04 August 2009

A brief update on living gesneriad collections at Selby

New Accessions for Selby

Thanks to Atlanta Botanical Garden, and numerous growers in The Gesneriad Society including Nancy Kast, Jeanne Katzenstein, JoAnne Martinez, Melissa McDowell, and Bill Price, Selby Gardens has a far more diverse collection of gesneriads than it did a year ago. These and other supporters have donated cuttings and sometimes whole plants to bolster the Gardens' collection for education and display.

Recently, Jeanne, Melissa and I, with the assistance of Gail McDaniel - Greenhouse Collections Horticulturalist, repotted and accessioned nearly 40 new specimens into Selby's living collection.

Newly accessioned gesneriads in Selby's living collection.


New accessions from expeditions

A recent trip by Selby Gardens scientist Wes Higgins (Guatemala 2009) has also resulted in new gesneriad collections in cultivation at Selby.

Columnea calotricha (Guatemala; Higgins, s.n.). Note the closed flower, despite being mature; this feature is characteristic for this species.

On my recent trip to the Solomons, sponsored by Dr. Anne Vidaver, I was able to collect live specimens of at least five different species of Cyrtandra.

Cuttings of Cyrtandra erectiloba (Solomon Islands; Clark 801). This species has pseudo-alternate leaves at maturity and attractive, white calyces and corollas that are born on the woody stems. This species seems to be growing rapidly and has readily rooted.

Cuttings of Cyrtandra subulabractea (Solomon Islands; Clark 805). This is one of two red-flowered cyrtandras I found growing in the Solomons.

I was also able to bring back seeds from the Solomons, many of which have successfully germinated.

Minute seedlings of Cyrtandra cf. cominsii from the Solomons. Note the small cotyledons of the dozens of germinated seedlings.


Existing accessions at Selby

Selby Gardens has maintained a collection of gesneriads since its inception back in the early 1970s. The facilities are often ideal for growing species requiring high temperature and humidity. Larger shrubs and tree gesneriads can also reach their full potential in the large greenhouses of the Gardens.

Sanango racemosum (Peru; MSBG 2004-0154).

Close up of S. racemosum flowers (Peru; MSBG 2004-0154).

This specimen was originally acquired by Harry Luther from Jerry Trowbridge. The two proceeding photographs were taken by Dr. Phil Nelson, Selby Gardens volunteer collections photographer.

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