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Forms of ZZ plant -thanks + a tissue culture question

  • Subject: Forms of ZZ plant -thanks + a tissue culture question
  • From: Adam Black <epiphyte1@earthlink.net>
  • Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2007 00:20:03 -0400

I've been busy and haven't had a chance to respond, but wanted to give a 
very belated thank you to all who posted on and off list to my inquiry 
several weeks back about whether or not the several forms Zamioculcas 
floating around were one or more species. And thanks especially to 
Julius for clariflying that they are all simply one species and bringing 
up the interesting fact that the "mainstream" form originated from a 
spontaneous variation/mutation/freak resulting from the tissue culturing 
process. Are there other tissue cultured aroids out there that are 
noticably different than their wild counterparts?

My wife used to work for a biotech company doing tissue culture on
Pelargoniums, and when experimenting with various hormones
and stuff she was able to reliably create some very interesting things
that would surely be of interest to the horticultural world, yet the
artificial creation of new mutants was far from the focus of the 
company's business plan and were merely byproducts that were sacrificed. 
  Seeing some of the Alocasias, etc that are available mainly
due to tissue culture, I wonder how many are actually noticably
different than the wild form? Have tissue cultured Amorph. titanum been
around long enough to see if there is any difference from a
seed-grown plant in respect to size, growth rate, flowering, etc? It 
appears that all the micropropagated Venus' fly traps available today 
seem to be dwarfed in comparison to wild flytraps.

I am in no way trying to bash the tissue culturing of plants, as I know
that some plants would probably not be around let alone available to
collectors if it weren't for this method of propagation. However, going
back to the topic of the different forms of Z. zamioculcas, I now value
my "wild form" of this species much more, knowing that the "artifical
form" will always dominate if not smother the wild type out of the
horticultural trade. It's good to know what they actually look like in
the wild, and to preserve this in cultivation. But then of course, many 
species well established in cultivation (not in tissue culture) are 
selections from wild plant populations with emphasised characteristics 
(showiness, shape, size, fragrance, edibility, hardiness, etc) and are 
also far removed from what might be considered the "typical" wild form 
likely to be seen over the majority of the plant's range. Can 
mutations/variations that pop up in tissue culture be considered 
comparable to mutations that randomly occur in the wild - Artifically 
induced freaks vs. freaks of nature.

Adam Black

Julius Boos wrote:

>>From : 	ExoticRainforest <Steve@ExoticRainforest.com>
>Reply-To : 	Discussion of aroids <aroid-l@gizmoworks.com>
>Sent : 	Thursday, October 11, 2007 3:46 PM
>To : 	"Discussion of aroids" <aroid-l@gizmoworks.com>
>Subject : 	[Aroid-l] Two species of Zamioculcas?
>Dear Adam, Steve, and all Aroidophyles,
>'Tropicos" was quoted by Steve as a source which states that there are three 
>species of Zamioculcas.  Tropicos, for some reason, continues to carry some 
>outdated and incorrect information on plants, and appears to be in dire need 
>of being updated.  Volunteers???
>The genus East African Zamioculcas, as presently understood, consists of 
>just ONE widespread but variable species, Zamioculcas zamifolia (Loddiges) 
>This may be confirmed by reading the two most recent works on the genus, Pg. 
>149 of "The Genera of Araceae" by S.J. Mayo, J. Bogner, and P.C. Boyce, and 
>a recent update in "Aroideana", Vol 28, 2005, pg. 3, by Josef Bogner.   You 
>may note that in the article in Aroideana, figs. 4-6, pg. 7, Josef notes 
>that Z. "lancifolia" is a synonym of Z. zamioculcas.
>My hope is that this note will clear up any remaining questions or doubt 
>that may be floating around 'out there' in aroid-land concerning this 
>now-common ''Interior Landscaping" plant.
>Good Growing!!
>Julius Boos,
>    >>There are two forms of Zamioculcas floating around - the now 
>    form labeled as Z. zamiifolia or "ZZ plant" and another type that seemed
>    to pop up from time to time before the mass-produced form apparently
>    drowned it out in the marketplace. I was wondering if anyone has looked
>    into whether the less common version is possibly a seperate species,
>    regional variant, or what?
>    I have both forms in my office, so I end up staring at them when on the
>    phone, day dreaming, etc and notice the many differences between them.
>    Both plants are about the same size, potted in the same mix, and receive
>    the same amount of light and water (they are kept right next to each
>    other). Here are the differences I have noticed in my plants:
>    The uncommon type has half the amount of leaflets than the common form,
>    and they are spaced much further apart (the common type has leaflets so
>    close together they appear to overlap). The leaflets on the uncommon
>    form are also twice as long and noticably  oblanceolate (broadest point
>    towards the tip), while the common form is shorter and more elliptical
>    (broadest in the middle). The margin is also slightly wavy in the
>    uncommon form. The geniculum is also positioned lower on the uncommon
>    form, while the common form has a geniculum much closer to the lower set
>    of leaflets. The shape of petiole between the geniculum and the soil
>    line also is noticably different. In the common form the petiole
>    thickens below the geniculum to its widest point but then abruptly
>    tapers back down just above the soil line. In the uncommon form the
>    petiole broadens below the geniculum very gradually to a point just
>    above the soil line, at which point it then abruptly broadens even more
>    to its widest point at the soil line (almost like a pony-tail palm -
>    Beaucarnea/Nolinia sp). I have not had either of them flower yet so I
>    haven't compared their inflorescensces.
>    Any ideas? Can anybody else growing the two forms confirm my
>    observations with their plants?
>    Thanks!
>    Adam Black<<
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