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RE: [Aroid-l] Santa Leopoldina just got murkier!

  • Subject: RE: [Aroid-l] Santa Leopoldina just got murkier!
  • From: "Denis Rotolante" <denis@skg.com>
  • Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 13:42:47 -0500
  • Importance: Normal

Title: Message
-----Original Message-----
From: aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com [mailto:aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com] On Behalf Of Steve Lucas Exotic Rainforest
Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 6:11 PM
To: Discussion of aroids
Subject: [Aroid-l] Santa Leopoldina just got murkier!

I had hoped the situation would get clearer regarding plants being called 'Santa Leopoldina'.  Perhaps it has cleared just a bit, but it also has gotten murkier!  Today I increased the number of plants from 5 to 11 bearing this name!  Brian Williams furnished some good comments along with photos which I have included on the blind web page. 
Very important, as far as I am concerned, are some new comments from grower Leland Miyano in Hawaii.  For those of you who don't know Leland, you should!  Leland has an incredible collection of very rare philodendron species on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.  Leland was a personal friend of Roberto Burle Marx and worked closely with the master artist and plant collector.  Leland knows Roberto's property and plants very well.  He also knows philodendrons very well!  I have a copy of a personal reference from Roberto given to Leland which any plant collector would cherish were it written for and to them!
Here are some of Leland's comments today sent in personal emails.  I have marked what I consider very important comments and information in red.  Especially his comment which I have increased in size and made bold:
Aloha.  Thank you for referring me to your aroid-l discussion...I am not subscribing, but you can use my information.

First of all, Philodendron'Santa Leopoldina' should be dropped from common usage.  It is of no help and other scientific names should be used for the sundry imposters. 

Secondly, I have seen two types of Philodendron spiritus-sancti and the only difference is the color
of the underside of the blades.  One is deeply burgundy and the other is tinged.  I have seen many of
these plants and there are many more in cultivation than in the wild.

The number 4 and 6 in your photos may be the same plant which I was calling Philodendron billietiae.  #4 is a younger plant and as it ages the color fades from the back and the blades get wider and shorter in proportions.  If any Philodendron sold as P. spiritus-sancti has long internodes or grows fast, it is an imposter.  Even very small plants of Philodendron spiritus-sancti have the short internodes.  Philodendron billietiae as a youngster is the easiest to pass as spiritus-sancti.  Growth in Philodendron spiritus-sancti is very slow...I have seen plants sit there for years without gaining much length in the stem.

I also think that someone or the aroid society should donate  plants of Philodendron spiritus-sancti to Fairchild and Missouri ( or any well-funded and commited public garden) before the tissue cultured plants are released.  That will be a good conservation move.  These need to be in a public accessioned and well curated collection.  The other danger is hybridizing very closely related types...those of us who prefer pure species will not be able to tell them apart.  It may already be happening due to the lack of specimens and or clones.  This same problem has happened with cycads and now the hybrid swarms are confusing everything...even before the species are adequately studied.  If the habitat disappears, then we will never know all the details we love."
In a later email Leland made this comment about some of the photos you will see on the blind link today:  "I took another look at the blind link and the newly posted photos of some of  Brian William's plants look like hybrids."
And in a third email Leland made these comments, " This aroid-l has opened a can of worms for me
again.  I am looking at your photos and plants in my yard.  #4 and 6 are the same plant in my opinion.
Young plants are like #4 in that they are bluish above and burgundy on the underside.  They get longer and
greener for a spell until they get their mature form which look like the figures 154-155 of Aroidiana (vol.
9(1-4))...Philodendron atabapoense.  I forget how I got the id of Philodendron billietae, but that is the
name I have used....maybe Dr. Croat can comment.  At anyrate, my plants vary and the mature leaves have
yellowish midribs and petioles."
I have have also received few email comments from others with similar opinions.  As yet, I have not seen any comments from the PhD's and I am most anxious for their comments to be heard.  I know that several who read the comments here are anxious to get to the bottom of this entire situation.  Here is the link to the updated blind link:
I hope those of you who are familiar with any of these "unknown" species and/or hybrids will make your voices heard!
Steve Lucas
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