The Sixth Meeting of the German Speaking Palm Enthusiasts in Germany
by Angela Müller, Körnergasse
44, D-98617 Helmershausen, Germany
Chamaerops No. 43-44, published online
on this article:
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Left:The dangerous guardians
Right: Coco-de-Mer "seedling" in the crocodile house
In 1996 the German speaking members of the EPS began
what has become a tradition of yearly meetings. (Of course, all
other members are welcome, too!) We decided that we wanted to learn
about the most important and most famous German botanical gardens,
and so began organizing meetings in the late spring or early summer
at different places.
Our first three meetings took place at the Palmengarten
in Frankfurt. The fourth meeting, in 1999, was at the Botanical
Garden in Munich. Last year's meeting was at the Botanical Garden
in Leipzig, and was especially interesting. Though the greenhouses
were much smaller than in Frankfurt or Munich, we were able to hear
very interesting reports about the activities of the University
of Leipzig in the rainforests of Southern America and the research
reports on palm chromosomes by Dr. Röser. In the late afternoon
we were able to visit other greenhouses on the outskirts of Leipzig,
which are not opened to the public.
This year's meeting was our sixth, and we chose
the Wilhelma in Stuttgart, Stuttgart - Bad Cannstadt to be precise.
About 30 members from all over Germany attended the May 12th meeting,
which was perfectly organized by Mrs. Dr. Lo-Kockel. It was a very
nice day with bright sunshine and a blue, cloudless sky--the perfect
weather to visit our darlings, the palms, and of course, to take
At 10 o'clock all palm enthusiasts (with children
and even a baby) met at the main entrance of the Wilhelma where
Mrs. Dr. Lo-Kockel welcomed us. We got a first impression of the
Wilhelma on the way to our room: besides a botanical garden, there
is also a very, very nice zoo and some beautiful old buildings from
the last century, too--absolutely recommendable! (One day is not
enough! If anyone is interested, I know some addresses of hotels
or campsites near the Wilhelma, which I would be happy to share
via fax or e-mail.)
A very interesting report on the history of the
Wilhelma was given by Mrs. Dr. Lo-Kockel. The Wilhelma has a very
long tradition, and we were able to experience some of it through
a lot of wonderful slides of the grounds and its plants in years
gone by. The most interesting information was on the germination
of Lodoicea maldivica (Coco-de-Mer). The germination in a big black
waste container was a small sensation. On the front of the container
was a small door for viewing the germination progress, and we could
see all the steps on slides. Now you can visit the Lodoicea maldivica
seedling in the greenhouse next to the crocodiles. These "dangerous"
animals guard this very rare (especially in Europe) palm seedling.
The first seed held by the Wilhelma was stolen, but luckily they
got a new chance. The new seed, also luckily, even germinated (it
is not always easy!) and you can see the seedling in the photo.
The next highlight was a film about Tobias Spanner
and Martin Gibbons' rediscovery of Medemia Argun in the Nubian Desert
in Sudan near the frontier to Egypt. This film was very exciting,
as such an expedition is not only dangerous and strenuous, but also
risky, as nobody knows if the palm will be found and whether the
expedition will be a lost effort. Fortunately, they found a nice
specimen of this palm given up for lost. Our thanks to Tobias, not
only for the excellent film, but also for his interesting explanations.
Mrs. Dr. Lo-Kockel booked some tables for the EPS
members in restaurant at the Wilhelma for lunch, so that we could
all sit together and share our experiences. It was very amusing.
After the lunch break, we divided into two groups that then changed.
One group took a look behind the scenes at some of the other, non-public
greenhouses designed for the cultivation of smaller plants. There
we found lots of plants, not only palms, but also other very beautiful
exotic plants like Acca sellowiana. The gardener answered all our
questions with lots of patience, and, in turn, some of the members
helped the gardener identify some of the palms. Everyone was happy.
The other group visited the public greenhouses,
where we were able to see many of the plants that Mrs. Dr. Lo-Kockel
talked about in the morning. It was here that we saw the Lodoicea
maldivica a dream with its bright green leaves! In the late
afternoon, the EPS members again had the opportunity to share their
experiences, as well as trade, buy, or sell seeds, palms, or palm
In conclusion, I would like to say thank you to
the Wilhelma, and especially to Mrs. Dr. Lo-Kockel, for their help
and good organization, and also to Tobias Spanner for his excellent
film. I hope that perhaps we can meet in Jena in May next year!
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24-01-21 - 12:23GMT
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