Monday, February 22, 2016

Boom, Snap, and Crash

Midway through our visit at Monte yesterday, dark clouds rolled in and torrential rain fell shortly afterwards.



Boom the sound of thunder and the heavens poured. Not entirely unusual for Madeira, one moment it is sunny, the next very rainy.

Fortunately there were plenty of spaces to seek shelter in until the rain has subsided (they rarely last long it seems on this island). Whilst in that particular shelter our views were obstructed by columns of towering tree ferns, which in a way I thought was great. Oh to have tree ferns as a cause of obstruction! Not soon after though we heard an audible snap.


And then a crash.

Then as the rain has subsided we checked out what made that noise. And there it was, a tree fern that snapped. 

Oh dear...
Close up of the snapped base and its stele
In a garden where towering tree ferns are aplenty I suppose this is a rather regular occurrence. Every so often a tree fern succumbs to the weight of heavy rain or gusts of wind, just like in the wild. Wandering through the garden you do see stumps of them around, some even hollowed and planted with orchids.

Where it originally stood
Stele seen from the stump
It's almost a shame to see it lying there, what a waste! But on the scheme of that garden it's just a 'drop in the ocean'. The tree fern that snapped is more likely to be Cyathea cooperi.


Will it re root if the trunk were to be buried and given TLC for quite some time? I'm sure I've heard one or two individuals before, claiming to have done such a thing with success, or so they claim. But unlike Dicksonia antarctica which re roots from nothing from a sawn trunk, the case is not the same for Cyathea. It's unlikely to carry on living without a root ball intact.

To be in an area where you can take tree ferns for granted...

Mark :-)

17 comments:

  1. Yikes! I'm glad it didn't come down on top of the two of you or anyone else! On the odd occasions on which we actually get heavy rain here, there always seem to be tree limbs coming down on somebody.

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    1. There's something nicely exotic about seeing or hearing tree ferns falling rather than just common ones.

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  2. Glad neither of you were standing under that when it fell! I love thunderstorms, though. So dramatic. The meristem is actually at the top of the trunk, where the fronds emerge...

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    1. Thanks for that Evan! Wouldn't want to be under that tree Fern when it fell...

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  3. I echo the comments above - thank goodness you are safe. What a wonderful place to visit and find inspiration! I like the use of orchids in the old stumps, it's just a shame a tree fern has to die to create the orchid stumpery.

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    1. True Sarah, I'll take towering living tree ferns anytime over stumps with orchids.

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  4. "To be in an area where you can take tree ferns for granted"...indeed! (but can't you kind of do just that in your garden?)

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    1. Only for Dicksonia antarctica Loree, would love to be able to have that ease with Cyatheas too!

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  5. I can't believe you were there for that. I bet you won't ever be able to look at a tree fern again without thinking of that episode at Monte!

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    1. Indeed! There's us struggling to get a tree fern to a good size and there they just fall over...

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  6. Whoda thought that your..a regular Indiana Jones expedition. fabulous vacation could turn into a death-defying feat.

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  7. Good to see you posting again. Glad you are on holiday.

    A tree fern meristem is the growth point at the top. The stems inner 'vascular bundle' is called the stele.

    Pedant Chad!

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  8. How special to be able to take these beauties for granted. Like the others, I'm glad you're okay and posting again!

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  9. Wow, you wouldn't want to be standing too close when that happened...

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  10. What an exciting event in the garden! pouring rain!! among tree ferns! I'm sorry for the one that fell...

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