Story of the Red Lotus Tree (Manglietia insignis)

Discussion in 'How's It Growing?' started by NorthShoregardener, Dec 30, 2021.

  1. NorthShoregardener

    NorthShoregardener New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    North Vancouver
    It has been over a year since I posted on this site. After we moved into our home in North Vancouver in 2019, who knew what solice we would find in our gardens?! Many of us have also lost loved ones in this period. I wanted to plant an unusual tree in memory of my father. I recalled mention in Steve Whysall gardening columns in the Vancouver Sun of a Red Lotus Tree. He classed it as a rare sight in coastal gardens.

    Starting in January, I contacted local nurseries to find a specimen. No luck. In June, I was at a well-known nursery in Richmond and checked out their greenhouse that contained many magnolia trees. At the very back in a corner, a subtle flash of red caught my eye. There stood a three foot tree with a small red bud and tag stating it was a manglietia insignis! After bringing the tree home, I contacted Steve with my news and received a nice note back. He mentioned his tree is now over twenty years old and thriving in his garden.

    So far my small tree has survived plus 40c just after being planted and temperatures of -15c near the top of the mountain this week. It has grown to about five feet high and three feet wide in six months. Pictures from June, July and today below. Wishing all members of this site a peaceful and safe 2022. Happy hunting and gardening!
    LLT0621.jpg RLT0721.jpg RLT1221.jpg
     
    wcutler and Margot like this.
  2. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,949
    Likes Received:
    2,340
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Thanks for coming back and for posting this. I didn't know the name Red Lotus Tree, but I see that Manglietia insignis is a synonym for Magnolia insignis, and I have seen it at UBCBG, where there are several. UBCBG Garden Explorer at Magnolia insignis - evergreen magnolia | UBC Botanical Garden lists also as synonyms Manglietia maguanica and Manglietia yunnanensis. There is a Botany Photo of the Day article from 2009 at Magnolia insignis | Botany Photo of the Day (ubc.ca), in which Douglas Justice mentions the issue of the genus name.

    I love that second photo.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    21,299
    Likes Received:
    810
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    I'm not sure you were sold the right item North Shore - look at the shapes, coloring of the leaves and flowers at Wendy's links. And other references.

    L-O | pirocheplants2 (wixsite.com)
     
  4. NorthShoregardener

    NorthShoregardener New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    North Vancouver
    Thanks Wendy. Happy to be back based on your encouragement in 2020. Look forward to reading the links you sent. Happy Holidays.
     
  5. NorthShoregardener

    NorthShoregardener New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    North Vancouver
    Thanks Ron. I note that Steve mentioned he bought his plant from your nursery years ago. The leaves of the first blossom started off pink and the interior was white. Look forward to more blossoms in 2022 and reviewing them in more detail. Thanks!
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    21,299
    Likes Received:
    810
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    I have no association with Piroche Plants but I do know that is where material of this species presented to the North American market has come from in the past. With the company having a history of populating their line of Chinese plant species by mass importation of existing seedlings from China. Which suggests that it might be possible individual hybrid or otherwise incorrect specimens sometimes get shipped to them.

    Manglietia in Flora of China @ efloras.org
     
  7. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    981
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Piroche Plants is the likely original source (though retail nurseries seldom disclose their wholesale suppliers). That firm famously introduced and continued to source a range of Asian evergreen magnolias to Vancouver for more than two decades. The new owners are apparently selling off what stock remains. The M. insignis in the Piroche link is an unusually (perhaps unrealistically) dark red, though I would expect at least some pink at the base of the tepals of this species—but as you say, the outer tepals started out pink. It's very easy for unlabelled plants in nurseries to get mixed up, and the hardy Section Manglietia magnolias are all pretty similar looking (especially without flowers). While I wouldn't entirely rule out M. insignis, other possibilities for your plant are M. chevalieri (Manglietia chevalieri) and M. fordiana (syn. Manglietia yuyuanensis), both creamy white flowered, and both of which Piroche Plants propagated and sold in the past.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    21,299
    Likes Received:
    810
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    One of the things which seems inconsistent is the thread subject having red tipped anthers. But I don't know enough about the species to know if that matters. It was easy to tell in the past that unsold stock of Magnolia insignis still at outlets was coming from them because it had identifying picture cards on it.
     
  9. NorthShoregardener

    NorthShoregardener New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    North Vancouver
    Thanks Douglas. Will post some pictures of the new flowers next summer and look up your references. Greatly appreciated!
     
  10. NorthShoregardener

    NorthShoregardener New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    North Vancouver
    Thanks!
     
  11. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    981
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    I believe Magnolia insignis all have red anthers in the female stage (before the pollen is shed). The confusion may be that the flowers are photographed at two distinct stages in the pollination process. Section Manglietia flowers open on two successive night/days—the first when the carpels are receptive (when the anthers appear red and the tepals are stiffer and barely open), and the second day when the anthers are withering or shed and the tepals are more relaxed. I think I have that right...
     
    wcutler likes this.
  12. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,949
    Likes Received:
    2,340
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I hope you have that right - I think it's the most interesting thing I've read all year.
     
    NorthShoregardener likes this.
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    21,299
    Likes Received:
    810
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    In North Shore's picture the anthers are still red tipped and plump looking at the same time they are being discarded.
     
  14. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    981
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Yes, good point, Ron. But I wonder how quickly that colour disappears. I will endeavour to pay attention to that floral detail in 2022. Happy New Year.
     
  15. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    21,299
    Likes Received:
    810
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Same to you Douglas!
     
  16. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    981
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    I did a bit of follow-up research on the (fascinating) floral ecology of Magnolia section Manglietia.

    Like most (all?) magnolias, those in section Manglietia are protogynous (with the female parts ripening first) and essentially nocturnal, at least initially. On the first day, the flower buds begin expanding around noon, the tepals slowly separating such that for a few hours after sunset the flowers are barely open. Their fragrance, however, attracts pollinators—usually small beetles that have no difficulty entering into the flower. Some of these insects will presumably be carrying pollen from previously visited magnolias of the same species. Around this time, the three outermost tepals begin to reflex 180 degrees (I believe this peculiarity is common only to section Manglietia). Inside the flower, the carpels begin to exude nectar, indicating that the stigmas are ripe and receptive, and pollination can take place. Soon after (around midnight), the inner tepals close up, creating a floral chamber and effectively preventing any insects from escaping. The three outer tepals remain in an opposing position. The flowers remain closed until sunset on the second day. Meanwhile, the stigmas have lost their receptivity and the anthers begin to dehisce (open). From this point, the flowers remain open and fragrant for two to four days while the pollen is shed. Once exhausted, the stamens detach from the torus and the tepals gradually deteriorate.
     
    Daniel Mosquin and wcutler like this.
  17. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    21,299
    Likes Received:
    810
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    They've had a really long time to evolve this level of complexity.
     
  18. NorthShoregardener

    NorthShoregardener New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    North Vancouver
    Thanks so much. Look forward to enjoying this plant.
     

Share This Page