Watsonias & fire.

Lee Poulsen wpoulsen@pacbell.net
Tue, 23 Aug 2005 16:37:28 PDT
This was discussed a little over a year ago (July 9, 2004 and August 1, 
2004; I don't know how to reference the wiki archives) when it was 
reported that some Australian researchers had isolated the exact 
chemical in smoke responsible for triggering germination and were 
beginning the process of making it available first to commercial 
growers, then later to us ordinary gardeners. Rachel Saunders also 
pointed out that there are filter paper disks impregnated with smoke 
water available in South Africa. I found them for sale at Kirstenbosch 
when I was there a few years ago.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena area, California, USDA Zone 10a

On Aug 22, 2005, at 2:56 PM, John Bryan wrote:

> Dear Gary:
> You might be correct regarding the 'smoke' question. I heard about it
> when at Kirstenbosch one time, perhaps 7-9 years ago. It was explained
> to me that several South Africans wished to find out the temperatures
> during a fire, then found that certain areas were not burnt at all. 
> This
> lead to a series of tests and it was found it was the smoke that did 
> the
> trick. The speed at which the plants respond is quite amazing. A field
> of Pillansia templemanii came into flower just a day or two after a 
> fire
> had swept through the area. I was fortunate to see this near Hermanus
> just along the coast north of the Cape. Cheers, John E. Bryan
> Gary wrote:
>> Dear John et al,
>> Many plants have evolved to require special conditions to bloom, set 
>> seed, and especially to sprout the seeds.  Smoke exposure techniques 
>> were developed, I believe, in Australia a number of years ago due to 
>> the fact that many outback plant seeds were reluctant to sprout under 
>> normal circumstances.  I found that Billardiera seeds if not fresh 
>> will grow with this method.  It is a standard practice to treat seeds 
>> of Proteas this way.
>> A good site that explains fire and smoke requirements for some north 
>> American plants is at  
>> http://nativeplants.for.uidaho.edu/Content/…
>> Gary in Hilo, HI

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