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Re: Help with Amorphophallus & Sauromatum

  • Subject: Re: Help with Amorphophallus & Sauromatum
  • From: Douglas Ewing <dewing@u.washington.edu>
  • Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 22:31:31 -0600 (CST)

Tony, my experience is as follows: Sauromatum ( Typhonium) does not seed
in my garden, probably because I do not allow them to bloom (I remove the
inflorescence as soon as I see one.)  The main way that this species
spreads in my garden is via asexual reproduction.  The small tubers that
are produced around the top of the main tuber create an ever-larger clump
of plants. Vigorous weeding, cutting of foliage, even Roundup applications
spring, summer, and fall,  have only succeeded in making the little
buggers smaller,  albeit more numerous.( Have you successfully killed this
species with Roundup?).   I am calling this species
based on the above experiences. I will confess to ignorance as to the
official Federal definition of the term. I have no experience with this
 ability to invade a natural ecosystem, as I have not planted it
into one.  If a species is this difficult for someone with years of
experience working with plants to get rid of in a garden bed, I am going
err on the side of safety and call it an invasive. Once it gets somewhere
where nobody annually removes the inflorescence and you add sexual
reproduction and animal dispersal of seed to the equation, I will bet it
is invasive by any definition, at least in Puget Sound area of Washington.
I do not know how this plant will spread in other climes.

I realize the issue of non-native plants in our landscape is a complex
one. I will hope that if avid gardeners lead the way by planting exotic
species  with
caution, we can delay the day that harsh regulations may come down. You
are correct in pointing out that the threat that any plant poses to the
environment will depend on the location you are in. I should have
specified that my Sauromatum experience is limited to western Washington.


Doug Ewing, Greenhouse Manager (206) 543-0436
Department of Botany
University of Washington
Box 355325
Seattle, WA   98195-5325

On Sat, 23 Mar 2002, Tony Avent wrote:

> Doug:
> 	Your note on Sauromatum (typhonium) being invasive is quite interesting.
> Do you mean invasive as per the official US government definition of
> "invades a natural functioning ecosystem and displaces native plants" or do
> you simply mean it seeds around the garden?  For us, seed which are not
> harvested will certainly seed around the garden, but here it certainly
> doesn't qualify as invasive.  We have found that harvesting the seed or
> breaking off the flowers after they have finished will prevent the seeding.
>  Also, a small bit of Roundup as it emerges will also easily remove it from
> your garden.  With all of the serious issues surrounding invasive plants, I
> think it would serve us well to clarify the term before we see many of our
> garden plants being banned than only reproduce well in a garden setting.
> At 10:16 PM 3/22/02 -0600, you wrote:
> >Pete, I would strongly urge you to tell people that Sauromatum is
> >potentially invasive. I do not think it should be planted out of
> >containers. We have a research group here at the University of Washington
> >that has worked with this species for 50+ years studying thermogenicity. I
> >made the mistake of planting tubers in my garden at home to try and grow
> >the researches a big crop. 15 years later I am still trying to eradicate
> >them from my garden.     Doug
> >
> >_________________/\/\/\______________________
> >
> >Doug Ewing, Greenhouse Manager (206) 543-0436
> >Department of Botany
> >University of Washington
> >Box 355325
> >Seattle, WA   98195-5325
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> Tony Avent
> Plant Delights Nursery @
> Juniper Level Botanic Garden
> 9241 Sauls Road
> Raleigh, NC  27603  USA
> Minimum Winter Temps 0-5 F
> Maximum Summer Temps 95-105F
> USDA Hardiness Zone 7b
> email tony@plantdelights.com
> website  http://www.plantdel.com
> phone 919 772-4794
> fax  919 772-4752
> "I consider every plant hardy until I have killed it myself...at least
> three times" - Avent

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