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Products > Calibanus 'Lotusland'
Calibanus 'Lotusland' - Calicarnea
Image of Calibanus 'Lotusland'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Nolinoidae (Asparagaceae)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Summer
Synonyms: [Beaucarnea 'Lotusland']
Parentage: (Calibanus hookeri x Beaucarnea recurvata?)
Height: 4-6 feet
Width: 2-4 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Calibanus 'Lotusland' An upright-forming caudiciform topped by short-stemmed upright rosettes of 18" to 24 long thin green grass-like foliage. Twenty-five-year-old specimens have bases that are nearly 5 feet tall by 3 feet across with about 50 clusters of leaves. Plant in full sun to light shade and irrigate occasionally to very little. Hardy down to at least 25 F - our mature plant was not damaged at 25 F in our January 2007 freeze and older plants withstood colder nights, probably closer to 20 in a Goleta garden during the December 1990 freeze. This plant is quite a mystery. It at one time was thought to be an intergeneric hybrid between Calibanus hookeri and Beaucarnea recurvata that was discovered by Charlie Glass, the plant curator at Lotusland who worked for Madame Ganna Walska prior to her garden opening to the public. The late Mr. Glass left Lotusland in 1983 and helped form the Cante Institute (El Charco del Ingenio) in Guanajuato, Mexico. To our knowledge he never wrote about this plant but he did discuss it with various people on subsequent visits to Lotusland prior to his death in 1998. Apparently Mr. Glass found seed on a Calibanus in the Lotusland garden. Calibanus is a dioecious plant and there were both male and female plants in the garden so he presumed that the seed was pollinated by a male flowering Calibanus. But after germinating the seed and noting some unique characteristics he speculated that something else must have pollinated it and suspected a nearby Beaucarnea that had also bloomed was the pollinator and that these seed were spontaneous intergeneric garden hybrids. The seed was collected and grown on at Lotusland and shortly after Mr. Glass left Lotusland, Earl Nydam, a long time Lotusland employee who lived on the property distributed some of these seedlings to several Santa Barbara horticulturalists, including Bruce Van Dyke and John Bleck. Plants were also planted in the garden at Lotusland. The plants in the Cycad garden at Lotusland were accessioned as coming from this seed while a group in the succulent garden is presumed to also be, but was not documented. Mr. Van Dyke kept his plant in a container and this plant is now on display in our nursery collection. Mr Bleck put his plant into the ground at his Goleta, CA garden. In 2007 Mr. Bleck's plant produced seed. The fruit on this hybrid plant was rounded like Calibanus but was not as smooth with little finlike projections, but not like the membranous wings found on Beaucarnea fruit. As with its parent there was only speculation as to what could have pollinated this plant as there were both Calibanus and Beaucarnea recurvata that had flowered in Mr. Bleck's garden. To honor the origin of this plant and since we do not know what the other parent is we have decided to call this plant Calibanus 'Lotusland'. Ironically it was Mr. Glass with his business partner Robert Foster who rediscovered Calibanus hookeri in San Luis Potosi in 1968. For more information on this plant and its discovery see our succulent page index or our listing for Calibanus hookeri. To add more intrigue to this story, recent cladistic work on these plants has shown that Calibanus falls neatly into the Beaucarnea clade and it now some have accepted the name Beaucarnea hookeri, which if this stands would make this plant a Beaucarnea hybrid 

This information about Calibanus 'Lotusland' displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.