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Re: Typical seed count of Amorphophallus titanum

  • To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
  • Subject: Re: Typical seed count of Amorphophallus titanum
  • From: SelbyHort@aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 16:50:30 -0500 (CDT)

Huntington did get seed via an unusual self pollination procedure. This may
have been the first time this type of process has been successful. I heard
that one of the major US news stations picked the story of their seedlings in
the last day or so.

We did have about 200 or so berries at Selby, but not all the fruits
contained seeds. We got about 80 seeds in all. I did not count them all
exactly because a few berries were distributed early by other people at Selby
and I don't know how many of these contained seeds. Some berries contained
two seeds but many contained only one. However, most of the seeds germinated,
even the very small ones that I thought might not be viable.

Huntington's plant produced an awesome looking infructescence but this was
deceiving. I think they only got a few seeds, but I don't know the total
number. Many berries formed but most were void since they only pollinated a
few of the stigmas.

BTW, There is another Amorphophallus titanum preparing to flower at Bonn
Botanical Garden. This immense inflorescence may almost reach the proportions
of the record setting flower at New York Botanical Garden in 1937. NYBG had
the largest documented inflorescence in cultivation. Bonn is predicting their
plant will flower around July 10. Check their web site for daily updates
(http://www.botanik.uni-bonn.de/botgart/info.htm#aktuell). Most of their
information is in german but you will find some english here and the charts
and photos will tell the story.

Very seldom have seeds been obtained in cultivation. Bonn managed to obtain
seeds in 1996, and they reported 450 berries and of these about 70% had two
seeds. Leiden obtained a few seeds in 1999 and Palmengarten distributed seed
around 1993 or so in their Index Seminum. Two of these plants from the
Palmengarten seed flowered last year: one at Univ. of Washington Seattle and
the other at Huntington. Pollination has been attempted recently at Cal State
Fullerton using pollen stored from the Huntington flowering of 1999. Don't
know yet if they have been successful.

Don't think its a good idea to "divide" the A. titanum tubers although there
are rare times when the tubers may offset in cultivation. The only way to
reliably propagate this plant is via seed. Time from seed to flowering
varies, usually at least 5-8 years are required under optimal conditions but
earlier flowerings have been recorded.

Donna Atwood
Selby Gardens

<< The current issue of Hobby Greenhouse Magazine
 has an article called "Famous Blooms Reveal the Fruits of Their Labor".  It
 talks about self pollination of A. titanum at Huntington Botanical Gardens.

 The article did not say how many seeds were produced from this self
 pollination.  But it did say that two blooms at Shelby (not selfed)
 produced 220 "bright orange berries" which I assume will produce about 220
 or so fertile seeds.

 When two flowers mature at about the same time in the wild, about how many
 seeds are produced?

 When one is lucky enough to have two flowers bloom about the same time in a
 botanical garden, what are typical seed counts?

 I assume that A. titanum can reproduce by tubers? That is to say, could I
 divide a plant's tubers and send them to friends so they could start a plant?

 Generally speaking, about what is the time frame from seed to flower for A.
 titanum?  Would a plant started from seed, flower any sooner than a plant
 started from a tuber?

 Thank you for putting up with my many questions.  As money permits, I hope
 to buy more back issues of Aroideana and answer many of the above questions

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