February 8
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Plant Genus of the family Sapindaceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Alangium This genus consists of about 20 species of small to large trees, shrubs and even a few climbers, ranging from Japan and China through Southeast Asia to eastern Australia and Fiji, with an outlying occurrence in tropical Africa. It belongs in a plant family of its own, though allied to the dogwood and tupelo families. Most Alangium species are evergreen but a few East Asian species are deciduous, with foliage coloring in autumn. Leaves are arranged spirally on slender twigs and strongly veined, while the rather inconspicuous white flowers have narrow recurving petals and hang in small clusters from the leaf axils. The fruits are small, olive-shaped drupes. CULTIVATION: The deciduous species are frost hardy to varying degrees and like much the same conditions as the smaller maples (Acer). The evergreen species are rainforest plants and enjoy moist, sheltered, frost-free locations. Propagate from seed, sown fresh after removing the fruit flesh.
Alberta This genus was named in honor of the thirteenth-century German saint, scholar and scientist, Albertus Magnus, teacher of Thomas Aquinas. It includes 3 species of tropical evergreen trees: 2 from Madagascar and the other from South Africa. They have lush leathery leaves and vibrantly colored tubular flowers clustered at the branch tips. The flowers are backed by 5 conspicuous sepals, 2 of which develop into the conspicuous colored wings of the fruit that follows the flowers. CULTIVATION: As might be expected, considering its origins, this genus is frost tender and does best in warm moist climates. In cooler areas it will often grow well in sheltered coastal locations. The soil should be rich and well drained and should not be allowed to dry out, especially during the growing season. Plants may be raised from half-hardened stem or root cuttings or from seed.
Alectryon Half of the 34 species within this evergreen genus are found in the rainforest or moist temperate to tropical regions of Australia, and the other half spread throughout the islands to the north and east. They are slender trees in their natural habitat, but tend to become bushier and rounder when grown as individual specimens. The dark green leaflets are thick and somewhat leathery, making many species viable for sheltered coastal situations. Flowers are insignificant but are followed, in most species, by clusters of decorative capsules which split open to reveal shiny black seeds protruding from a bright red aril, the fleshy section of the fruit. CULTIVATION: While these plants thrive in deep, rich organic soil they are equally at home in well-drained conditions provided they are watered and mulched when initially planted. Grow from freshly harvested seed.
Koelreuteria There are only 3 species of deciduous small trees in this genus within the Sapindaceae family. Their natural habitat is dry woodland in open valleys in China, Korea and Taiwan. Best suited to dry warm climates with an extended growing season, they are moderately frost hardy and are widely grown as ornamentals for the beauty of their flowers and seed heads. The flowers are also used medicinally and as a source of yellow dye in China. The seeds are used as beads. CULTIVATION: Koelreuterias prefer a moderately fertile, well-drained soil and thrive in full sun. Propagation is by root cuttings taken in late winter or from seed sown in autumn in sheltered conditions. Seed can also be stratified in the refrigerator and sown in spring. Plants grown from seed are very variable and root cuttings from a good tree are preferable.

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