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Tobias W. Spanner, Tizianstr. 44, 80638 München, Germany

Very exciting news has reached me recently from China, where a second population of Trachycarpus princeps, the Stone Gate Palm, has been discovered recently. From leaf samples I received I have been able to confirm its identity without doubt. Hopefully, over time, more populations will turn up, which will make the conservation status of this rare species a little less critical. There are also rumors going around about a Trachycarpus found in northeastern India that could possibly turn out to be T. princeps. Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to see any material yet, so its status remains unclear for the moment.

Please have a look at the special Trachycarpus double issue of Chamaerops 35/36 (back issues are still available at EUR6/£4, see last page) for the full story on the discovery of T. princeps. Despite many years of tireless efforts by various people, seeds of this elusive and hardy plant from the foothills of the Himalaya in western Yunnan, China have only very recently started to become available for cultivation in very small numbers. I am happy to report that the EPS has obtained a good number of fresh seeds that have been donated to us for distribution to members. We would like to give FREE small collector packets of these away to every member contributing an article to Chamaerops or a letter to our letters page. So, please grab your keyboards and start typing. We will try to match the number of seeds sent out according to the size and effort of your contribution. Have a look at the Editorial of issue number 45 if you need some guidelines for your contribution. If possible, please send material to us by e-mail: mail@palmsociety.org

It seems quite popular with long-time palm enthusiasts to muse on the fact that only about 15 years ago, the number of good books available on palms was barely enough to press a herbarium specimen. Nowadays, at least my book shelves are croaking under the weight of the literature that has seen the light in recent years. This past year alone, three remarkable new books have become available.

David Francko’s Palms Won’t Grow Here and Other Myths has filled a long standing gap for a comprehensive and well researched book on the most cold hardy palms. You can find his introduction to the hardiest types in this issue.

Robert Lee Riffle and well known Palm Society member Paul Craft with their new Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms have set a new standard for a comprehensive guide to palms. They discuss many species that have gotten little or no coverage elsewhere and their picture section is quite amazing, though I was a little disappointed with the research in some of the texts. See this issue for more information on their book.

Finally, Martin Gibbons’ most recent publication, A Pocket Guide to Palms, has hit bookstores recently. It is an excellent choice for beginners and a good reference book that comes in a format you will actually be able to take along travelling.

Since we carried such a wealth of articles on the Palmetum de Tenerife in recent issues, here is a nice page to see the amazing growth rate of a few palm in that fabulous garden.

Carlo Morici writes about the sad state of the project these days, that for political reasons "it is stuck. Nothing happens. Basic maintenance goes on but it is still closed to the public. Palm species that have survived are doing great. Rare palms are flowering and fruiting for the first time this year; for instance, Jubaeopsis, Bentickia nicobarica, Bismarckia, Syagrus botryophora, Cryosophila, Pritchardia spp., Hyophorbe indica, and Cuban Copernicia".

One can only hope that politicians there will come to their right minds on the value and fantastic potential of this garden. T.S.


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