Monday, 19 January 2009

Chrysophyllum imperiale

Illustration Horticole 1874

Chrysophyllum imperiale (Linden ex K. Koch & Fintelm.) Benth. & Hook. f.
Genera Plantarum 2: 653. 1876.

This plant still grows at Monserrate. Though you'd be hard pressed to find it without a guide. Its in the old nursery ground, near the Roman Arch. You'll have to crick your neck to see it as the canopy is well above the surrounding vegetation-

Mentioned in 1885, 1923 & 1929 the plant was probaly planted in the 1860's since at this time this genus was at the height of popularity. Linden was awarded a first prize at the 1867 Paris Exposition for a collection that included The following species Th. imperialis, attenuata, glauca, macrophylla, crassipes, angustifolia, latifolia, undulala, longiflora, and nobilis, "tous à beau feuillage et gigantesques."

"This noble plant was an inmate of both British and Continental botanical gardens for thirty years before its genus was determined. [...] according to a careful history of it drawn up by M. André (L'Illust. Hortic. vol. xxi, 1874, p. 77 & 152, t. 184), the first living specimen known in Europe belonged to to Madame Legrelle-d'Hanis, at Berchem, where M. Linden saw it in 1846 with the name Theophrasta imperialis. In 1849 M. Libon sent living plants to M. de Jonghe at Brussels, and later on M. Linden received several hundred specimens from his collector, M. Marius Porte ; after which the plant became common in Europe. M. Linden's importation was of seedlings, and amongst these were ungerminated seeds which enabled that gentleman to refer that plant to the Sapotaceae. For a knowledge of its native country we are indebted to M. Houillet, of the Jardin de Plantes, to which establishment M. Porte sent plants, with information that they were from the province of Rio de Janeiro. Lastly herbarium specimens in flower and fruit were sent to Kew by that most energetic botanist M. Glaziou, Director of Public Parks at Rio, which enabled Mr. Bentham, when studying the order Sapotaceae for the Genera Plantarum, to refer the foundling to the essentailly American genus Chrysophyllum. M. Glaziou gives as the precise habitat the Serro da Estrello ; M. André gives the Mountain of Tijuca in the chain of the Corcovado, which is, I believe, part of the Serro da Estrello. (J. D. Hooker)

Flowered first in Europe at Cork, Ireland in April 1884.

Curtis's Botanical Magazine
Vol. XLI nº 6823 (1897)

Plantae Brasiliae centralis a Glaziou lectae
Liste des plantes du Brsil central recueillies en 1861-1895 / par A.-F.-M. Glaziou. (1828-1906)
47. Martiusella imperialis Pierre in Notes Botaniques Sapot., p. 66. -- Serra da Estrella et de Nova Friburgo, RIO-JAN., nºs 6633, 7745, 8230, 11163 et 20402. Grand arbre, fl blanchâtres, Novembre décembre. C.

Theophrasta imperialis Linden ex K. Koch & Fintelm. Wochenschrift für Gärtnerei und Pflanzenkunde 2: 91. 1859.

Chloroluma imperialis (Linden ex K. Koch & Fintelm.) Aubrév.
Martiusella imperialis (Linden ex K. Koch & Fintelm.) Pierre
Planchonella imperialis (Linden ex K. Koch & Fintelm.) Baehni
Theophrasta imperialis Linden ex K. Koch & Fintelm.

Theophrasta ? imperialis Hort. ; André in L'Illust. Hortic. vol. xxi, 1874, p. 77 & 152, t. 184
Regel, Gartenfl. 1864 p. 323, t. 453

Curatella speciosa, Dene, mss.


Anonymous said...

An imposing tree with very sturdy leaves. There is an old specimen in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney,Australia, possibly dating from the late 1800-early 1900s. It is about 15m tall with a dark dense rounded canopy about 10m across. Flushes of new growth are a dusty hairy pale brown/green. It produces fruit with viable seed around January, and the Gardens admin. has recently planted (last decade)some of its offspring, as they reinforce the sub-tropical trend of the collection. Seed,cleaned of flesh,germinates in four to ten weeks in my experience.

There are many other members of the Sapotaceae in the gardens, including Australian natives Pouteria australis,obovata,obovoidea and myrsinoides, and the striking Pouteria wakere from New Caledonia.

Gerald said...

This sub-tropical look was very important to the "feel" of nineteenth century garden. See posting on foliage plantings. Unfortunately the only surviving Chrysophyllum at Monserrate is in a dense muddle of plants that occurs in an old nursery area. New plantings are sorely needed of this and likewise plants. The Brazilian connections are interesting - the imperiale was for Pedro Braganza, uncle of Portuguese king. But the plants would have arrived in Portugal through Belgian or French nurserymen. I'm still studying this group of plants. Would like to use them in my projects too.

Eduardo Jardim said...

Great tree, which is nowadays very rare in its natural habitat, in Brazil. A few impressive specimens still grows in protected areas in Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais States. Congratulations for the excellent blog, Gerald!