Fargesia dracocephala

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johnw
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Re: Fargesia dracocephala

Post by johnw »

I think we've gone full circle back to F. nitida. Scottish Bamboo sahould be able to clarify that unless they are basing their online F. dracocephala description on nitidas mistakenly shipped as "dracocepahala-apicirubens".
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Re: Fargesia dracocephala

Post by iain »

I have asked Scottish Bamboo and they say: "I would say def fargesia dracocephala. The culms will be olive green near base with purplish / burgundy near the tips."

Do not the developing culms of nitida produce leaves in their second year?
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Re: Fargesia dracocephala

Post by johnw »

Did you ask if by F. dracocephala they mean F. apicirubens?

The leafing new culms is a good point but we've seen juvenile nitidas produce leaves on new culms! See photo.

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Fargesia nitida seedling Halifax-20120806-01321.jpg
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Re: Fargesia dracocephala

Post by iain »

Hi John, I did not ask them that explicitly, but I did mention the name change. They showed me a couple of photos and I tried to upsize them for inclusion here but the quality was bad. On the leafing out, I should have guessed! I have only been here for a short time but, boy, have I learnt that I know nothing (about bamboo).

On a side note, I have just taken possession of a F. dimissa 'Gerry' (At least, I hope that's what it is :shock: ) It is too hot to plant out. It is rehydrating in a bucket.
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Re: Fargesia dracocephala

Post by johnw »

Iain - We're all in the same boat, or should I say the dark, when it comes to bamboos Old name vs new name, juvenile vs adult features vs in flower, mislabelling, renaming after flowering and so it goes. It's a steep learning curve and in the end most is by pure gestalt.

I wonder if what you have is a British selection of apicirubens that has not been named or published. I say this as the only apici I know is a variegated one called 'White Dragon', the rest of the seedlings from the late 80's seem to be a rather lacklustre crowd compared to the F. robusta selections.

Have a look at the apicirubens in the photo section of this site. The first photo has purple culms if you click on it and it's posted from the UK!

http://www.bambooweb.info/ShowPictures. ... ton=Search

F. demissa 'Gerry' was voted best bamboo of 2016 by the German EBS so you got a winner.

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Re: Fargesia dracocephala

Post by Markj »

After reading about 'White Dragon'- I've just remembered that I planted one out a few years ago, gawd knows what happened to it but I haven't seen it for a good few years :?

Will have to have a good search around tomorrow to see if theirs anything left - although I'm not exactly sure where I planted it.....!
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Re: Fargesia dracocephala

Post by johnw »

Mark - Hope you find it, must be rather obvious if it's about. Like an idiot I was offered one free in Oregon when it was first discovered. I thought the sp. was iffy and all said Dragon was a very cranky and perhaps even more tender, it could revert as well so I passed. In my defense my suitcase was probably already bulging.

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Re: Fargesia dracocephala

Post by iain »

johnw wrote:Have a look at the apicirubens in the photo section of this site.
Thanks for your post. I have had a look but, unfortunately, the photo is not good enough to compare in any detail. We are experiencing hot weather at the moment (77F or thereabouts) and I have had to protect the plant as the garden is south facing and the young leaves seem to scorch. I think I will have to move it. I have protected the dimissa, too, it being a young plant newly planted. Anyone any experience with F. dimissa 'Gerry'?
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Re: Fargesia dracocephala

Post by wind-borne »

As I have no personal experience I had refrained from joining in :lurk:

On the other hand, the British book from 2006 Ornamental Bamboos does describe dracocephala as then known. “The seedling clones in cultivation vary slightly in terms of their culm coloration; some have a wine-purple tinting in their upper parts, while others are more yellowish green,”
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Re: Fargesia dracocephala

Post by Chris S »

I have kept quiet because I find it very interesting to see how others look at bamboos, and the characters that they find most noticeable, or most useful, for separating and recognising their plants. These may not be the same as the characters that botanists use to separate and describe them, especially when the critical characters are small or deciduous.

Some botanists use flower parts when choosing a name for a new species, from some obscure character like the number of veins between the keels on the palea. I have always preferred vegetative features, especially those of the culm or culm sheath, hence annulatum (ring of hairs at the node), asper (rough culm sheath), porcatus (ribbed culm), planatus (level, un-ribbed culm), fimbriatus (comb-like culm sheath ligule), cupreus (coppery culm sheath cilia).

For this species however, there are no really distinctive features. The leaves are broad in the middle and rolled up at the edges like robusta, with long tips like murielae and robusta, culm sheath hairs are basally dense though fewer than robusta or the real dracocephala (aka rufa) and less deciduous than nitida, which has quite dense hairs at first. Just like denudata there are no auricles or oral setae, but of course it doesn't have the thin crinkly leaves of denudata.

The only thing I could see that was unique and distinctive in this species was the way the tips of various parts became red, the tops of the internodes, the tops of the sheaths, even the ends of the leaves sometimes. Now reddening of plant parts is usually a response to the environment. The red colour is caused by production of anthocyanins after UV radiation, and their development is a protective reaction to strong sun, like our own melanin production. The danger is apparently build-up of acid as a consequence of excess CO2 production, as the stems, unlike the leaves, do not have
abundant stomata for ventilation, nor the ability to curl up, or to fall off and regrow next year. That may be why we get red culms but sadly no purple leaves in bamboos. There are various hypothetical ways in which the red pigment protects, in plants red is better at reflecting the red light that the plant normally wants for phytosynthesis, thus slowing it down. Anthocyanins also have antioxidant action of course, to deal with any unwanted products of UV light, which is why it is healthy to eat blueberries.

I hesitated about using a character influenced by the environment that may only develop fully in the sun, but I thought I would bend over backwards to help people recognise and identify this species.

apicirubens is from apici (tips) + rubens (becoming red)

How ironic that this very character may have caused some difficulty in identification, and that it has developed best in rainy old Scotland, most of which is not exactly famous for its intense sunshine!

As for names and descriptions in nurseries and on most commercial retail websites in the UK, well I can only pull my hair out. You can take a horse to water... Yesterday I noticed Tesco had some 3l (1 gal) bamboos, so for amusement I had a look to see what misidentified name they were using this time, and found they had actually got their identification technically correct for once, but only because the large and pretty label simply called them 'Bamboo'.
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Re: Fargesia dracocephala

Post by Chris S »

Fargesia apicirubens 'White Dragon' is stunning when in the shade. The variegation is perfectly stable, but is only seen on the first leaves each year. These do not like the sun at all, and will wither and fall after a few weeks of sun, leaving the clump all green, but in the shade they last much longer. I moved mine into deep shade and it has a unique glow. I have lots of plants of this stunner to trade or sell.
DSC_8434 LR sm.jpg
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Re: Fargesia dracocephala

Post by iain »

Hi Chris, Thank you for a most interesting and informative post. My impulse in posting the images and creating this thread was merely to share in the beauty of the plant. I never expected the thread to take legs in the way that it has. It has been most enjoyable.

'White Dragon' looks perfect in that position. I have yet to create shade in this garden :lol:

Speaking of supermarkets carrying bamboo, I purchased a really nice P. nigra from Morrisons.
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Re: Fargesia dracocephala

Post by johnw »

Checked my F. apicirubens and indeed the upper stems and branchlets are purple but not a hint of purple lower down or on leaves. The plant is facing north but gets setting sun from about 4pm to dusk. I wish I could compare it with my other 2 or 3 but they're 4 hrs. south. The biggest there is in full exposure.

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Re: Fargesia dracocephala

Post by iain »

I would like to see how it has dealt with full exposure. The one here in sunny Central Scotland hasn't read T.J. Meredith's description on its sun tolerance, in his Pocket Guide, "The dense, dark green foliage leaves do not curl in the sun and heat like many others of the genus."
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Re: Fargesia dracocephala

Post by johnw »

In our south my Fragesia apicirubens (in various years, first photo is aother clone, the rest another) are in full exposure but keep in mind it's a cool climate, very mild, 120 days of fog a year, late afternoon and evening mists - very Scottish. Seed ex Max Riedelsheimer late 1980's ex Daba Shan in Shaanxi.

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Fargesia apicirubens ex Dabashan #2, Shaanxi as dracocephala) - MI - DSCN9510.JPG.jpg
Fargesia apicirubens Dabashan #2 Argyle-20130521-03362.jpg
Fargesia apicirubens Dabashan #2 .jpg
Fargesia apicirubens ex Dabashan - Brett - DSCN8815.JPG.jpg
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