„Heiraten auf den Seychellen“-News # 036: Seychellenpalme in Berlin

„Heiraten auf den Seychellen“-News # 036: Seychellenpalme in Berlin

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Berlin – Der Kapitän hatte sich das sicher alles ein bisschen anders vorgestellt. Nach Indien wollte der französische Abenteurer François Pyrard im Jahr 1602 schippern. Doch weil seine „Corbin“ auf offener See den Geist aufgab, musste er sich auf die Maldives Too bad that the king there refused to let the castaways go for five years.

When Pyrard and the crew finally managed to escape, they carried the news of a strange fruit to Europe. Time and again it had been washed up on the beaches of the islands. Not only were the things gigantic, they also suspiciously resembled the pelvic region of a woman. The king insisted that such tempting finds all be delivered to him - and threatened dishonest subjects with the cutting off of their hands or even death.

What Pyrard had seen was the fruit Seychelles Palmscientifically, it is called Lodoicea maldivica. it is three to four times the size of a normal coconut. the seeds are also heavier than anything that biologists know of in comparison - up to 20 kilograms. the tree from which the nut comes is one of the rarest palm species on the planet. in the botanical garden of berlin, such a nut, sometimes also called coco de mer, is now germinating. for the first time in 80 years, one of the rare trees could grow in the capital.

A festive party therefore came to the Great Tropical House on Thursday: the head of the garden, the Honorary Consul of the Seychellesa lawyer who brought the valuable seeds to the capital, researchers, gardeners, journalists. drinks and biscuits are served in the shape of palm trees. the fenced little plant in the bed next door is quite inconspicuous despite all the hoopla.

„Dieser Winter in Berlin ist besonders grau, nass und unerfreulich“, sagt Gartenchef Thomas Borsch zur Begrüßung. Da sei es doch schön, dass man mit der Palme ein Symbol der Tropen feiern könne. Aber Moment: Der Botanische Garten hat in etwa 22.000 Arten, die Hälfte davon unter Glas. Warum also so viel Aufhebens um etwas, das zumindest im Moment wie eine x-beliebige Büropflanze aussieht? „Die Seychellenpalme ist wie ein Pandabär im Pflanzenreich“, erklärt Borsch, „das Symbol einer gefährdeten Art.“

Huge trees with a complicated love life

The palm tree is in the jungle of the small Seychelles Island Praslin at home, some trees also grow on the neighbouring island of curieuse. that's it. there are probably still a total of around 8200 plants. the huge trees have a very complicated love life. and that's probably the reason why they are so rare.

it starts with the fact that the giant seeds are not floatable. over the centuries, only hollow nuts floated over the oceans, the rest simply sank. there are also male and female specimens of the tree. biologists call this diocese or dioeciousness. the female plants, on which the giant seeds hang, grow to a height of about 25 metres. it takes a whole seven years for the nuts to ripen and plump to the ground. there they germinate, perhaps.

Die Pollen liefern die männlichen Bäume. Sie sind mit 30 Metern etwas höher als ihre Herzdamen nebenan. „Wie genau die Bestäubung abläuft, und wann sie gelingt, ist aber weitgehend ungeklärt“, sagt der Biologe Albert-Dieter Stevens. Vielleicht übernimmt der Wind den Job, vielleicht sind es Insekten, vielleicht auch kleine Nager.

again and again the Berliners have tried their hand at cultivating the Seychelles palm. and again and again they have failed. in the year of war 1943 two palms froze to death under the destroyed roof of the tropical house. they had been grown from seeds that a german warship had brought back in the early thirties. then nothing happened for a long time. after the turn of the millennium there were two new attempts. once the plant died, once the nut did not even germinate.

Nun soll es endlich gelingen. Im Großen Tropenhaus haben sie extra eine spezielle Beetheizung im Boden versenkt. „Ohne Technik geht es nicht, die Seychellennuss braucht einen warmen Fuß“, erklärt Gärtnermeisterin Henrike Wilke. Sie und ihre Kollegen werden viel Geduld brauchen – und ein bisschen gute Hoffnung. Denn noch ist nicht gesagt, dass das Bäumchen auch durchhält. „Kindersterblichkeit kommt vor“, sagt der Forscher Stevens. Kritisch wird es, wenn die Palme das Nährgewebe in der Nuss aufgebraucht hat und sich auf ihre eigenen Wurzeln verlassen muss.

Export on a grand scale

Whether the tree in the Berlin Tropical House is a boy or a girl will only be known in 25 years, and perhaps not even in 50. In any case, the capital city biologists are facing a long and complicated battle for their protégé. The palm tree only develops a trunk after 15 years. In return, it produces huge leaves that are up to fourteen metres long and four metres wide.

The Seychelles palm has fascinated people from time immemorial. Emperor Rudolph II dug particularly deep into his pockets for this strange natural product. The Habsburg paid 4000 guilders for a nut. He then had a Prague expert frame it with gold in a particularly artistic manner. Incidentally, the goldsmith was paid ten guilders a month.

For centuries, the nuts were exported on a large scale, most recently to India and China, among other places, to be processed into medicines and potency remedies. For a few years now, this has not been so easy. And so it took a special permit from the government for Berlin lawyer Robin Maletz to be allowed to bring the seeds to Berlin in spring 2010 - in the hand luggage compartment of an airplane and as an official gift from the Republic of Seychelles.

Nun hoffen sie also in Berlin, dass die Palme durchhält. Sie ist schließlich etwas ganz besonderes. Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts war dem britischen General Charles Gordon bei einem Besuch auf den Seychellen folgende Idee gekommen: Die Seychellenpalme, so sagte sich der frühere Generalgouverneur des türkisch-ägyptischen Sudans, müsse ganz gewiss der biblische Baum der Erkenntnis sein. Wo doch die Nuss so stark an die weiblichen Formen erinnert, könne nur sie alle fleischlichen Gelüste ausgelöst haben, folgerte der evangelikale Christ: „Wenn die Neugier von einem Baum angestachelt werden kann, dann von diesem.“

Source: https://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/natur/0,1518,810125,00.html

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