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sagiXsagi

I found a relic Ephedra distachya population in my area, recently damaged from fire

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Posted (edited)

Its ironic when a 'exotic' plant you have devoted passion into growing, turns out to occur  near where you live. but at the end its all really funny and lucky...Well while 3 species, foeminea, distachya and nebrodensis (2 ssp) are reported from greece, I really thought distachya distibution was limited to the few undisturbed  costal regions in north greece while it hit me! 

 

I feel really lucky.. because while I was chatting with a new botanist friend, and talking about valencian distachya and central asia distachya, wanting to show him north greece distachya  pics I knew I could find from greek fb groups, I found a  set of pictures that def seemed distachya from 2018 I didnt remember next to an asphalt road (a new one at that)  .. and it was a guy from my region.. so I sent him a message - was he really in my region??  and the kind dude gave me enough hints for me to get to the spot... ! 

 

Long story short,  this is again, like all ephedra habitats in my region and propably all greece and maybe even all the ephedra euro zone  of greece-italy-spain ,  a remanant , relic population.  So this particular remnant  population seems to come from when this use to be a real delta .. delta in the rivers sense..  lots of river material and river round stones... Which is one of the typical habitats of distachya in greece.... At once this population in my opinion is of immediate danger.. but thats another story... 

 

the dude that gave me the locations also told me the place had been burnt in recent fire and that he doubt the plants wouls survive, but he told me there are several ephedras in the area.. I was still sceptical then .. 

 

so yeah, I went and (lucky first??)  I parked and found the first plants , baked from summer 2021 fire, but when I checked the biggest ones more, I saw they were resprouting. I was immediately happy the plants seemed to have survided the fire, and went on to walk more.. I found pieces of plot that hadnt burn thus I saw several patches of the plant unharmed...  there are some really fucking old plants there, and I am sure some of them burnt... but because distachya is a sucker plant,  I seems like a pretty firer resistant plant to me .. 

 

and thus , not only I now have a real distachya habitat to explore, but I have the opportunity to do a case study about how it recovers from a fire too!

 

cheers to everyone!!!! 

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Edited by sagiXsagi
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Posted (edited)

congratulations to this exciting find!

i hope in good time you can upload a couple of pics, so we can get more of an idea, of how it grows.

 

i wonder if the rocks, provide good drainage to this plant, and if they even provide some form of protection from fires.

as you say, it loves to sucker, and i agree that this habit, would also make it to be able to re generate, after fires.

ephedras are one of my favorite plants, and i admire that those living fossils, managed to cultivate sea shores, deserts and alpine ground.

 

i could easely see, that ephedras were as well distributed by humans, for a very long time, as it's a very usefull medicinal plant.

 

i once posted here about the ephedras at kew royal botanical gardens, and the posibilety, to test chew a variety of species there.

some people believe, john smith the founder of the mormons, dosed up too high on ephedra, and as such got his messages from the angel.

 

Edited by withdrawl clinic
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I will be documenting how the plants recover from the fire and providing pictures for sure.  For now here are some more. 

 

I am not sure if the rocky  river origin material can help with the regeneration after fire. Many mediteranean shrubs come readily after  fires and I think so does distachya.. What was impressive to me is that the plants didnt seem to have burnt, just baked and stayed in place as they were.. or so it seems... 

 

One thing is for sure, these types of coastal rocky delta formations  seem to be one of the typical habitats for the species.. at least in greek ecosystems... which is a type of habitat that seems to become increasingly rarer...  another type of distachya habitat is sanddunes.. 

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What did you do to your hand?

 

Beautiful plants, they look healthy to me. Doesn't look unlikely that they will survive the fire.

 

I've found Ephedra growing on the cliffs of Verdon Gorge, not sure of the species; perhaps E. fragilis? Found another species, a scrambler, in Geyikbayırı in Turkey. Like so much of Europe, both were rocky limestone areas. All the species I've found in Central Asia, northern India, Nepal, and Morocco have preferred rocky locations. Same goes for the US.

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what a beautifull area, with flowers and cypress pines...

all the ephedras on your pics are very small, obviously regrowth after a fire (or fires).

i would look now for, plants which did not had to endure fires, an ephedra of your kind grows up to 2m tall after 15 years.

 

btw, i am seeking e. sinica seeds, i grew once a plant and it flourished but got killed, by an overly zelous lawmover operator (me).:BANGHEAD2:

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On 06/03/2022 at 1:00 PM, tripsis said:

What did you do to your hand?

>> medium grade tenontitis in both hands :) 

 

I've found Ephedra growing on the cliffs of Verdon Gorge,

fragilis is a good guess 

turkish scrambler should be foeminea or more unlikely aphylla

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20 hours ago, withdrawl clinic said:

all the ephedras on your pics are very small, obviously regrowth after a fire (or fires).

i would look now for, plants which did not had to endure fires, an ephedra of your kind grows up to 2m tall after 15 years.

i do not agree. distachya never gets that tall, and some of those plants are pretty old, though the pictures arent that good.. the very round one yeah that must be a huge sucker that grew after the fire... in any case I intend to explore the area more to study both the population and the regrowth.... but like a said, distachya are a short plant... 

 

20 hours ago, withdrawl clinic said:

btw, i am seeking e. sinica seeds, i grew once a plant and it flourished but got killed, by an overly zelous lawmover operator (me).:BANGHEAD2:

I am having a 3rd sinica flowering and I hope this time its a female! 

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Posted (edited)

i got 3 plants, one is tall and is certainly an e. major.

the other one is very tall as well, and the seed came from spain, maybe a fragilis the facilitator said, but could be distachia, he said.

if size rules out this beeing, a distachya, than that helps me with a correct id attempt.

does fragilis grow tall?

Edited by withdrawl clinic

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Posted (edited)

Ephedra are notorious for being hard to identify to species, so to know for certainty the source location of the seeds is a very important factor for ID purposes. Spain has all you mentioned: distachya, major and fragilis. All 3 species are relatively easier to cultivate, and notably faster than say american or asian species. 

 

This having been said, I regard distachya as one of the easiest to ID, and yeah its a plant that doesnt grow much in height, it grows horizontally through suckers, so woody trunks are a rare occasion on very old plants. Distachya has also a characteristic female fruit formation and its natural habitats , especially the coastal ones make it realatively easy to ID, especially when in fruit. 

 

Now, major and fragilis are another cake: they keep changing positions in the phyllogenic charts of the last 15 years papers and the major (pun intended)  2021 paper on the subject doesnt resolve open ends, it rather concludes that more research should be done. In any case, major and fragilis are very similar plants morphologically, leaves and scales seem to be identical, seeds are of the same type and growth is of the same kind, erect and their reproductive organs also seem very similar. Their main difference seems to be that fragilis grows much taller than major with fatter branches. There are some indications that fragilis seems to also tend to grow suckers from near the base of the plant , while this is not reported for major.  I also assume that fragilis grows notably faster than major, and I think I remember Torsten pointing out the difference in plant vigour comparing the two. The fact that the two forms (species)  are reported to grow in sympatry  (both forms in the same habitat) in spain doesnt make things easier, but still spanish botanists insist they can tell one from the other.. You dont hapen to know the exact location your seeds were collected in spain , do you ???

 

So, it seems to me that having seen the plants in their habitat seems to play a major (pun intended, again!) role in the understanding of each species, especially if said species has lookalike species nearby. Habitat plants of the same species can vary dramatically, as most or even the vast majority are very old plants and remnant populations. Culivating from seeds of known species can also contribute such knowledge, but one should remember  cultivated plants and habitat plants can look a lot different. But I am assuming that taxonomic infos and data can be obtained by both activities , that is visiting habitats and growing different species from seed side to side. 

 

I have grown several plants of the fragilis / major type in the past, and because I discounted the species status of fragilis back then (not without good reasons), I lost the tags, so I practically do not know which of my plants are major and which fragilis. I am now in the begining of another wave of studying ephedra

 

I remember you saying your plants dont make cones at all, am I right?? 

 

 

Edited by sagiXsagi

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Posted (edited)
On 14/03/2022 at 2:14 AM, withdrawl clinic said:

i got 3 plants, one is tall and is certainly an e. major.

the other one is very tall as well, and the seed came from spain, maybe a fragilis the facilitator said, but could be distachia, he said.

if size rules out this beeing, a distachya, than that helps me with a correct id attempt.

does fragilis grow tall?

 

It would be extra cool for me if you showed detailed pictures, especially since your plants  seem to be  major and fragilis , so a real side by side comparison would be awesome...  5 pics per plant would be cool! things we are searching is:   

1)  woody trunk ,  how many main trunks, are the branches the same width? 

2) does one do suckers near the base  while the other  branches from the woody base  ??  

 

Edited by sagiXsagi

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sagi, i will have a look, but pics are difficult for me, and last time years ago, i got an upload error.

but i will try.

one thing i know without inspecting the plants, is they have a different colour and different habit of young growth, major has straight leaves (are the called leaves?) and the suspected fragilis slighly bend (sicle shaped).

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On 19/03/2022 at 3:36 AM, withdrawl clinic said:

sagi, i will have a look, but pics are difficult for me, and last time years ago, i got an upload error.

but i will try.

one thing i know without inspecting the plants, is they have a different colour and different habit of young growth, major has straight leaves (are the called leaves?) and the suspected fragilis slighly bend (sicle shaped).

 

pictures have to be less than 1 MB in size to be uploaded

yes they have leaves, temporary leaves which wither and die and leave 'scales' in the notches 

which are aften characteristic for the species, generally speaking 

 

or PM me and we talk via email 

 

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On 19/03/2022 at 1:42 AM, sagiXsagi said:

 

It would be extra cool for me if you showed detailed pictures, especially since your plants  seem to be  major and fragilis , so a real side by side comparison would be awesome...  5 pics per plant would be cool! things we are searching is:   

1)  woody trunk ,  how many main trunks, are the branches the same width? 

2) does one do suckers near the base  while the other  branches from the woody base  ??  

 

1, many and some suckers emerged just 30 cm away from the original plant, this plant i think is fragilis and it has a bluish color.

2, both plants sucker away from the original seedling, but the major does sucker even meters away from the main plant. it's more greenish in color.

 

i have removed many suckers, i hope to upload a pic in given time.

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17 minutes ago, withdrawl clinic said:

1, many and some suckers emerged just 30 cm away from the original plant, this plant i think is fragilis and it has a bluish color.

2, both plants sucker away from the original seedling, but the major does sucker even meters away from the main plant. it's more greenish in color.

 

i have removed many suckers, i hope to upload a pic in given time.

 

sounds like what you call major is a distachya .. its definately greener than major and fragilis and its easy to propagate through suckers when cultivated in pots.. 

 

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On 11/03/2022 at 7:45 AM, sagiXsagi said:

turkish scrambler should be foeminea or more unlikely aphylla

yeah what happened to your hand malaka

;p

when i was younger i went to my parents village north of Florina and found some there

amazing,

i dont know the particular version but you could probably make an educated guess @sagiXsagi  from that region by the sounds of it

also we found it in Drama visiting a mate

amazing

lol

 

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On 25/03/2022 at 4:49 PM, etherealdrifter said:

yeah what happened to your hand malaka

;p

when i was younger i went to my parents village north of Florina and found some there

amazing,

i dont know the particular version but you could probably make an educated guess @sagiXsagi  from that region by the sounds of it

also we found it in Drama visiting a mate

amazing

lol

 

tenontitis man, I answered this again, didnt you read the whole thread ??? lol   damn these kids nowdays, no respect  :P  

 

educated guess for both or any location in greece, says E. foeminea, the large, climber one, which is distruibuted in all greece and is not very unusual in indisturbed habitats and archeological places .. E. distachya is rarer and more habitat specific and  E.major  (E.nebrodensis)  is even rarer and I havent seen it in habitat.   yours should be foeminea, its an impressive plant ! 

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Posted (edited)

Pictures from a spot that seems to have been completely burnt in summer 2021. There's a picture that you should zoom in to see whats hapeing... I saw so many  new sprouts in some places, and knowing how fragile fresh ephedra shoots are, I decided I should not go there soon,  such a hippy sensitive  idiot I am  with that fresh shoots , lol.... I have been doing progress since then elesewhere though ... 

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Edited by sagiXsagi

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Posted (edited)

man I hate it that I should downside all pictures to post in here ...  damn....  

 

this is a healthy relic population that still shows how the species acts in its natural habitat ... 

this seems to be too healhty, maybe the healthiest greek population  or maybe the people writing papers on distributions + behaviours of plants are as  negligent as people who perpetuated the several problems in ephedra taxonomy ..  Damn fucking scientists

 

 

 

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Edited by sagiXsagi
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these berries are really sweet .  tastes really like a negelected superfood  

 

the population is thriving after the fire ..   new sprouts do not cone 

 

unburnt  plants  fruit heavily 

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They taste even better dried.

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