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Syngonium fruit!

  • Subject: Syngonium fruit!
  • From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo@msn.com>
  • Date: Wed, 8 May 2002 20:55:28 -0500 (CDT)

Dear Fellow Aroidophyles,

Today I finally managed to collect some infructesences of Syngonium
(probably one of the clones with attractive juv. leaves of S. podophyllum
that has 'escaped') and perhaps some of 'us' out there may be interested in
my observations.   The infructesences were numerous and VERY conspicuous ,
and the spathe tubes had turned a bright and attractive red.   Some were
swollen by the mature 'berries' that are enclosed within the spathe tube,
others less so.   When the spathe tube was opened, the whole female portion
of the spadix was nothing but a mass of berries fused together, the surface
was smooth, and all the 'collective' fruit were covered by a thin,
geometrically patterned brown delicate membrane like a skin, this tore away
very easily to expose the fleshy white syncarp that surrounded the large
(pea-sized) seeds, about 12 per infructesence.   There was abundant syncarp,
it reminded me of the ripe fruit of a Monstera delic.
 I suggest that these infructesences have evolved to be eaten as a snack
most probably by monkeys and/or large birds, as once the conspicuous red
spathe tube is broken, the entire infructesence makes a perfectly bite-sized
morsel, the berries can not be separated one from the other.   I tasted the
fruit, it was very slightly sweet, not particularly favorable, but not
unpleasant.   The vines were growing up and covering the trunks of many
cypress trees, and in the wild would provide an abundant fruit meal for the
creatures that probably disperse the seed.   Many flowers had developed an
infructesence that did not contain any mature seed, yet they were red and
did provide a 'reward' for any creature that opened the spathe tube.   They
must bloom at least twice a year, the infructesences that contained the
seeds were several internodes lower on the vine and those that had no seed
were nearer to the growing point.   I suspect that those younger flowers
were open in Dec/Jan. when it was cool and there were no pollinators around.
I will keep my eyes on them and see what later month they will flower in
which will provide next years May fruit w/ seed
I washed and cleaned the seed, and they are on their way to Vic Soukup who
does work on the chemistry of aroid seed, perhaps Vic would once more post a
list of aroid genera that he needs seed/fruit from, we do need to assist
where we can!!.

Julius Boos

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