QUEEN OF FLOWERING TREES: Very Difficullt To Propagate

Flowering Amherstia nobilis grown in a rubberized container at the Sarian Farm in Teresa, Rizal.

A lot of people would love to have in their garden the rare Queen of Flowering Trees botanically known as Amherstia nobilis. We have a big mother tree in our farm, easily about 50 years old because when we took over the farm 35 years ago, it was already a full grown tree.

The tree has been religiously putting out its display of dangling clusters of pink flowers usually from January to late April each year. The trouble is that our propagator cannot seem to succeed in marcotting the branches. Marcotting is the only way of multiplying this flowering tree because it does not produce seeds in the Philippines. The only time we saw pink pods that produced seeds was in the early ‘60s when a professor in UPLB treated the flowers with hormone and the tree in Los Baños produced pink pods with seeds. We are not sure now if the seeds ever germinated.

There’s no way the Amherstia could be multiplied by grafting because there are no rootstocks to use. The Amherstia in Los Baños was said to have been the first to be introduced in the Philippines. It was growing at the Seniors Social Garden but it could not be found there anymore.

Said to be a native of Burma (now Yanmar), the flowering tree was named after Lady Sarah Amherst, a plant collector and said to be the wife of a British governor in India.

Back to our Amherstia in our farm in Teresa, Rizal. For so many times, our propagator had attempted to marcot mostly branches that were one inch in diameter or smaller. Some of them produced roots but they usually died during establishment.

Then our propagator marcotted a big branch, more than two inches in diameter, and that is the most successful marcot we ever had. We are featuring that here. Maybe there are other plant lovers who also have Amherstia in their garden. But we don’t know of anyone.

Close up of the Amherstia flower at the Sarian Farm, Teresa, Rizal.
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