Martin Gibbons, c/o The Palm Centre
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Chamaerops No. 4, published online 23-11-2002
I would like to begin this editorial with an apology
for the late arrival of this edition, caused by me inconveniently
taking a three-week holiday right at the critical time. Sorry about
this, especially to all those new members who must have thought
we'd absconded to South America. No such luck. However, China was
a good substitute and the two of us (Toby Spanner & I) had a
wonderful time, both there, and in Singapore, which we also included.
In Yunnan Province, in southwest China, we were looking for Trachycarpus
nanus, which unfortunately we were unsuccessful in locating. However,
we did find lots of other exciting palms, and you will be able to
read about our 'adventures' in due course.
Well, shall we get the bad news over now? Regrettably,
the subscription to the European Palm Society is to rise to £15
per year. Contrary to popular belief, this is not to finance globetrotting,
palm seeking trips. It's not even to buy a new van for The Palm
Centre (though goodness knows we could use one). It's because we
want to maintain and improve the quality and appearance of 'Chamaerops'.
We've managed O.K. during our first year, but often we've had to
compromise on quality, use smaller photographs than we'd like, or
cut down on how many we use. The extra revenue will enable us to
be more free with photos. Possibly to make the magazine larger,
and to go over to this much more professional style of publication.
We may lose a few members in the process, which of course is unfortunate,
but we hope to more than make up what we lose by this improved presentation.
We have received so many compliments over the last twelve months,
and we are sure that the success of the society will continue during
year two. So, if your subscription is due, you'll find a form along
with this issue. Please use it! Soon!
Well having got that over, let's turn to more pleasant
things. Yes, the end of our first year already. Twelve months. Four
publications. And Kew day. What a wonderful and successful day that
was! Those of you who missed it, and those of you who want to relive
those happy hours can read Steve Swinscoe's report in this issue.
Steve is an American, not so much in Paris, but in Manatte, in France's
South West, and presents his unique view of a wonderfully palmy
In the last issue you may remember an article by
Tony King about New Zealander Keith Boyer and his efforts to find
a publisher for his book 'Palms & Cycads beyond the Tropics'.
It is very good news indeed, especially for us in temperate Europe,
to learn that Keith has been successful, and that his book is to
be published by PACSOA (the Palm & Cycad Societies of Australia)
sometime next year. Keith has had a great deal of experience with
cold-hardy palms and his book will be waited for with great anticipation.
On the subject of books, Alain Moinié, who
many of you met at Kew day, and who is an active member of the French
'Fous de Palmiers', is just publishing his book 'Palmiers pour les
Climats Tempérés ('Palms for temperate Climates' as
if you didn't know). It has 160 pages and 175 black & white
illustrations, and covers everything to do with cold-hardy palms.
It is in French, but if you speak this language, or even know enough
to get by' then this book is for you. It is available through the
EPS now, price on application.
The article on Cordyline Indivisa in the last issue
was a popular one, and cleared up much confusion. However, several
people have asked "But where can we see them?" The writer
of the article, Angus White, replies that they aye to be seen at
the following locations: Tresco, St.Martins (in Guernsey), Fox Rosehill
Gardens in Falmouth, and Mount Stewart Gardens near Belfast. But
far and away the best ones (up to 6m tall!) are growing at Castlewellan
at Newcastle in Co. Down. Thanks for this information, Angus.
Those who shared Wilko Karmelk's and my concern
over the fate of 'Trachycarpus takil' in the Indian Himalayas after
our expedition there will be interested to know that I wrote to
the Department of the Environment in New Delhi, enclosing a copy
of the article, some photographs of the trees, together with a letter
expressing my concern that the thoughtless cutting of the immature
trees for the fibres to make ropes will soon lead to the extinction
of this beautiful and rare palm tree. I recently received a reply
from Mr. Kamal Nath, the minister of the environment & forests,
in which he shares my concern for the protection of the species.
He has promised a Botanical Survey to determine the current status
and distribution of Trachycarpus takil, and is also taking up the
matter with the authorities in Uttar Pradesh in an effort to have
it protected. This is good news indeed. We know from the example
of the tigers in the Sunderbans that the powers that-be in India
take environmental matters very seriously, and I look forward to
hearing of progress with the project.
Odoardo Beccari in his "Annals of the Royal
Botanic Garden, Calcutta" of 1931 quotes the plants man T.F.
Duthie as saying that in the valley there were "hundreds of
specimens of all sizes up to 10-12m high". Wilko and I found
only 6 mature trees, all the others having been cut down. And probably
quite recently since some of the smallest seedlings we found were
no more than 10 years old. There is still time, but not much.
Now that the evenings are drawing in and the days
are so much colder, we've decided to start marketing T-Shirts! You
will find all the information about them in a separate sheet but
I would just like to say that they look even better in the flesh,
as it were, than in the photo, and every palm enthusiast should
have one. Don't worry about the cold weather; they will keep till
next year. They also make great presents, and are a sure way of
recognising other palm nuts, and of spreading the word about palms.
In this issue
In this issue you will find some wonderful articles
on a whole range of subjects: Tobias Spanner has written one of
his in-depth palm 'portraits', this time on Jubaea chilensis, so
if you like your palms tall, broad and handsome, this is for you.
Appropriately for this time of year, there is an
article by your editor on winter protection of palms. Everything
you need to know about the subject in a comprehensive round-up of
information. Steve Swinscoe's 'Kew report' has already been mentioned,
and Angus White has supplied an informative and sometimes amusing
article on the hardy banana - Musa basjoo.
Armchair explorers will enjoy reading about Inge
Hoffman's adventures in Brazil, on a trip to investigate possible
new palm species for the temperate garden. Wonderful stuff! Last
but not least, an almost unbelievable report by Sweden's Kjell Persson
about Opuntia fragilis, a cactus growing in sub-arctic Lapland.
It must be said that articles are coming in at a
steady pace, and thanks to all who have contributed. Future issues
will continue the tradition of useful and informative features.
In the January issue we are honoured to have a super piece by Myles
Challis - author of 'The Exotic Garden' - entitled 'The Exotic Look',
in which he describes the various plants recommended for a tropical
look in less-than-tropical gardens.
Also up-coming is our first feature on cycads: appropriately
an introduction to germinating and cultivating these fabulous and
Does anyone out there know anything about Tree Ferns?
We would very much like a contribution on this subject, if we can
find an enthusiast to write a few lines. Of course we also welcome
letters for or not for publication, so if you would like to read
about a particular subject, do drop us a line and let us know.
Well, that's some of the things in store in this
and future issues, and we hope that you will continue to enjoy your
membership of the EPS during our second year.
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