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RE: native North American aroids

Those of you in Florida will probably have a good laugh when you learn that they charge us between $3 and $5 for Pistia here on Long Island.  The same holds true for water hyacinths.  

These tolerate our ponds for the summer and then roll over dead at the first sign of cold weather.  

You'll laugh further still to hear that I'm keeping one Pistia alive in my kitchen so that I can save a couple bucks next summer (plus it's a souvenir of a Florida trip anyway).


At 10:41 AM 12/09/1999 -0600, you wrote:
>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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