Saturday, February 13, 2010

Information on Platycerium Ferns

You can find additional information on Platyceriums at any of the following websites. 

Platycerium is a genus of ~ 18 fern species in the polypod family, Polypodiaceae. Ferns in this genus are widely known asstaghorn or elkhorn ferns due to their uniquely-shaped fronds. This genus is epiphytic and is native to tropical and temperate areas of South AmericaAfricaSoutheast AsiaAustralia and New Guinea1.
Close up of Elkhorn fern
Platycerium sporophytes (adult plants) have tufted roots growing from a short rhizome that bears two types of fronds, basal and fertile fronds. Basal fronds are sterile, shield or kidney shaped and laminate against the tree and protect the fern's roots from damage and desiccation.
In some Platycerium species the top margin of these fronds forms an open crown of lobes and thereby catches falling forest litter and water. Fertile fronds bear spores on their undersurface, are dichotomous or antler shaped and jut out or hang from the rhizome. The spores are born in sporangia clustered in large sori that are usually positioned on the lobes or at the sinus between frond lobes.
Some species of Platycerium are solitary having only one rhizome. Other species form colonies when their rhizomes branch or when new rhizomes are formed from root tips. If the conditions are right the spores will germinate naturally on surrounding trees.Platycerium gametophytes are a small heart shaped thallus.
Platycerium have diverged into four natural groups3. Several Platycerium are strongly adapted to xeric conditions and the drought tolerating mechanism Crassulacean Acid Metabolism has been reported for P. veitchii3.
Platycerium superbum
These oddly-shaped ferns can be found in gardens, especially tropical gardens. Staghorns can be propagated by spores produced on the underside of the fertile fronds. Colonial Platycerium can also be vegetatively propagated by carefully dividing large healthy ones into smaller, separate plants. These new plants can then be strapped to trees with an old stocking until they take to the tree themselves.
A mature staghorn can grow more than a meter wide. When positioned well, Platycerium species are able to add privacy and anatural look to a garden.

E. Piet Retief seedlings

Howea Fosteriana

Kentia Palm, Sentry Palm, Thatch palm

Native to Lord Howe Island

Although resticted to Lord Howe Island, this palm is one of the most commonly grown species in the world, begin prized for its graceful fronds and the tremendous ability of potted specimens to withstand neglect. It is undoubtedly one of the best plants for indoor decoration and has been used to beautify hallways, ballrooms offices and houses since the 1850s. Although very tolerant of neglect, it is best to rest the palms at regular intervals by moving them outside to a shady, humid situation where accumulated dust and dirt can be washed from the leaves and the plants refreshed. Outdoors this species lends itself well to group planting. With its slender trunk and graceful crown of spreading fronds with drooping, dark green leaflets, this palm has become a firm favorite in the land-scape. Plants grow well in coastal districts withstanding considerable exposure to buffeting, salt-laden winds. They will tolerate direct sun from about five years of age but need protection when small. Mild frosts are tolerated without setback and plants grow best in subtropical and warm-temperate regions.

(From Palms - Throughout the World by David L. Jones, 1994, ISBN 1-86860-010-6)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Royal Palm

Royal Palm
(Roystonea regia var. regia)

This Majestic palm is the national tree of Cuba where it is still abundant, growing on fertile soils to about 1000m in altitude. The bulging, concrete-white trucks are a useful guide to its identity. The bulge is usually present in the middle but may occur anywhere along its length. It's plumose leaves carried in a graceful, rounded crown and the ablong fruit, which is flattened or compressed on one side are also distinctive. In its native country the trucks are cut for timber, the leaf-bases are used for water-proof covering for bales of tobacco and the fruits (called 'palmiche') are used to feed pigs. Cuban Royal Palm is a familiar sight as it is very commonly planted throughout the tropics and to a lesser extent, the subtropics. It is frequently planted in rows beside driveways, roads and avenues and makes a uniform and stately palms for its purpose. A sunny position in well-drained soil is essential for success, although plants may grow rapidly in wet soils where the water is not stagnant. Plants respond vigorously to heavy applications of fertilizer rich in nitrogen. Two distinctive varieties are recognised.

(From Palms - Throughout the World by David L. Jones, 1994, ISBN 1-86860-010-6)

Foxtail palm

Foxtail Palm (Wodyetia bifurcata)

Native to Australia

A delightful palm wich has exploded in popularity as is now widely planted in many countries. Plants have proved to be fast growing and adaptable. Best growth is achieved in drier tropical regions but success has also been gained in the subtropics. Plants demand good drainage but seedlings will take hot sun from an early age. Ornamental features include a slender, closely ringed, columnar to slightly bottle-shaped truck, graceful, arching, densely plumose fronds, a slender crownshaft and colourful clusters of large, orange-red fruit. The species occurs naturally in the Queenland Australia. It grows in loose, granitic, sandy soils among huge granite boulders. The climate is tropical, with a prolonged dry period.

Encephalartos Middelburgensis

Encephalartos Middelburgensis

These Encephalartos Middelburgensis are for sale for R350

Madacascan Pachypodium