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Dig This
Friday, July 7, 2000

By Stephanie Kendrick

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Liz Huppman shows the yellow flower at the center of
the new Cornukaempferia aurantiflora from Thailand.

They’re lining up
for Lyon sale

FOR the first time, members of Lyon Arboretum will be allowed a running start into what is one of the largest plant sales in the state.

The Lyon Arboretum Annual Summer Plant Sale officially begins at 9 a.m. July 15, but members will be allowed in at 8:30.

The arboretum has reason to believe the offer will be a popular one. Plant sale regulars typically queue up early on the morning of the sale each year, and you don't want to be standing in their way when the doors open, said sale co-chair Liz Huppman.

"It's so popular, the plant sale. It's great," said Huppman, who hopes to beat the attendance record of more than 4,000. "You can come into one room and have 35 different nurseries right there instead of having to drive around the island to each one."

The arboretum brings in fewer than half of the plants for sale. Participating nurseries donate 30 percent of the proceeds of their sales to the arboretum. Income from the sale helps to fund research and purchase supplies.


Bullet What: Lyon Arboretum & Lyon Arboretum Association Annual Summer Plant Sale
Bullet When: July 15, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bullet Where: Blaisdell Exhibition Hall
Bullet Admission: Free. Members admitted at 8:30 a.m. with an entry pass
Bullet Call: 988-0464

In addition to plants, sale items will include handcrafted items, lei, food products and books.

Plant experts will be on hand throughout the sale to answer questions. Plants for sale will include natives, fruit trees, landscape material, roses, bromeliads, orchids, herbs, ginger, heliconia, cacti and succulents, water plants, anthuriums, bonsai and ferns.

Mauna Kea Daylily Gardens from the Big Island will have some hard-to-find specimens. "They bring all different colors," said Huppman. Tis Unlimited plans to bring many of its own own hybrids, which have been popular in previous sales, she said. And heliconia vendors will have sample blooms from the plants for sale.

Masuo Moriwaki of Moriwaki Nursery, a long-time participant in the Lyon sale, will be bringing a red-and-white-striped plumeria that has been popular in the past. He hopes to have about 200 plants. "I started some 15 to 20 days ago and it looks like it's growing already," said Moriwaki. And he will be starting more.

Moriwaki also will feature the University of Hawaii-designed "Tropic Fire" dwarf anthurium. "It's not very big. Maybe big enough, but not like the regular ones," he said. Moriwaki plans to have 40 of the plants on hand. They sport pure red blooms, he said.

He'll also bring about 80 of the 100 varieties of ti grown at his nursery.

While Moriwaki is sticking with the tried and true for his part of the Lyon sale, he has no doubt about the source of the event's popularity.

"They got all the new things," he said.

This year, those new things include the fern Pleocnemia macrodonta and a ginger relative, Cornukaempferia aurantiflora.

The fern is a native of the Philippines brought to Hawaii by Bob Hirano, associate specialist at Lyon Arboretum. It has dark crinkly leaves and resembles a small tree fern. According to Huppman, it makes a good potted plant.

The Cornukaempferia aurantiflora also does well in a container and prefers shady areas, moist soil and protection from the wind. "It's a forest understory plant," said Huppman.

The Cornukaempferia aurantiflora, which does not yet have a common name, originated in Thailand, where it was discovered in a Bangkok market. Since then, plants have been found growing wild in the forests of northeastern Thailand.

"They just created this genus to describe it because it's so unusual," said Huppman.

The plant has grayish green leaves with gray blotches and maroon undersides. Its mango-colored flowers each last a day, opening in the morning and withering within hours. It blooms throughout the summer

"You just have to remember that it goes completely dormant in the winter and not to throw it out," said Huppman. To reinforce this message, the plants are all being tagged "dormant in winter." New growth should appear in April.

"A lot of the things that are new are really limited, so it's better to come early," said Huppman.

Those wanting to buy themselves that extra half-hour can sign up for an arboretum membership, $25 annually for individuals.

Do It Electric!

Gardening Calendar in Do It Electric!

Stephanie Kendrick's gardening column runs Fridays in Today.
You can write her at the Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802
or email

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