Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Daphne species from Tibet

I got this Daphne from Heronswood (the real Heronswood of horticultural yore, not the current imposter in PA) as Daphne sp DJHC 98164. It was collected by Dan Hinkley near Dechen (Ch: Dequen or Deqin) in southeastern Kham, Tibet (Dechen and its surroundings were carved off from Tibet by China into a "Dequen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture within Yunnan Province) in 1998 at an elevation of over 10,000 feet. Once it starts flowering it continues until frosts stop it, and the white flowers are fragrant, especially in evenings, but they are not as strong as other white flowered shrubs such as jasmine. It is described in the 2005 catalogue as evergreen, which I am sure it is in Washington state, but here it tries in vain to hold onto its foliage as repeated winter cold assaults usually succeed in crisping the leaves right off the plant. They do regrow them in spring though, and the plant seems none the worse from winter wear. Attractive plump red berries with a single seed inside are produced though the summer and fall. The seeds can be removed and planted immediately to get new plants, but I have found that they need to be fresh, since dried seed dies. Even with fresh seed, dampoff is a threat, but I have a half dozen young plants growing well under lights inside right now. I will plant them out next spring in new locations at home and in the school garden. I have not been able to narrow down exactly which species of Daphne it is, but that does not detract in the least from my enjoyment of this modest, easy to grow small shrub.


Acantholimon said...

Incredible! I grow over 60 daphnes and none are anything like this: can we arrange for an exchange of populations? Do you do cuttings?

Love your blog.

geranios said...

I can send one of my seedlings (about 3-4 inches tall right now) which I have in pots indoors right now. I will send it when the weather is safer in spring. I can also send berries as they ripen periodically through the summer, they must be planted fresh, from what I have experienced. I couldnt figure out what species it is either, not as showy as some of the other daphnes, but so far easy to grow and nice in a more subtle way than some of its cousins are.