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Re: Not-so-Simple Peace Lilies

  • Subject: Re: Not-so-Simple Peace Lilies
  • From: "Ron Iles" <roniles@eircom.net>
  • Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 11:22:28 -0500 (CDT)

Dear Donna,

Thank you so very much.  Helen Kennedy, bless her, told me about pollination
by the Euglossine Bees,   I DO find fragrances of various Spathiphyllum
species vary significantly.

It would be good to have a photostat or buy a copy of the paper or could you

I am especially interested in why there has been such presumably adaptive
radiation of NW species, whereas there are few but apparently very
differently adapted OW species.  Maybe this obvious tepal thing is a blind
alley and the true way leads somehere else!  ('Sorry for the obtuse pun).
It seems strange to me that with such world wide distribution there can be
so few species.  Maybe it is because they all look like, well,
Spathiphyllum.  Is this because we are not euglossine and do not target
features which separates one kind from another within a species or section.
How can there be just two or three Asian spp and if so why?   WHY only white
or green Spaths?   Do the greens in particular have different fragrances for
different bees or are bees interested at all?   And why the either reflexed
or hooded spathes?   Because I always seem to be in a flight path towards
Spathiphyllum was I re-incarnated from an educationally subnormal
e-bee?!!!!.  It might explain my strange need to seek incessantly for
another "different" Peace Lily!!!.   I have a very strong predeliction for
very dark green forms with most shy corrugated leaves with toothed margins
No matter how large & attractive the spathe matt leaves are just not, well,

But maybe other people might agree that the shinies are the "best"? The
great variation in morphology of the genus is also most interesting.  Plant
size (10cms to 4m), root structure vs wetness of habitat, leaf form and
structure including shininess, thickness, bilateral symmetry etc etc, spathe
open-ness and size.  Also the relationship between light preferences and
tolerances (deepest shade10 to fill sun,10,000 fcs) of various forms.  So
maybe questions can be answered only by LIVING with them closely, time to
watch & wonder freely but cautiously.  Euglossines maybe know a lot we don't
about, (as you write), "Not so Simple Peace Lilies".    I feel that
hybridisation and tissue culture, particularly involving widely different &
geographical spp needs to be very careful.  Horticulture can mangle millions
of years of evolution in seconds what Botanic Gardens & Collections try to
keep intact.   After fifty or more years haphazard hybridisation (and the
genus hybridises very easily) collecting all the cultivars as well I may be
laying down a minefield.   It is SO important to know the origin of
definitive "species" and anything else needs numbering with their "names".
This started off as a supplementary botanical labour of love, now major
issues are arising because of you IAS catalysts,  Thank goodness I chose a
small(?), simple(?) genus.  I forgot that often infinite complexity just
seems elegantly simple.  WotavIstarted again?  Anyway, thanks to so many
people there should be a meaningful assembly of species and cultivars
growing here by Fall.   As it develops I will send photo scans & reports to

Once again, thank you!


----- Original Message -----
From: <SelbyHort@aol.com>
To: "Multiple recipients of list AROID-L" <aroid-l@mobot.org>
Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2001 4:17 AM
Subject: Re: Not-so-Simple Peace Lilies

| Ron and Al,
| I have that 1976 Selbyana article. The paper is a discussion about
| pollination of Spaths in neotropics, particularly by Euglossine bees. Some
| species of Spathiphyllum attract only one Euglossine species, others
| several species. There is a comparison of pollinators visiting Anthurium.
| Parallels are drawn between Euglossine pollination in orchids (esp. in
| Catasetinae and Gongoreae and others). Scents in all these various flowers
| are similar (to our noses), although this paper does not go into fragrance
| analysis. In addition, the paper discusses a couple of different theories
| about Spathiphyllum sect. Massowia in the old world and seemingly
| species in the neotropics, why did this dispersal occur in the genus?
| is a link to Holochlamys evolution from Spathiphyllum in old world. The
| of fused tepals (old world sect. Massowia) vs. free tepals (most
| species) seems to suggest that the old world species are more advanced,
| is it possible that Spaths originated in the old world and neotropical
| members of the genus came later? If so, why do the neotropical species
| free tepals, which are considered less advanced? I have not read lately
| evolutionary discussion in "Genera of the Araceae" to see if any of these
| theories have been developed or thrown out, so I need to read it again.
| be these hypotheses are all considered bunk now. The paper presents an
| interesting speculation that diverse Spathiphyllum species evolved in the
| neotropics as adaptation to selective attraction of pollinators via slight
| changes in floral scents. Since no Euglossines occur in the old world
| this is why there are more spath species in the neotropics?
| If there is enough interest in this paper perhaps we should try to get
| permission to put it online?
| Donna Atwood
| In a message dated 06/13/2001 11:03:21 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
| roniles@eircom.net writes:
| << | Well, Ron, I didn't have a Spath but after reading your posts I
| the
|  | first one I saw at my local Lowe's.  So far, I haven't enjoyed any
|  | noticeable scent from it.  I'd be interested in hearing some more on
|  | range of scents, colors, sizes, etc. in the genus---the page at
|  | is interesting but somewhat silent on this.  It does note the very
|  | distribution of the genus which is apparently discussed in a 1976
|  | article in Selbyana by Williams and Dressler not in the U. Va. library
|  here.
|  | How did it come to be in Middle America and New Guinea/Philippines?  I
|  should
|  | go consult Deni's book...
|  |
|  | Clear skies,
|  | Al >>

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