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Re: Non-aroid query: Ruellia amoena

  • To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
  • Subject: Re: Non-aroid query: Ruellia amoena
  • From: jim singer <jsinger@igc.org>
  • Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 16:30:20 -0600 (CST)

no, but since i have a fondness for ruella, i'll be interested in what you 

At 02:26 PM 2/22/01 -0600, Steve Marak wrote:
>I hope you will forgive this breach of aroidal relevance (made worse by my
>being one of the listowners!); I spent some time trying to decide where to
>post this, concluding it didn't fit on any list to which I belong. But I
>know there are many people on Aroid-L who grow many things beside aroids,
>and who have incredibly wide-ranging knowledge, and I know several of them
>grow this plant.
>Seven or eight years ago, Phil Mueller sent me a piece of a ruellia which
>he said "grew all over the place" in New Orleans to see the bright red
>flowers. I rooted the piece and have been enjoying it ever since. I
>tentatively identified it as R. amoena (for a close-up of a flower, see:
>or of the entire plant:
>Though not hardy here, and a bit sprawly, and of course being a ruellia it
>shoots seeds everywhere, I like it - it's in full flower now, and it's a
>real bright spot in the greenhouse.
>But one mystery I haven't solved: what is that stuff that forms all over
>the leaves when it's inside for the winter? And why does it form? And does
>it do that for anyone else who grows it? It's a white substance, maybe
>very very slightly sticky but mostly just feels gritty, forms on both
>surfaces of the leaves, doesn't seem to be there when the plant is outside
>in summer (or maybe it's just washed away by the sprinkler), doesn't seem
>to be contagious, and doesn't seem to do the plant a bit of harm.
>It wasn't apparent when the lopped-off piece arrived, but appeared within
>a month or two. When I bring the plant(s) in in the fall, it's not present
>but appears within a couple of months at most.
>Although it didn't look like any of the usual insect pests to me -
>mealybugs, scale, spider mites (and being nearsighted, spider mites are
>usually perfectly visible to me), etc. - my initial assumption was
>"something bad". But as I say, there seems to be no harm to the plant - no
>loss of vigor, or color - and it doesn't spread to anything nearby.
>Today, having some time, I started with a magnifying glass, working past
>20x hand lens up to a cheap microscope. Best results seem to be at
>50-100x, where it appears to be almost crystalline in nature. It has no
>detectable smell or taste to me, although one of my cats seems interested
>in it (but doesn't eat the plant). It certainly doesn't look insect-like
>in any way.
>Does anyone have any ideas?

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