[Please note that I wrote this in 2004 as an article in the HPSO Bulletin. A recent FB posting has prompted me to revive/revise and repost it here.]
The emerging shoots are clothed in very colorful sheaths.
Phyllostachys spp. all have two branches at their nodes. I prune these off between 4′- 6′ up on the culm to better show them off, at the same time that I thin out the spindly and oldest, least colorful canes. This is done after the fragile new shoots have been hardened with silica and lignin.
These three are of Phyllostachys aureosulcata ‘Spectabilis’, a ‘reverse’ form of the Yellow Crook Stem Bamboo…reversed because in this form the sulcus, the groove, is green while the rest of the internode is yellow.
My first significant relationship with a bamboo,15 years ago, (this was the summer of ’89 when we moved into our current home) was a fatal one. Phyllostachys aurea, Golden Bamboo. I had heard all of the usual stories, yards lost, asphalt heaved and cracked, good neighbors gone bad. Our new house confronted me with several problems, that I knew would get worse if I put them off. It was another example of a homeowner picking the wrong plant for a screen, or failing to take the precautions to contain it. With my limited knowledge and biases I had no doubt about what I needed to do. I got my shovel and chased every rhizome down. I was thorough and a good hunter, none survived. Continue reading →
Specious (?) Speculations on Species
Iris x pacifica ‘Tanus’. This is a hybrid Iris of species know collectively as series ‘californicae’, a group of Iris endemic to the Pacific coast of the US, primarily California, some very localized, with several occurring north through Oregon, and one, I. tenax, all of the way to the Puget Sound area of Washington. These species obviously can be crossed. Their form shows the distinctive tri-partite structure of a classic Monocot, in Genus Iris taking this particular form with 3 ‘falls’, 3 stamen and stigma structures angling out from the ovary at center, across the brightly colored ‘signal’ on each fall and the 3 more upright ‘standards’.
I do not recall from high school biology how an individual species was defined to us in our text or class, nor do I in my college Zoology 200 series. All that I have is a general understanding that it is a select population with a shared, narrow, range of physical characteristics, in the case of plants, best determined by their floral or reproductive parts, that is able to reproduce stable offspring with the same range of characteristics. Webster’s defines species as:
“a category of biological classification ranking immediately below the genus or subgenus, comprising related organisms or populations potentially capable of interbreeding, and being designated by a binomial that consists of the name of a genus followed by a Latin or latinized uncapitalized noun or adjective agreeing grammatically with the genus name” Continue reading →