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Re: [Aroid-l] Some Science Regarding a GOOD SMELLING A. bulbifer


Gentle folks,

First off, Julius and I are both crazy insane persons, so I am not different
from him there. That's why, thus far, nobody had to take me serious in my
olfactory duel with Julius. However, Ted has started to make this a serious
issue (which it already was.........). 

Yes, smells in Amorphophallus species sometimes vary in one inflorescence
over the flowering period. However, the deviating scents are usually at the
end of the flowering and very weak compared to the peak scent, whiich is the
one we usually percieve. 

Am. bulbifer is a multi-faceted monster in many respects. Quite some years
ago it seemed that just one type was available but nowadays there's quite
some new clones coming in from India. Brian's photo is a case in point. And,
yes, I actually DO believe that there may be clones with a deviating smell. 

In our (Geoff Kite from Kew and myself) work on the chemical composition of
Amorph smells (see e.g. Phytochemistry 46[1], 1997) we usually had only one
inflorescence to ckeck per species but in the few cases where we had more,
differences in especially the percentage of chemicals was observed. In
general the scent was not that different though with different percentages.
Sometimes differences are noticable with range from the emitting plant. I
noticed that e.g. at a distance, Arum creticum smells quite sweet but close
to the spadix I am reminded that there are some foul-smelling components
present too.

So, in conclusion, I do believe in good-smelling clones of bulbifer. The
thing is that the overwhelming presence of dimethyl-trisulphide pricipally
results in a bad gaseous heavily upsetting scent but even I think that at a
longer distance there is some reminiscence of sweetness. It may be that the
balance of this trisulphide with small amounts of two other sulphides (our
observation) could well be varying in clones and that one or more of the
compositions may have a much stronger sweetness to it. 

If anyone has a tuber of this good smelling one to spare, I'd be happy to
nurse it and experience it myself. 

Lord P.   

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