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RE: native North American aroids

Just to throw in my two-cents worth so to speak:  It is possible that 
Pistia stratioides originated in Asia or Africa and migrated to South 
America without the involvement of man.  There are at least two species of 
orchids which have managed this feat fairly recently.  The most well 
documented of these is Oeceoclades maculata which is "native" to the west 
coast of Africa in the general area where Africa and South America are 
"close" together.  In that habitat, the species grows terrestrially in 
sandy environments.  The species appeared in South America (localized to 
coastal environments) and the islands of the Carribean immediately 
following an atmospheric event which resulted is large quantities of red 
dust being blown from the African continent and deposited in these areas. 
 The species has a strong tendency to self-pollinate so seed production is 
prolific.  Since that time, this species has colonized a fairly substantial 
area of northern South America, the Carribean islands, most of Florida and 
the gulf coastal states where the winter temperatures don't get cold enough 
to freeze the ground.  There is also a species of Bulbophyllum which has 
apparently managed the migration (the only african member of an otherwise 
asian orchid genus).  If orchids can do, its not hard to imagine aroids 
managing the same feat.

Ron McHatton

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