate are imprinted into the genetic make-up of the seed and is contrary to what had been claimed by most readers in this and the other forums.
     
  7. jamkh

    jamkh Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    In one of my replies I had stated that I had seen a number of temperate deciduous species growing in the tropics. Well I shall be making a brief visit to the South East Asia and shall be vigilent in looking out for these species, which had adapted to be tropical evergreen. When successful I shall provide pics for this forum, hopefully.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2006
  8. Daniel Mosquin

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

    Messages:
    10,479
    Likes Received:
    549
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    False statement - no conclusions were made about the expansion of distribution ranges ("migration") in this paper. Looking at broad groups (i.e., genera or families) over evolutionary time (i.e., in the scope of millions of years), the pattern for expansion of distribution ranges is from the tropic climates to temperate climates.

    The referred quote is specifically about species of plants that have an existing range from cold-temperate to tropical climates. Unless you are working with these species in situ, you are not attempting to extend the range. From my understanding, you are attempting to cultivate some individuals of a species in tropicalesque conditions.

    I'm not sure where the contrarian claims were made, but I'll reassert the statement made in Gan and Amasino: "Like many other developmental processes, it is a genetically controlled program regulated by a variety of environmental and autonomous factors."
     
  9. jamkh

    jamkh Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    .

    Interesting conclusion you have arrived at by infering the requirement of working with species in situ. Let's us then examine the maple specie "Acer rubrum" referred to by Dr. Borchert. He has not claimed that the specie has migrated from the tropical climate to temperate; but he did claim that A. rubrum is a temperate specie. This would preclude the move from the tropics to temperate regions, otherwise he would have refered to A. rubrum as a tropical specie. What I suspect could be the possible scenerio is the Acer rubrum had its origin somewhere inside the NS gradient, possibly midway if migration remains at the same rate as it moves northwards and southwards. It is more likely that the point of origin is more North of this midway than South as growth in the warm climates is more robust than in temperate and migration rate tends to speed up.
    It is true that I am not working with Acer rubrum in situ with reference to Dr Borchert's study, however controlling the climate of the environment to imitate the 'in situ' location dispenses the need to grow the plant in a particular geographical location (in situ). To say the migration of Acer rubum is an evoluntionary process is as questionable as to say that human intervention has played a hand in this migration.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2007
  10. Daniel Mosquin

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

    Messages:
    10,479
    Likes Received:
    549
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    For what it's worth, I did have a look at the origin of Acer.

    From: Pfosser M, Guzy-wróbelska J, Sun BY, Stuessy T, Sugawara T, et al. (2002) The Origin of Species of Acer (Sapindaceae) Endemic to Ullung Island, Korea. Systematic Botany: Vol. 27, No. 2 pp. 351–367

    Looking at the [WIKI]Geologic Time Scale[/WIKI], this would have been a time when Alaska had subtropical conditions, though it did immediately precede a general cooling of this expanded global tropical climatic phenomenon. I also checked "where in the world" Alaska was at 55mybp, shown in this movie from Berkeley - not too much different from today.
     
  11. jamkh

    jamkh Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Daniel
    Thank you for the tremendous amount of efforts you must have expended to come up with the sites. Though I suggested that a fossil study could perhaps unlock the secrets of the origin of Acer, I never could have imagined that the topic had already been researched. Also I had not imagined the complexity of the task of fossil tracking to pin-point the problem I had presented.
    I can only have the highest regard for the inter-connectivity of academicians, whose combined resources would far outstrip whatever a layperson like me could muster up. For this help I am greatly indebted.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2007
  12. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

    Messages:
    409
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vero Beach, Fla., USA
    Barry Tomlinson compared temperate to tropical trees in "The biology of trees native to Tropical Florida," available from Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

    In Florida, temperate trees drop out from north to south. Interestingly, the local version of the sugar maple has a range extending to just south of Orlando. The Leu Gardens in Orlando have tried out a lot of east Asian trees and shrubs, including maples. Regrettably, Japanese maples just won't make it in most of Florida.
     
  13. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,424
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Let's use this document as a starting
    point. I see from the Figure 2. (Shaded
    area represents potential planting range.)
    graphic that I have my Maples in one
    of the white areas. Let's also be fair
    that the information in this file is just
    a little outdated.

    Acer palmatum - Japanese Maple

    For several years periodicals as well
    as articles and published information,
    even people in this forum, have stated
    that certain areas cannot grow Japanese
    Maples without supplying much to
    anything as a basis for the reasoning
    as to why that may be true for the areas
    depicted in white, the "other than the
    shaded areas" in the graphic. Yes,
    growing Japanese Maples in some
    of those areas can be rather difficult
    but they can be grown in several of the
    non-shaded areas. I've had a collection
    of over 200 Japanese Maples planted
    in a variety of home gardens and one
    estate garden for many years. My first
    Japanese Maple was purchased back in
    1968 and it still is alive and well in an
    estate garden about 60 miles down the
    road from me. By the way, all of the
    Maples I have or have given to friends
    and relatives for their yards are all in
    the white areas in the graphic. For
    many years it was thought that no one
    could successfully grow a Japanese
    Maple in the Central Valley until in
    the mid 60's a collection of 300 named
    forms was seen by a group of people
    that all deemed it impossible for a
    Japanese Maple to live and thrive and
    not burn up in the greater Fresno area
    during our Summer heat. That set the
    stage for other areas to also want to
    grow Japanese Maples in regions of
    the US that did not have any to speak
    of and the Southern part of the US
    was one of them. So much so, many
    nurseryman and several arboretums
    and botanical gardens as well as
    Universities allover the South got
    many of their original Maples from
    that same nursery.

    While I am on a hot streak, let me
    go back to the original post. There
    have been Japanese Maples that have
    not shed their leaves grown both in
    a container and in ground in a greenhouse
    for three years and slightly longer before
    the plants just shut down and died. If
    we know the hours amount of light that a
    Japanese Maple requires and the amount
    of heat the plant needs to be constant
    we can do it but there is a catch. If
    we truly want to have these plants
    keep their leaves on the plant for
    three years and longer, we have to
    supplement a lot of nutrients along
    the way to pull it off. There comes
    a time when we burn the plant out
    by giving it too much nutrients just
    to sustain growth as it is the growth
    sustaining part that is the most
    difficult aspect to overcome in that
    we can get a leafed out plant to keep
    its leaves but how do we force the
    plant to put on new growth? You
    figure out what the plant needs to
    send out new growth periodically
    and you can keep a Japanese Maple
    alive for up to five to six years and
    perhaps longer. I believe what you
    really want is for the seed that comes
    from that plant to be able to be changed
    enough to sow the seed outdoors and
    hope that the plant can yield offspring
    that can keep their leaves indefinitely.
    That will not happen. We can change
    the plants biological time clock but we
    are not going to change the genetics
    in the plant to make it eventually
    produce evergreen offspring. We
    have to do that on a cellular level
    and probably will have to introduce
    another plants DNA into the equation
    to help us along either by adding a
    loop of DNA into the host plant by
    genetic modification or through
    genetic manipulation in a test tube
    or in a petri dish and go the tissue
    culture route and hope we get lucky
    at some point in time and eventually
    "breed" an evergreen Maple. We
    will not have success wanting to
    force or change the genetics of the
    plant through selection by altering
    the plants time clock. That alone
    will not do it is your answer.

    Jim
     
  14. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

    Messages:
    409
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vero Beach, Fla., USA
    Fresno maples would be of considerable interest to gardeners in Gainesville or Orlando. Some varieties of peaches and, of course, Japanese persimmons, will do well in central Florida.

    The Morikami Japanese garden in Palm Beach County uses gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba) in place of maples. The effect is a bit disconcerting, but the trees should look good as they age. Morikami does have some thriving azaleas, but that's evidently due to providing lots of pine needles.
     
  15. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,424
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    I think you will have to find out what
    caused the most trouble for growing
    Japanese Maples in Florida and work
    from there. It could very well be that
    certain cultivars simply will not do
    well but others might if given a chance.
    The hard part will be bringing in plants
    that have clean rootstocks which might
    have been the problem all along. If that
    was the case in the past then strive to
    find a clean growing source for grafted
    Japanese Maples. Monrovia grown plants
    sold in various retail nurseries even if
    they have to come in from nearby
    states would be worth trying as well.
    It may even be best to start off with
    green leaf seedlings and see how they
    hold up before converting over to the
    named forms but I think there are some
    people around that would be willing to
    work with others in Florida to see what
    will work, what won't do well and then
    determine what went wrong if any of
    those plants perish.

    I was wondering if the climate is too
    close to what San Diego and vicinity
    has in that the climate really never
    does go cool but the plants will adapt
    and will go deciduous and will leaf out
    again in the Spring. It just takes a few
    trials with plants from clean sources,
    clean meaning not laden with a disease
    issue. I think Maples brought in closer
    to home would be your best bet and
    there is someone in the UBC BG Maple
    forum that is a member of the Maple
    Society from Georgia that may be able
    to track down some plants that may
    work for you there.

    If you can grow some of the Fruit Trees
    that we have here and can grow some
    Azaleas you should be able to grow a
    Japanese Maple in Florida. Like most
    any experiment there may be some
    failures along the way but the successes
    will be worth noting to build on as a
    foundation and move forward from there.
    Offhand I envision no reason why Florida
    cannot grow Japanese Maples but stick to
    the varieties that are known to be more
    universal in that they are known to adapt
    and grow most anywhere. Burgundy Lace
    is a tough Maple to grow in any warmer
    climate, whereas true form Bloodgood,
    Suminagashi, Sherwood Flame for the
    palmate and deeply divided forms and
    Crimson Queen, Ever Red, Inaba shidare,
    Red Select for the red dissectums should
    be able to tolerate your climate. Viridis
    and Waterfall for the green dissectums
    will likely require wind and afternoon sun
    protection but as long as they get watered
    often enough and you do not have soil
    alkalinity issues, they should be able to
    grow there. Almost forgot, Seiryu is the
    most adaptable green dissectum of them
    all and can tolerate full sun, hot winds
    and saline soils as long as it gets deep
    watered, for some examples worth trying.

    Jim
     
  16. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

    Messages:
    409
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vero Beach, Fla., USA
    My suspicion is that Eric Schmidt, the horticulturist at Leu Gardens in Orlando http://www.leugardens.org/ would have discovered a good palmate-leafed maple by now. He's certainly found a lot of good East Asian plants, including some evergreen, entire-leaved maples. Orlando gets significantly more winter cooling than the coast, where sea breezes tend to keep the nights warmer. By the way, Leu is working to expand their sasanqua camellia collection.

    Japonica azaleas are a puzzle this far south. Some old purple ones are living happily in front of an old house on a main street in full sun with no irrigation or attention. Someone else has happy, neglected azaleas that get showered with those acidic South Florida slash pine needles. The japonicas are more reliable just one county to our north, and thrive by the time you get to Daytona Beach. I'm reluctant to mess with them when there's so much other plant material to play with.

    In the camellia department, that neighbor of mine with the azaleas also has a successful japonica. The buds on my little one never open, so it's being replaced by a couple of sasanquas, which ought to thrive.

    For "temperate" hardwoods in Florida, I might mention Celtis laevigata, the sugarberry. It grows happily on tree islands (peat substrate) in the Everglades. The southern coast has a few populations of a couple of truly tropical Celtis iguanaea and another species I'm too lazy to remember at the moment. Pop ash, Fraxinus caroliniana thrives in the Big Cypress/Fakahatchee Strand area, right alongside pond apples, Annona glabra. Not to mention all those orchids and bromeliads.

    Thinking again of Asian plants to play with, I'm trying Satakentia liukiuensis, the feather-leafed Satake palm from the Ryuku Islands and need to put some Easter lilies or Taiwan lilies around them.
     
  17. Karalyn

    Karalyn Active Member

    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho USA
    As much as I would love to have some palm trees and plumeria, etc. grow in zone 6, Boise, Idaho. But they aren't going to, unless I have a green house and more humidity in our dry desert air. So instead I get to enjoy so many other plants and trees, etc. that won't grow elsewhere. I grew up in the Bay area and we had a Sweetgum Maple tree in our front yard facing west, but getting some southwest sun. It grew tall and beautiful. They try to grow them here and they just don't seem to thrive in our colder, dry climates. Landscapers still try, but I have not seen a sweetgum maple as tall and gorgeous as the one we had in Silicon Valley.

    I think what frustrates me is that all the plants that could have been planted in our Bay Area home, that was never introduce. If I were home again, with my knowledge I have now, I would grow ferns, Japanese Maples, instead of the one my mother finally planted in a wine barrel by a fountain. I would grow clematis, baby tears, camellias, etc.

    But I'm happy where I'm at as our temps are pretty moderate for many, many types o f shrubs, conifers, hostas, Coral bells, Japanese Maples, and of course clematis and roses.

    And I do support the ones that try to grow things in other zones, as an experiment and you just never know what you will find. Also, with micro climates on my property, many tropical plants can grow here.

    So i hope all works out for you in your tropical maple growing. As said before by other posters and me, you have such an opportunity to grow some very lovely trees and plants that are lacy and gorgeous where you are planted now.
     
  18. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    843
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Beaverton, Oregon
    I remember seeing a Purple Beech tree in the parking lot of a Denny's Restaurant in Beaverton, Oregon, right under the street light in the parking lot.

    At the end of December, I drove by at night, to see a cluster of leaves still purple and alive underneath where the light shines at night.

    Odds are it's a combination of light and warmth - maybe daylength too, but I'm not certain on the latter.
     
  19. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,988
    Likes Received:
    678
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
  20. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

    Messages:
    409
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vero Beach, Fla., USA
    Interesting pdf, Ron. That partly-green sugar maple is pretty impressive.
     
  21. Karalyn

    Karalyn Active Member

    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho USA
    That is very good to know.
     
  22. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,988
    Likes Received:
    678
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Minor note: I think those are actually Norway maples she's got in her picture.
     

Share This Page