Chorisia speciosa at GHE
Chorisia speciosa, also called “Palo borracho” is a tree that grows up to 25 m in its native environment, in Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina. It is part of the kapok and baobab family, also called “Silk Floss” tree because of the silky white fluff that burst out of its exploded pod when it is ripe enough. They say that Chorisia will not seed out of the tropics, so we may never see them in our greenhouse in Fleurance… and then again, we have witnessed lots of unexpected and happy experiences in our greenhouse over the years.
We germinated our Chorisia speciosa in 2003. Only one plant grew to become a young tree, which we kept in soil for maximum protection. It grew quite fast, considering that it was way out of its climate… developing a strangely shaped trunk with strong, triangular, and quite aggressive thorns. Last year we got one flower, and were totally marveled! But this year around September, we noticed a certain number of little green buds, which transformed into a multitude of beautiful 12” flowers. The whole canopy was covered in pink, orange, and purple. A real feast!
There is an Argentinean legend on Palo borracho, about a young woman and a proud warrior, who lived in a tribe in the deep forests, and were very much in love. One day he went to war and never came back. She became totally downhearted and decided to let herself die in the forest. Some time later, she was discovered by a group of hunters. When they tried to move her body, they realized that from her arms grew branches, her head had stemmed into a trunk, and her fingers were transformed into a multitude of white flowers, the color of her tears that later turned into purple, in honor of her lover’s blood. (If you understand Spanish, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUtDzLHjRjA). Still today, in those same forests, people use chorisia to make ropes, dig canoes, and treat headaches.
Our Chorisia tree grew in soil, with the best of all mixes: Flora Series, and the General Organic line combined, and adapted to the different stages of its growth. This is a great success! Looking forward to the next season!
Noucetta Kehdi – GH Europe