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Discussion Starter #1
Weird Monocots

I have been meaning to start a thread for discussion of unusual monocot plant groups/species and their culture and since there are other botany fans here this seems like a good place.

There are of course several large monocot groups that get lots of attention in tropical gardening (orchids, aroids, palms, bromeliads), but for this thread I have some of the smaller and more unusual groups in mind. Here are a few ideas..

  • Pandanus
  • Cyclanthaceae
  • Commelinales
  • Ruscaceae
  • Zingiberales

Some of these include potential viv selections as well as plants that can grow well as houseplants.

 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Wow that's an amazing specimen!

That plant reminds me of another odd group, the Smilacaceae. We have a few native temperate Smilax here, and I have also seen weird large jungle vines in the tropics.

Google: Smilax

When linking pictures from Google I think it is a good idea to at least include a reference with a link to the original page. If it's something in the public domain then it's a good idea to mention that too.
 

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I've been in the cactus and succulent business for a decade. I can just tell when a plant isn't nursery grown. Seed grown plants are more "perfect", they don't tend to have as much character.
 

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OK, so here's another cool winter-grower. Massonia depressa, growing between some rocks in my yard (bad phone pic :eek:). A South African member of the Hyacinthaceae (I'm not sure if this is still correct. Isn't eveything Asparagaceae now?), this is a xeric bulb that comes from winter rainfall areas. It produces 2 leaves (usually) each fall/winter that lay flat on the ground. The leaves vary in pubescence and pustule density. In late winter/early spring, for me, anyway, a very short, corymbose raceme of whitish or pink, 6 tepaled flowers sits like a golf ball at the center of the leaves. The flowers feature extended stamens, produce copious nectar and have a yeasty peanut butter scent. Supposedly, in habitat, they are pollinated by rodents. At the onset of hot weather, it goes completely dormant, the bulb resting a few to several inches below ground. It doesn't seem to mind some summer water, tolerating our monsoon (planted in VERY porous mineral soil).




Here's another one in a pot. This one is the biggest I've ever seen. Unfortunately, I lost it in a hard freeze last year :(
(a very poor pic)

 

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Discussion Starter #11
This afternoon I wanted to take a couple hours off to get away from all this SOPA stuff and news about shark finning and everything else and so I went over to our local botanical garden for some picture-taking.

I got a hundred or so shots and I hope a few will turn out. It is dark and shady over in the conservatory and my camera flash is fried so I had to just shoot with natural light.

I'll try to process some of these a bit later and post them up.

They have a few weird monocots over there.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yep it's pretty great I see something new every time I go.

I have these pictures here I just need to process them and post them up.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I decided to go for the Asplundia from the same seller.

I'm going to nick a sample seed for each one of these and if they don't look fresh I'll send them back for a refund.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Those Aspludia seeds never sprouted. They were tiny like dust.

I've been thinking about getting some new things for springtime growing project. I am mainly interested in unusual things to grow like patio plants in the summertime and houseplants through the rest of the year.

I'm going to place an order sometime soon with rarepalmseeds.net. They have some really weird plants in their catalog and this should be fun as a long-term project. I should be able to get a few things sprouted and growing, while I'm sure I will fail completely with a few others.

I am going to start making a list with review of their offerings. I'll begin with a long list, then whittle it down.

Beschorneria calcicola Beschorneria calcicola

Cordyline neocaledonica Cordyline neocaledonica

Cordyline sp. (Cyclops) Cordyline sp. (Cyclops)

...more later...
 

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ive looked over that site as well. never got around to pulling the trigger on an otder because i have too many projects going as it is. keep us informed.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
ive looked over that site as well. never got around to pulling the trigger on an otder because i have too many projects going as it is. keep us informed.
I'll try to take pictures when I get the seeds and to document progress with germination.

I looked at more pictures and that Beschorneria is kind of boring to me; it just looks like a small sisal agave. I have browsed some more and here's an updated list...

Cordyline neocaledonica

Cordyline sp. (Cyclops)

Flagellaria neocaledonica

Gahnia novocaledonensis

Hanguana malayana

Joinvillea borneensis

Scirpodendron ghaeri
 

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Ahh .... Beschorneria are cool. They are super easy from seed, come up like grass. Sure, that one does look a little plain, but has cool roots and can take it 20-30 degrees colder than Agave sisaliana.

I'm really glad this thread was resurrected. I've got some more cool stuff to share, will post pics later.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Ahh .... Beschorneria are cool. They are super easy from seed, come up like grass. Sure, that one does look a little plain, but has cool roots and can take it 20-30 degrees colder than Agave sisaliana.

I'm really glad this thread was resurrected. I've got some more cool stuff to share, will post pics later.
Thanks. Maybe I will consider a Beschorneria. That one that I linked with finer foliage is actually more attractive to me. What do you mean that the roots are cool?
 
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