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 Trachycarpus takil in the wild. 
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:55 pm
Posts: 3344
Location: Leidschendam, The Netherlands. (52 N latitude)
Post Trachycarpus takil in the wild.
Well now I am back from 3 months of India and Nepal and I got some nice pictures of Trachycarpus takil from near the Kalamuni Pass. I went to Munsiyari at 2290 meter in Uttarakhand to see them in the wild. It is a remote part of India and it took a whole day to get there from Banbassa on the border with Nepal. And It was at the end of my trip so I had only 2 days to see the palms. So from Banbassa I took an early bus to Pittoragarh and from there a collective taxi to Munsiyari where I arrived when it was allready dark. And the way up to the Kalamuni Pass was quite frigthening with the deep precipice just next to the road and the thunderstorm! But there where also the first Trachycarpus takil to be seen before it got completely dark. Well fortunately I arrived save and well at a hotel in Munsiyari.
The next morning I had a look arround in the village and spotted 1 big old T. takil in a garden behind an old house.
I also had made some prints of 'Takil at the roof of the world' to show the local people and where to find it. Another species of palm, Phoenix sylvestris is found much lower down in the warmer subtropical vallys. But that a common palm. But for the locals the difference is not always clear so good pictures are vital.
At the opposite of my hotel I found a good guide, Narendra Kumar, whom knew strait where to find them. It was near the Kalamuni Pass 15 km from Munsiyari. So with a taxi it was a 10 minute drive to the Kali temple at the Kalamuni Pass at 2700 meters where there was a path to a vally where Trachycarpus takil was to be found. From the road you also had a good view on the Panchachuli Peak. That part of India was certainly one of the best I have seen!
From the temple we followed a path at a mountainridge till about a couple of hundreds meters there was a trail at the rght side wich led down. From that point I started to look at the opposite slope with my binoculair and saw the first palms! So we followed the path down and soon the first one was just next to the path at arround 2500 meters. And more palms to follow lower down! It was qiut a steep path and not without danger! Lose rocks or a wrong step could easely led to accidents. So it was good to go with a guide.
I did see the common birdwing there, Troides helena and heard at the same time the common cuckoo, Cuculus canorus like backhome in Leidschendam!
The weather could not be better with a blue sky and 28 degrees! And the weather can be very differend in that area as the previous evening had shown with thunder and hailstorms!
About the vegetation wich grows together with the palms.

A map of the Kalamuni Area with the dens mixed forest of evegreen oaks, deciduous trees and several conifers like Cupressus torulosa.

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.9827257 ... a=!3m1!1e3

Here a link:

munsyaritrekkinginformationcenter.

Trees I saw there where:

Cupressus torulosa
Abies pindrow?
Quercus semicarpifolia and another oak.
Aesculus indica
Betula alnoides
Juglans regia

Shrubs:

Rhododendron niveum? (red flowers)
Deutzia staminea?
Berberis, 2 species
Rosa, 2 species
Rubus paniculatus, a kind of raspberry
Cotoneaster
Viburnum erubescens
Sarcococca
Clematis

Other plants:

Rubus
Bergenia ciliata
Origanum vulgare
Scabiosa
Androsace rotundifolia
Fragaria nubicola
Potentilla
Hedychium spicatum
Anemone vitifolia
Thalictrum
Euphorbia cognata
Geranium
Pedicularis?
A thisle
Pteris wallichianum
Pteridium aqiulinum

Some names I have found in 'Concise flowers of the Himalaya' from Oleg Polunin, Oxford University Press.

The vegetation in a given area says a lot about the climate, and here it was clearly a vegetation you find in a temperate climate! A couple of weeks earlier I had seen Trachycarpus martianus at 1500 meters near Gorkha in Nepal. There the climate was more subtropical with plants like Nephrolepis and Schima wallichii. But Trachycarpus takil was even growing together with Origanum vulgare, a plant native to The Netherlands! Not a plant you would expect to find growing wild next to a palm! And Androsace rotundifolia was realy a plant from a genus of alpines!
But the place where I saw Trachycarpus takil gets snow and frost during winter! The area is arround 30.01 latitude North and 80.12 longitude East. And the highest growing palms where arround 2500 meters! So this palm should be a good candidate for colder parts of the world. And it looks very similair to Trachycarpus fortunei.
Trachycarpus takil had finished flowering when I visited the spot at April 29, 2010. In Darjeeeling I had seen Trachycarpus fortunei in the botanical garden flowering arround March 10. So I guess T. takil flowers arround the same time or a bit later as its a bit at the same altitude, Darjeeling is at 2134 meters asl, but farther north.
They where growing both in shady as well as sunny locations. The rocks where a kind of metamorphic cristalyne rock.

Well it was one of my most exciting trips to see this palm growing wild in its natural habitad! My guide told me that I was the first person whon wanted to see this palm. Most Western people go to Munsiyari to make treks to the Milam Glacier.

For the locals its only a palm for making brooms. And also the locals cut the trees where they are easely accesible as along the road to the Kalamuni Pass. Fortunately a lot of the palms grow on steep mountainsides and inaccesible cliffs! And I told the guide that it would be a good thing if the villagers would grow palms from seeds to plant along their fields so that in the future they can get the leaves for brooms from their gardens and not from the wild. And also the seeds could be sold to nurseries arround the world. This would bring extra income to the local econemy. Also when people come to see the palms would be good for the local village. As long as they only take pictures!

I guess I saw about 30 to 40 palms in total that morning. And it was that my guide had not enough time otherwise we would have probably many more lower down. It seems to me that the pictures of the article'Takil at the roof of the world' where taken in the same area. And the picture of Panchachulli Peak was the clue to find the location. Before I left I had done some googeling on internet to find that Panchachulli Peak and from wich place the picture had been taken.

Alexander Nijman





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The Kali temple at the Kalamuni Pass at 2700 meters where the trail started.

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Last edited by Alexander on Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:37 am, edited 11 times in total.



Sun May 16, 2010 5:33 am
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Post Re: Trachycarpus takil in the wild.
Thanks for sharing these shots of your impressive expedition, Alexander!

Hopefully you took many seeds (if there were any at this time of the year).
We are expecting some more fantastillions of pictures :wink: :mrgreen:

Regards,


Sun May 16, 2010 5:44 pm
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:37 pm
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Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Post Re: Trachycarpus takil in the wild.
Thanks Alexander, wonderful shots.
It would be really interesting to know more about the climate especially in the growing period. I find the petioles rather elongated, even the ones growing in the open. Would you say it's a sunny or rather a cloudy climate? Also i find the color of the fronds rather pale green, beautiful, but very different from the usual deeper green we see here. Or could that be strong daylight and/or exposure of the camera?

Axel


Sun May 16, 2010 8:05 pm
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Location: Loughborough, Leics, central UK
Post Re: Trachycarpus takil in the wild.
Excellent shots Alexander looks like you had a very interesting time and it must have been quite hard to get some of those shots of such precariously growing palms.
Many thanks for taking time to post on the forum its great to see shots from around the world where most of us will not get to go.

The last few shots for some reason are not visible to me .......is it just me?


Sun May 16, 2010 8:46 pm
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Post Re: Trachycarpus takil in the wild.
Wow, that's a lot of shots! I promise never to accuse Kev S. or Stan of posting too many pics in one thread ever again. :D

It looks like a fantastic area to botanize and of course I am extremely envious! To honest, while I like palms, my eyes were drifting off to more interesting foliage, particularly those old growth trees full of moss - surely there are tons of epiphytes in those canopies. Also, the Abies are just lovely.

Thanks for taking the time to post these shots, they are a rare treat. BTW, that one pic of you, what is the massive snow covered peak in the distance, Panchachuli Peak? One of the Himalayan behemoths, no doubt!

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Sun May 16, 2010 10:01 pm
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Location: Leidschendam, The Netherlands. (52 N latitude)
Post Re: Trachycarpus takil in the wild.
That peak is indead Panchachuli. The climate in that area is a monsoon climate. Most rain falls from June till September. But also during the winter is there some precepetation like snow. And when I was there it was the pre monsoon period with rain and thunder in the early evening.
In that area there where not many epifytes, lower down you see orchids on trees but there it gets to cold in winter I guess. In Sikkim at 2200 meters you had a lot of orchids like Coelegyne. But arround Munsiyari winters are much colder. Also a mixture of evergreen trees like oak and deciduous trees like Aesculus indica and Acer.
In the same area the palms where found there was also a species of bambou, maybe a Fargesia. It had stems of about 150 cm, so not a big one.

About travelleling in India, its not an expensive country, a hotel will cost you like 10 Euros a night. Neither is public transport expensive. Munsiyari is 2 days travelling from Delhi. Well have a look in the Lonely Planet.
Here in The Netherlands its much more expensive, as are most Western Countries! It would be to expensive for me to go on Holliday here, and too cold!

Alexander

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Sun May 16, 2010 11:48 pm
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Location: Leidschendam, The Netherlands. (52 N latitude)
Post Re: Trachycarpus takil in the wild.
Here some more pictures from along the road to the Kalamuni Pass. I took them on May 1, 2010 when I was on the way to Delhi. They where taken after we had passed the Kalamuni Pass on our way down. The forest where the young Trachycarpus takil where growing was a kind of mixed evergreen and deciduous broadleave forest. This area was a bit lower down then the other site I had seen them

Accompanying species where:
Mahonia napaulensis
Rhododendron
Fraxinus
Caesalpinia decapetala
Alnus nepaulensis
Schima wallichi?
Viburnum, 2 species
Hedera nepalensis

Along the road there where also several Albizzia julibrissin in flower. Also a kind of Pyracantha can be seen. Maybe P. crenulata. Very common along roadssides and on fields.


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Central Himalayan langur.

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Caesalpinia decapetala, it gets yellow flowers.

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A Kalij pheasant.


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Few on the Kalamuni Pass with the forest where the Trachycarpus takil where to be found.

Alexander Nijman

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Mon May 17, 2010 3:30 am
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Location: Leidschendam, The Netherlands. (52 N latitude)
Post Re: Trachycarpus takil in the wild.
About the seeds of Trachycarpus takil. I have not seen any fruits nor seeds, it was at the end of April when I have been there. I guess that October is a good time. Well after the rainy season. And before the animals eat them!

Alexander

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Mon May 17, 2010 3:38 am
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Post Re: Trachycarpus takil in the wild.
Very interesting photos, Alexander. They could be used to persuade managers of large estates that groups of trachies could go well with their specimen conifers.

What is the plant with round leaves and clinging roots in photo number 9? Some sort of Ficus? The leaves look a bit like F. auriculata, but I thought that was strictly a tree. I don't suppose you got any seeds?

The Kali temple looks great, did they have any gruesome paintings inside?

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Mon May 17, 2010 9:32 am
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Post Re: Trachycarpus takil in the wild.
Number 9 is a Bergenia growing on the rocks. Maybe Bergenia ciliata. I have a small piece here so if it grows into a good plant and is willing to flower I can tell more about it. The reason I give a list of names is to alter the view people have of palms growing in exotic environements with exotic jungle plants. Well the habitad of Trachycarpus takil had in that sence more in common with some vegetation you would find in the European Alps then on a tropical mountain in Borneo. If Trachycarpus takil grows in the wild togeteher with Origanum vulgare and Abies it means you can put it into any garden among ordinary/common gardenplants/shrubs without looking out of place. But as long as people asciociate palms with exotic tropical coconut beaches there is stil a long way to go.
Here in The Netherlands many gardens would look much better with some Trachycarpus fortunei. Mahonia x Wintersun is is planted for example in lots of places, private and public. Its not considered or seen as an exotic plant. But a palm like T. fortunei, wich is bassically very similair looking as a T. takil is not used in the same way because 'it looks exotic and thus considered not hardy enough or not thiting in the Dutch landscape, whatever that is, which is bassically nonesence.
The pictures proof that you can use a lot of plants together wich are not used together in most landscaping, well not in my country at least.
Also another example. In Sikkim I had met a chap from England whom knew a lot about plants and had worked at the Botanical garden of Edinburg. We went on a day trip to the top of Maenam Hill. Well there you find a lot of Rhododendrons, including R. falconeri with those big leaves. But also a kind of bambou, probably a Fargesia. Well that was new for him that Rhodos grow together with bambou. And he told me that it would look great in a rhodogarden back home!

Well nature is the best landscaper!

About the Kali temple, no gruesome panting, well the black Kali maybe. There is a holly man living there, a shadu, I maybe should have taken a picture of him. Very colorfull he was. But they do not always appreciate that, or want lots of mony for it. In Nepal they sacrifice goats and other animals at Kali temples, stupid religions...

Alexander

Michael (SW Ireland) wrote:
Very interesting photos, Alexander. They could be used to persuade managers of large estates that groups of trachies could go well with their specimen conifers.

What is the plant with round leaves and clinging roots in photo number 9? Some sort of Ficus? The leaves look a bit like F. auriculata, but I thought that was strictly a tree. I don't suppose you got any seeds?

The Kali temple looks great, did they have any gruesome paintings inside?

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Tue May 18, 2010 12:09 am
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Post Re: Trachycarpus takil in the wild.
Great views Alex!!!
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This one goes straight to the "Forests of the World" folder :)

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Tue May 18, 2010 12:22 am
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Post Re: Trachycarpus takil in the wild.
Here another picture of Trachycarpus takil in the wild, with Rhododendrons in the background. It was the first specimen closeby we saw along the trail. The trunk fibres can be clearly seen on this specimen. Well a bit diffrend from T. fortunei, for the rest it looks very similair. Maybe it has to do with genetic relationship with T. fortunei, or the very similair ecological sircumstances T. fortunei is not found anymore in the wild. But maybe in the past it was found in a very similair kind of habitad as T. takil. Paralel evolution and things like that.
Who knows.


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Alexander

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Tue May 18, 2010 12:28 am
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Post Re: Trachycarpus takil in the wild.
About that Kali Temple, there is a video of it on Youtube. Also some videos I saw of the snow they get there in winter. Munsiyari is at arround 2200 meters.

Alexander

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Wed May 19, 2010 2:14 am
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Post Re: Trachycarpus takil in the wild.
Alexander wrote:
Here another picture of Trachycarpus takil in the wild, with Rhododendrons in the background. It was the first specimen closeby we saw along the trail. The trunk fibres can be clearly seen on this specimen. Well a bit diffrend from T. fortunei, for the rest it looks very similair. Maybe it has to do with genetic relationship with T. fortunei, or the very similair ecological sircumstances T. fortunei is not found anymore in the wild. But maybe in the past it was found in a very similair kind of habitad as T. takil. Paralel evolution and things like that.
Who knows.

Image


Alexander



who knows, maybe T. fortunei evolved out of T. takils in cultivation and is this why there are no wild populations of T. fortunei?

btw, verry nice pictures af a verry beautifull region of the world!

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Wed May 19, 2010 2:14 pm
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Location: Leidschendam, The Netherlands. (52 N latitude)
Post Re: Trachycarpus takil in the wild.
Kristof,

Trachycarpus takil is only found in India and maybe Nepal. But Trachycarpus fortunei is from China But maybe bot species have one ancestor, and T. takil could the closest relative. But I guess Tobias Spanner and Martin gibbons can tel you more about this as they have, and are still doing a lot of research on the genus Trachycarpus.

Alexander

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Thu May 20, 2010 12:49 am
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