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Rumex lunaria, Canary endemic for arid mediterranean or dry subtropical climate

 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1277
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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The Canary sorrel: I promised to make it known, because it might be worth to get it!
Rumex lunaria, a Canary endemic, is not even in the English wikipedia!

Here you will see were it can grow... http://www.floradecanarias.com/rumex_lunaria.html

also, in Spanish: http://www.jardinerosenaccion.es/planta.php?id_pla=733

This marvel can feed animals, goats and hens. Edible but acidic, hence the name of vinegar tree.
Size: up to 3 meters. Round and bushy. They stay green in summer.
No spine, thick dark leaves that are incredibly cold when you touch them. You can use the juice for insects bites.

Their climate and tastes:
They love acidic volcanic soils and up to neutral.
They like Mediterranean climate with winter rainfall (which make seeds sprout).
They can stand drought really well (they did not die after one missing wet winter).
They can grow near the sea (salt tolerant) and up to the pine level.
They need a lot of drainage, sand and stony grounds are fine.
They can live in full sun but also with part shade.

Now, they are a pest in stone walls!
They live long and when the base grows very large, they can make their own space and move stones.
So beware of the new ones growing between stone in walls... You can cut it down to the ground and it will grow again.
Their wood is very easy to brake by hand, and is good for starting a fire when dry. I guess it is a useful carbon addition.
 
Alder Burns
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Posts: 1331
Location: northern California
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How much cold can they tolerate?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1277
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I have no idea because we are totally frost-free (where people live up to at least 1000m high). I know some places with 38°F (3°C) at night.

I can just look for the information if it grows "up there", in the roque de los muchachos, the highest point, over 2000m... Because it can be freezing and there is some snow sometimes.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1277
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Bueno...
I could make some guess, according to where it can grow. Except if I can go up the mountain to look for trees myself, it will have to be tried.

First, for sure they are adapted to the coastal areas and the warmer zone up to 700m, clearly frost-free.
Then, they can grow over 1000m in the pinar zone, though less of them grow there. This mainly comes from the fact that few things grow under the pine tree but some cistus!
The Canary pine tree re-grow after fire, and after frost. Some parts of the pine zone can take some frost sometimes.

Then, if I consider the thick root of the vinagrera, and the fact that I can cut it several times before it d(r)ies, then I bet that it will grow from its roots without any problem after some frost!
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1277
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I can make an update, as I have just said something about vinagrera in another post.
It produces a lot of seeds that are easy to collect.
And I keep them for the compost toilet!
hehe, a new use for this usefull plant!

Also, I will take pics of the wonderfull compost I collected under those plants.
It is so dark...
 
Steve Farmer
Posts: 369
Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
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forest garden greening the desert trees
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Hi Xisca, glad you posted this. We have one of those growing above our septic tank and I regularly prune it (otherwise it would go crazy) and put the prunings on the compost heap, where they break down well.

I've noticed while driving about that these are at the roadside where there is no irrigation and stay green all year round, so was meaning to look them up and get some in at my desert plot. I've tried getting cuttings to grow but nothing rooted. I did not use rooting compound (I never do) and I didn't try particularly hard. I'll give it another go but now you've named this plant I can do some more research on propagation.

Saludos from across the water. Still hoping we get some decent rain this winter but fast running out of time before the dry season sets in. Most of Tenerife got some a few weeks ago and we got snow on the mountain, but coastal parts of the south still very dry. Did you get anything more than showers?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1277
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Same weather.... My part is quite green though, and vinagreras grow well.

In a more desertic part, I have seen them, and they can grow less than a bush! They resist very close to the sea in windy parts where almost nothing grows.

Forget about making cuttings from this sort of light brittle wood!
You saw how easy they brake when pruning.

Sow it.
Take seeds from a micro-climate as close as yours.
But you seem to have one already, so get seeds from it, or transplant seedlings. Here they come out a lot.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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