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Re: How big is big enough? and how tall do they get?

  • Subject: Re: How big is big enough? and how tall do they get?
  • From: "Randall M. Story" <story@caltech.edu>
  • Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 11:42:53 -0500 (CDT)

Title: Re: How big is big enough? and how tall do they get?

I agree that the fact that blooming is unpredictable can make it all the more exciting.  Unfortunately, most of us have finite financial resources, space and patience.

Let me throw out a hypothetical example.  Suppose someone is interested in just seeing one, any one of these amazing plants bloom.  They have the opportunity to buy a 4 inch (10 cm) diameter tuber of only one of the following:

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, A. bulbifer, A. konjac, A. titanum, Dracunculus vulgaris, Helicodiceros muscivorus and Sauromatum (Typhonium) venosum.  

Which should they buy at this size to be mostly likely to see a bloom?

Now suppose Helicodiceros and A. paeoniifolius are by far their favorite species--how does this change things?

Are there people on this list who could quickly answer this question?  Yes.  Are there also people on this list who don't know yet would like to know?  I'm guessing yes.  Is it easy to find such information online, in books, etc.?  Not at all.  Shouldn't that be exactly the sort of resource that this list is about?  Trial and error can be very frustrating--and expensive.

I find that people (we scientists in particular) are often reluctant to answer such questions because there is no exact answer.  Yet however much we might have to guess, approximate, relate personal experiences, etc., there are people on a list like this who have lots of wisdom to share!  Incomplete knowledge is better than nothing at all.

Back to your example of a small A. titanum blooming (see postings by Kathy Upton, U. of Missouri,  1998).  Wasn't this amazing in part BECAUSE this species has been observed to usually bloom at a much larger size?  If nobody knew the typical size of an A. titanum at blooming would people have cared enough to ask why?

That's why I think there is a need to hear the anecdotal stories, guesses, approximations, etc.  I'll broaden my original request to encourage the curious (many of whom read the list, but never post anything) to either post or send me a list of species they are curious about.  I'll see if I can quiz the experts about these and/or post a list here to see if we get a response.

Sorry to be so long-winded here.  However I think this is a pretty common and fundamental question, of interest to a lot of people, for which there is very, very little information out there.


From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo@msn.com>
To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
Subject: Re: How big is big enough? and how tall do they get?
Date: Sun, Apr 14, 2002, 7:50 PM

----- Original Message -----
From: StroWi <mailto:StroWi@t-online.de>  
To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <mailto:aroid-l@mobot.org>  
Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2002 12:37 PM
Subject: Re: How big is big enough? and how tall do they get?

Dear Bernhard and randy,
This is going to be a MOST difficult one to determine!    Aroids are strange plants, and some will bloom at a VERY early age/size, even the giant species!   There are two pages linked to the MOBOT aroid pages detailing two different A. titanum`s that bloomed at a very small tuber size, and several other species (A. konjac among them) have also bloomed when small/young.   Cyrtosperma cuspidispathum has been recorded blooming when only 6 " tall, this plant can and will grow to over 3 m tall!    Perhaps a big part of the joy of growing these plants is in the 'surprise' of never knowing for sure exactly when one will produce a bloom!!
This brings me to once more mention something that has not been well recorded for most aroids, which is the production of inflorsences by small or weak plants that only contribute pollen to the reproductive 'chain'/gene pool.   This is well recorded in the genus Arisaema, where the 'normal' unisexual spadices (male above female separate floral zones) are modified, the female zone is lacking in the flowers borne by smaller, weaker plants, and these can only contribute pollen to the gene pool, as these small plants do not have the tuber size/stored 'energy' to be able to sustain an infructesence through it`s lengthy development.   I strongly believe that this occurs (does anyone have records or references to this??) in genera that have bisexual spadices such as Anthurium and Urospatha, Anaphyllopsis ond others.   A small, weak plant will bloom, but will only produce pollen.   If fertilized the fruit can and will not develop as the smaller weaker plant can not sustain a developing infructesence.
Anyway, good luck with your quest for information on blooming size, and the use of growth retardant on giant species of Amorphophallus, though this aspect baffles me, I thought that the whole 'point' of obtaining a giant species was for it to grow TALL/BIG!
Best Wishes,

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