THANK YOU DON!! You have just answered many of the
questions to which I have been searching! I had begun to suspect P.
atababapoense but not being a scientist was not sure exactly how to
proceed. And I was very curious about Bette's four variations.
You've given me, and all of us, better directions. I'd just love to hear
more from Eduardo on the status of P. 'Superbum'.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2007 9:20
Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Philodendron
I have been following the
many threads of the discussion about Philo.
Santa Leopoldina, and now hope
to clear up some confusion. What started the
confusion for me years ago
was seeing the pictures in Graf's Exotica and
Tropica labeled as Santa
Leopoldina. These plants are clearly what we are
now calling Philo.
superbum, and not spiritus-sancti. When this plant was
sold as S. L. in
the US and Australia, few people knew of the real plant.
The second major confusion about Santa Leopoldina came from Bette
Waterbury's article. The picture on page 8 shows a long leafed form, and
caption says that this is type 3, which is more hastate and silvery
THIS IS A TYPO. It was never corrected in a future Aroideana. In
letters, she makes note of the typo, but does not say what the
is. It is clearly type 1 or type 2, which are
spiritus-sancti. If the photo
was in color, we could tell if it was the
red form or the green form. We may
never know since the original photos
Bette's type 3 and type 4 are most likely
Philo. atobapoense. They can
be silvery green, red backed, or completely
green. I have seen the same
plant show all these forms at different stages
Telling these plants apart is easy when
you are dealing with large
leaves. Spiritus-sancti has longer narrower
leaves that average 6 to 8 times
longer than wide. Superbum and
Atobapoense have leaves that average 3 to 4
times longer than wide. But on
smaller plants these ratios are not as
obvious. So we look at the
petioles, which are completely different.
Spiritus-sancti, the real Santa Leopoldina, has petioles that are
to rounded in cross section. they are not wider than they are tall.
big feature is that they are sulcate or canaliculate on the top surface,
meaning they have a groove or channel. this groove is fairly deep and
obvious, V-shaped, and has ridges on the top edges. these ridges are at
about 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock, and not at the widest points like in a
D-shaped petiole. The stem also has random red
Philo. atobapoense, or type 3 and 4, has
petioles that are rounded to
oval shaped in cross section. they are
usually wider than tall, and have no
canal or ridges. the top surface is
slightly sunken on larger leaves, but is
also much wider. also has red
dots olong the stem.
Philo. superbum, the
false leopoldina, has petioles that are truly
unique. They are D-shaped in
cross-section, with a fairly flat top, and
rounded top edges. the most
obvious feature is the longitudinal lines and
grooves all along the stem.
they are white green on top, cbanging to red on
the bottom, with no red
dots like the others. and certainly no channels or
So the people who have posted photos of
these plants should be able to
put a name on these just by the shape of
The propagation of spiritus-sancti by
cuttings is a slow process since
it is such a slow grower. But it may be
our only hope. Tissue culture has
failed twice that I know of. And seed
propagation may be very unlikely also.
Six flowers on 2 different plants
this past summer failed to perform like
normal philos. The females didn't
act receptive or heat up, and no pollen
was shed during the male phase to
pollinate the next opening flower. It's no
wonder that they are a rare
I hope this has been some help.
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