Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Exotic rescue

Deppea splendens, coffee family, native to Chiapas, Mexico. The sign at the Conservatory said: "The last stand of these small trees grew on a mountainside in Mexico. Now it's thought to be extinct in the wild."

In 1981 a botanist collected seeds of this plant and distributed it to some west coast botanical gardens. In 1986 when he returned to the site, it had been cleared. The plants were gone.

The Huntington Garden in San Marino, California was one of the institutions that received the seed, and this plant is growing in the Conservatory there today. You can read about it at this link.

It is a tender plant, good in mild climates or protected over the winter in greenhouses. Plants grown from cuttings are available to purchase at the Huntington's annual plant sales, at several nurseries, or even through Ebay.

Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Wouldn't it be fun to help keep such a beautiful plant from extinction? If you're a gardener, you might give it a try.

7 comments:

MAYBELLINE said...

I still haven't made it to the Huntington. Thank you for sharing.

Gilly said...

Reminds me of a news item yesterday - A Botanist employed at Kew Gardens in London (our national version of Huntingdon, I think!) was wandering in one of the tropical glass houses in his lunch hour and spotted a plant totally new to science, happily growing there!

Some plants are tougher than we think!

Have a lovely Christmas!

Nuno e Paula!!! said...

I would love to, but my 2 balconies are already filled with plants...
But they sure are beautiful!
:)

mo.stoneskin said...

Coffee family? Does it have beans?

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

How delightful - it looks like a plant straight out of Alice in Wonderland! I just adore exotic blooms - they're so...well...so exotic.

I don't think it would fare well in our New England winters. Some years we're lucky if the shrubs make it!

cactus petunia said...

Years ago, we lived in Alhambra and used to ride our bikes to the Huntington...we loved to photograph the desert garden and all the cacti ; )

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