Saturday, December 27, 2008

Adiantum reniforme

The species name reniforme suggests a kidney in outline.  This is a very unusual Adiantum.  It is found at 3 very separated locations. In Canary Islands, around the Three Gorges area in China and parts of Africa, Kenya, Tanzania to the islands off Africa like Madagascar and Reunion islands.  This points to an ancient lineage now widely separated deal to unsuitable habitat or effects of geological past.  Canary Islands flora evolved from extension of East African flora separated by the Sahara desert.  Its very isolated existence in China is particularly interesting. Surely, there must be a few suitable habitat between China and Africa that's comfortable enough for a fern during ice age.  

From a hobbyist perspective, it is a very small and compact growing fern.  The scaly, crispy or perhaps more aptly brittle texture of mature frond is distinctive. The fronds rattle like a windchime of thin seashells on a string. Its texture reminds me of Equisetum. Its internals filled with silica. I purchased this fern from a rooftop nursery at Ikebukuro Shopping Mall in August this year. Cost me 2000Yen!  Fortunately, it manages to grow well under tropical conditions. 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Deutorocohnia brevifolia

This miniature deserves to be more popular.  I often wonder why it is not part of cactus and succulent offering afterall some of the assortment offered can be rather slow growing plants.  This dry growing bromeliad originates from Argentina and Bolivia. It has been in cultivation for a long time, in particular in dry gardens of mediterranean climate.  I have seen it grown outdoors at Huntington BG in California. Hermann Jacobsen has it in his classic Lexicon of Succulent plants (a wonderful grandfather of succulent books for the hobbyist).  It detests wet or compacted mix and does best in a gritty and free draining media.  While each rosette is only around 1", it eventually offsets and forms a mould given good strong light, time and space.  Be sure not to accidentally brush against or fall in the pot, the needle sharp pointed leaves can really draw blood.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Impatiens cinnabarina

This small and delicate impatiens comes from Kimboza area, Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania.  Its habitat is limestone outcrops at low altitudes.  The tuber forming root system is probably an adaptation to survive occasional dry spells. This young plant of about 5-6 mths old just flowered for the first time.  There is a very distinctive blotch at the base of the lower united petals.  Unhappily, the flower last a short 1 day... maybe 2 days.  The picture was taken before i left for work and by evening the flower was on the floor. The broad slivery-green leaves are attractive too. I. walleriana is more rewarding as a flowering bedding plant... but if you want miniature and delicate beauty would recommend I. cinnabarina. It is one of the very very few smaller impatiens that can survive occasional drought.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Habenaria lindleyana

I wrote about this beautiful Habenaria lindleyana 1 year back. ( The parent plant featured went into dormancy in december 2007 forming 3 tubers. 1 big and 2 small tubers.  This second generation tubers have once again grown very nicely over 2008 and reward me with a beautiful crop of flowers!  Due to accidental neglect during a hot spell and an attack of spider mites, the bigger plant as aborted flowered and has since went into dormancy forming a new single tuber. Hopefully, i would be able to increase the number of new tubers and hence new plants for 2009.