Ebenus cretica cultivation and propagation

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Alice

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Re: Ebenus cretica cultivation and propagation
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2012, 12:33:27 AM »
Last year we had quite a few seeds from two of our Ebenus plants, so I am sure it is not a Cretan pollinator at work, though I have not noticed what creature frequents the flowers (will have to check in 2013). I don't know yet what the score is for this year.
I have also had success with the boiling water method - the seeds usually swell up overnight and germinate soon after. I have not tried this method on Ebenus seeds.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 12:05:44 PM by Alisdair »
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

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John

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Re: Ebenus cretica - summer watering?
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2012, 08:13:54 AM »
I would suggest you try it if you have enough seeds or just on a few as an experiment.
As for pollinators for some reason I assume it is bees which I may have seen. In places in the east of Crete Ebenus creticus can dominate certain habitats and on flat open ground.
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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Alisdair

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Re: Ebenus cretica - summer watering?
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2012, 09:27:40 AM »
An ISHS paper published in 2000 reported on a study of E. creticus pollination at the Heraklion Technological Educational Institute's farm. It concluded that natural pollination was by "bubblebees" - presumably bumblebees. When bees has free access to the plants, a high proportion of fertile seed was produced.
Interestingly, the study found that although self-pollination by wind or by hand shaking gave very few seeds, this was not because of self-incompatibility, but because it was not much good at getting pollen on to the stigma - when self pollen was placed on the stigma, seed was produced.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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John

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Re: Ebenus cretica - summer watering?
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2012, 09:46:07 AM »
Yes I would have said bumble bees I may even have a picture somewhere but finding it!
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

Alice

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Re: Ebenus cretica - summer watering?
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2012, 09:50:31 AM »
This is getting interesting - as far as we can remember we have never seen bumblebees on our land.
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

Alice

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Re: Ebenus cretica - summer watering?
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2012, 10:26:32 AM »
A quick search on the internet has unearthed some information concerning the propagation of Ebenus cretica. According to some researchers, 70-90% of seeds germinated without scarification in a commercial potting mix. Fifty percent germinated within 13 to 25 days, and temperatures of 25-30C, the presence of light and a pH of about 6 (slightly acidic) favoured germination. They also tried cuttings. The best results were obtained by wounding the base of 12cm-long shoot-tip cuttings and dipping them in a solution of IBA (1H-indole-3-butyric acid), 600mg/l, for 16 hours.
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

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Alisdair

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Re: Ebenus cretica - summer watering?
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2012, 02:42:35 PM »
Off topic, but....
In our porch here in UK we had a robin nesting this spring. Now that the fledglings have all flown the nest, it's been taken over by "bubblebees", so the porch now has a small but presumably growing colony of Bombus terrestris....
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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John

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Re: Ebenus cretica - summer watering?
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2012, 06:15:12 PM »
My favourite is Bombus lapidarius.
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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Alisdair

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Re: Ebenus cretica - summer watering?
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2012, 06:45:09 PM »
I didn't know you had a weakness for yellow facial hairs :D
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

David Bracey

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Re: Ebenus cretica - summer watering?
« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2012, 10:47:36 AM »
What`s wrong with us bubblebees.
MGS member.

 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

Joanna Savage

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Re: Ebenus cretica - summer watering?
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2012, 12:16:08 PM »
Thanks to Alisdair and Alice for tracking down  facts about 'E.creticus' seed setting. Now, I don't actually know what a bumble bee looks like. We have a very large glossy black creature that looks as though it would be from the Hymenoptera. Could this be a bumble bee? I don't remember seeing it on the Ebenus but I am now looking forward to next year to watch more critically.

I did try tip cuttings with hormone rooting powder last autumn. The cuttings didn't finally die until about May this year. No roots formed.

Alice

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Re: Ebenus cretica - summer watering?
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2012, 12:29:51 PM »
Joanna, the large black creatures could be carpenter bees (Xylocopa violacea). We have quite a few of them - black with a purple hue.
Pity about your Ebenus cuttings, though.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 01:05:49 PM by Alice »
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

Joanna Savage

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Re: Ebenus cretica - summer watering?
« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2012, 06:47:36 AM »
On July 30, when I was lamenting about no seed setting on Ebenus cretica, Alice told me about Carpenter Bees. One of the neighbouring plants which had been bombarded by pollinating insects was a Dorycnium hirsutum, and a principal bombadier was the Carpenter Bee. Yesterday I was cutting back dead wood from the Dorycnium, thinking that the drought had taken its toll, when, at the base of the dying stems I came across individual great fat white larvae eating their heads off until they almost filled the interior of the stem. Maybe these are the other part of the circle of the lifecycle of Carpenters.
So my net result is no Ebenus seed, but the plant is responding well to the recent rain, plenty of Dorycnium seed seems to have been set, but the plant is finished.

Alice

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Re: Ebenus cretica - summer watering?
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2012, 09:17:28 AM »
We returned to our Paros garden recently to find all four of our Ebenus cretica plants dead. Fortunately they had set seed. My observations agree with yours, John - very few fertile seeds per flower head, perhaps 10%. I gave 10 seeds the boiling water treatment (put them in a cup, poured boiling water over them and let them soak overnight), then placed them with moist compost in small transparent plastic bags. At this point I had to leave unexpectedly but on my return less than a week later, six seeds had germinated and produced roots ranging from one to five cm long. I have potted them up and they are storming away.
So the following are probably important factors in their germination:
1. soaking in hot water
2. presence of light
3. freshness of seed (I suspect very important).
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

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Alisdair

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Re: Ebenus cretica cultivation and propagation
« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2012, 12:10:37 PM »
I've changed the heading of this thread to give a better idea of what's in it now (was just "Ebenus cretica - summer watering?") - and I think it might be a good idea now to move it to the perennials section, as it's not really general cultivation.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society