Re: Helicodiceros and Dracunculus

Hi Aroideans:

Just an update on what is going on with the Heliocodicerous muscivoros and
Dracunculus vulgaris tubers that were sent out from Down Under by Rob
McClure last spring. I am attempting to switch them over to Northern
Hemisphere time. (Most of what follows has already been sent to Doug Budric
who is also doing interesting things with these plants and, hopefully, will
send an update also?).

These tubers were planted just under the soil surface in a large, deep tub.
When I went to dig them up all of the tubers were over sixteen inches down
in the tub.

I took the Heli's to the limit up here in zone 5b (the limit of my nerves,
anyway) and left them out through six frosts and a heavy snowfall. When I
dug them up, the top of the large tub and the sides were frozen solid for
up to an inch. The leaves of the Heli were a bit worse for the wear, but
still mostly green and firm. The soil had _not_ frozen to the leaf stems.
Although the plants were buried out of sight for over twelve hours
overnight in -6 C temps during a snowstorm, there were tiny little unfrozen
rings of soil around each of the three stems. This had also occured through
the previous five frosts where the top of the tub had frozen lightly to

This leaves one wondering: is this one of those aroids that is reputed to
generate its own heat?

One tuber was half frozen into the side of the tub over sixteen inches
down. I broke the soil off it and the tuber (and pups) is apparently
undamaged after four weeks on the drying board.

>From the first planting of three tubers I got five primary tubers (the two
large ones dividing and the smaller one fattening up). I also got over
_twenty_ little offsets, or pups. Next season will see how some of these
plants overwinter in a Zone 5b garden.

I still have one Dracunculus in a pot on a windowsill, growing quite nicely
if somewhat slowed down. After Christmas, I am going to stop watering and
dry it out. Then I will give it a four-to-five month cool treatment in the
crisper and see how it compares with the two other Drac's I have in dry
storage, as far as reversing the southern hemisphere growth pattern and
breaking dormancy.

Kind Regards,

Rand ( in the Really Great White With Way-Far Too Much Snow)

Rand Nicholson
New Brunswick
Maritime Canada, Z 5b

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