Lanaria lanata

Started by CG100, November 10, 2023, 07:01:45 AM

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Same question as with my other post about Xerophyta.

I have yet to see any germination, but has anyone succeeded from seed?


Have you seen this?
They recommend smoke treatment. I have never tried either of your plants in question.
The difficulty in growing these plants makes me think of a Gesneriad which does exactly the same: the seeds germinate (poorly) and never get beyond the cotyledons and take about a year to die. Sinningia canastrensis. Maddening. 
I was in the habitat of many Velloziaceae in Brazil but not in South Africa. They grow in pure quartz which is extremely poor in nutrients.
Maybe the seedlings need a symbiosis with bacteria or fungi? Have you tried mycorrhiza?
The highly specialized growing plants in the poorest of soils are often the most difficult to grow. We simply do not seem to understand the mechanism which delivers the necessary nutrients to them.
I recently spoke to a Brazilian orchid grower about that and he said that magnesium is the critical element for plants from very poor soils, he recommended perlite as a source for magnesium. I was not aware that perlite delivers magnesium.
I have recently read an article on a zeolite based orchid substrate called colomi. No personal experience with it. I suspect that the article was more of an advertisement for the product so wondrous were the effects described, even converting air nitrogen into plant accessible nitrogen. But maybe there is truth in it?
Just thoughts....
Algarve, Portugal
350m elevation, frost free
Mediterranean Climate


Thanks for the thoughts/comments, Uli.

This has been suggested as containing a lot of what are presumed to be important ingredients in smoke, in terms of triggering germination -

Colgin Liquid Smoke Natural Hickory 472 ml : Grocery

When I sowed the Lanaria, I let some damp leaves and grass smoulder in a small tin for a while and then put the fire out with water, and used that to water the seeds/pot. Nothing so far - several months.
I also have a bottle of the liquid smoke and used that more recently on the Lanaria - again, nothing so far.
I have also wondered about running a hot-air gun over some seeds, very quickly - far from easy to judge what temperature the seeds experience, but I could mix them into a little dy sand, put a thermocouple in that and take them to??? pick a temperature - 50C?? then quickly empty them to cool.
With Lanaria, I may try again early next spring, fresh seed.

If I remember, I'll try some liquid smoke on the Lanaria tomorrow.

Half a lifetime ago, I bought quite a few Protea and Leucodendron seeds, and used the Kirstenbosch smoke primer. The seeds all germinated well, but I have never tried without, so maybe the primer is good, maybe not???

Perlite? Magnesium? Unlikely, but never say never.......

Coverting atmospheric nitrogen to nitrogen available to plants - all legumes have bacteria in their roots that do that, so maybe someone has produced a culture for the bacteria?


Quote from: CG100 on November 10, 2023, 11:40:14 AMThis has been suggested as containing a lot of what are presumed to be important ingredients in smoke, in terms of triggering germination -

Colgin Liquid Smoke Natural Hickory 472 ml : Grocery
Supermarket smoke worked for some fire dependent California chaparral seeds. Smoke paper used as directed worked for some other smoke dependent seeds....which is not to say that I haven't had total failures regardless of treatment.

mmm...Lanaria lanata, yep, on the wish list.

Robin Jangle

I find that actual fire and smoke have a more pronounced effect than smoke water etc.

At Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden they pump smoke from a smouldering fire into a tent containing the seed trays. They don't use the smoke papers.

I use a large can (canned tomatoes) and punch holes through the side  for the lower third - to create a brazier. I make a fire with twigs and once burning fiercely I stuff the can full of dry leaves. I initially used Proteaceae leaves but later found that everything except conifers and pines worked. The smoking brazier is placed under a large container (I use an old aquarium) along with the seed trays/pots. I built a three tiered rack to accommodate numerous trays at a time. Leave the trays for an hour or two after the brazier has stopped smoking.

Remove trays and water. The combination of heat and smoke will guarantee success with viable seeds.


Thanks Robin - that sounds rather extreme, but easy enough to achieve and if it produces results consistantly, what's not to like?  :)

Any idea, even very roughly, how warm things get in the tank?

Robin Jangle

It doesn't get particularly hot - I've never had any issues with plastic seed trays.

It's very important to stuff the brazier with leaves. You'll know you got it right when the smoke is yellow. If it's white then it is burning not smouldering.

I'm not sure if smoke treatment is the germination cue though. The seeds have the look of soil-stored seeds that germinate after the vegetation is cleared. In some pyrophilic taxa it would appear that the significant soil temperature fluctuations (between night and day) are more likely the cue. This is particularly true of large soil-stored seeds that are stored by rodents or ants. I have seen Willdenowia germinate from deep in an ant colony after the ground was cleared. Same for Leucospermum after a fire break was cleared.

I think a combination of acid scarification and significant temperature fluctuations could actually work well. I have found that I can germinate winter-growing Proteaceae in summer by placing the seed trays in a refrigerator at night thereby reproducing the temperature fluctuations that are experienced in autumn in the Western Cape. If you experience difficulty germinating winter growers then this method works for almost everything.


I am pretty sure that I tried temperature swings with Lanaria last winter/spring, but I can't be certain.
I set up a soil warming pad on the greenhouse bench on a timer, so 20+C during the day but greenhouse temperature at night - 5-7C. I checked compost temperature in pots and they reached 15C or so above greenhouse temperature when the pad was on.
In our autumn/winters, with cloud-cover being so variable, daytime max. greenhouse temperature can vary 10C to low 30'sC with no heating, all down to the sun.

I need to try things with some fresh seed........


Just to whet the appetite for more of broadly similar plants to Lanaria and Xerophyta, sort of - try Dilatris corymbosa.

I currently have a potful of seeds on the greenhouse bench......................

All of these three are freely avaialable as seed, albeit most especially from RSA suppliers, although my latest sowing of Xerophyta came from Germany.

Robin Jangle

Acid scarification and significant temperature fluctuations should work. These seeds probably survive underground between fire intervals of five to 30 years. That hard seed coat gradually deteriorates and then the bare post-fire soil bakes hot during the day and cools significantly at night.

I would definitely include acid scarification.


Quote from: Robin Jangle on November 12, 2023, 02:56:43 AMI would definitely include acid scarification.

That is something of a lottery - how long for, and also sourcing an acid, apart from vinegar.
I may spend a while with some emery of a fine cut file - far more laborious, but in some ways simpler.
A stone-polisher/rumbler/tumbler would be ideal, with sand or emery powder.

The seeds are extremely shiny and seem to be very hard. At least they are a reasonable size.

Robin Jangle

Hydrochloric acid.

I've never grown it - it's just a part of the vegetation that's just there after a fire.

Instead of acid try putting it in a bottle with sharp sand and shake it up for a minute or so. That always worked with Searsia (ex southern hemisphere Rhus). Basically deteriorate the seed coat and reproduce years of soil dormancy (or in the case of Searsia, a bird or baboon's gut).