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Re: Gorgonidium vermicidium

  • To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
  • Subject: Re: Gorgonidium vermicidium
  • From: "Eduardo Goncalves" <edggon@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2000 22:15:40 -0500 (CDT)

Dear Tshu,

    Like Wilbert said, the name is because of the Medusa-like aspect of the 
stamens in some species of the genus (notably G. mirabile). It is found in 
Northern Argentina (Salta and Jujuy) and Bolivia (elevation ranging from 
1800 to 3100m). The allusion to this supposed worm-killer activity is not 
uncommon in the tribe Spathicarpeae. You also have Synandrospadix 
vermitoxicus, another tuberous genus from the Southern South America that is 
also reputed to kill worms. Many Spathicarpoids are very poisonous and there 
are some anedoctal evidence that the indians used grated tubers of both 
species in wounds infested with larvae of flies ("worms"). If it really 
works, I don't know! The only thing I can assure is that most Spathicarpoids 
are "homicidum", i.e., they can kill people! Never eat raw tubers of 
Gorgonidium, Taccarum, Asterostigma, etc! Remember that Dieffenbachia 
(dumb-cane) is phylogenetically very close to the Spathicarpoids and in fact 
could be considered one of them.

                        Best wishes,


>My guess: the name may be based on the type species G. mirabile, in which
>the male flowers have free, long, multidirected filaments, creating a
>mudusa-like picture of the male part of the spadix. Medusa was a Gorgon, 
>you don't wanna meet with a Gorgon. The plant is from high altitude, Andean
>parts of South America, notably Argentina, but also Bolivia, and who knows.
>I guess Eduardo Goncalves will tell you.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: <Piabinha@aol.com>
>To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
>Sent: woensdag 6 september 2000 4:05
>Subject: Gorgonidium vermicidium
> > what's the origin for the name of this plant?  does it kill worms?  why
> > gorgon?  does anyone know?  also, where is this plant from?
> >
> > tsuh yang chen, nyc, USA
> >
> >

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