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Re: secondary hemiepiphytes

Dear Marilyn:

Depends on the species in my opinion.

Selenicereus (formerly Deamia) testudo is commonly observed to start life
either as an epiphyte or as a seedling that snakes up (in this area) palms
and tropical oaks. Either way, it is unusual to see them "tapped" into the
ground as a mature plant. These cacti, in addition to some members of the
other genera I mentioned appear to "trap" debris with their stems and roots
and are quite successful after having "lost" their original soil root
system. I have a Cuban species, S. cf. inermis that has long since
overflowed out of its basket and many meters up into a tree where some stems
have broken, re-rooted and continued on their way. I emphasize that this is
under "wild" conditions - I am not certain that either a Monstera or a
Selenicereus can duplicate this feat on a well-scrubbed brick wall!

On the Vanilla query by B. Magrys: Vanilla is a fairly large genus with a
pantropical distribution. While V. planifolia and V. pompona (valid?) are
widely cultivated on trellises after growing up from the soil, there are, as
I understand it, a number of smaller spp. that are purely epiphytic in
habit. Does Vanilla planifolia commonly leave its soil root system? Frankly,
I don't know the answer to this.

Kind regards,


-----Original Message-----
From: van den Bergh <bergh@tpg.com.au>
To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
Date: Martes, 23 de Mayo de 2000 03:26 p.m.
Subject: Re: secondary hemiepiphytes

>As a gardener who knows little about the mechanics of plants, I recently
>removed the pot under a Selenicereus which had parted company with its base
>and root system [due to rot] in the pot and was happily growing up a cement
>wall 30cm. from the ground. Do I understand fom your discussions, that this
>plant will now keep on growing as it is, attached to the wall, and get
>nourishment from the air.
>Marilyn van den Bergh.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Bonaventure W Magrys <magrysbo@shu.edu>
>To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
>Sent: Tuesday, May 23, 2000 8:21 AM
>Subject: Re: secondary hemiepiphytes
>> Jay,
>> What about Vanilla vines?
>> Bonaventure Magrys
>> "Jay Vannini" <interbnk@infovia.com.gt> on 05/20/2000 11:15:57 AM
>> Please respond to aroid-l@mobot.org
>> To:  Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
>> cc:  (bcc: Bonaventure W Magrys/ADM/SHU)
>> Subject:  Re: secondary hemiepiphytes
>> Alan:
>> As a lay observer, I don't pretend to have an answer to your question,
>> rather will pose another related one - that is - do these "hemiepiphytic"
>> aroids always dispense with soil root systems once airborne elsewhere in
>> Neotropics?
>> Sorry to jump in so late here with my two centavos worth, but it is my
>> observation that several of the large scandent aroids that are native to
>> northern Central America commonly continue with very visible links to the
>> ground, even as they pursue the good life in the upper canopy. I have
>> recently examined a vigorous wild population of the species that you
>> mentioned (Monstera deliciosa) in premontane wet forest near that Chiapan
>> border and, offhand, I remember that many of the plants I saw could be
>> traced back down to the ground down very robust host-clasping stems. This
>> was also evident in mature Monstera friedrichsthalii, Syngonium
>> (ID?) and a very large Philodendron sp. seen in the same region.
>> Again, this is only my opinion from admittedly casual observation, but it
>> seems to me that while these plants CAN readily dispense with ties to the
>> soil, they don't necessarily have to do so. Therefore, this event seems
>> an adaptation to accidental (?) loss of the original root system -
>> an advantage to plants whose fates would otherwise be tied to that of
>> hosts following its death. As anyone who has visited an old light gap
>> by a tree fall in humid tropical forests in this region can attest, many
>> mature vines attached to fallen trees have often just reverted back to
>> juvenile climbing stage and headed for the nearest handy trunk to
>> re-colonize.
>> Perhaps we shud refer to this regenerative phase as "phytopragmatism"
>> kidding).
>> Amongst several other groups of plants that I am familiar with, there are
>> indeed clear parallels to this habit in some aroids. Several of the
>> "highland" Nepenthes pitcher plants from tropical Asia, most notably N.
>> lowii and N. pilosa, often part from old, rotting basal stems and
>> to grow and reproduce as epiphytic canopy vines. Likewise, many cereoid
>> cacti inhabiting moist tropical habitats, esp. Selenicereus testudo,
>> Hylocereus spp. and Werckleocereus spp. also do this on a regular basis.
>> Again, this appears to be an adaptive response by succulent-stemmed
>> to environments conducive to loss of basal stems and roots due to fungal,
>> bacterial and insect attack over the relatively long life of the plant.
>> Your questions do open an interesting avenue of research, that is, how
>> common is this ability in tropical climbers and what species do
>> "voluntarily" cut ties to the ground, and why. There are a number of
>> individuals that attend this forum that are familiar with regions with
>> higher epiphyte diversity than Guatemala and Mexico; perhaps they will
>> their views on this subject.
>> Best of luck with your project,
>> Jay Vannini
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "alan san juan" <kalim@erols.com>
>> To: "Multiple recipients of list AROID-L" <aroid-l@mobot.org>
>> Sent: Friday, May 19, 2000 10:26 PM
>> Subject: Re: secondary hemiepiphytes
>> > ok, cool. Thanks to those who gave answers.
>> >
>> > I note though that most explanations focus on why a plant would want to
>> > get to the canopy area, as opposed to why it would elect to GET RID of
>> > the underlying stem. One writer, who wrote by email, noted that this
>> > be simply the result of cumulative damage to the lower (and older)
>> > regions of the plant. Although this may be possible, my understanding
>> > that the degradation is too drastic to be simply due to random
>> > accidental events, and it of course does not address why this would
>> > occur in several diffrent groupings of plants while not in most others.
>> > Indeed, I once observed a large PHilodendron in a greenhouse which
>> > only 1.5 meters or so above the ground...its old pot lay forlornly
>> > it....
>> >
>> > Another notes that adventitious roots could make up for the loss of a
>> > stable water supply, but then notes that conditions even in rainforst
>> > areas up in the canopy is relatively different from one time to another
>> > and from even one tree area to another. Many plants (I think) do not
>> > dispense with their ground roots, while these MOnsteras and
>> > PHilodendrons do....
>> >
>> > What characteristics do these plants and similar others have that
>> > from other vinelike plants that start at ground level but never
>> > relinquish their hold on earth? Is this a competitive advantage that
>> > allows these plants to compete equally against others in similar niche
>> > (well, you may have a stable water supply, but you gotta spend energy
>> > maintaining it, whereas ther is a chance I may end up in an
>> > spot, but in the meantime, I can recycle old tissue matter into growing
>> > at the tips, and growing faster than you)...
>> >
>> >
>> > anyways, thanks for the answers.
>> > alan in New Jersey, USA
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >

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