Tuesday, August 18, 2009

History and plants: The story behind "Alphonse Karr" bamboo

Its funny to think about how plants are named an who named them. I'm always amazed by a clumping bamboo, Bambusa multiplex "Alphonse Karr", a rather common bamboo that you can find at most nurseries. But in this case "Alphonse Karr" happens to be a rather spectacular plant - it grows really well in the Sacramento region, is perfect for an upright privacy screen and has beautiful ornamental features. Yellow, with green stripes and shades of vibrant red, this plant is more than common, its almost like looking at art, very striking.

I appreciate history and was quite happy to find the background on the name behind this spectacular bamboo plant in the December 2008 edition of Bamboo Magazine. Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, a 19th Century French writer, satirist and newspaper man, born in 1808 found a love for plants when he moved to Nice, France in 1855. Known in the literary world for writing 12 novels and sering as the editor of the French weekly satirical, Le Figaro.

He later became known for his founding of the cut flower trade along the French Riviera and no one quite knows the tie to the famous bamboo, but either someone ion the 19th Century plant world named it after him for his love of plants (or a fan of his writings) or perhaps observed traits of a bamboo plant owned by Mr. Karr.

Something not given much thought usually, but fascinating nonetheless. Every plant has a story.




Katie said...

I love my Alphonse Karr bamboo and it has managed to survive in a pot since we bought it from you and then decided to change our minds about where to put it. Hopefully this fall....hopefully...

Mad Man Bamboo Nursery said...

Hey Katie!

Yes, a very good choice indeed. Fall is the best time to plant, you'll be amazed even more once it gets in the ground.