Seven more years?

Discussion in 'Plants and Biodiversity Stumpers' started by Laurie, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I was once at a nursery, where volunteers gave me this plant because they didn’t know what it was. A landscape architect I know commented that it was a great gift, but difficult to grow here. What is this treasure and the significance of the clues?
     

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  2. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    Butia capitata?

    seven years poss referring to the trunks reaching adult size (a palm post a few weeks ago)
    treasure as in treasure island, palms etc.............lol, i could be miles off here :D
     
  3. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Interesting ... and great ideas, but this is hardier and softer in texture; pirates would have been unlikely to have haunted the region where it is endemic.
     
  4. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    Asphodeline lutea?
     
  5. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Fragrant yellow flowers? ... No, but it is indeed in the Liliaceae family.
     
  6. wrygrass2

    wrygrass2 Active Member 10 Years

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    Fritillaria meleagris?
     
  7. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I knew nothing but the name of this plant, which I thought was just a grass, until in total surprise I watched it day by day over the course of a week open to this white beauty with treasured fragrance.
     

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  8. wrygrass2

    wrygrass2 Active Member 10 Years

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    Xerophyllum tenax or Bear grass? If so, neat alpine plant. Harry
     
  9. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    It is indeed Xerophyllum tenax, which bloomed here during the first and second week of May 2002. As photographed, this is the extent of the buds that opened that year, but it was so beautiful and so different from other photographs that I have seen. Check out: http://montana.plant-life.org/species/xero_ten.htm. Maybe we will be lucky enough to see blooms again next year, but my recollection from the few sources I found is that blooms once every seven years is more typical than every five years. Perhaps beargrass has a reputation for being difficult in the garden because this is not commonly known.



     

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  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Native garden in Pt Defiance Park, Tacoma used to have multiple clumps growing in improbable moist shade with leaf litter all around. Perhaps they are still there. Typical habitat open and sandy, although flowerless clumps persist in conifer forests for a long time (as do those of Oregon iris), waiting for a substantial gap in the canopy to occur and admit enough light for them to flower again.
     
  11. wrygrass2

    wrygrass2 Active Member 10 Years

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    I was under the impression that they bloom every year when conditions permit, but that it takes 5-7 years to raise them from seed to bloom. Am I mistaken? I see it growing on nearby Mount Spokane (8000 ft ~ 2500m) but come to think of it, haven't seen it blooming there that often. I would think that the biggest problem in raising it as a garden bloom would be trying to emulate the cooler alpine-subalpine conditions. Possibly why they grew in the shade at Pt Defiance park re Ron's post.

    One of the web pages I looked at said it styptic and that it can be used to staunch wounds and that you can make a watertight basket from the leaves. (That link just restates the information on Laurie's link above.)

    Found this fire recovery page that mentions the 5-7 year bloom cycle though, as well as a lot of info about what kind of conditions it needs for growth, ie. no fertilizer. Seems to thrive, if you can use that word describing X. tenax (9-23 years to recover after a fire), in cold barren, open locations.

    Another common name for it is pine lily.

    Harry
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2006
  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes, the 7 year interval is probably seed-to-flowering. Flowering of mature plants, although not predictably annual, would not likely be predictably every 7 years either.

    I think I have heard it grows on open sandy lowland sites in Kitsap County, WA. These probably get pretty hot, as many other sites I have seen it on myself surely do.

    Pojar/Mackinnon, PLANTS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST COAST (1994, B.C. Ministry of Forests/Lone Pine Publishing):

    "Open areas (clearings, meadows) and open to fairly dense forest from near sea level (on the Olympic Peninsula) to the subalpine (very commonly into the krummholz.)...This species is abundant in some drier subalpine meadows and it dominates the forest understorey in many subalpine forests in the Cascade Mountains...Bear-grass has been introduced into cultivation at the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden, but it is a very difficult plant to cultivate..."
     
  13. wrygrass2

    wrygrass2 Active Member 10 Years

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    I reread that link I posted above and couldn't find the propagation material. Must have been from a different page. The jist was not to transplant, and not to disturb the soil around it, no fertilizer. It said the only means of viable propagation was by seed. And that you had to set in a cold frame, several weeks(? unsure of time duration and this was not the only requirement) at 3C to germinate. Water sparingly at first so as not to rot the seed. After plant comes up tolerates a lot of water.

    The Fire recovery link above states
    All the above might be why it is difficult to cultivate.

    The Fire recovery link also states that shade(understory) planting might be a strategy for regrowth. It also says that you can plant the rhizome offshoots though, and that the plant should form these in normal(?) growing conditions.

    Also says the plant dies after blooming but restarts vegetatively from rhizome offshoots. This might be why there is a 5-7 year lag between blooms.

    Laurie, did your plant die back after it bloomed?

    Also gives minimum and maximum altitudes for various states. Found it interesting that CA ranges from sealevel-6000ft(1869m) while in Montana it ranged from 5000ft(1524m) to 8000ft(2682m). Probably why I always considered it to be alpine-subalpine in nature as that is where I see it.

    Harry
     
  14. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Might be like bromeliad or houseleek (Sempervivum), with flowering rosette dying but not entire clump.
     
  15. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    My first impression when reading about this plant the other day was also that it dies after flowering, but reading a little more carefully, I read that it dies after fruiting. My plant only bloomed to the extent shown in the photograph above, did not set fruit, and did not die. It did send offshoots after flowering, but it has not bloomed since - four springs now, nor have the new plants flowered. I have kept everything the same for these plants hoping to see blooms again.
     

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  16. wrygrass2

    wrygrass2 Active Member 10 Years

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    Laurie

    Right you are, after fruiting. Sorry, my mind is like a sieve these days. So now it is wait and see. Hope they do bloom for you again as I remember vividly the first time I saw them in bloom. A great thing. I thought I had found a new plant (for me).
    It it turns out I had been walking past them many times, thinking it another grasslike plant, placing importance only on wildflowers in my younger days. These days I look at everything. Wanted to thank you for getting to revisit an old friend and learning a lot more about it. Harry
     

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