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Fw: Zack/A. titanum.


-----Original Message-----
From: R2OT@aol.com <R2OT@aol.com>
To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
Date: Sunday, February 04, 2001 10:48 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: buying amorphophallus
Dear Zack,
I thought you may be interested in a few facts and items that may interest you concerning one of the species of Amorphophallus that you mention you grow a plant of, and the reason that 'plain folks' like you and I have the opportunity to actually own a plant of this real marvel, a miracle of the plant kingdom.
For you to really appreciate exactly WHAT you have in that pot that contains an actual plant of Amorphophallus titanum, I believe that  I must take you back to when I was around your age, when I first saw a black and white photo in an old book of this marvel in bloom, a stern faced old gentleman in a long black tailed coat w/ a long, white beard standing next to it`s pot in a glass-house in Germany.   My Dad explained to me that this was the largest Aroid known, and that it was a 'cousin' to the Anthuriums and Caladiums that we grew (this was back in Trinidad, W.I. where I spent a most WONDERFUL boyhood with jungle-related 'things', plants and reptiles, birds, bats, fish and amphibians among the wonders that we were surrounded by)  My Dad`s revalation made me an Aroid 'nut' from that moment on, I collected and studied them when and where I could, never dreaming of EVER being able to see far less own a specimen of this VERY rare plant.   Over 39 years passed, and one day I got a call from my friend Dewey Fisk saying that there was a 'nut' that had taken many years to study papers and maps, and that this 'nut' was going to go to Indonesia to actually look for this plant and others like it IN THE WILD, and may send us seeds IF he managed to find and collect some!    This was almost beyond belief, beyond our WILDEST dreams as Aroid lovers, and we held our breath till a packet of these treasures, worth their weight in gold (at least to us!) arrived!
 Now I must introduce this 'nut' to you---he was Dr James R. Symon, .an emergency room Doctor by profession, but a 'driven' plant not who, like I did, dreamed the dreams, but worked and saved his money to MAKE his dreams happen!   He dreamed of seeing these plants in their world, of collecting the seed of these rarities and having them grown at the Botanic Gardens where they could be seen (and smelt!), be appreciated by a broad section of the world.   Jim made several trips to Indonesia to collect the seeds, and was instrumental in taking David Attenborough and team to film this marvel in the wild for the PTV show 'The Secret Lives of Plants' which appeared on public TV a few years ago.   Jim also took Wilbert Hetterschied out into the jungles to collect and photograph these titians of the plant kingdom, an experience that I do not think Wilbert, who continues the work on this genus, will EVER forget!    Mary Sizemore, one of Jim`s closest friends and collaborator in his collecting, continues to travel and collect rare specimens, some of  which are sent to Wilbert for determination or description.   Several wonderful articles were published in 'Aroideana', the official publication of The International Aroid Society concerning these collecting trips.   Jim did all of this funded by himself!
I feel confident that if Jim were with us today (Jim passed away at 11.15 A.M., Oct. 21 1995) he would be thrilled at your posting, Zack, that his seed of one of his 'babies' had ended up in your hands, that a young person like yourself was enthused by seeing a photo of one of his 'babies', several of which have bloomed at Botanical Gardens throughout the U.S.A. in the past few years!
Smile and rejoice with us Jim, where ever you may be, it worked!!
I beg the indulgence of some that may think this posting inappropriate or are bored by it, but this is the time for Jim and his story to be remembered.
>>julius boos-                                                  actualy i am
currently growing a small corm of amorphophallus titanum a 54 pound tuber of
a.paeoniifolius and a 20 pound tuber of a.konjak.the solitary leaves grow to
an amazing height so i keep them outside most of the time.

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