Indicator plants.

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by LPN, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    One plant I use as a guage for the severity of winter is Coryline australis. If these die back or are killed out-right, I consider it to have been a severe winter. They are hardy to around -8 to -9 centigrade (17.5f - 15.8f) for the brief periods we can encounter around coastal PNW. They will often show little damage for a month or more then suddenly flop over after the damage manifests itself. Most often, they will resprout with muliple shoots in spring. My coldest night was -6.9 celcius (19.6f) in late November and again this Cordyline has managed to stand tall. Seed grown in the spring of 2002, I hope it continues for a few more years. I've seen some recent pics from around the BC mainland that suggest it was cold enough to knock down these even in some favored regions like English Bay in Vancouver, BC. Are there any other 'exotic' plants you use to gauge winter cold?

    Cheers, LPN.
     

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  2. Laaz

    Laaz Active Member 10 Years

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    Awesome plant Barrie. This is from seed in 2002 ? These grow quickly I take it. I'll have to look into a few of these...
     
  3. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hey Laaz .... They are often mistakenly sold, even in reputable nurseries as Dracaena. I'm not sure why that persists but it does. Cordyline australis should do very well for you in SC. Here's a link to a photo gallery (scroll down for pics).

    http://www.nzplantpics.com/sfeature_galleries/cordyline_gallery.htm

    Cheers, LPN. (Barrie)
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The species was actually first described as a Dracaena, way back in 1786, and transferred to the new genus Cordyline in 1833. Some nurseries are woefully slow to adopt nomenclatural changes.
     
  5. palmera

    palmera Active Member

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    I am guilty of calling these dracaenas as well. My misinformation came from my upbringing on a nursery that grew annuals. My folks were always proud that at age 5 I was listing off the plants they sold. So from now on, they will be cordylines, I promise!

    So here is a shot of my cordylines. The big one is about 11 feet tall and the little one about 5 feet. The little one's center has pulled out and I am hoping it will still make it. The large one is doing very well. Fingers are crossed...
     

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  6. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    174 years late !!! Good grief, there must be more to it than that?
    Cheers, LPN.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Some European operations are quite old. Contemporary seed lists sometimes read like they were antique, peppered as they can be with long obsolete names. Nurseries may not have anyone interested in checking names, stick indefinitely with monikers items come with when they first get them. I've been told an article claimed the mislabeling rate for US nursery stock was 33%.

    Friend ordering seed of "Cordyline indivisa", hoping to get the real item (a different species with broad leaves) has consistently gotten C. australis instead, multiple times over the years. Epithets Dracaena indivisa and Cordyline indivisa are apparently just too similar for those who aren't paying that much attention.
     
  8. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Ron B ... It's a shame really since Cordyline is such a beautiful genus. I'm glad that none of my C. indivisa germinated as it's likely to have been australis. I did pin my hopes on a very reputable source though.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  9. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Regarding the species of cordyline...I'm sure I heard a conspiracy theorist recently suggest that the "dracaena spikes" sold en masse now are a species or perhaps variety chosen for their comparative lack of hardiness. The story was that years ago cordylines were sold that regularly overwintered, and the more tender selection has been sub-ed so that they will need to be replaced as an annual bedding plant. Not sure if that fits into the two oft-confused species of cordyline.

    I must say tho, that in my experience overwintering cordyline was unthinkable back in the 1960's in Greater Vancouver...when there was talk of a mythical "dracaena" living from year to year in the far off reaches of Tofino, but our local yards would have plants like camellia and english laurel killed to the ground and even root dead after the fierce winters. Boy, I'm really starting to talk like an old guy now...
     
  10. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    growest ... I've not heard of the conspiracy theory on "dracaena spikes". It may very well have been the case with certain growers at one point, but to have an industry wide subtitution of inferior Cordyline australis seems a bit much. Perhaps you're refering to a local BC situation and not nation wide.

    A cutting edge nursery friend of mine was (back in the mid 80's) told he was crazy and asked to leave when he tried promoting hardy bananas (Musa basjoo) that would over-winter here. That same nursery has since carried a wide variety of hardy exotics including, you guessed it, Musa basjoo.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  11. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Japanese banana has been grown in Vancouver for decades. A conspicuous clump at a residence north of UBC, where it is noticeable from Marine Drive or what that road turns into was thought to be present in the 1950s by the party that answered the door there.
     
  12. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Interesting Ron B. The general consensus with exectutive members of the Pacific Northwest Palms & Exotic Plant Society (head quartered in Vancouver BC) are under the impression that Gerard Pury (Oakridge Landscaping) brought Musa basjoo into the region in the early to mid 1980's. Gerard is revered to be the god father of exotics in Vancouver BC. Anyone who's ever toured his garden would surely agree. I wonder if that old clump of bananas is still around UBC?

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    It really seems like the gas station south of the Oak Street Bridge (and east of the freeway) that had them for years (perhaps they are still there) was noticeable before the '80s, but I didn't write anything down. I was going up there to look at plants by the 1970s.

    The man answering the door at the place north of UBC said the bananas were there when he came to work there. All I have is my recollection of his recollection.
     
  14. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    That gas station (Petro Canada) and surrounding complex (Pacific Plaza) was landscaped by none other than Gerard Pury of Oakridge landscape. That whole complex was new in about 1988 or so. I routinely passed it when I lived on the BC mainland.

    I have a similar experience with "knocking on doors". I was summonded by an enthusiast to accompany him on a bamboo dig in conjuction with other business he had in the North Vancouver area. We learned that the bamboo (Bambusoides vivax) was planted at the residence from an earlier dig sometime in the late 1950's. The original site was reported to be from the old army base at Jericho Beach in Vancouver (long since defunct). This stand was emmense and a hydro crew had been through earlier to clear culms from the path of power lines. The tallest culms where close to 50' tall, certainly 45' and it was quite a sight as we drove off with 20' of bamboo hanging out of a 16' trailer (we took the small stuff) . Neatly tied and flagged, we passed a county mountie along Boundary Rd. We thought we where done for, but he never blinked an eye, probably laughing still at the two kooks with the overlength load of big bamboo.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  15. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years

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    LPN, who did you get your C. indivisa seeds from? Seems we possibly get seeds from the same suppliers!
     
  16. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    If memory serves me Carol, it was New Zealand Tree Seeds.
    http://www.nzseeds.co.nz/
    None of the ones I tried germinated and I wound up giving the rest to a guy in South Carolina.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  17. palmera

    palmera Active Member

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    Oh no guys, don't say that! I just ordered a batch from them last week, hoping that a New Zealand supplier would be more reliable. Well, I'll give them a go and let you know. Did you stratify them prior as well?
     
  18. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Possibly my friend has NEVER gotten the true item sent to him and has probably tried for decades, too. He knows all the sources. Expect to have the common one come up, if you actually get what was hoped for break out the champagne. It will have much broader leaves.
     
  19. palmera

    palmera Active Member

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    Well, my friends tell me I am a lucky person. And as they say, I'd rather be lucky than good! Here's to Lady Luck...
     
  20. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Well this Cordyline from the original posting has now started to show some damage. I forgot just how long it takes to manifest itself and just how much damage, remains to be seen.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  21. palmera

    palmera Active Member

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    Barrie, What type of damage is showing? I have noticed quite a few "collapsing" specimens around town. I suspect it's game over for those. My large one still looks great, but I am watching nervously for any signs. As I mentioned before, my smaller sized one lost the center spear. But I did remove any rotted leaves and it looks quite good now.
     
  22. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Looks like some of the damage is occuring at the crown. Some leaves have started to rot at the points closest to the growth spear.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  23. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I'm getting a bit bored with tenderness. One garden I am developing had a bunch of stuff burn up. The gums (eucalypts) in particular are going to be a pain to deal with because the carcasses are big and tall. Think I will grow the survivors (except for the snow gums that didn't freeze) as cut-back shrubs from this point.
     
  24. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I have about a dozen or perhaps 15 Eucalyptus species around my property. There is some burning on only one, E. dalrympleana. It must have come from a less hardy provenance. Another from a different source and younger, is fine. I did try an experiment with E. microtheca which was planted last summer. The seeds came from Ian Barcley who collected them in Las Cruses NM. This species does not like our wet winters and now will be destined for the compost pile. Mainly I've kept to the hardiest known and proven provenance species for this region.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  25. Ian

    Ian Active Member

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    I grew some Cordyline indivisa from New Zealand tree seeds once, and they turned out to be the real thing. I still have one in my garden, though it has experienced frost damage some winters, and it does not really thrive. The seed requires cold stratification, and should be sown outdoors NOW (or a couple weeks ago) for best results.

    Almost all of my eucalyptus collection, except for those that fell over in wind or snow, remains in tact. They are getting big, and it will be difficult to remove some of them after a really cold winter damages more of them.
     

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