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In Bloom

Montanoa spp. Tree Daisy
 
Montanoa guatemalensis at San Francisco Botanical Garden by Joanne Taylor

Montanoa guatemalensis Photo by Joanne Taylor.

Montanoa tomentosa var. xanthiifolia at San Francisco Botanical Garden by James Gaither Montanoa tomentosa var. xanthiifolia at San Francisco Botanical Garden by Mona Bourell Montanoa tomentosa var. xanthiifolia at San Francisco Botanical Garden by Mona Bourell Montanoa tomentosa var. xanthiifolia at San Francisco Botanical Garden by Mona Bourell Montanoa pteropoda at San Francisco Botanical Garden by James Gaither Montanoa leucantha var. arborescens at San Francisco Botanical Garden by Mona Bourell Montanoa guatemalensis at San Francisco Botanical Garden by Joanne Taylor Montanoa guatemalensis at San Francisco Botanical Garden by Joanne Taylor Montanoa guatemalensis at San Francisco Botanical Garden by Joanne Taylor
 

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Fall is blooming time in the cloud forests of the Botanical Garden, and Montanoa species are now in profuse bloom with their daisy-like flowers of white ray petals surrounding golden disc florets.

Cloud forests are unique ecosystems occupying mountain ridges from 4000 to 10,000 feet, running from Mexico to Peru with mild temperatures, plenty of moisture and little variation. How can San Francisco with its maritime climate simulate the conditions of a high altitude forest in Mexico with 200 inches of rain a year? A mild climate with plenty of frost-free winter rains and ubiquitous summer fog make it all possible.

Our Mesoamerican Cloud Forest got its start in 1984, when Dr. Dennis Breedlove started collecting cuttings and seeds from high montane forests in Chiapas, Mexico, in a grand experiment. Thirty years later, we enjoy a "Mayan wonderland", our own Mesoamerican Cloud Forest right here in San Francisco. Groundcovers, 10-foot tree dahlias, passion vines, Mexican pines, monkey hand trees, daisy trees and a host of other tropical plants grow together in wild profusion, all extending their reach as far as possible for their own bit of sunlight. This special garden has become a sanctuary for plants now extinct in their native lands, and is at its best during late the fall and winter months. There are 30 to 50 species of Montanoa growing in Central America.

San Francisco Botanical Garden grows four species of these lovely trees:

Montanoa guatemalensis, in cultivation, can be massive with multi-trunks and dense, lush foliage reaching 20-40 feet in height. The entire tree can be covered with 2-3 inch white daisies, followed by fluffy, lime-colored bracts surrounding the developing fruits. These pompom-like clusters cover the tree completely, adding more interest as winter progresses. Leaves can be huge, 12 by 13 inches, often three sided in shape, but variable depending on the season.

Montanoa leucantha var. arborescens is a large shrub or small tree with arching branches. The pale green leaves can have a light menthol scent and the flowers in mass have a sweet cherry scent.

The leaves of Montanoa tomentosa were used in traditional medicine for making herbal teas to increase virility.

Montanoa pteropoda can be a large shrub or scrambling vine.

Profile
Scientific Name Montanoa spp. including M. guatemalensis, M. pteropoda, M. tomentosa var. xanthiifolia, M. leucantha var. arborescens
Family Asteraceae
Plant Type Tree/large shrub/vine
Environment Native to cloud forests, so it prefers moderate temperatures. Plant in full sun and water occasionally to regularly – can be somewhat drought tolerant once established but looks much better with irrigation. Some leaf drop with frost but no stem damage.
Bloom September, October, November, December, January, February
Uses Accent plant; makes a spectacular display, covered with flowers from fall into winter.
More Info Native to southern Mexico through Central America.
Location

Montanoa spp. are located in the Mesoamerican Cloud Forest (Beds 14A-D; 24A-E, 24G-H; 25A, 26D, 26G; 29C, 29E, 29G).

Visiting Info >>
Map (Bed Numbers) >>

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IN BLOOM CONTRIBUTORS:
Text by Kathy McNeil and Mona Bourell. Photos by Joanne Taylor. Additional photos provided by James Gaither and Mona Bourell.

 
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Magnolia dawsoniana

Magnolia dawsoniana

January

Magnolia campbellii 'Strybing White'

Magnolia campbellii 'Strybing White'

February

Magnolia laevifolia'Strybing Compact'

Magnolia laevifolia 'Strybing Compact'

March

Aristolochia californica

Aristolochia californica

April

   
Magnolia campbellii

Magnolia campbellii

January

Magnolia denudata

Magnolia denudata

February

Magnolia x veitchii

Magnolia x veitchii

March

Iris douglasiana

Iris douglasiana

April

Aesculus californica

Aesculus californica

May

Vaccinium ovatum

Vaccinium ovatum

June

Sambucus racemosa

Sambucus racemosa

July

Sequoia sempervirens

Sequoia sempervirens

August

Asarum caudatum

Asarum caudatum

September

Deppea splendens

Deppea splendens

October

Montanoa spp.

Montanoa spp.

November

Bidens sp.

Bidens sp.

December

Acer palmatum 'Sango kaku'

Acer palmatum 'Sango kaku'

January

Magnolia campbellii 'Darjeeling'

Magnolia campbellii 'Darjeeling'

February

Bomaria spp.

Bomarea spp.

March

Rhododendron occidentale

Rhododendron occidentale

April

Polystichum munitum

Polystichum munitum

May

x Chiranthofremontia lenzii

x Chiranthofremontia lenzii

June

Salvia leucantha

Salvia leucantha

July

Hydrangea seemannii

Hydrangea seemannii

August

Wollemia nobilis

Wollemia nobilis

September

Cyathea cooperi

Cyathea cooperi

October

Pinus radiata

Pinus radiata

November

Correa spp.

Correa spp.

December

Garrya elliptica

Garrya elliptica

January

Magnolia x soulangeana

Magnolia x soulangeana

February

Senecio glastifolius

Senecio glastifolius

March

Ribes spp.

Ribes spp.

April

Oxalis oregana

Oxalis oregana

May

Calandrinia grandiflora

Calandrinia grandiflora

June

Taxus baccata

Taxus baccata

July

Romneya coulteri

Romneya coulteri

August

Passiflora parritae

Passiflora parritae

September

Malvaviscus arboreus

Malvaviscus arboreus

October

Monterey Cypress

Monterey Cypress

November

Aloe arborescens

Aloe arborescens

December

Aloe plicatilis

Aloe plicatilis

January

Banksia seminuda

Banksia seminuda

February

Zantedeschia elliottiana

Zantedeschia aethiopica

March

Magnolia laevifolia

Magnolia laevifolia

April

Araucaria heterophylla

Araucaria heterophylla

May

Toxicodendron diversilobum

Toxicodendron diversilobum

June

Clarkia sp.

Clarkia sp.

July

Agapanthus

Agapanthus

August

Brugmansia

Brugmansia

September

Cedrus spp.

Cedrus spp.

October

Protea repens

Protea repens

November

Camellia sinensis

Camellia sinensis

December

Thujopsis dolabrata

Thujopsis dolabrata

January

Gordonia longicarpa

Gordonia longicarpa

February

Rojasianthe superba

Rojasianthe superba

March

Echium spp.

Echium spp.

April

Iris douglasiana

Iris douglasiana

May

Digitalis purpurea

Digitalis purpurea

June

Felicia amelloides

Felicia amelloides

July

Ceroxylon quindiuense

Ceroxylon quindiuense

August

Amaryllis belladonna

Amaryllis belladonna

September

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba

October

Acer morrisonense

Acer morrisonense

November

Ilex aquifolium

Ilex aquifolium

December

Picea sitchensis

Picea sitchensis

January

Telanthophora grandifolia

Telanthophora grandifolia

February

Aeonium arboreum 'Schwartzkopf'

Aeonium arboreum 'Schwartzkopf'

March

Leptospermum Spp.

Leptospermum

April

Salvia gesneraeflora

Salvia gesneraeflora

May

Lavandula spp.

Lavandula spp.

June

Pelargonium

Pelargonium

July

Fuchsia paniculata

Fuchsia paniculata

August

Luma apiculata

Luma apiculata

September

Luculia

Luculia

October

Arbutus unedo

Arbutus unedo

November

Cycads

Cycad

December

Restionaceae

Restionaceae

January

Hellebores

Hellebores

February

Ceanothus

Ceanothus

March

Rhododendron

Rhododendron

April

Psoralea pinnata

Psoralea pinnata

May

Fremontodendron californicum

Fremontodendron californicum

June

Leucadendron argenteum

Leucadendron argenteum

July

Crocosmia

Crocosmia

August

Gunnera tinctoria

Gunnera tinctoria

September

Pellaea rotundifolia

Pellaea rotundifolia

October

Fuchsia boliviana

Fuchsia boliviana

November

Erica canaliculata

Erica canaliculata

December

Magnolia campbelli

Magnolia campbelli

January

Magnolia denudata

Magnolia denudata

February

Camellia

Camellia

March

Geranium maderense

Geranium maderense

April

Acmena smithii

Acmena smithii

May

Eschscholzia californica

Eschscholzia californica

June

Dendromecon harfordii

Dendromecon harfordii

July

Romneya coulteri

Romneya coulteri

August

Eupatorium purpureum

Eupatorium purpureum

September

Epilobium canum sp.

Epilobium canum sp.

October

Grevillea spp.

Grevillea spp.

November

Drimys winteri

Drimys winteri

December

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