ACER PALMATUM CAP. MC EACHARN
The genus Victoria, original of the areas of the big rivers of South America (the Amazon, Paranà),counts the specimens of the biggest dimensions of the family of water lilies. During the periods of greatest vegetative activity of the plant (June–July), the leaves almost reach 2 m. in diameter. In Europe it is grown as annual species and therefore its typical spherical seeds with the dimension of a pea, are sown every year in January–February.
This conifer, with deciduous leaves, belongs to the Taxoadiaceae family. It was considered extinct and was previously known only from the fossil remains until 1941. The two specimens in the Botanical Gardens of Villa Taranto were given to Capt. Mc Eacharn by prince Borromeo in 1949 and in 1950.
This tree, which belongs to the same family of the plant of coffee and the gardenia (Rubiaceae), is original of the temperate forests of China, from where it was imported in Europe with success in 1907. It was planted in these Gardens in 1947, but they had to wait until July 1971 to see its first blossoming: it was an extraordinary event, which had never before happened in Europe.
The specimen planted in the “Prato delle Personalità” by Prince don Jaime in 1938, has reached such big dimensions and such a peculiar bearing that it is really interesting to see, even when its odd and showy inflorescences are not present. The tree owes its common name of “handkerchiefs tree” or of “ tree of the doves” to the impressive blooming, which makes this tree, original from China, unique.