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Re: callas, Z. aethiopica in particular

  • To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
  • Subject: Re: callas, Z. aethiopica in particular
  • From: Dan Levin <levin@pixar.com>
  • Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2000 13:10:15 -0600 (CST)


The Z.a. 'Hercules' (or 'Hercules Brother') were acquired directly from Western Hills
Nursery, in Occidental Calif.  Since I was the closest list member (60 miles), I bought
out their stock and did the distribution.  However that quest really began in search of
Z.a. 'Hercules' described as "gigantic in stature (6 ft.+) with white spotted leaves"; a plant
described in the records of Strybing over in San Francisco; and credited to the founders
of Western Hills who unfortunately are no longer around to shed any light on the matter.

I was promised at the time by the current owners of Western Hills their plain leaved plants
were in fact 'Hercules'- but without spotting.  However I seriously suspect they goofed in
their labeling somewhere along the line and we all ended up with generic aethiopica or
perhaps some other selection.  This initial doubt led to Ray tentatively penning the title
Z.a. 'Hercules Brother' here on aroid_L  I believe.
Since that time I inadvertently discovered what I think might be the "real" Z.a. 'Hercules'.
Happened to spy an old established clump growing up a gulch on the property of another
nursery in the immediate area of Western Hills.  This plant matches the original description
with huge spotted leaves to approx. 3 ft. in length and a total height of at least 7 ft. (!)
At first glance it looked like a large Colocasia or Alocasia and it made for a most imposing,
spectacular sight to be sure.  It seems credible that the true 'Hercules' could've changed
hands between local nursery owners once upon a time.  I'm still trying to acquire as much
of this plant as I can.  But silly me: I told the present owners of this nursery it was likely a
rare plant before attempting to purchase any (I had just stopped one of their workers from
clearing it out with a machete when first sighted, so had explained it's potential value).
Bad move.  They were then only willing to sell me one small piece for very much money!
I'm still trying to acquire as much of it as I can for my own yard and as trade fodder.

On a parallel note, I distinctly recall that in Tony Avent's entertaining talk at VIII IAC
mention was made of a trip to Calif. and finding someone's driveway lined with these
same huge spotted leaved Zantedeschias.  According to my notes, Tony said he'd already
acquired a bunch of the plants and had taken them back to his place for propagation.
Sure sounded like the same plant, in any case.  Did I get this right Tony?   Is this plant
something you've got coming out soon?

For my part, I'll propagate as much as I can but I'm no businessman (obviously) and my
only interest would be in circulating this puppy around to fellow enthusiasts by way of
trades or what have you.

 -Dan Levin

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