Thursday, April 12, 2012

Champion Cherokee Bean?

I love this plant. Cherokee Bean is a spectacular bloomer and a super hummingbird plant. Here in North Florida, the usual clump of Cherokee Bean is around 4 to 5 feet tall, so when I glimpsed a huge red cluster across from the school I had to go investigate.

The closer I got, the more I realized this was no ordinary Cherokee Bean.

Not only did the abundant crimson tubular blossoms cover a large area, they also stretched high into the forest canopy.
The highes blooms on this plant were probably 20 feet up.
I had never seen one like this ... partly because they are cold sensitive and tend to get frozen back to ground level on the average North Florida winter.

This one is on Cedar Key though, and being a true island, Cedar Key's temperatures are moderated by the surrounding Gulf waters.

So my hypothesis is that this lucky Cherokee Bean has been able to avoid winter damage and reach amazing heights.

Whatever the reason, it is a beauty.
I plan to slip in to that jungle of Smilax and Virginia Creeper soon and get a DBH on the hidden trunk(s).


ignatz said...

What is a DBH? Is it some kind of measurement for age of the plant?? Please enlighten me, tanks.

lesle said ... said...

DBH defined:

Floridacracker said...

Sure! Diameter at Breast Height. A standard for measuring tree diameters.

Thanks Lesle!
I forgot I had done that ... been a while since those posts!

Kat said...

I love these little field trips! Thanks, Teach!

roger said...

isn't it just that way that every so often a plant will outgrow itself.

Jan said...

And that's pure beauty and mystery. :)

Floridacracker said...

So many field trips ... so little time!

they are full of surprises. this guy is invisible when he's not blooming.

A nice mix. :)

Buford Nature said...

I have germinated hundreds of Cherokee bean seeds over the years, incl from the large plants in Cedar Key. I have grown them in Gainesville alongside typical mainland plants over a period of several years in the same house yard under identical soil etc conditions. The Cedar Key plants are definitely more robust in every way - they are taller, have thicker stems, larger seeds, and wickeder thorns. I believe they could be another taxon.