Letters

Your chance to air your news and views

Ricinus Offer
Last year when I was on holiday in Tenerife I collected a small quantity of seed from a large Castor Oil plant (Ricinus communis). This year, around April, I germinated them in my propagator on the kitchen window sill, and in six months they had grown very rapidly to approximately 150cm high and even now, in late summer, they look superb in my exotic garden in S. Yorkshire.
This year I was fortunate enough to holiday in Madeira, and guess which plant was growing just outside our hotel? Yes, Ricinus. Needless to say, I returned home with over 200 seeds with EPS members in mind. If anyone would like a small quantity of these beautiful seeds,- say 10 to 15 depending on how much demand there is, then please send a stamped addressed envelope, (or International Reply Coupon) and I will gladly post some to you.
Howard Hale, 43 Richard Road, Broom Valley, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, S602QP UK. Phone +44 (0)1709365199.

Underwatering Palms 2
Do you remember your reply to my letter in Chamaerops, 'Underwatering Palms'? This summer I completely submerged a Phoenix roebelenii seedling (6th leaf stage) in my outdoor pond, and left it in flowing water for four months. (Water conditions: pH 7.2, 2025 deg.C, slightly hard, clear, shaded). Not only did it not develop any signs of overwatering (e.g.. brown leaf tips) but it actually partly grew a new leaf, albeit at a slower rate than usual. It seems that this may be more evidence for Sasha Barrow's theory of P. roebelenii being a rhenphyte (that is, a plant adapted to growing within the flood.zone of a river). I have now taken the palm out of the water now that winter is approaching, but next year it will go back in for an even longer period!
I have been waiting to receive some Chamaedorea cataractum seeds for over 2 years now. I am fascinated by this palm which is not only interesting because of its rheophitic habit but because it is a beautiful palm for both indoor and outdoor decoration. I have even bought Don Hodel's 'Chamaedorea Palms' practically just to obtain more information about it. Meanwhile Inge Hoffmann has told me that the only seed source is Mexico, even though Hodel states that it is reproducing elsewhere. I would be very glad to hear if anyone can supply with even a few viable seeds, I am willing to pay up to $20.
Stephan Mifsud, Malta.

A Palm Museum - for the New Palmetum in Santa Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Palm objects are often displayed in museums, but until now there has never been a stand-alone museum devoted exclusively to palms, the products they provide and other palm-related materials. The Palm Museum, under construction as part of an ambitious project to establish a new Palmetum in Santa Cruz, is therefore an exciting development for palm fanciers.
The primary theme of the Museum exhibits will be the importance of palms to human society through providing subsistence and manufactured products. Secondary themes under consideration include African palms and palms in culture and art. To demonstrate the importance of particularly useful species, special exhibits of the array of products from multipurpose species such as the coconut are under consideration.
Members of the Palm Society who have palm objects they would consider donating, or IPS chapters willing to support the purchase of an object for the Palm Museum collection, are invited to contact me at the address below. I will be glad to provide information on the types of objects and materials we are seeking. Gifts to the Palm Museum will be acknowledged in the exhibit.
Dennis Johnson, Consultant
Tenerife Palm Museum
11 Colgate Street
Pocatello ID 83201 USA
Telephone and Fax +12082328090 E-mail djohn37@aol.com

Tropical Treasures
I've been a member of the EPS since spring 1997. The first palm I ever had was Ptychosperma elegans I got it from the Botanical Garden in a town called Jena, Germany, where I was studying. The students at the Botanical faculty told me that this plant would be dead within three months. Currently it's about 3m (lOft) tall and is 15 years old! It was that which inspired me to try other tropical palms in indoor normal cultivation.
So in my collection are Astrocaryum mexicanum, Roystonea regia, Beccariophoenix madagascariensis, several Veitchia, several Pritchardia and Dypsis, Wodyetia bifurcata and about 90 other species. All these palms are in my (big!) sitting room, and they have been growing there for many years without any problems! The under-floor heating seems to suit them since some grow nearly 1cm every day, Veitchia and Roystonea for example. To overcome the problems of dry air I spray them with water, but having an aquarium in the room is also beneficial. The temperature is normal, about 22deg.C.
But I don't only grow tropical palms. In the same room are Butia, several Chamaedorea spp. and some Livistona under the same conditions, though normally you would expect them to require different conditions.
I hope this letter will encourage others to cultivate tropical - and other - palms indoors, in areas that are perhaps not usually suitable for them. Finally, if you are interested, please send an International Reply Coupon for my complete Palm List.
Jörg Schumann, Rathausplatz 2, 09247 Rohrsdorf Germany.

Patience Pays
First of all, I must congratulate you on your excellent translation of the magazine "CHAMAEROPS". Thanks to it, I decided to take out a subscription which means that I do not lose any of the details like I used to, having to put up with just a rough translation of my own.
I was surprised to hear that Martin Gibbons doesn't know of anyone who has managed to grow a sucker of CHAMAEROPS HUMILIS. I managed with no trouble, albeit with a lot of patience but had thought it fairly usual.
I was in Tunisia in 1984 when someone sold me one for only a few dinars: the vendor insisted that it would grow away easily IF I buried the trunk 2/3 yds of its depth. I wouldn't have bet another dinar on it as it was about 20 cm high with a few green leaves, but only a few sad-looking, nearly nonexistent roots. It was obvious that it had been separated from the mother plant in a rough way. All the same, I decided to have a go and after having soaked it in the hotel wash-hand basin for a few days (!), I planted it as soon as I got home as instructed, put it in the greenhouse and waited for a long time!
During the summer of 1984 it did absolutely nothing: it grew no new green leaves, but it didn't lose any either which seemed miraculous. During the freezing February of 1985, a power cut left the greenhouse at -15ūC. Needless to say, most of my little palms died off, even the Chamaerops but the little shoot seemed unaffected. By the summer of 1985 it hadn't grown an inch and if it hadn't been such a survivor, I would have thrown it away. In 1986, it finally grew a new leaf and since the summer of 1987 it has literally exploded into life.
It is now a magnificent specimen living in a large pot and it flowers every year. The only peculiar thing is that it has never produced a sucker. My advice to all palm lovers is : be patient.
This experience may be interesting to Martin Gibbons, as well as other readers of Chamaerops If you agree, I'll leave you to do the translation, knowing that it'll be easier for you than for me.
I hope that the palms from Marseille are happy in your region.
Christian Toulza, MARSEILLE
(This letter was forwarded by Yann Corbel, our erstwhile translator.)

 

  15-12-19 - 07:22GMT
 What's New?
 New palm book
 Date: 24-05-2004

An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft.
 New: Issue 48
 Date: 24-05-2004
Chamaerops 48
has been published in the Members Area.
 Archive complete!
 Date: 03-12-2002
All Chamaerops issues can now be found in the archive: More than 350 articles are on-line!
 Issues 13 to 16
 Date: 28-08-2002
Chamaerops mags 13, 14, 15 and 16 have been added to the members area. More than 250 articles are now online!
 42 as free pdf-file
 Date: 05-08-2002
Free Download! Chamaerops No. 42 can be downloaded for free to intruduce the new layout and size to our visitors
 Issues 17 to 20
 Date: 23-07-2002
Chamaerops mags 17, 18, 19 and 20 have been added to the members area. Now 218 articles online!
 Book List
 Date: 28-05-2001
Take a look at our brand new Book List edited by Carolyn Strudwick
 New Book
 Date: 25-01-2001
'Palmen in Mitteleuropa'
by Mario Stähler
This german book tells you all about how to cultivate your palms in Central Europe. more...