Amorphophallus leaf cuttings


Dear Dewey

I've never done leaf cuttings of Amorphophallus but from what I know 
about the physiology of other plants'  leaves I can hazard a guess at 
what's happening. However, what follows apropos Amorphophallus is 
mostly supposition.

Any mass of plant tissue is, in it's basic form (cells), capable of 
proliferating into more masses plant tissue. These undifferentiated 
masses can be 'influenced' to grow into new plants. 

When a leaf curring is taken of, say, a Begonia or Streptocarpus, the 
propagules that form  began as tiny masses of undifferentiated cells 
that arose as a result of trauma along the cut surfaces. It seems 
that these cell masses are sensitive to various external factors 
(light, gravity) and these factors act upon them,  'programmimg' the 
cells in a particular region to favour a particular developmental 
sequence (those nearer light form shoots, those 'nearer' gravity 
(i.e. those on the lower side) form roots. If these factors are 
altered by for example, putting the cell masses into a situation 
where light and gravity act on all sides simultaneously (by 
continually rotating the material)  the cell masses remain 
undifferenitated and grow into amorphophous masses. These masses 
can be continually redivided, producing thousands of individual 
groups which, when returned to a stable environment, will 
develop into plantlets.This forms the basis of commercial cell 
culture techniques.

The ability of some Amorphophallus to produce tuberlets on the leaves 
suggests a, possibly hereditry, predisposition to  produce 
propagules. In taking leaf cuttings it's possible that even in 
species that don't naturally produce bulbils, the cutting of the 
tissue triggers the cells to differentiate and from tuberlets. 
Similar things occurs when you scale lillies, cross-hatch corms of 
gladiolous and crocus, remove leaves of Zamioculcas, Gonatopus and 
Pinellia, etc.

Hope this has helped and not further muddied the waters.


Pete
----------------------------
Peter Boyce
Herbarium
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Richmond
Surrey    TW9 3AE
U.K.

Tel. + 44 - (0)181 332 5207
Fax. + 44 - (0)181 332 5298
email. p.boyce@lion.rbgkew.org.uk



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