Re: Phil. squamiferum et al


On Wed, 26 Feb 1997, Carlo A. Balistrieri wrote:

> Don Burns was recently good enough to send a piece of Phil. squamiferum to
> be inlcuded in my little "teaching" collection. (I use the plants to give
> talks to kids in schools in our area and to other groups).
> 
> What about that peduncle--any ideas on the adaptive purpose for the strange
> protrusions (maybe to prevent crawlers from getting to the leaf? Or perhaps
> to assist in "grabbing" hold as the plant climbs through vegetation?). Are
> there other species with equally interesting appendages?
> 
> Carlo
> 

Dear Carlo,

Yes, there are other species with such appendages. In fact, all species 
from subsection Achyropodium Schott (8 spp) has these strange protrusions. 
Most of them are from Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador. These species are:
P. nanegalense
P. rubrocinctum
P. arcuatum
P. serpens
P. verrucosum
P. pilatonense
P. gualeanum

Your plant (P. squamiferum) is the only species I know that has the 
protusions and don't belong to such subsection. 

Well, I don't think that these appendages are usefull when the plant is
climbing. They have good roots to do it! About the crawlers, it make more
sense to me, but I am not sure. In my field experience, it seems the worst
enemy of Philos are mealybugs and scales. Maybe the protusions are 
usefull to difficult their stabilishment on petioles or softer portions of 
the stem. What do you think about?

Best wishes,

Ed.


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