Friday, November 28, 2014

Awesome Plants from Northern Vietnam

Two of the tallest mountains in Vietnam - Fansipan and Y Tý - host some of the most amazing plants capable of being grown in temperate zones.  Plant explorers Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones from Crûg Farm Plants in Wales, U.K. regularly visit these two mountains in order to hunt for seed and introduce them into cultivation.  The bad news is they cannot ship to the U.S. so some of these plants are several years away from being even remotely obtainable.

During their visit to Seattle last month, they shared with us some of their seed collections.  Each plant listed below is either linked to a post about it on their website or a Google search if no post exists.  Many of their collections are new to science which means they aren't going to have much of an Internet presence, but that is all the more reason to find them and grow them!

Dendropanax cf. trifidus
Chirita speciosa 'Crûg Cornetto'
Illicium merrillianum
Daphniphyllum longeracemosum
Schizophragma cf. intergrifolia
Magnolia crassifolia
Magnolia sapaensis
Arisaema petelotii
Aesculus wangii
Zanthoxylum planispinum
Clematis fasciculiflora
Hedychium aff. tengchongense
Hedychium urophyllum
Hedychium forrestii
Magnolia insignis
Exbucklandia tonkinensis
Edgeworthia gardneri
Betula insignis subsp. fansipanensis
Lindera angustifolia
Hydrangea davidii (Hydrangea indochinensis)
Holboellia brachyandra
Daphne bholua
Sarcococca bleddynii
Stauntonia aff. libera
Dichroa versicolor
Disporum trabeculatum
Schefflera brevipedicellata
Schefflera macrophylla
Caulokaempferia petelotii
Viburnum fansipanense
Viburnum hoanglienense
Polygonatum mengtzense f. fonkinensis
Ypsilandra yunnanensis var. fansipanensis
Disporopsis fansipanensis
Schefflera aff. pauciflora
Schefflera alpina
Rhodoleia championii

Y Tý
Acer heptaphlebium
Daphniphyllum aff. chartaceum
Shortia sinensis
Oreocharis atrocuneata (not on the Internet)
Magnolia foveolata
Amomum aromaticum
Illicium majus
Rehderodendron indochinensis
Lindera tonkinensis
Rhododendron aff. sinofalconeri
Rhodoleia parcipetala (not on the Internet)
Lilium primulinum
Lilium eupetes
Uocoderodendron whartonii (not on the Internet)


  1. You are a real tease, with this list of hard to find plants. Especially the Schefflera. I have the two that Dan Hinkley put out throught Monrovia, and a couple of others from other sources, but would really like to find S. alpina, S. macrophylla, and S. chapana (not on your list but reported to be rock solid hardy)

    1. I don't have most of these either, if that's any consolation :)

  2. One can easily just copy and paste that list and re tittle it as a wishlist!

    1. Very true. Or a "keep wishing because you can't get it" list.

  3. Northern Vietnam is still very poorly explored and there are many interesting (and in many cases undescribed) species to be found there. How about begonias? I know they've introduced several begonias to cultivation but most of them are not in the USA yet (and probably don't have good heat tolerance).

    I maintain a nomenclatural database of Gesneriaceae and as far as I can determine, there is no such species as "Oreocharis atrocuneata". This is either an error or an unpublished name.

    1. Bleddyn did mention there are very many hillsides in the N. Vietnam mountains that have yet to be explored. I checked for Oreocharis atrocuneata and it might just be Oreocharis aurantiaca. Not sure though!

  4. P.S. All species of Chirita have been moved to other genera. Chirita speciosa is now Henckelia speciosa, so you might find more information on the web under that name.

  5. Here's another report on a very recent exploration of the same area by Peter Zale of Ohio (via Evolution Plants' Tom Mitchell, who I think took part in the Wynn-Jones expedition and will be selling plants from some of the results):