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Ongoing saga of P. tortum.

  • Subject: Ongoing saga of P. tortum.
  • From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo@email.msn.com>
  • Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2002 22:26:17 -0600 (CST)

Dear Friends,

As promised, I made the trip down to Mr. Merkle`s g/house this morning and
photographed his plants and made some observations and notes which I will
share with you all (below).

All of the large plants presently at Mr. Merkle`s place appear to be of the
broad-leaflet variety, some are large adults in bloom, others are small
immatures from cuttings.    None appear to have grown to a maximum size, but
several are certainly very large, beautiful adult and blooming plants.
None had more than one of the claw-like prophylls, so may have all been
'just-adult', not old plants.
The large, mature leaves all consisted of between 10 and 13 divisons per
side, this count excluded the final single apical segment and also the
segments of what I deemed the 'posterior divisions'.   These posterior
divisions consisted of a group of segments divided into 3 sometimes 4
divisions, the shortest toward the sinus, the longest furthest away from the
sinus.  ( I noted that the illus. in TGOA, pg. 171, 'D', a fine-leafed P.
tortum, also has the same count, 13-13, and the same kind of posterior
The smaller/immature plants from cuttings demonstrated a much more 'vining'
habit, with about 4-5 visible internodes, each internode up to 4-5" long
with NO sign of the most distinctive claw-like structure at the leaf base,
while the mature plants became VERY compact, some hardly showing ANY
internode spaces, all  with a VERY obvious 'claw'.
The leaf blades of those immature plants demonstrated what must be some
juvenile/seedling features, where the posterior division segments were wide
and resembled other species of Philodendron, the segments were sort of
lobe-like, much wider than in the adults and not very long.   Larger but
still immature
plants also seemed to have thinner leaf segments which became much wider in
adult plants (all were the wide-leaf variety).    I have photographed these
features and hope that the photos are OK and that I can get them posted on
aroid-L when they are developed.
The mature plants were all in bloom, with up to 4 inflorescences in one leaf
sympodium.  The peduncles were up to 16 cm long (the largest) with a spathe
tube of 5 cm and a spathe limb of 4 cm, the tube being longer than the limb.
None were at anthesis, so I collected two which I will place in water and
hope that they will mature and open, we can then compare these to the ones
from a fine leaf division variety that Jim Langhammer has kindly
photographed.   It is interesting that both Jim`s plant of the
thin-segment/fern leaf type AND Mr. Merkle`s broad-segment vars. are both in
bloom at the same time.

I hope that this little note provides some information for those of us who
have an interest in the true I.D. of this most interesting and attractive
Philodendron sp.


Julius Boos.

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