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[Aroid-l] Swamp Philo. sp. from near Iguazu Falls.

  • Subject: [Aroid-l] Swamp Philo. sp. from near Iguazu Falls.
  • From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo@msn.com
  • Date: Mon, 29 May 2006 20:36:06 +0000

Dear All,

Every now and then this incident crosses my mind, and it still bothers me all these years later.
This note was sparked by someone mentioning the late Fred Fuchs, who collected extensively in S. America back in the 'good old days', and often took groups of orchid and aroid enthusists collecting w/ him. Many years ago, when I was just getting started in aroids, I met a woman here in WPB who had returned from collecting w/ Fred just a year or so previously, she described being on the bus to the famous Iguazu falls, when along a flat, straight road BEFORE getting to the falls, in a cow-pasture behind a barbed-wire fence, she saw what could be mistaken for a huge stand of Xanthosoma. On closer inspection (after she managed to get the bus to stop!) the plants turned out to be a swamp-growing species of Philodendron . The area in which this dense stand of plants was growing, which was obviously sometimes flooded, was dry at the time, and the 'soil' consisted of clay baked by the sun to the consistincy/hardness of red brick. She had to get the bus driver to assist her in digging three plants out of this hard and rock-like 'soil'. From memory, the plants had long yellow petioles, and 'carried' about 5 leaves. The leaves were sagittate, with the anterior lobe noticably shorter than the longer, wide-spread hind lobes, and the blades were carried with the anterior lobe pointing down, the hind lobes up. They were not 'self-heading', but were none the less very compact, short-rhizomed plants w/ a thick, short and elongate rhizome the color of an American sweet-potato, orange. It seemed that the plants could store food reserves in this form of rhizome.
The woman had three plants, and resisted all my efforts to trade or buy one from here, she made a comment that she would prefer to let them die before she would part w/ one. During a visit a few years later, she had done just that, allowed them to die. The pots stood empty save the remanants/shells of their rhizomes.
I discussed this w/ the late and great Dr. Monroe Birdsey, and would you believe he too had seen and collected the exact plants at the exact spot during his visit to the falls! I BELIEVE he thought that they might be called P. 'dubium', but he was not certain.
If anyone can offer some/any information on the ID of these plants, or better yet actually have a plant, I`d love to hear from them!
Good Growing!

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