Wednesday, 31 December 2008

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.

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