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Here's a pair of seedling ant plants I recently acquired. They are the "Mossman" form of Myrmecodia platytyrea native to Queensland, Australia.  I'll be repotting them shortly in individual pots in Orchiata orchid bark. These plants develop an impressive caudex if well grown.

Myrmecodia platytyrea Seedlings.jpg
Have any of you rock gardeners or alpine plant enthusiasts every grown Carlina acaulis from seed?  It's a neat looking plant - and that saying a lot for a thistle! They flowers are large and impressive for such a plant.

Anyway, I have some seeds and have tried a few times to get them to germinate without success.  One website suggests that cold stratification for 60 days may do the trick.  So, I'm taking their advice and I'll either sow the seeds a pot and place them in the fridge for 2 months, or place the pot outside on the patio while the temps are above freezing.

Or, should I put them in the freezer for 60 days or keep them outside even if the temps fall below freezing?

I hope I just don't have old seed.  But, when I look at the seeds on moist soil under a loupe, they are plump, covered with fine erect hairs, and look quite happy - they just won't germinate.

Thanks much!
There were many great posts to the PBS List about artificial lighting. Now we have a place to post and discuss that topic on the Forum.  I'll begin by listing some reference articles on LED lighting that were published in Orchids Magazine and were written by Kelly McCracken, who had a successful orchid growing business in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Kelly was able to grow and propagate orchids with low, medium, or high light requirements under LED lights in an otherwise unlighted warehouse at 5000 feet in elevation in an arid environment.  This is an impressive accomplishment and it highlights the potential of artificial lighting for plants, especially LED lights. Kelly makes a convincing and evidence based case for using a PAR meter (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) to adjust the PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density) for the type of plant you are growing.  Apparently, some LED fixtures available today are even dimmable.  PAR meters are pricey, but you get exact information that you can use and you don't have to guess how much red or blue light you need, what is the exact Kelvin rating of the lights you have, or endlessly adjust the height of the shelves for your plants.

You can obtain copies of these articles by asking your local public library to provide you with a pdf copy. After you obtain your copy, you can combine them into one file with a pdf editor.  Free pdf editors are available online. The final document will be about 12 pages long with a file size of approximately 18 mb.

2021/07 July ORCHIDS Magazine
·An Introduction to PAR and PPFD - Why You Should Forget Lumens: Part 1 of a Five Part Series on Light
2021/08 August ORCHIDS Magazine
·Let There Be Light! - Target PPFD for Orchids and Tropical Plants: Part 2
2021/09 September ORCHIDS Magazine
·Let There be Light - Part 3: Measuring Artificial Light Without a Quantum PAR Meter
2021/10 October ORCHIDS Magazine
·Let There Be Light - Part 4: Setting up Your LED Lights
2021/11 November ORCHIDS Magazine
·Let There be Light - Part 5: Spectrum and Photoperiod
Paramongaia weberbaueri (aka Giant Peruvian Daffodil) is a beautiful plant supposedly with forms that either grow in the summer or the winter, depending on the location and elevation of where the source plants were originally collected. I have been told by people growing these plants that the summer growing form "reverts" to a winter growing form in a few years.  Another person has told me that he has a plant that reliably starts growing in late August, but I don't think that this really classifies it as a summer growing form. 

Here's my question.  Is there anyone growing this plant that has a form that is reliably a summer grower? 

And my follow-up question.  Is there a commercial source for this summer growing variety?

Apparently, based on my communication with folks growing this plant in the USA, their summer growing forms (now winter growers) were originally sourced from Australia.

Here's the link to the PBS wiki site for this plant.

Finally, you'll note that the PBS wiki states that there is a Paramongaia superba Ravenna from Bolivia that is a winter dormant plant (summer grower).  The name is accepted by Kew.  However, I can not locate any instances of this plant in cultivation.

Thanks for your help.
Parakeelya primuliflora is a small geophyte of the Montiaceae Family found in Western Australia. It has nice, large purple flowers. This plant might make a nice container subject if it was brought into cultivation. An internet search turned up no sources for tubers or seeds. Has anyone seen this plant in cultivation?

Here's a link with photos from Bihrmann's Caudiciforms website.
General Plants and Gardening / Pelargonium boranense
September 21, 2023, 06:36:30 AM
Pelargonium boranense is a red flowering species pelargonium hailing from Eithiopia that was discovered in 1972. 

Does anyone know if this plant is in cultivation in the US?  My internet searches have turned up numerous websites for cultivation in the EU and UK, but none in the US. 

It has beautiful red flowers and it appears to like heat and humidity, and it grows in the summertime.  So, it should do well in my growing conditions.

Here are a few links about this plant with some nice photos of it flowering.


General Plants and Gardening / Erodium chrysanthum
August 29, 2023, 09:00:42 AM
Erodium chrysanthum is an evergreen perennial in the geranium family. It has attractive fern-like leaves and yellow flowers. It comes from Greece and Albania and appears to be cherished by alpine and rock gardeners. It is dioecious, so there must be a pollen parent and a seed parent to get seeds.

Interestingly enough, one site in the USA that sells these plants says that only male plants are available in the US.  I was wondering if anyone has been growing this plant in the US, UK, EU, or elsewhere and has both male and female plants and has gotten seeds.  I thought it a bit strange that female plants had not been imported into the US in order to get seeds produced.  

Here's the link to the provider of this plant in the USA.

General Discussion / Hypseocharis pimpinellifolia
August 24, 2023, 10:01:00 AM
Hypseocharis pimpinellifolia of the Geraniaceae family is a geophyte from Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru.  It has nice flowers, interesting foliage, and forms a large tuber.  It appears to be in cultivation, but this is not done widely. It may be more commonly grown in the UK and the EU.  A search of the PBS list yielded no results and an internet search yielded no sources for seeds or plants.  Searches of recent NARGS and AGS SXs were negative.
Has anyone grown this plant that can provide some advice on its cultivation?  Does anyone have any information about possible sources for plants or seeds?  If so, you can contact me at or by responding to the List.
Here's the link about is on the PBS Wiki.
Here's another link about it from the UK.
Thank you for your help.  I appreciate it.
Best regards,
Bern in Williamsburg
How bad is the energy situation in Europe now?  There are all kinds of dire predictions being published in the news in the USA about an impending disaster in Europe this winter due to energy shortages and prices, particularly for natural gas.  The only believable story I've read is from a letter published by the President of the International Euphorbia Society in their most recent journal.  He said that he has had discussions with members, presumably in the Netherlands, who have stated that they are concerned that they will not be able to afford to heat their greenhouses this winter and beyond. Is the situation really this bad for plant hobbyists with greenhouses?  What's really going on in Europe now with this situation?


Bern in Williamsburg, Virginia 
I have received from my local Library a pdf entitled: The Genus Griffinia Ker Gawler, by Kevin D. Preuss. It was published in Herbertia, Vol. 54, 1999 and is 15 pages long with some nice color photographs. The pdf is 5MB.  I would like to post it to the Forum, but I am unsure if it will upload a file this large. Is this something that the Administrators will allow and that the Forum membership would find worthwhile?  I presume that members would be able to download the file from the Forum, but I am unsure of this also.  Would David or Diane please let me know if this is AOK?  And, if so, is it able to be uploaded like a photo?  And finally, would you suggest which Forum area would be most appropriate for it?  Thanks for your help.

Bern in Williamsburg
I received the following email from a USDA plant and seed import specialist on April 28th.  I include it here to give PBS members in the USA with a USDA plant and/or seed import permit advance notice (in case you weren't already aware) that changes are soon to come.  The current ePermits system is being replaced with a new eFile system.  Amendments to the current system will soon no longer be allowed.  Furthermore, all permits will have to transition to the new eFile system in the fairly near future.  Hopefully the new eFile system will be easier to use.  The full text of the USDA email follows from here......
As a courtesy, I have processed your application P587-220424-001 and amended your permit (P37-20-02618). This permit is still active and expires on 10/13/2023. However, once ePermits is taken offline, you will no longer be able to Amend this permit.
Please be aware that ePermits has been replaced with our new and automated eFile permitting system. ePermits is being taken offline and will be decommissioned in the coming months; however, we don't have an exact date of when that will occur. Once ePermits is officially taken offline, stakeholder (such as yourself) will no longer have access to the system or be able to submit amendment applications into ePermits.  Additionally, our permitting specialists will also lose access and will not be able to process any submitted amendment applications within the older, replaced ePermits system. Currently, our specialists are no longer able to RENEW permits or issue NEW permits in the ePermits system. Permits that were issued in the older ePermits system are not available or accessible in the new eFile automated permitting system. Your permit will not transfer over to eFile.
APHIS recommends that applicants log into eFile and create a new account, if he/she hasn't already done so. Your eAuthentication credentials (current user name and password) should still be valid and the link to create a new account in the eFile system is as follows:  (Note: you should also see a link to eFile when you log into your ePermits account)
Once you have created your new account in eFile, you will be able to apply for a NEW permit for your future import needs (again, any permit that was issued in the replaced ePermits system will NOT be available or accessible in eFile). Permits generated and issued within eFile will be eligible for any subsequent and necessary amendments – as well as for Renewal, when eligible. We appreciate your patience while we are updating our customer service portal. Thank You.
For questions, please call 877-770-5990.
I would like to use my USDA permit to legally import some Tecophilaea corms, perhaps a dozen or fewer.  I have been unable to locate a source in the US that has them for sale this year. Can any PBS members living in the US recommend a source from which they have successfully imported these corms?  If not, do any PBS members living in other countries have knowledge of a source for these corms that will still export them to the USA?
I have done an exhaustive search for these corms on the internet and the only nursery that I can find that will still export them to the US as of this writing is Rare Plants UK.  Just in case Rare Plants changes its policy, it would be nice to know if there are other sources that I have not been able to discover via the internet.
If you would prefer to respond privately my email is:
Thank you for your help and suggestions.  I appreciate it.
Bern in Williamsburg
P.S. I will also post this to the PBS Forum.