Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Empetrum sibiricum: (Siberian Crowberry?) Kevin Tunison collected seed in Siberia and the plants have been growing in a sandy seed flat ever since

I wasn't there for the germination, but Stefan says the seed germinated readily. There are a handful of species but the only other Empetrum I know is Empetrum nigrum; Joan has several nice plants in the Northern Bog alongside the Fern Valley main trail. They are very similar in appearance the two species. Nigrum grows in peat bogs, usually farther much farther north than our latitude. Actually, the genus is mostly northern circumboreal with the exception of a montane species native to Chile. According to some accounts, Empetrum nigrum is circumboreal and has two subspecies; ssp.hermaphroditum with unisexual flowers and ssp. nigrum with bisexual flowers. Our plants are budded so we'll just have to look at those flowers when they open. Then we can compare our plant with descriptions of Empetrum sibiricum, if I can find a description. So far I've only got a name.

I guess my point is that the genus is cold adapted so that I worry about putting ours in the ground. I think I'll try one in one of the troughs on the terrace in the Court of Honor. They are nice little sprawling evergreen sub-shrubs and will fit in nicely if they can handle the heat. 

No comments: