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Re: P. tortum a.k.a. 'spider Philo., etc.

  • To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
  • Subject: Re: P. tortum a.k.a. 'spider Philo., etc.
  • From: "Eduardo Goncalves" <edggon@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2002 15:43:04 -0600 (CST)

Just a (not so) quick note:

    Philodendron tortum has been collected by me from Manaus area to 
Northwestern Brazil. I have collected lots of it in Acre state as well as in 
extreme Northwestern Amazonas state (near Tabatinga) so it is also probable 
to occur in eastern Peru and Eastern Colombia. It can be recognized by the 
finelly dissected leaves and hooked prophylls.
     True Philodendron pinnatifidum has very short stem and the petioles are 
usually purple-speckled. It is somewhat rare in cultivation. I also have 
collected true P. distantilobum in Acre and Northern Rondonia state, and 
usually it also have hooked prophylls, but the divisions of leaves are wider 
and fewer. Well, about P. angustisectum, I have to confess that I have never 
seen nothing that could really be reffered by this name. It also have finely 
dissected leaves, but doens´t seem to have hooked prophylls, and the 
peduncles are shorter than the spathe (they are longer than the spathe in P. 
distantilobum and P. tortum).

                        Best wishes,


>Dear Friends,
>Just a note towards attempting to straighten out the true I.D. of a
>Philodendron sp. that has been around for some time under quite a few
>incorrect names.   Photos of a plant in bloom submitted by Jim ('Hammer')
>Langhammer have recently
>been posted on the aroid-l site of Les Kallus under the 'already identified
>species' section with the correct identification of the plant as
>Philodendron tortum Mayo and Soares (in press).   I am told that it occurs
>naturally in E. Brazil (Eduardo, please confirm?).  A single leaf of this
>species is illustrated in 'The Genera of Araceae' on pg. 171,
>'D' ,  and incorrectly I.D.`d as P. angustisectum.    Two different vars. 
>collections of this
>same plant, one with thinner, more delicate leaf divisions than the other
>but both the same species have for years been sold by Albert & Merkle Bros.
>Inc. here in Florida as P. 'pinnatifidium' and P. 'distantilobum', both
>incorrect names for this distinctive plant.   Mr. Merkle, who is an amazing
>90 years old and still very active and works at his nursery every day, told
>me that he no longer recalls the source of his two parent plants, but that
>he used to travel to collect plants in various countries in S. America
>including Brazil back in the 'old days'.   You may recall Mr. Merkle`s 
>at several of the last IAS shows in Miami where I saw several small pots of
>these plants for sale in mis-labeled 4" pots for around $5.00 each.
>I believe that Denis at Silver Chrome produced a number of these plants
>from tissue culture several years ago and it was marketed to bulk outlets
>such as 'Frank`s Nursery' chain up North chain as  and perhaps others
>USA-wide as 'Spider Philodendron'.  (any info on the source of your 
>plant, Denis?).
>SO---anyone who has a slow-growing, compact spider-leaf Philo. sp. that has
>following features can now place an ID tag on it with confidence!   You
>plant should be fairly compact-growing, and as an adult plant demonstrate a
>short, very thick, curved and claw-like structure at the base of the 
>The specific name 'tortum' is reference to this distinctive and obvious
>feature on this species.
>I have recently seen another Philodendron species in a friend`s g/house 
>also has finely-divided leaves, but this species 'vines' everywhere and the
>internodes are thinner than a pencil and LONG between leaves, perhaps
>10-12", while the internodes of true P. tortum are around 4" long and with
>as thick as a finger or thumb, creating a much more 'compact' plant.
>My hope is that this posting may clear up SOME of the confusion surrounding
>this wonderful aroid.   Thanks to Jim Langhammer and many others who
>provided information and showed me specimens.
>Good growing,
>Julius Boos

Eduardo G. Goncalves
Laboratorio de Fitoquimica
Depto. de Botanica - IB
Universidade de Sao Paulo
Caixa Postal 11461 - CEP 05422-970
Sao Paulo - SP - BRAZIL
e-mail: edggon@hotmail.com
Phone: 55 11 3818-7532
FAX  : 55 11 3818-7547

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