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Re: Ongoing saga of P. tortum.

  • Subject: Re: Ongoing saga of P. tortum.
  • From: "Eduardo Goncalves" <edggon@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 21:04:23 -0600 (CST)

Julius and all,

    This P. tortum question is getting exciting, so I will add more fuel to 
the fire:

1. P. distantilobum - This species is pretty rare in cultivation, and the 
only place I have seen real P. distantilobum in cultivation was in 
Burle-Marx collection (together with other 200 species never seen in 
cultivation!). If you want to see real P. distantilobum, take a look at page 
126 of the Lorenziīs book of Burle-Marx plants. I have seen this species in 
an old Exotica (I donīt know which edition), featuring that the picture was 
taken in Burle-Marx collection. This is so different from real P. tortum 
that I would never wonder that they could be confused. It has approximately 
8 primary lobes per side and the leaf is usually parallel to the ground. 
Young plants have leaves very long and usually poorly divided, so I donīt 
think that any of Brianīs plants will turn to be P. distantilobum. I donīt 
think that P. distantilobum is commonly cultivated, despite the name seems 
to be much more common than the plant itself!!!!

2. There are more species with pinnatifid leaves from South America, that 
are usually found in cultivation. There is a species that I described some 
years ago (Philodendron mayoi E.G.Gonį., Kew Bull. 55:178.2000) that seems 
similar to P. tortum, but has: 1. Wider (up to 4 cm wide) and fewer (less 
than 4-6 per side) primary lateral lobes. It is much more common than P. 
distantilobum in cultivation, probably because it grows in middle elevation 
uplands in Central Brazil (up to 1300m), so it is more used to colder 
climates than Amazonian P. distantilobum and P. tortum. 2. It doesnīt have a 
hooked prophyll. 3. Its spathe is white, not purplish inside. If you want to 
see a photo of this species, take a look at the Burle-Marx book (page 142). 
Brianīs plant on the left could be a young specimen of this species, but I 
really think he has two forms of P. tortum. It is a variable species, with a 
wide range of occurence (at least 1000 km between known extreme occurrences, 
i.e. Manaus and Acre). Believe me guys, plants can vary a lot, mainly when 
they are young.

3. There is another species I know from Mato Grosso and Rondonia states in 
Brazil that is probably new and I have been studying. It was collected many 
times in the past and I also have seen it in Burle-Marx collection (he had 
almost everything!!!). It is too similar to P. tortum, thatīs why I am still 
studying it, but as far as I remember, the prophylls are not claw-like. Mr. 
Merkle`s plant could be this form.  Maybe Brian have a small plant of this 
species too.

    Conclusion: Guys, we can train our taxonomical skills with young plants 
of unknown origin, but nothing can be seriously proved without flowering 
plants. Letīs wait Julius series of pictures.

                                Best wishes,


>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, 
>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 
>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 
>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 
>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 
>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.

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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