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Collect the seeds of Firmiana colorata!

May 9, 2010

A spectacular tree of the dry monsoon forests (jungles) here in northern Thailand is Firmiana colorata (Sterculiaceae/Malvaceae). It displays scarlet flowers on naked branches, and can be admired in March. These flowers are equally attractive to man and nectar-feeding birds. The other day my friend Sjon Hauser gave me a handful of fruits for propagation at Dokmai Garden. The fruits are very strange (see photo below), each just a thin papery envelope which the weakest wind can move, and attached to the margins of the envelope are the two seeds. I have never seen this plant in a Chiang Mai garden, but since it is well adapted to our dry climate and has gorgeous flowers and peculiar fruits, you should absolutely try to grow it if you find the seeds (see below).

Eric Danell

Fruit of Firmiana colorata carrying two seeds. The plants are available at our sales nursery – the Connoisseur’s Club.

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