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Re: Three questions

My apologies if this is a duplicate - I sent this response to Adam Black
and to the aroid listserve, which means that I should have received a copy
back from the latter as a subscriber, but I never saw it posted. This may
mean that there is once again confusion regarding which terminal I'm
sending from, even though my name and email accounts are the same on both.
Thought that this was resolved six months ago - anyway, this may just be a
glitch.  I did think that the ideas presented might be of some interest to
other folks on the list as well as Adam, so am resending below.  Again,
sorry if it is duplication.

At 9:04 AM -0600 1/7/01, Adam Black wrote:
>Any help with the following questions would be greatly appreciated.


I have no answer without research for Questions 1 and 2. However, regarding
question 3, I have two answers.

>Question 3:
>I would like to grow my epiphytes in my greenhouse epiphyticly, and would
>like to construct a tree using artificial and or natural materials. I am
>hesitant to use natural branches, as I am worried they will rot within a
>year or so. In the conservatory at Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Miami, I
>liked the way they constructed their bromeliad tree, which consisted of PVC
>"branches" covered with sections of cork bark.

The first answer is that the expense of cork bark is a relative thing -
when I last built epiphyte trees using cork, I started with a bale of small
tubes and a bale of large tubes, ordered at roughly $100 each from the
Maryland Cork Co. From the bale of small tubes I was able to successfully
reassemble more than half a dozen branches, several of them eight to ten
feet long. Using rebar (or pvc like they did at Fairchild) as a frame and
then adding structural strength by using the polyurethane-isocyanate
(expandable foam) you can make impressive branches that will last a long time
and be home to numerous epiphytes. (I used the bale of large cork tubes,
mostly broken in half and then "sewn" back together, to form the three foot
plus diameter of the tree.)

If even the large quantity of cork bark sounds like too much, look for
native or introduced "weed" trees in your area that are hard woods with
bark that doesn't immediately slough off. Sassafras is one good and fairly
well known possibility. Another possibility perhaps less well-known is the
osage orange or hedge apple (_Maclura pomifera_, a temperate member of the
fig family). Definitely not a true orange, with large green brain-like
round fruit and impressively spiney/thorny new shoots, older branches last
an impressively long time hung up with epiphytes - easily ten years or so
in many cases. Though for temperate trees in the fig family, this is the
only one I know with this character -- certainly the common mulberry trees
do not hold their bark like this once the brances are cut off.  Good

Jonathan Ertelt

Jonathan Ertelt
Greenhouse Manager
Vanderbilt University Biology Department
Box 1812, Sta. B
Nashville, TN  37235
(615) 322-4054

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