The slogan for the company should say it all: “Odd Plants and Oddities For Odd People”. Most of the time, it’s able to follow through. Every once in a great while, though, it exceeds the expectations of even the oddest people to come through the door. It gives everyone involved with the Texas Triffid Ranch great pleasure in announcing that it will be the one and only nursery on the planet Earth, and probably any other planet, to carry seeds and juvenile plants of the incredibly rare tree known as the Pink Bunkadoo, Tempusetsiti gilliami.
Long a highly coveted tree, the Pink Bunkadoo is a monotypical species, belonging to the order Strepitusiciae, which also includes such rare flora as the Varga plant and the Whomping Willow. While casual observers can’t get over its exceptional height (rumored to exceed 600 feet [182.88 meters] in mature specimens), its main attraction in the horticultural trade comes from its bright red foliage. Growing in a wide variety of conditions, from arctic to tropical, the Pink Bunkadoo is easily coppiced, trained into espaliers, and trimmed into hedges, and its only shortcoming is its odor, commonly described as “a stench that could burn the nose hairs out of a dead nun.”
More details are forthcoming, such as the Pink Bunkadoo’s ability to draw out and process radioactive isotopes from contaminated soil or its equally fragrant fruit making a nutritious sandwich spread, but first a moment of tribute. After an absence of twelve years, we need to recognize the efforts of one Edgar Harris, formerly the sports editor for Science Fiction Age magazine, for getting viable seeds and photos of the mature plants. If not for his outstanding efforts at hunting down and collecting specimens, the Pink Bunkadoo would remain nothing more than a legend.
When Harris first got in touch, all he had was a photograph from the Pink Bunkadoo’s native habitat in the plateau of Maple-White Land, located on the border of Venezuela and Brazil. After consulting experts on its authenticity, we wired him the money to gather samples, which just arrived. The Pink Bunkadoo produces large fleshy seed pods with many of the same attributes as ginkgoes and durian fruit, so transporting one back to the US was impossible without access to cargo helicopters. However, he was able to snag viable seeds, from which we plan to offer our first trees.
As can be told, the actual seed is both huge and very heavily hulled, requiring extensive scarification to allow germination. A currently prevailing theory is that the ancestors of the Pink Bunkadoo produced those fruits to attract large dinosaurs to swallow the seeds, thus passing them only after being thoroughly tumbled in the beasts’ gizzards. Other experts suggest that the hulls were protection against forest fires and the occasional volcanic eruption, and the seeds only seem to pip after being dropped from fast-moving vehicles onto busy highways. This alone, along with the weight of the seed, preclude any hope of offering fresh seeds to garden centers. Sorry, friends, but the only hope here is in getting leaf or branch material for sterile tissue propagation.
Another fascinating trait of the Pink Bunkadoo is the deep scoring of the outer seed hull, often resembling writing. We were assured by Harris that not only is this common, but the markings are different between seeds in the same fruit. Others seemed to read “POST NO BILLS,” “PROPERTY OF KANKAKEE POLICE,” and “EVER GET THE FEELING YOU’VE BEEN CHEATED?” The only absolute was the difference in color between viable and nonviable seed, as demonstrated with the first documented germination.
In this photo, you can see the seed coat cracking under the stress of germination, and Harris attests that the tap root will start to sprout any day now. The actual sprouting, though, requires specialized conditions, including red silk pillows, a mister loaded with chocolate sauce, and the rich melodies of Barry White. Or so he says.
As can be expected, this is extremely exciting, and we ask potential retailers and customers to hold off until we can present the final trees for sale, probably on 2/30/2015. Until then, keep checking back for further developments, and thank you, as always, for your support.