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Plants in our sales nursery – Pterospermum acerifolium

June 23, 2010

Hey  – these flowers look like banana peel! These were the spontaneous comments when we saw a tall Pterospermum acerifolium (Sterculiaceae/Malvaceae) in Mae Khanin Tai, in the nearby national park Opkhan, Chiang Mai province. We saw the flowers on March 17. We returned later in May with slingshots to shoot down some fruits. After the trouble of finding it, identifying it, returning, shooting, going back and germinating the seeds, we proudly got three seedlings, of which one is for sale in our nursery. This may show the efforts we put into getting new species to Dokmai Garden. Sometimes five of us go away for a week, spending a week to track down a certain species, travelling 800 km, and then you can buy it for a fraction of the cost it took us to get hold of it. But, we have to admit, we have a lot of fun!

Eric Danell

The petals of Pterospermum acerifolium look like banana peel on the ground. When young on the tree they are white. Here they rest on an old leaf, and last year’s old woody fruit is nearby. The seed looks like a big spruce (Picea abies) seed with a prominent brownish-red wing.

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