caudiciforms

amdelange at gold.up.ac.za amdelange at gold.up.ac.za
Thu Mar 23 08:23:48 EST 1995


In article <nrop.12.005E2DED at primenet.com> nrop at primenet.com (Rod Northrop) writes:
>From: nrop at primenet.com (Rod Northrop)
>Subject: Re: caudiciforms
>Date: Wed, 22 Mar 1995 21:15:01 MST

>In article <jxuwfk at brunt.demon.co.uk> clarke at brunt.demon.co.uk (Clarke Brunt)
>writes:
>>From: clarke at brunt.demon.co.uk (Clarke Brunt)
>>Subject: Re: caudiciforms
>>Date: Sat, 18 Mar 1995 21:21:34 +0000

>>> Does anybody know how can I find a specialised catalogue of Caudiciforms
>SEEDS?
>>> I read in some mails the name of "ROWLAND", is it one of these? Can you
>give me
>>> the address so that I can order the catalogues?

Allow me to make some comments on caudiciform seeds.

I have been collecting and growing caudiciforms long before Gordon Rowley' 
magnificent book on them appeared - those days when only Hermann Jacobsen's 
Handbook of Succulent plants was available - those days when one was 
considered mad to even pay attention to them.

It is easier said than doing it when considering growing caudiciforms from 
seed. Many of these plants are long-lived and hence need to produce onle few 
seeds per year. As a rule of thumb many of them produce 1/100th of 1% of the 
seeds which cacti, mesems or asclepiads produce. For example, take the 
family bean family. One have the following remarkable caudiciforms:
Dolichos seinerii (5)
Elephantina elephantorhiza (50)
Erythrina acanthocarpa (2)
Erythrina zeyherii (5)
Neorautenenia ficifolia (5)
Tylosema esculenta (10)
In brakets I have given approximately the average number of seeds per year 
computed over a 10 year period which I could collect in habitat.  One 
finds for many years no seed, some years a few seed and once or twice 
in 30 years (the span of my interest in them) many seeds.  This year I have 
been fortunate in collecting a few hundred N ficifolia.  The reason was 
probably because we had an extremely cold winter (the worst in 80 years) and 
extremely dry summer (the worst in 60 years).

I can give similar examples for the grenadilla family (Adenia), grape 
family (Cyphostemma), etc.

I do not think one will ever succeed in maintaning a seed list for 
exclusively caudiciforms. It is simply a question of economics.  You will 
notice that merchants like Koehres or Rowland advertise many other seeds, 
which are usually available, and few 'high' caudiciform seeds, which are 
usually sold out. I once tried to maintain such a specialized list for a 
number of years, but collectors were simply overwhelmed by the 'high' 
prices. The reason was simply that I could not subsidize these prizes by 
selling other seed commonly available.

It is better for me to sow the seed myself. Thus, if they do not germinate 
that season for some strange reason (which often happenseven with me), I do 
not have a dissatisfied customer. For example, I once swopped 120 Adenia 
pecuelli seeds for 280 Adenia aculeata seeds. Of those 280 A.a. seeds, only 
6 germinated. I considered myself lucky because none could have germinated. 
Unfortunately, none of the 120 A.p. seeds germinated for the other person. 
And he was very mad at me, telling everybody that I have cheated upon him. 
Funny, then I must be cheating on myself. Once I also had 0% germination, 
although once I had 95% germination! The germination for A. p. seeds are 
usually 25%.

What I would suggest, is to try and produce your own seed of a few species 
difficult to produce. Then use that seed to barter them for seed of species 
with similar difficulty to obtain. Money simply cannot buy everything, 
even from seed dealers. Also make contact with collecters themselves and ask 
them for help, again using bartering as a lever.

Best wishes

At de Lange

amdelange at gold.up.ac.za



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