Zamioculcas, leaf propagation, Mantis, etc.

Re Zamioculcas, I gather the concensus is that there is only one species,
but there seems to be considerable variation within it. Phil Mueller has
commented on big-leaved and little-leaved clones, and a passing reference
was made on another list recently (which I've been unsuccessfully trying
to find) to a purple-stemmed variety. 

Zamioculcas and Gonatopus boivinii are the only two aroids I have which
will root from a single leaflet falling at random to the soil, but
certainly I have rooted leaf cuttings of others without great difficulty.
Not as easily as with a Gesneriad, certainly, but then hardly anything
would be.

Les, I owned a Mantis and used (abused) it extensively for some years. It
is a well-built machine (my father, with decades of machine design
engineering experience, called the design "elegantly simple") and will
perform well within its limits. I second Tom's comments on those. Be aware
that the tines turn *much* faster than with a normal tiller (and thus will
slice bulbs/tubers every time rather than sometimes pushing them out of
the way). This also means it can fling objects with higher velocity though
it didn't happen often - the tine guards are well placed. The biggest
problem we had was that rocks of the right size - and we had lots of them
- will jam between the tines and the guards. I wound up keeping a 3 foot
piece of steel bar handy when tilling new ground to get them out. The
extremely light weight made it our first choice for any small amount of
tilling, and we simply wore it out. The Sears mini-tiller is very similar
in design but I believe is not made by Mantis.


-- Steve Marak

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