February 8
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Plant Genus of the family Sterculiaceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Bowenia This genus is composed of 2 very similar species of cycads native to the rainforests of coastal northern Queensland, Australia. They have vigorous underground tubers and do not produce a trunk, instead sending up their branched fern-like ?fronds? directly from the ground. The separate male and female cones also form at ground level and occur through much of the year. CULTIVATION: These cycads prefer wet tropical conditions and revel in the dripping humidity of the rainforest. In temperate climates they require a heated greenhouse and do not readily adapt to normal indoor conditions and cultivation as house plants. Propagation is from seed or by dividing the rootstock.
Bowkeria This South African genus of 5 species of evergreen shrubs and trees was named after Henry Bowker and his sister Mary Elizabeth, nineteenth-century South African botanists. They are generally compact plants with whorls of light to mid-green leaves in groups of three. The flowers resemble those of their relatives, Calceolaria, and are pouch-shaped or somewhat like a partly open oyster shell. CULTIVATION: These plants can be something of a surprise for gardeners who think that all South African plants are thoroughly heat and drought tolerant. They prefer cool moist conditions with well-drained humus-enriched soil and partial shade. Their hardiness has not been greatly tested but they tolerate occasional light frosts. New plants may be raised from seed or cuttings.
Brabejum A genus of a single species of evergreen tree, Brabejum is restricted in the wild to South Africa?s Western Cape Province, where it grows in thickets along banks of streams. Belonging to the protea family (Proteaceae), it is of botanical interest as being Africa?s only member of the large grevilleoid subfamily. The majority of the grevilleoids are found in Australia with a few members in South America, the Pacific islands, East Asia and Madagascar. All the rest of Africa?s showy proteas belong to the proteoid subfamily. Brabejum belongs to the macadamia tribe of grevilleoids and shares with Macadamia a large nut-like seed in a leathery-skinned fruit. Like most other members of this tribe it has leaves in whorls at intervals along the branches, in this case mostly whorls of 6, and bears white flowers densely crowded on spikes arising from the leaf axils. Close examination of the flowers, which are attached in pairs, shows a structure very like a Grevillea flower. The fruits are similar in shape and size to an almond and likewise have an outer husk covered in dense woolly hairs, though Brabejum is in no way related to the almond. The nut is too bitter to eat, but in earlier times was boiled, roasted and ground to make a coffee-like beverage. CULTIVATION: Early European settlers at the Cape planted dense hedges of wild almond to protect their livestock, but the tree has otherwise not often been cultivated. It is easily enough grown in any sheltered position, preferring moist but well-drained soil. Growth is initially quite fast. Propagate from fresh seed or from cuttings.
Brachychiton This is a genus of approximately 30 species of evergreen or partially deciduous trees mostly native to Australia, and found chiefly in northern tropical and subtropical regions with a few extending to arid regions. They have large entire or lobed leaves and showy sprays or clusters of colorful flowers often appearing just ahead of the new foliage in spring and summer. All species have shapely, sometimes swollen trunks and large, boat-shaped, woody seed follicles. Popular as shade or ornamental trees, they are often planted in parks and streets or on farms. CULTIVATION: Although moderately frost hardy when established, most species are relatively slow growing in the initial stages and require a warm climate to bring out their best display of flowers. They do best in a well-drained acidic soil in full sun. Propagate from fresh seed in spring, or by grafting in the case of hybrid selections.

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