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Re: secondary hemiepiphytes

At 09:20  18/05/00 -0500, you wrote:
>I have two questions, maybe someone can help:
>Monstera deliciosa is probably the most famous example of plants that
>(2) Is there any evidence or explanation as to why any plant would elect
>to dispense with a ready supply of water by doing this? Is there some
>energy consideration involved (eg., too expensive to maintain
>connections to the ground)?

As I understand it the reason that the Monstera would cut its ties to the
ground is that it is trying to reach the canopy of the rainforest to get
the light it needs for growth/reproduction.  It heads for the tops of the
trees to get more light.  Sometimes it is able to get enough water through
its adventitious roots that emerge along the stem, so it dispenses with the
connection to the ground.  I suppose that in this case the Monstera becomes
epyphytic as epyphytic plants use other plants for anchorage and draw
moisture/food from the surrounding environment through the support roots.
There are so many epyphytic orchids out there that absorb everything
through their roots way up in the canopy of the rainforest.  Seems to me
that it achieves the same result, but starts in the ground.

I also seem to recall that when a Monstera seed germinates it has internal
reserves to grow up to 6 feet in length.  If by that time it hasn't found a
tree trunk to climb then it dies.  The climb into the canopy is a genetic
imperative (as well as just plain necessary to get enough light and moisture.

That's how I would see it anyway.  Anyone else out there know for sure?


Paul Tyerman
Canberra, Australia.  USDA equivalent - Zone 8

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