Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ribbonwood Propagation

Euroschinus falcatus
Mick’s comment on the “Toowoomba trees” article included the remark about how difficult he found them to propagate.
I notice that Steve Plant always has them for sale at the Crows’ Nest Community Workshop, so I asked him about it.
He tells me, Mick, that VERY fresh seed is the secret. The trick is to pick them from the parent tree when they’re very ripe (black and squashy), to wash off the flesh, and to plant them the same day.You can expect results in less than a week
He removes the flesh by putting the seeds in a plastic bag and giving them a good squashing, then putting them in a kitchen strainer for washing and picking over to remove anything that isn’t a seed.
HOWEVER, there is an added problem that some trees  have whole crops of fruits whose seeds have no embryo, which may be your problem. These fruits never do ripen to the squashy stage. I don't know why. It may be that they are not near enough to another tree of the same species, flowering at the same time, for cross-pollination to occur. Or it may be that we have careless lost the pollinating insect species from some areas. If this is the trouble, the only solution is to search for trees with better seed.

Incidently, the seeds are flat like the seeds of mangoes to which they are related.
Here’s another photo of a lovely ribbonwood, this one on private property in Hiwinds Road, Mt Kynoch. As you can see, it was once a bigger tree, but had an encounter with lightning some years ago. I doesn’t so much destroy its beauty as give it character, does it?

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