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Who was Albert?

AndrewR

By AndrewR

19 comments


In early spring, a small tuber in the mountains of the former Soviet Central Asia, stirs into growth. According to the Alpine Garden Society, it is “fairly common in the Chimgan Valley of Uzbekistan,” and I have also seen it growing in the Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve in Kazakhstan. Choosing a sunny spot, it often puts the tuber beside a rock, keeping it cool in the dry summer weather and preventing it from drying out completely. The red stems are about six inches tall and topped with yellow flowers; a close inspection of these readily shows they are members of the barberry family. At this stage, the foliage has still to fully develop. In this photo, it is growing in the wild.

And here, it is enjoying life in Bracknell, UK, grown in a raised bed with alpines. Excessive moisture is the greatest enemy to successful cultivation, and I have found burying an old piece of broken pot over the tuber keeps the wet away, but allows the emerging shoot to skirt round the obstacle and reach the surface.

Like iris albertii in the same region, the plant is named after Mr Albert. But who was he? I would be interested to know more about him.

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Comments

 

No idea, I'm afraid but it's a great and unusual plant!

18 Mar, 2016

 

No idea Sorry, you have done a great job creating the right conditions it's a little corker!!

18 Mar, 2016

 

What a little gem. Brilliant idea to cover the tuber with a crock!
Info on albert at ucjeps.berkeley.edu/Purpus/

18 Mar, 2016

 

How beautiful, Andrew. :-)

19 Mar, 2016

bjs
Bjs
 

Very attractive is it offered for sale in the UK
Steragram
thanks for your detective work have read some of the letters a very prolific collector,to prolific by modern day standards although not alone most early plant hunters were guilty of this

19 Mar, 2016

 

Brian - I don't believe so. The only place I've seen it for sale is on the Janis Ruksans website in Latvia - http://rarebulbs.lv/index.php/en/
Many plants from the old Soviet Union don't appear to be on sale in the West (and probably vice versa I expect)

19 Mar, 2016

 

Bjs it impresses me that some of those plant hunters were very intrepid and brave. Some suffered heartbreaking losses when they lost whole shipments that had taken many months to collect. I remember reading about one who trekked alone over wild Chinese mountains whenever I look at my Incarvillea Delavayi that bears his name I feel a sort of quiet excitement that I have it - such a privilege really.

19 Mar, 2016

bjs
Bjs
 

Steragram
Some met very nasty ends themselves as well as there plants

19 Mar, 2016

 

Do you know if there's a good book about them? I'd like to read some more.

19 Mar, 2016

 

They were incredibly brave, and as Brian says some of them met very violent deaths, I am pretty sure there must be literature out there.....even one of our modern day plant hunters Tom Hart Dyke....was very lucky to escape death.....

19 Mar, 2016

bjs
Bjs
 

Stera yes there is if still in print called <The Plant Hunters>
written by Toby Musgrave,Chris Gardener,and Will Musgrave
was published in 1998 so may have to look at used ones .Was £20.00 when i bought it new .
Some of the hunters were quite prolific with their writing
Frank Kingdom ward was one I have several of his they are good references but find it hard to to read more tha a chapter at a time.

19 Mar, 2016

 

Well folks, Andrew has a copy of Musgrave he's finished with and has very kindly offered to send it to me. There are so many wonderful kind and generous people on this site!

20 Mar, 2016

 

Yes Stera, I have just spent hours on the web reading, once started its very interesting hearing of their exploits and as said often untimely end bringing these plants to us..Andrew your Mr Albert along with your gorgeous little plant have kept me happy for hours, lol....I do like research...
Not suitable for gardening outside today, even the g'house was too cold...

20 Mar, 2016

 

It sure was - horrible East wind all day...

20 Mar, 2016

uma
Uma
 

Steragram, I'm almost sure that Mr Carl Albert Purpus has never been to Kazakhstan, Turkestan and Uzbekistan. Look at his articles, they are mostly about America's plants.

Hi, Andrew
Hope to help you with Mr Albert. :) If it's not late.
Think it's Johann Albert von Regel. And he definitely was in Central Asia. The international scientific name of this plant stands with its discoverer: Leontice albertii Regel = Gymnospermium albertii.
Very rare plant in culture. Congratulations, you've got one!

15 Jun, 2016

 

Thank you Uma, that's really helpful to know who Mr Albert was.
I bought my gymnospermium from Janis Ruksans in Latvia. Do you know of his nursery? He has many bulbs from the old Soviet Union.

15 Jun, 2016

uma
Uma
 

You are welcome, Andrew! Never heard of his nursery. I'm sure he's got a great collection. Unfortunately, something's wrong with his site.

17 Jun, 2016

bjs
Bjs
 

Uma
great bit of information thank you for taking the time to research it

17 Jun, 2016

uma
Uma
 

Brian, I had a wonderful book about Nature Reserves of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan with many pictures and articles. I loved it very much. My husband came from Kazakhstan. When he lived there he visited many of those reserves with his parents. But he was not very interested in flowers or plants. That's my obsession. :) I wish I visited those places with my camera and some plastic packs for seeds. :)

Andrew, think there is a mistake in translating "Aqua-Zhabagly Nature Reserve" (transliteration and transcribing are not correct).
Aksu-Dzhabagly Nature Reserve is right.
By the way, great articles at Wordpress! Thanks!

24 Jun, 2016

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