Monday, 23 February 2009

More on Chamaerops fortunei

Notes from Bulletin de la Société botanique de France vol. 8, 1861
p.409 et seq.

John Gould Veitch saw many plants growing on his ascent of Mount Fusi-yama - Gardeners' Chronicle, 1860. p. 1127

Siebold send the first seeds to Holland in 1830 obtained from a type specimen growing in the botanical garden established by the Dutch on the edge of their factory on the small island of Dezima, near Nagasaki. (Siebold, catal. raisonné des plantes et graines du Japon cultivé à Leyde, 1856, p. 7)

Martius was the first to report on the plant's native habitat. The Chinese called the plant Tsong-liu from China media aut australi. Seems an unlikely provenance for a hardy palm.

Fortune saw this palm under cultivation (for its fibre) on the island of Chusan. Wanderings in China, 1847, p. 53.

Montigny, French consul at Shanghai from 1848-1859 sent seeds to France on several occasions. Montigny saw wild plants in the interior provinces Kiang-si, Tche-kiang and Kiang-nan.

Debeaux (see letter written by Debeaux to M. Durieu de Maisonneuve, Tche-fou, 24 oct. 1860 - Bull. t, VIII, p.4-6) disagrees completly with Fortune and Montigny

1. Chamaerops excelsa comes neither from the north of China, nor the south
2. It is perfectly established in Central Provinces (along the Yang-tse
3. It is perfectly acclimatized in Southern Japan

Following an analysis of climate in which this palm is found growing in China - the author concludes that Madrid or Montpellier would suit the species very well - it would not grow on the coast of Portugal too mild.

Holland - Siebold 1830. Plants raised at Leyde whence they were passed on to Bot Gdns of Amsterdam, Gand, Brussells Bonn and Kew.

At Kew the subject introduced by Siebold was in Dec. 1860 28 feet tall in the palm house - no one suspected that it could be half hardy. Received 1836 from Prof. Reinwardt. Never flowered.

At Bonn also recived from Leyde (in 1838) as a young plant. It is a female tree 12 feet tall has produced numerous young plants - must be polygamous.

Herrenhausen - 1839 plant has not yet flowered. - obtained from MM. Loddiges of Hackney - who received seeds from M. Siebold. 3m trunk

England - Fortune
Seeds sent from Chusan Island in 1849 - sent in sufficient number to justify experiment out doors. Lindley in Gard Chron 1856 p. 175 gave notice of hardy palm.
Northamptonshire Gard Chron 1860 p. 175 - report on exotics and winter.

The plate in the botanical magazine is very sloppy - figs 6 & / show the fruit of another specise. Fig 1 shows the plant growing in the Palm House - Japanese provenance - Cham. excelsa.
Swansea winter of 1859-60 alternate cold and wet killed Viburnum tinus but did not affect this palm. Gard Chron 1860 p. 362
Osborne Isle of Wight 1849 - 10 winters 10 feet high - Fortune Gard Chron 1860, p.70

Andrew Toward head gardener Osborne recounts that temp min had been -7ºc. Chamaerops humilis has to be protected.

1856 Glendinning of Chiswick, Turnham Green sells for 26 shillings each Gard Chron 1856, p.175 whilst Siebold was selling for 50 francs (about the double)

France introduced in quantity and quality by Consul-General de Montigny from the province of Kiang-nan sent from Shanghai several lots from from 1851 onwards - so many that plants were sold for 3 fr. whilst in London they were still25,50 fr in 1856.

M. Hardy directeur du Jardin d'acclimatation de Hamma près Alger
1853 received from de Montigny - 300 plants germinated. raised in pots in the open air. Planted out as a 600 long avenue in 1861 - 1,2m high
Two planted out in 1855 - 2,50m of trunk - no fruit no flowers
There are other avenues at Hamma one of Dates the other of Lataniers

1852 Jardin des Plantes first seeds sown, then again in 1855, 56, 57, and 59 - germinated with great success two or three months. Several dozen plants planted out in different parts of the garden - protected under aframe in the winter. 3 subjects un-protected. one died in the winter of 1860-61 in -15ºc. another has survived protected by a cloche. the 3rd, sown in 1852 is growing in the nursery under the care of Mr. Carrière (le jardinier lettré que tout le monde connait et honore) growing at the foot of a wall since 1854 and until 1859 covered by a cloche in winter. Then wrapped up in straw surviving mortal winter of 1860-61. Now 1n high with 25cm of trunk.

Plants distributed by Decaisne to all points of France - Med Coast, Atlantic Coast.

M. Naudin me garantit Cannes et Antibes

In summary all these plants are still dwarfs - the only arborescent individual is at Osborne. The author thinks this is a miracle and will not last long.

Section on economic uses
Livistona chinensis R. Br. also produces an economically useful fibre in China


In all that has preceeded the author has presupposed that the Chusan palm is the same species as Chamaerops excelsa of Japan, and further that this last was of the same genus as Chamaerops humilis of the Mediterranean. Wendland contests both these points.
He proposes to establish a new genus Trachycarpus for the Chamaerops of the orient. With four species
T. excelsus (Chamaerops excelsa Thunb. et Mart) - the japanese tree
T. Martianus (Chamaerops Martiana Wall. Chamaerops excelsa var. Mart.) Himalaya and Nepal
T. Fortunei (Chamaerops Fortunei Hook. Bot Mag. 5221) Chusan Palm
T. Khasianus (Chamaerops Khasiana Griff in Calcutta Journal) Khasia India.
Genus Trachycarpus is closer to Saribus rumph. than to Chamaerops

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