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[Aroid-l] Re: Philo. 'S. Leo.'-Historical record?

  • Subject: [Aroid-l] Re: Philo. 'S. Leo.'-Historical record?
  • From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo@msn.com>
  • Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 10:49:07 +0000

From : 	Don Bittel <donbit121@hotmail.com>
Reply-To : 	Discussion of aroids <aroid-l@gizmoworks.com>
Sent : 	Monday, February 26, 2007 3:20 AM
To : 	aroid-l@gizmoworks.com
Subject : 	Re: [Aroid-l] Philodendron 'Santa Leopoldina'

Dear Don,

An excellent note of the historical record concerning these confused plants, this should be archived and noted by all involved in this debate. "Santa Leopoldina' (the name of a Brazilian town or region?), according to your research, was used early on by Graff for what is today believed to be P. superbum or a similar species, but certainly NOT what today is P. spiritus-sancti. At this point, the use of the name 'Santa Leopoldina' for ANY Philodendron should be a moot point, the name has no scientific validity, it never had, as you clearly point out, and was pointed out in an earlier note to aroid-L by Russ Hammer. Dr. Goncalves' (I forget his co-authors name, forgive me) article in Aroideana says all that was needed to be said or explained. Eduardo added to Dr. Bunting`s incomplete note, describing and giving Scientific legitmacy to the name P. spiritus-sancti as the correct name for a very unique species, and by describing fertile material, and adding a description in Latin. This SHOULD put the issue to rest, but I BET it does not!

Good Growing,


Dear aroid-l,

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 the caption says that this is type 3, which is more hastate and silvery green. THIS IS A TYPO. It was never corrected in a future Aroideana. In Bette's letters, she makes note of the typo, but does not say what the correct type 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 are lost.

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 of development.

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 U-shaped to rounded in cross section. they are not wider than they are tall. the 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 dots.

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 canals.

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 petioles.

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 plant.

  I hope this has been some help.

Don Bittel<<

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