A great fleabane... Erigeron scopulinus

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Kelaidis
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Joined: 2010-02-03
A great fleabane... Erigeron scopulinus

I can't think of a better Erigeron to launch this discussion than E. scopulinus, which is still relatively new both to science and cultivation in the broadest sense. This is not only one of the toughest, one of the daintiest and most beautiful of tiny mat formers, it is very rare in nature--only known from a few spots on the Mogollon rim of New Mexico and Arizona. It was introduced to cultivation by Sonia Lowzow, a remarkable woman and grower who lived in Showlow Arizona (Lowzow from Showlow was quite the tongue twister). I visited her in April of 1983 and was enchanted with the remarkable area she lived in: she could grow Meconopsis superbly, but lived not far from where Agave parryi has its northernmost colonies--truly an amazing place. She gave me my first E. scopulinus, and I know she shared it widely through her mail order operation. I doubt if the plant has ever been recollected since she first obtained a tiny piece. Interestingly enough, I do not know of anyone obtaining viable seed from it: I believe most erigerons are self fertile, or even apomictic. I would be curious if any of you have ever grown it from seed...

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

That sure is a lot better looking than the poor one we have at our MN arboretum.  I am 95% sure that this one was grown from seed by one of our Chapter members.  But I wonder who . . .

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Weintraub
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-24

Is there any information regarding exactly where Erigeron scopulinus grows? The Mogollon Rim covers a lot of territory! Arizona is one of my favorite places to botanize, and I'd love to find this little guy and either take cuttings or collect seed.

Although it would be great to bring some native material into cultivation, my motives are not completely altruistic. I killed it in my last rock garden but would like to try it again in more favorable conditions.

Barbara Weintraub
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
6700 feet elevation - high and dry
nominally zone 5b; i think it's closer to 6a

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Is there such a book as "Flora of New Mexico" or "Flora of Arizona"?  Sometimes these sorts of botany books (containing drawings, but not pretty pictures) may have examples of locations to view species.  I saw my first wild Primula mistassanica by searching an area listed in such a book.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

You may have trouble locating this Erigeron, Barbara, in the wild: it is very local and I believe it is listed as threatened if not endangered.

I vaguely recall seeing a distribution map somewhere: probably in a R and E listing somewhere, and there were few dots indeed.

It is so firmly established in cultivation there isn't much impetus to recollect it, although it's always interesting to compare cultivated and wild plants.

Our clone is fabulous: you must have it?

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

Weintraub
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-24

Used to have it! It died in my last sun-baked garden. I'll have a nice north-facing location for it in my new rock garden, which I will start building this spring.

Barbara Weintraub
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
6700 feet elevation - high and dry
nominally zone 5b; i think it's closer to 6a

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Barbara wrote:

Is there any information regarding exactly where Erigeron scopulinus grows? The Mogollon Rim covers a lot of territory! Arizona is one of my favorite places to botanize, and I'd love to find this little guy and either take cuttings or collect seed.

New Mexico Rare Plants web site:
http://nmrareplants.unm.edu/photolist.php

Erigeron scopulinus - info, photo, map
http://nmrareplants.unm.edu/rarelist_single.php?SpeciesID=77

E. scopulinus, more photos (these aren't very good and don't do the plant justice):
http://nmrareplants.unm.edu/rarelist_single_photo_thumb.php?SpeciesID=77...

E. scopulinus, web photos:
http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2968360350060887537cOnfqG
http://www.laporteavenuenursery.com/html/erigeron_scopulinus.html

The information on this page was compiled by Robert Sivinski, 1999.  Interestingly enough, there's a cute little fleabane named after Mr. Sivinski, E. sivinskii, published in 1991. 
Take a look:
http://nmrareplants.unm.edu/rarelist_single.php?SpeciesID=78
...additional photos (click on a small image, it displays in the larger image area)
http://nmrareplants.unm.edu/rarelist_single_photo_thumb.php?SpeciesID=78...

2010 BONAP Map locations for all N.American Erigeron species
(must be approx. 200 species, takes a couple minutes for all maps to download, or click on map for E. scopulinus that I downloaded from the site for faster access, posted here as fair use information).  What is interesting in this map, there seems to be an isolated occurrence of the species in Colorado!
http://www.bonap.org/dist%20maps%202009/Erigeron.html

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

RickR wrote:

Is there such a book as "Flora of New Mexico" or "Flora of Arizona"?  Sometimes these sorts of botany books (containing drawings, but not pretty pictures) may have examples of locations to view species.  I saw my first wild Primula mistassanica by searching an area listed in such a book.

Rick, there are indeed State floras, many of which are outdated but valuable nonetheless.  Almost all will be out of print, so can only be found in 2nd hand book stores, or by scanning the lists of used book purveyors, particularly those that specialize in natural history and botany areas.  Is used to be a nut about these types of "collectors" publications, and have purchased many in the past, although these days I'm looking to the web more and more.

For New Mexico, I have the Flora of New Mexico, by Wooten and Standley, Contributions from the National Herbarium Vol 19, 794 pages, 1915, a Smithsonian Institution publication.  Paid $24 for it.  Of course, the taxonomy is out of date, often poorly understood on some genera, often using different genera names of the times, but often the understanding on a genus is fairly strong and complete, with considerable detail.  I find these publications invaluable.

For Arizona, I have Arizona Flora, by Kearney and Peebles, Univ. of California Press, 1951, 1032 pages.  I paid $12.50 for this one, a steal!  I have used this tome over and over again.

Both books are text-based, no glossy photographs, or even drawings, but the information is there.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

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