Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Exochorda racemosa

Exochorda racemosa (Lindl.) Rehder
Plantae Wilsonianae 1(3): 456. 1913.
Walter Oates was using the old name for this rosaceous shrub, Exochorda grandiflora, as described in Gardener's Chronicle & Agricultural Gazette 1858: 925. 1858. Once growing below the chapel, it is long gone, not only from Monserrate, but also it has practically disappeared from Portuguese gardens altogether.
Sent by Fortune as Amelanchier racemosa from the north of China, to the Bagshot nursery of Standish and Noble. Hardy in Surrey, flowered May, 1854.
Amelanchier racemosa Lindley 1847
Spirea grandiflora Hooker Bot Mag LXXX (4795) 1847
also illustr. Fl. des Serr. IX. 247, (954) 1854

Cyathea dealbata

Dicksonia antartica

Cyathea medullaris

Dendrocalamus gigantea

Dendrocalamus giganteus Wall. ex Munro

Walter Oates Bambusa gigantea 1929

Cinnamomum albiflorum

Cinnamomum albiflorum Nees, ; in Wall., Pl. As. Rar. 2: 75 (1831); 3: 32 (1832). = Cinnamomum tamala Indian Bayleaf; Malabathrum; Tejpat

Cinnamomum tamala (Buch.-Ham.) Nees & Eberm., ; Handb. Med.-Pharm. B. 2:426 (1831).
तेजपात Tejpat (Np), Pinge (Gur.), Pataarangkhi (Rai), Shishi (She.)
Cinnamomum albiflorum Nees
West: Bis Ram. 317; Stainton 6300. Cent.: SSW 266; Stainton 6258. East: Stainton 5956.
450-2000 m; Himalaya (Kashmir to Bhutan), Assam, Khasia.

Exbucklandia populnea

Flowering at Monserrate, Christmas 2008

Exbucklandia populnea (R. Brown ex Griffith) R. W. Brown
Hamamelidaceae (same family as Liquidambar and Hamamelis)
Largish tree growing below the Tank Walk. Unreferred to in Monserrate Literature until identification by Luso-Canadian team in 1980's.
Known in Nepal as "pipli" in Darjeeling "peeplee". Also known in English-speaking areas as Malayan Aspen or Poplar. Eastern Nepal at 1300-2100 metres, open places. Also found in India (frequent in Darjeeling Hills), Bhutan, eastward to China, southward to Malaysia and Sumatra. A paste of the bark is applied to ease muscular swellings. see Sanjay Manandhar Plants and People of Nepal. Used for reforestation in Indonesia. An esteemed timber tree. Introduced to Cornish gardens in 20th century by Forrest probably by Ward too. Gardening on the Edge Also used as fodder and fuel. Wood is of reddish-brown colour, moderately hard and fine grained. It is durable and does not warp. Trees of Sikkim Himalaya
Symingtonia populnea (R. Br. ex Griff) Steenis 1957
Bucklandia populnea R. Br. ex Griff. 1836
Why Ex-Bucklandia?

Here is the reason .... a fossil cycad!

No two plant genera may have the same name, even if one of them is EXTINCT. This fossil is from the Jurassic period, and long extinct. It comes from the famous Morrison Formation, in Utah, which has fossils including Cycads, ginkgoes, conifers, horsetails and Dinosaurs: Allosaurus, Camptosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Camarasaurus. The name Bucklandia was given to these fossil cycads by paleontologists in 1825 (Bucklandia Presl.). R. W. Brown, corrected the situation in J. Wash. Acad. Sci. 36: 348. 1946. and coined the unusual name: Exbucklandia.
Curtis's Botanical Magazine (6507) volume 106 (1880)
Seeds were sent to Kew around about 1875, by Dr. King of the Calcutta Botanica Garden, and Mr. Gammie of Darjeeling. They were grown in the Temperate House. Young plants can have leaves up to a foot in diameter often with three to five irregularly placed cusps on the margin. Young leaves deep blood red shot through with green on the upper surface.

Dahlia imperialis

Dahlia imperialis Roezl. ex. Ortgies
Regel Gartenflora, v, xii. p.243, t. 407-408 (1863)

Spectacular giant dahlia, it was grown in the Rose Garden at Monserrate (1923). Still to be found in (all too few) Sintra gardens.

Ortgies worked at the Zurich Botanic garden. He was the first to raise the plant in Europe. Nothing was known about the plant's natural habitat, other than that Roezl sent it from Mexico from whence the first tubers were received at the Zurich garden in 1862. The first plants flowered imperfectly because they were removed to a greenhouse when flowerbuds formed, in October. later plants were more successfully cultivated, producing flowers seven inches in diametre and forming a pyramid of flowers and foliage on thick bare stems fully twelve to eighteen feet high. A great challenge for the greenhouse gardener, others lacking the space for such a display resorted to the ingenious technique of grafting upon the root of a normal dahlia, obtaining inthis way more modest dimensions (six to eight feet) and still blooming luxuriantly.

notes and illustration from J. D. Hooker in Curtis's Botanical Magazine, (5813) 1870, vol. 96

A single plant of D. imperialis

Gardeners in warmer climates did not have to trouble with moving these giants under glass to protect the flowers. A notice in La Belgique horticole of 1867 gave notice of the plant grown in the open air at Hyéres by Charles Huber. Planted in May 1866, by November the plant had reached 4.5 metres. This was a white flowered clone. Abundant watering and feeding was advised as the key to success ... together with a stout stake!

But where does this dahlia really come from? The original description of 1838 says that it comes from the Valley of Mexico, where Mexico City is located, and that it had been long cultivated in the botanical gardens of that city. However there are no tree dahlias native to that locality. Benedict Roezl, a Czech gardener and botanist, who introduced the plant to Europe, travelled widely in Mexico and introduced many other plants. The location of his collection is unknown.

Today this plant is known from Chiapas in Southern Mexico until Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica, down to Northern Columbia where it grows at elevations of 2,500 to 9000 feet. Its habitat is rocky slopes and fields. Local people use the cane like stems to form living fences - must be a spectacular sight.

Synonyms: Dahlia arborea, D. lehmannii, D. maximilliana, and D. maxonii. It is sometimes called eroneously D. excelsa which is a closely related species that is rarely cultivated.

Information from The Trees of Golden Gate Park and San Francisco by Elizabeth McClintock, 2001

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Cyathea leichhardtiana

Cyathea leichhardtiana (F.Muell.) Copel., Philipp. J. Sci., C 6: 360 (1911)Prickly Tree Fern
Hierarchical Names List Entry
Alsophila leichhardtiana F.Muell., Fragm. 5: 53 (1865). T: Fern-Tree Creek, Bunya Mountain [Bunya Mtns], Qld, 28 Dec. 1843, L.Leichhardt s.n. ; lecto: MEL, fide M.D.Tindale, Contr. New South Wales Natl. Herb. 2: 355 (1956).
Hemitelia australis C.Presl, Epimel. Bot. 33 ('1849') [1851]; Amphicosmia australis (C.Presl) T.Moore, Index Fil. 2: 59 (1857); Sphaeropteris australis (C.Presl) R.M.Tryon, Contr. Gray Herb. 200: 24 (1970). T: Australasia, C.A.Hügel ; holo: W.
Cyathea australiensis Domin, Pteridophyta 263 (1929). T: as for Hemitelia australis C.Presl
Alsophila moorei J.Sm., Ferns Brit. For. 245 (1866). T: New South Wales, C.Moore ; ?holo: BM.
Alsophila macarthurii Hook., in W.J.Hooker & J.G.Baker, Syn. Fil. 40 (1866). T: near Sydney, N.S.W., W.McArthur ; syn: K; Hastings and Marlony Rivers, N.S.W., H.Beckler ; syn: not located; Illawara [Illawarra], N.S.W., Shepperd ; syn: not located.
Illustrations: M.D.Tindale, Contr. New South Wales Natl. Herb. 2: t. 9 (1956); S.B.Andrews, Ferns Queensland 111, fig. 8.1H (1990); T.J.Entwisle in N.G.Walsh & T.J.Entwisle (eds), Fl. Victoria 2: 71, fig. 15 (1994).
Rhizome to 7 m tall, to 15 cm diam. Fronds to 3 m long (including short stipe); stipe bases bearing sharp spines to 4 mm long; scales whitish, with (often sparse) dark marginal setae, to 60 mm long, 1 mm wide at their bases; scales above base copious, small, setiferous. Pinnae to 70 cm long; pinnules c. 10 cm long and 2 cm wide, deeply lobed; most lobes adnate as crenate-serrate tertiary pinnules; costal and costular scales very small; larger ones bearing many short setae, smaller ones fringed with short hairs; a few scales also present on veins. Sori near costules, covered when immature with small very thin scales, these sometimes bearing minute dark setae; scales usually not persistent; paraphyses sparse, shorter than the sporangia. Fig. 60L–O, 64H.
Occurs from central-eastern Qld to eastern Vic. with an apparently disjunct population on the Bellenden Ker Range in north-eastern Qld. Grows in moist gullies in forest, also along streams in more open places; in Qld to 1500 m altitude. Map 175.

Flora of Australia Online

lower surface sterile frond
Upper surface

Growing in high-rainfall montane rainforest. Lamington National Park, south-east Queensland. Photo Credit

Alsophila moorei

Walter Oates uses the botanical species Alsophila moorei, for a Tree Fern at Monserrate in 1929. This is a problematic name. The genus Alsophila was originally applied to a genus of tree ferns that is now considered synonymous with Cyathea. The problem with this name arises with the epiphet moorei that has used by several authors for closely related plants. Smith's Alsophila Moorei (a poorly identified plant) was not the same as Baker's Cyathea Moorei (which to make matters worse seems to have been used by this botanist twice!)

However the fact remains that this name was current among English horticulturists in the early twentieth century. The Royal Horticultural Dictionary 1951 (First Edition) reflects this situation. Alsophila moorei is given as a synonym for Alsophila Leichhardtiana. A. Macarthuri is also acknowledged as a synonym for the same plant. Nowdays Cyathea leichhardtiana and Cyathea macarthuri are considered two distinct species. An illustration is cited J.H. 53 (1875) 495. Date of introduction is given as 1875.

On balance it seems that Walter Oates's plant was Cyathea leichhardtiana

Cyathea moorei (Baker) F.Muell. [ nom. illeg. ]
Mueller, F.J.H. von (1882), Systematic Census of Australian Plants: 137 [comb. nov.]Green, P.S. in Wilson, A.J.G. (Ed) (1994), Flora of Australia 49: 581, Fig. 103H-K
synonym of: Cyathea howeana Domin
Cyathea moorei Baker
Baker, J.G. in Hooker, W.J. & Baker, J.G. (1874), Synopsis Filicum: 453 [tax. nov.]Green, P.S. in Wilson, A.J.G. (Ed) (1994), Flora of Australia 49: 581, Fig. 103E-G
synonym of: Cyathea macarthurii (F.Muell.) Baker CHAH (2006), Australian Plant Census
synonym of: Cyathea macarthurii (F.Muell.) Baker
Australian Plant Name Index APNI

There is also
Alsophila Moorei J.Sm
J.Sm. Publicação: Br dos Ferns. e para. 245. 1866 1866
But this plant's identity cannot be established due to poor type material.

Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH) gives the following listing for synonymy of Cyathea species:

Cyathea leichhardtiana (F.Muell.) Copel.
Cyathea leichardtiana Copel., orth. var.
Cyathea leichhardtiana (F.Muell.) Copel. var. leichhardtiana
Alsophila leichhardtiana F.Muell.
Alsophila leichhardtii F.Muell. ex F.M.Bailey, orth. var.
Alsophila leichhardtiana F.Muell. var. leichhardtiana
Hemitelia australis C.Presl
Amphicosmia australis (C.Presl) T.Moore
Sphaeropteris australis (C.Presl) R.M.Tryon
Cyathea australiensis Domin
Alsophila moorei J.Sm.
Alsophila macarthurii Hook.

Cyathea macarthurii (F.Muell.) Baker
Hemitelia macarthurii F.Muell.
Hemitelia macarthuri F.Muell., orth. var.
Alsophila ferdinandii R.M.Tryon
Cyathea moorei Baker
Cyathea dealbata auct. non (G.Forst.) Sw.: W.J.Hooker & J.G. Baker, Syn. Fil. 26 (1865), p.p.; H.H.Allan, Fl. New Zealand 1: 40 (1961), p.p.

Charles Moore

Charles Moore (1820 - 1905)
Director, Botanic Gardens, Sydney, 1848 - 1896.

Cyathea medullaris, 1867

Ferns British and Exotic By Edward Joseph Lowe, Alexander Francis Lydon, Benjamin Fawcett: "CYATHFA U1 DULLAKIS PORTION OF VINN A LA7 1 1 VOL S "

Dicksonia squarrosa 1867

Ferns British and Exotic By Edward Joseph Lowe, Alexander Francis Lydon, Benjamin Fawcett: "DICESONIA SQUARROSA PINNA XLlV voL 5 "

Dicksonia squarrosa

Dicksonia squarrosa (G.Forst.) Sw.
Swartz, O. [P.] (1801) Journal fur die Botanik (Schrader) 2: 90 [comb. nov.]

The last man standing. Sole surviving specimen of its species at Monserrate. The Dicksonia squarrosa is very sensitive to drying out. Unlike other Dicksonias it has a slender unprotected trunk. In its natural habitat it grows in swampy ground; added to which it rains every day. There used to be great clumps of this tree fern at Monserrate. One unusual characteristic of the fern is its ability to sprout from dormant buds along the trunk giving rise to its branched habit.

Known as the Rough Tree Fern (the fronds are very harsh to touch, squarrosa means rough and scurfy) or the Maori "Weki". Can grow to 7m, but there are none in Sintra of such size. Branches freely from aerial buds. It is considered to be the fastest growing of the New Zealand Tree Ferns.

New Zealand :- Three Kings Islands, North Island, South Island, Stewart Islands, and Chatam Islands.

Introduced to Kew Gardens by J. Edgerly in 1842. He also introduced Cyathea medullaris at the same time. Edgerly was a gardener who had travelled to New Zealand with the idea of making profitable plant introductions. Hebe speciosa was also introduced by him. He was of low regard to professional botanist who regarded his commercial stance with great suspision. Considered a warm greenhouse species at that time. In 1867 E. J. Lowe reports that this fern was known to grow to ten feet high or more and that fronds could reach ten to fifteen feet. This fern was also grown at the Royal Gardens of Windsor. Veitch offered them for sale at his Exotic Nursery, at Chelsea.

Synonyms :
Trichomanes squarrosum G. Forster 1786

Monday, 29 December 2008

Ficus conundrum

What is the real identity of this Ficus?
There are a number of very similar giant Ficus grown in Spain and Portugal. Sorting them out is quite complicated. Most of the trees in Lisbon are Ficus macrophylla. But this tree at Monserrate is something else!
It is not just at Monserrate that these strangler figs have botanists in a fix. The Ficus magnolioides of Borzi has been a source of considerable confusion. This was finally sorted out relatively recently: S. Fici, F.M. Raimondo, ON THE REAL IDENTITY OF FICUS MAGNOLIOIDES in Curtis's Botanical Magazine vol: 13 nº2, p.105 ,1996.
The correct name of Ficus magnolioides Borzì var. magnolioides (Moraceae) is F. macrophylla Desf. ex Pers. subsp. columnaris (C. Moore) P.S. Green. This name is derived from C. Moore's Ficus columnaris C. Moore & F. Muell., an endemic Fig of the Lord Howe Island which Fici et al identified as a subspecies of Ficus macrophylla of the Australian Mainland (Moreton Bay Fig). The subspecies is distinguished by its abundant aerial roots. Ficus macrophylla has little or no development of aerial roots.
The "Banyan" fig growing on the Chapel is currently labelled as Ficus macrophylla. Significantly the name in Spanish is given as "Ficus de Hojas de Magnolia" - a throw-back to the days when this fig was known in Southern Europe as Ficus magnolioides. However, Walter Oates in his description of the Chapel in 1929 describes a large spreading Ficus rubiginosa in its place.
What is the true identity of this Fig?
Árboles en España : Manual de identificación (Antonio López Lillo & José Manuel Sánchez de Lorenzo Cáceres)
Ficus macrophylla Desf. ex Pers.
Ficus magnolioides Borzi
Árbol corpulento de más de 15 m de altura, con copa amplia y tronco grueso. Las raíces superficiales se extienden en una gran zona alrededor del árbol. Hojas oblongo-ovadas de 20 x 12 cm, con el ápice obtuso o ligeiramente acuminado y la base redondeada. Nervio central destacado. La textura es coriácea y la superficie es glabra, de color verde oscuro en el haz, mientras que el envés es claro y cubierto de una pubescencia rubiginosa. Pecíolo de 10-15 cm de longitud. Frutos axilares, ovales u oblongo-esféricos, de 1-2 cm de diámetro, con pedúnculo de 1-1.5 cm de longitud. En la madurez son de color púrpura con manchas amarillentas. Árbol nativo de Austalia. Frecuente en ciudades de toda la zona Mediterránea, donde llega a alcanzar notables portes. En el Jardin Botánico de la Orotava (Tenerife) se cultiva la subespecie columnaris (=F. columnaris C. Moore), caracterizada por la emisíon de raíces aéreas que van fomando columnas de apoyo a las ramas. Esta subespecie es nativa de la isla de Lord Howe (Mar de Tasmania).
This description is sufficiently detailed by which to exclude the Monserrate tree in a number of aspects:
1. There are no superficial roots. (The butress roots are the great distinguishing character from a layman's point of view.)
2. The leaves are much smaller than 20 cm x 12 cm.
3. The petioles are much shorter than 10-15 cm.
4. The fruits do not have peduncles (stalks) of 1-1.5 cm.
From the same manual a description of
Ficus rubiginosa Desf. ex Vent.
Ficus australis Willd. non Hort.
Árbol de 8-10m de altura en nuestro clima mediterráneo, con la copa denas y a parasolada. Yemas pubescentes. Hojas elíptico-ovales de 5-15 x 6 cm, con el ápice obtuso y la base redondeada. Son de textura coriácea y tienan el haz glabro, salvo en las hojas jóvenes, y el envés con densa pubescensia de color herrumbroso. Pecíolo de 2-4 cm. de longitud. Frutus axilares, sésiles o escasamente pedunculados, globosos de 1,5 cm. de diámetro, cubiertos de pubescencia herrumbroa. Árbol nativo de Australia. Existe una forma variegada. Es árbol frecuente en Canarias y en todo el litoral mediterráneo, donde pueden verse notables ejemplares. Existe una forma glabra sin tomenta alguno en hojas y frutos, Australis.
From this description the leaves and fruits fit the Monserrate tree. However there is no mention of the most striking characteristic : the aerial roots! This is most probably since the authors are describing Ficus rubiginosa from dry climates - like the Canary Islands. In its Australian habitat this species produces abundant aerial roots, trees growing in the relatively humid climate of Madeira are also prolific in this aspect.
Other candidates: "On Lord Howe Island, a rare fig, Ficus columnaris, sends roots down from the branches which reach the ground and become new trunks, and so the tree walks in all directions until it becomes a small forest. Several of the more tropical banyans also walk in this way, including Australia's Ficus virens [leaves like a poplar], India's Ficus retusa [leaves like Ficus benjamina] and Ficus benghalensis [distintive and characteristic leaves] and the aptly named Ficus polypoda [Sorry Russell but this must be F. platypoda - no indumentum to leaf backs]. A famous ancient Ficus benghalensis near Poona in India has hundreds of trunks and a circumference of a kilometre". (Russell Fransham)
None of the above.
So what about Ficus rubiginosa? does it have aerial roots?
Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson of the University of Florida state in their paper on this species that "it does not develop the profusion of roots that some other [ficus] do." disagrees:
Ficus rubiginosa Deaf. ex Vent., lard. Malm. t. 114. 1805. Benth. & Mueller, Fl. Aust. 6: 173. 1873; Bot. Mag. 56: t. 2939.1829; Parker, l.c. 481. 1956; in Gard. Bull. Singapore 21(1): 26. 1965. Engl. Vern.: The Port Jackson Fig; Rusty Fig; Little Leaf Fig.
A large tree with wide spreading crown and hanging aerial roots. Young shoots rusty-pubescent. Leaves with 1-3 cm long petiole; lamina coriaceous, elliptic-oblong, 6-10 cm long, 4-8 cm broad, 3-costate at the rounded or ± base, margins entire, obtuse-acuminate at the apex, glabrous above, rusty pubescent to glabrescent beneath, lateral nerves 10-12 pairs, intercostals stipules lanceolate, acuminate. Hypanthodia in axillary pairs on c. 2.5 thick peduncles, globose, c. 8-10 mm in diameter, rusty-pubescent, by broad, membranous, c. 4 mm long, deciduous basal bracts. Male flowers: suimerous, intermixed with the female flowers; sepals 3, brown; stamen Ovary with a long, lateral style and short, acute stigma. Figs globular, in diam., rusty pubescent to glabrescent, warted.
The Australian National Botanic Garden has a series of photographs of native Ficus posted online:
Ficus macrophylla
Long petioles to leaves, long peduncles to figs, colour of fruits.
Ficus macrophylla subsp. columnaris
Note the long petioles to the leaves
Ficus platypoda
Here is another contender - but the leaf backs are green without rusty indumentum.
Ficus rubiginosa
Small leaves, sessile fruits, rusty leaf backs
Ficus rubiginosa habitat photo
Photo T.M. Tame ©Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney Australia
Ficus rubiginosa - cultivated specimen in Japan
Well my vote is still with Walter Oates : Ficus rubiginosa.
Unless, perhaps .... it is this one!
Ficus watkinsiana

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Tacsonia mollissima

Paxton's Magazine of Botany, and Register of Flowering Plants edited by Joseph Paxton: "No Text"

Passiflora mollissima

Bot. Mag., Nº 4187

Passiflora mollissima
Bot. Reg. for 1846 plate 11
Paxton's Mag. of Bot., vol. xiii, p.25

Tacsonia " a genus of very ornamental climbing plants, with the habit of the Passion Flowers, but easily distinguished from them by the immense length of the tube of the calyx. The name Tacsonia is derived from that applied to one of the species in Peru. There are numerous species in the genus, but only two as yet have been introduced." Jane Loudon Ladies' Flower-garden of Ornamental Greenhouse Plants (1848).
The two species referred by Mrs. Loudon were Tacsonia pinnatistipula Juss. and Tacsonia mollissima H. B. et K. She describes the plant as "not so ornamental as T. pinnatistipula" though of similar growth and thriving best in a conservatory. A native of the tropics of New Granada, it grows at an altitude of nine to eleven thousand feet, thus suited to a temperate climate. When grown in a stove the blossoms fall off without expanding.

Found by Humboldt at santa Fè de Bogota, and Lobb in woods near Quito. Raised from seeds sent to Veitch at Exeter. (1844).

An important identifying characteristic of this species is the presence of 12 green glands which stud the purple petiole.

Photograph of genuine Passiflora mollissima from Mobot

The plant generally grown under this name in Portugal is a hybrid.

Swan River Colony

Edward's Botanical Register 1839 published an account of the Swan River Colony, West Australia, written by John Lindley.

It has appeared to the Editor desirable to take advantage of this opportunity, for publishing at once a detailed account of the vegetation of one of the most interesting of the British Colonial possessions, from which multitudes of seeds are now continually arriving, and which it is absolutely necessary for the lover of gardens to have some knowledge, if he would avoid the vexation of buying plants of no value under high sounding and imposing names. It is probable that for some years to come, few species deserving cultutivation, will be received from Swan River, beyond such as are noticed in this Appendix, which will therefore, it is hoped, form a useful guide to purchasers in this country, and enable those who reside in the colony, or who have friends there, to judge on the one hand what to send home, and on the other, what to ask their correspondents to collect

The Swan River Colony is stationed on the South-west coast of New Holland, about two degrees nearer the tropics than Sydney, on the opposite coast, the mouth of the river being nearly 32º S. lat. ... The country is described as being usually of the open forest description, consisting of undulating plains, covered with a great profusion of plants ; three-fourths of the trees belonging to the genus Eucalyptus. It is broken by the limestone mountains of the Darling Range, which rise about 2000 feet above the sea, and are covered with evergreen trees. ... the climate of the Swan River is like that of the South of Italy ... while any of the native plants may be expected to thrive in the open air in England during the summer, none are likely to bear our winters except the mountain plants, and those only in the South of England.

The more conspicuous plants which greatly contribute to the landscape are, according to Brown, Kingia australis, a species of Xanthorhaea, a Zamia nearly allied to and perhaps not distinct from Z. spiralis of the East coast, although it is said to frequently attain the height of thirty feet ; a species of Callitris ; one or two of Casuarina ; an Exocarpus, probably not different from E. cupressiformis ; and Nuytsia floribunda .... gigantic specimens of Banksia grandis, ... forming groups [with Zamia spiralis] that impart to some places a character perfectly tropical.

Hardenbergia comptoniana

Hardenbergia comptoniana Benth.
in Hueg. Enum 41.

Flora Australiensis, George Bentham (assisted by Ferdinand Mueller - govt. botanist, Melbourne, Victoria) London, 1864
West Australia. King Georg's Sound, R. Brown ; and thence to Swan River, Drimmond, 1st. collection and n. 271, Huegel, Preiss, n. 1093, 1094, and others.

Jardins de France (1857) "Hardenbergia Comptoniana Bth. Elle a été figurée dans le Botanical Register, tab. 290, sous le nome de Glycine Comptoniana, et elle est aussi connue des horticulteurs sous celui de Kennedya Comptoniana Link.

First classified as a Glycine (Wisteria) this vine was quickly transferred to Kennedya (under which name Walter Oates referred to it cautiously in his 1929 article). Grown as a glasshouse climber in Britain. Jane Loudon in her Ladies Flower-garden of Ornamental Greenhouse Plants (1848) calls it "one of the most common plants in greenhouses, as it is of remarkably easy culture". She gos on to state that "the plant is a native of the neighbourhood of Port Jackson, in New Holland, and it was introduced in 1803." She describes its "twining habit, and when planted in the free ground of a conservatory, it will grow to a considerable height."

From Paxton's Magazine 1841

The description that accompanies this illustration recommends this Hardenbergia for pot culture since in the glasshouse border it is apt to grow vigorously and flower only after it has reached considerable size. The example provided for the plate was grown on the estate of the quintessentially named Victorian gentleman: Sir Edmond Antrobus, Bart., at Cheam. His gardener was nicely named too: Mr. Green.

Hardenbergia macrophylla
Swan River Colony, West Australia. Introduced by Sir James Stirling, who sent seeds to England in 1835. Raised by Robert Mangles at Sunningdale, Berks. Flowered by Mr. Kyle gardener to R. Barclay of Layton Essex in May

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Lycopodium clavatum

Lycopodium clavatum L.
Club Moss. Walter Oates described this plant as growing in the Fern Valley in 1929. Is it still there? This plant is naturally occuring in mountainous areas of Portugal. Globally widespread, it is considered to be in danger of extinction in the Serra da Estrella. What of its status in Sintra?

Orto Botanico di Palermo

Orto botanico di Palermo - viale delle Palme
opera del pittore Francesco Lojacono (1838-1915)

Ficus rubiginosa

Ficus rubiginosa Desf. ex Vent.

"A small tree in our stoves" begins the description in Curtis's Botanical Magazine. This is a monster at Monserrate. The description continues more true to form "throwing out many, spreading branches, and from the the stem and branches numerous woody roots, which reach the ground, like those of the famous Banyan, and give new support to those parts. Introduced by the Right Hon. Sir Joseph Banks, from New South Wales to the Royal gardens, whence it has been distributed, and is , we believe, now general in collections of stove plants. Its frutification is, however, of rare occurance. The specimen from which the accompanying figure was taken was sent by the Messrs. SHEPHERD, from the Liverpool Garden, in the summer of 1827."

Ficus rubiginosa occurs from north Queensland southwards along the eastern coastline of Australia to the vicinity of Bega on the South Coast of New South Wales. It is found on the edges of rainforest and gullies and rocky hillsides. (Wikipedia)

There has been some confusion over the naming of this fig with Ficus macrophylla, a related though far larger tree that lacks aerial roots and the rusty indumentum. Ficus macrophylla in Southern Europe is often designated Ficus magnolioides Borzi (invalid synonym of Ficus macrocarpa subsp. columnaris). It is easy to see why Ficus magnolioides should be transferred to Ficus rubiginosa trees in error - to the unwary the large glossy leaves and rusty undersides of Ficus rubiginosa do look somewhat like a Magnolia .

There is a magnificent specimen of Ficus macrophylla subsp. columnaris at the Palermo Botanic garden It was planted in 1845 by Vincenzo Tineo (1791-1856). He was director of the Orto botanico di Palermo from 1814 until 1856. The tree was brought from Norfolk Island. This was Borzi's type specimen for his Ficus magnolioides.

Thunbergia alata

Thunbergia alata Bojer ex Sims
Botanical Magazine 52: pl. 2591. 1825.

Robert Barclay received the seeds in 1825 from the Mauritius, through Mr. Charles Telfair. It is stated to be inhabiting grassy places on the two small islands of Zanzebar and Pemba, on the East coast of Africa (about 5º or 6º South of latitude).
Discovered and named by Messrs. Helsinbourg and Bojer (see Hooker Exotic Flora).

Le Thunbergia alata, dont on a obtenu diverses variètés à fleurs blanches, coleur nankin, jaune soufre avec ou sans oeil noir, est une espèce herbacée fort gracieuse, tès-florifère et dont la culture est devenue tés-repandue, grâce à sa docilité : Journal d'horticulture pratique de la Belgique, 1857

Grown at Monserrate by Walter Oates over the Chapel Pergola. This plant is still often seen in local garden centers. The plant is of little duration in our gardens and is treated as an annual. A similar effect in brighter orange may be obtained with Thunbergia gregorii - a reliable perennial.

I'd love to know how this plant got the name of "Black-eyed Susan", Jane Loudon was already using this "gardeners' name" by 1842.

Rhododendron arboreum

Rhododenron arboreum
Native of Nepal, on the mountains of Narainhetty, where it is called Booram by the natives.
G. Don, A general history of the dichlamydeous plants, London 1831-1838, 4 vols.
Temperate Himalaya; alt. 5-10,000 ft., from Kashmir to Bhotan, very common. Khasia Mts ; alt. 4-6000 ft., common Birma ; Kareen Hills.

Rhododendron windsori = Rhododendron arboreum subsp. arboreum

Nº. 5008 Curtis's Botanical Magazine 1857

Rhododendron arboreum

Nº. 168 Exotic Flora - J. D. Hooker

Illustration taken from a plant that flowered at Edinburgh in June 1825. Plant is native of Nepaul, where it was found by Dr. Hamilton and Dr. wallich about Narainhetty. In the Himalah mountains it grows among forests of oak, rising to a stem of 20 ft. or more and 16-24 ins in diameter. About London it has been cultivated in the open air, but has not yet flowered.

Rhododendron cinnamomeum Wall. G. Don, collected by Wallich in Nepal cat. nº. 757) is now considered a subspecies.

1982 Edwards Botanical magazine 1837 vol. 23 : About the year 1822 a considewrable quantity of seed of this plant was sent to England by Dr. wallich, through the Honourable Court of Directors of the East India Company; but the plants that were thus obtained do not appear to have blossomed before that which furnished the accompanying drawing in the nursery of Messrs. Rollinson of Tooting, in April last. The plant figured is the Nº. 760 of his Indian Herbarium, and there called R. cinnamomeum. Mr. Herbert informs me that the old white variety of R. arboreum is hardy, and has stood 12 or 13 years in the garden at Spofforth ; this may therefore be supposed to possess the same quality.

Hedychium gardnerianum

Hedychium gardnerianum Roscoe

6913 Curtis's Botanical Magazine Vol. XLIII of the third series, 1887
Digitised by Mobot

Sent by Dr. Wallich to Calcutta from Nepal, where he had discovered it in the Valley of Katmandoo. Flowered in the Botanic Garden at Liverpool, on the 4 Oct 1820, and produced seeds.

"This is the queen of the genus, both as regards the general aspect, the stature, and the foliage, and the exquisite elegance as well as the fragrance of the ample inflorescence. ... several large patches ... are in bloom at the Horticultural Society's Garden at Chiswick, thriving luxuriantly in a temperate glass-house"

The specific name commemorates one of Dr. Wallich's most zealous contributors of live plants.

"During a number of years in which the Hon. Edward Gardner (son of the late distinguished Admiral Lord Gardner) lived in Nipal, as the Hon. East India Company's Resident at the Court of Katmandu, he contributed greatly to the riches of the Botanic Garden at Calcutta, and through it to the gardens and herbariums of England. It was through his local influence, and afterwards of the late Mr. Robert Stuart's the officiating Resident, that I was permitted to send permenant collecting parties into that country, where they enjoyed his unceasing support and encouragement ; and afterwards to visit it myself during a whole year, which I spent under his friendly roof. Would that the cause of Natural History could boast such Maecenases in India and everywhere else !" Wallich, Kew Journal, vol. v (1853), p. 369

J. D. Hooker also collected Hedychium gardnerianum, but in the Sikkim Himalaya and Khasia Mountains between elevations of 4000-7000 feet.

Amherstia nobilis

Fleurs, fruits et feuillages choisis de l'ille de Java : peints d'après nature

Nooten, Berthe Hoola vanDepannemaeker, P.Mufquardt, C.

Bruxelles : C. Muquardt, [1880]
Digitised by Mobot

Friday, 26 December 2008

William Lobb

William Lobb (1809 – May 1864) together with his brother Thomas Lobb (1817-1894) were the first of a new breed of Victorian plant collectors. Unlike scientific explorers that preceeded their work, they were commercial plant hunters, employed by the Veitch Nurseries. They sought out large quantities of seed for full-scale nursery production, and their discoveries fuelled many crazes and fashions, the most famous of which was the Monkey Puzzle from William's first expedition to South America in 1844, only to be followed by his introduction of the "Wellingtonia" (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in 1853. His brother Thomas collected in the Far East, up to the 1860's.

Nathaniel Wallich

Nathaniel Wallich (1786-1854)

Wallich was a Dane, born at Copenhagen as Nathan ben Wulff. After studies in Medicine and Botany he entered the service of the Danish East India Company (aged 21) and was stationed at Frederiksnagore (Serampore). He arrived in India in November 1807, but just a few months later (January 1808) the British occupied Danish India, and Wallich was taken fugitive. As prisoner of war, in 1809, he was assigned to work with William Roxburgh in the Calcutta Botanic Gardens. He joined the Bengal Medical Service (Honorable East India Company) in 1814. From 1815-1846 he was Superintendent of the Botanical gardens. Whilst superintendent he published Tentamen flora nepalensis illustratae (1824-26) and Plantae asiaticae Rariories (1830-32). Superintendent of the Oriental Museum of the Asiatic Society. Dr. Nathaniel Wallich took charge of the Museum on June 1, 1814.

Arum tortuosum. From Plantae Asiaticae Rariores; or, Descriptions and Figures of a Select Number of Unpublished East Indian Plants. Printed by Englemann, Graf, Coindet & Co. Published in London.

In 1812 as convalescence from Malaria, Wallich travelled to Mauritius. Many plants collected on this trip were sent to Calcutta. He visited Nepal in 1820-22 and then proceeded with an investigation of the Bay of Bengal, Penang and the Straits of Malacca. A year later he was exploring the kingdom of Oude and the provinces of Rohilcund and Kamoan. In 1826-27 Burma, Tenasserim and Martaban were visited. In 1835 he explored Asssam and the interior of the Cape Colony of South Africa.

During his years as Superintendent of the Calcutta Botanic Garden he distributed more than 190,000 live plants to more than 2000 gardens in India, Europe, North and South America, South Africa and Australia.

Among the new plants that he found were many new rhododendrons, Amherstia nobilis (named for his life-long friend Lady Amherst) and Hedychium gardnerianum (Khalili ginger). Wallich introduced many plants from colder zones in the north of India which proved to be of easier cultivation in European gardens.

Amherstia nobilis from Plantae Asiaticae Rariores

His obituary posted in the 1856 Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, of which he served as a vice president, gives a full account of his life and works.(See also Plant

Organ Mountains

The Organ Mountains "that rich storehouse of vegetable beauties." As described in volume XVI of Curtis's Botanical Magazine. In 1843 this periodical descibed a number of plants lately introduced from these coastal forests.

3973 Siphocampylus betulaefolius (Lobeliaceae). Introduced by Mr Gardner, originally discovered by Sello. Flowered 1842.
3976 Echites splendens (Apocynaceae). Introduced by Lobb to the nurseryman Veitch at Mount Radford, Exeter in 1841.
3977 Rondeletia Longiflora (Rubiacaceae). Another Veitch introduction. Flowered 1842.
3990 Begonia coccinea (Begoniaceae). Lobb, collecting for the Veitch Exotic Nursery in 1841. Flowered 1842.
3992 Ilex Paraguayensis - Maté or Paraguay Tea. Grown at Monserrate. Native of Paraguay but extending north to Organ Mountains.
3995 Gesneria polyantha (Gesneriaceae). Veitch by Lobb. Flowered 1842. Also Gardner, nº 467.
3997 Echites hirsuta (Apocynaceae) Veich by Lobb.
3999 Fuchsia alpestris (Onagraceae). Collected by Gardner and sent by him to Murray at the Glasgow Botanic Garden. 1841.
4007 Pleroma benthianum (Melastomaceae). Gardener. Flowered in 1842 at the Glasgow Botanic Garden. [Looks like a Tibouchina]
4009 Passiflora actinia
4015 Siphocampylos longepedunculatus (Lobeliaceae). Introduced by Gardner; coll. nº 465. Originally discovered by Pohl - see his figure in Plants of Brazil. Flowered 1823 (?).
4047 Hypocyrta strigillosa (Gesneriaceae). Veitch/Lobb. Collected from Organ Mountains, but, found throughout Tropical Brazil.
George Gardner was the sometime superintendent of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Ceylon. His travels in Brazil are described in his book Travels in the Interior of Brazil, principally through the Northern Provinces and the Gold and Diamond Districts during the years 1836-1841. Curiously he quotes from Byron's Childe Harold as his epigram:

Canto the Third

A populous solitude of bees and birds,
 And fairy-formed and many coloured things,
........... the gush of springs, 
And fall of lofty fountains, and the bend 
Of stirring branches, and the bud which brings 
The swiftest thought of beauty, here extend,
Mingling, and made by Love, unto one mighty end.

William Lobb spent 1841 exploring the Serra dos Órgãos (Organ Mountains) to the north-east of the port where he discovered several orchids including the swan orchid, Cycnoches pentadactylon, as well as Begonia coccinea and Passiflora actinia. His first shipment of discoveries, which arrived at Topsham dock (Devon) in March 1841, also included a new species of alstroemeria, an oncidium, O. curtum (with yellow flowers and cinnamon-brown markings), and a new red salvia. There were also several species of the beautiful pink flowered climber mandevilla, including M. splendens, which would become highly sought after for cultivation in England, and the small shrub Hindsia violacea, with its clusters of ultramarine flowers, which quickly became popular in Victorian greenhouses. The next shipment arrived at Topsham in May but had been delayed at Rio de Janiero and, as a result, many of the plants failed to survive the journey, arriving dead or "vegetated".

Passiflora actinia

Passiflora actinia Hook.

Passiflora actinea, as spelled by Walter Oates, and many others, is what is known in botanical jargon as a lapsus: an incorrect name that entered into common usage by a slip of the pen. Sometimes the original citation is itself wrongly spelled - as for example Wisteria which commemorates Carl Wistar - but the rules of the game preserve original errors through priority.

This passion flower is another plant from the Organ Mountains of Brazil (near Rio de Janeiro). It was introduced by Lobbs who sent it to his employer Veitch at the Exeter nurseries. It first bloomed in November 1842. The name alludes to the resemblance of the flowers to a sea anemone.

Primula malacoides

The only primulas found in Sintra gardens today are the common primrose, Primula vulgaris. These are especially abundant at Regaleira. However gardeners never refer to them as "primulas" this term is reserved for botanical exotics - usually introduced from the Far East.

By 1929 Walter Oates could have been growing any number of species. See this thorough account of the activities of the Planthunters responsible for their introduction. However this species "The Fairy Primula" Primula malacoides is remarkable for its persistance in old Sintra gardens, and will reappear, as if by magic, following ground disturbance and clearing. The first time I noticed this was during recuperation of the gardens of Penha Verde - a former Cook family Quinta.


Wild Cyclamen persicum in habitat.

Why does nobody grow Cyclamen in Sintra today? It is not clear which species Walter Oates grew at Monserrate, but surely many kinds would thrive.

Paphiopedilum insigne

Paphiopedilum insigne (Wall. ex Lindl.) Pfitzer
Morph. Stud. Orchideenbl. 11. 1886.

Long known as Cypripedium insigne. The "Cypripediums" that Walter Oates describes as growing in the Fern Valley were most likely to have been this species. For over a hundred years it has been a popular subject for greenhouse culture in Sintra. Even today it is still possible to find one or two quintas with glasshouses full of them. This orchid is immensely popular on the island of Madeira, where they are known as "Sapatinhos" or "little slippers".
Introduced to cultivation in 1821 by Nathanial Wallich who sent plants to John Shepherd, curator of the Liverpool Botanic Garden. The garden, built by public subscription in 1801, enjoyed the patronage of many ship owners who charged their captains with the task of bringing back exotic plants for its collections.
Paphiopedilum insigne grows naturally in the Himalayas in Montane Monsoon areas (warm wet summers/ cool dry winters). Perhaps this is why, in our Atlantic climate, it is better suited to growing under cover.

Cypripedium insigne Wall. ex Lindl.
Gardener's Chronicle & Agricultural Gazette 2: 94. 1821.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008