Re: Taccarum

-----Original Message-----
From: Julius Boos <>
To: <>
Date: Sunday, September 13, 1998 11:36 AM
Subject: Taccarum

Hello again, my Friends,
I am going to do an "update" to the note below.  The writing of the note
(below) made me go out to admire my plant, and I found that the leaf had
started to wither, a sign that it was going dormant.  I brought the pot into
my garage to dry out, and called my friend to report the impending dormancy.
He said that his plants were still "up", and this alerted me to possible
problems with the tuber, so I went out and turned the tuber out of the pot,
rinsed the soil off to examine it, and it is a good thing that I did so, as
I discovered several small areas of rot on the otherwise healthy tuber, one
of which was near the base of where the leaf had been, and this had affected
the leaf, causing a prematume/false early dormancy.  This may have been
caused by the long period of unseasonably dry weather, followed by very wet
weather (storm Hermine in the gulf of Mexico).  The tuber was about 5" in
dia., wrinkled on the bottom (perhaps as it was not fully mature as yet) and
a nice flesh pink, not jade green as it will turn after a while in a paper
bag left on a shelf in my garage.   The remains of the old tuber were
adhering to its bottom, and were moist, like old thick wet paper, but peeled
off easily, exposing several small areas of rot.  Using the point of a dull
knife, I dug/scraped out all of the areas of rot (about 5, which were brown
and cracked at the surface) down to healthy tissue, and treated the wounds
with "Captan", a fungicide.  I will put it into a paper bag with a dusting
of "Ban Rot" once it has dried off a bit.
An interesting note is that while digging out the rotten areas, a tiny piece
of the very moist plant tissue flew up and into my left eye, and there was
immeadiate discomfort, and even though I washed the eye out throughly and
applied drops, it itched like hell for about 1/2 hour, and still does not
feel "right".  So here is another Aroid that itches.
I will keep us informed as to the tubers progress during the comming months.
There were no small offset tubers produced, but many growing points are
around the upper surface of the tuber, and the largest has formed a "bulge"
out at one side.  Seeing how this species' tuber develops and changes during
its dormancy, (see below) I would not be surprised if this "bulge"
eventually detaches itself from the main tuber by next spring.   I am also
informed that you can cut the tubers into pieces, and they will heal, and a
new plant will grow from each piece.  I am not ready this point to try this
with my one tuber!
I believe that this species requires a very well drained mix, and to be
gradually dried off in fall.  It seems to be VERY sensitive to excessive
moisture at maturity, and will rot easily., and needs to be kept out of its
pot, dry and warm, during dormancy.
To all growers out there, I`d love to aquire other species of this genus,
and any others in this group, such as Gorgonidium, Asterostigma, Mangonia,
etc.  I have two species (?) of Spathicarpa, sagittifolia and hastifolia,
and they did VERY well this summer, and are now starting to go dormant.  In
previous years thay seemed to be "mixed up" as to the seasons, and would
grow in winter, then want to go dormant in spring.  They seem to have
finally got it right!

>>Dear Friends,
I thought I`d start a discussion here on the genus Taccarum, another of the
seemingly little known South American Aroids that we read so little about,
but which turns up from time to time in collections.   The GOA tells us
there are 5 species, from tropical and sub-tropical S. America, from N.
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Peru.
I was given a tuber of what I think is T.weddellianum last fall, and I must
"wax poetic" for a moment on the beauty of this plants tuber!   The friend
who gave it to me, and who has grown it very successfully over a period of
years, told me that every year this particular plant produced an increasing
larger and impressive tuber, and he thought that he would have a world
record-sized tuber last fall when he dug it up as it went into dormancy.
When he dug "it" up, he found (to his great disappointment, I may add!) that
the large tuber had divided exactly into two smaller tubers.  The
interesting thing (to me) was that the two new tubers ( each about 5' wide,
one pound in weight, and half-moon in shape, with one side flat) gave the
impression that the original larger tuber had been cleft exactly in half by
a knife, and the sides where they touched were flat against each other.
One of these two tubers, which he kindly gave to me, was a beautiful deep,
dark almost translucent green, with brownish overtones, and was waxy in
texture, a truly beautiful structure of the plant world.   Since they were
said to like it dry during their dormant period, I placed this wonderful and
beautiful, yes beautiful, tuber in a paper beg in my garage, and could not
resist taking it out to be admired by my wife and occasional visitors during
the "winter" months of its dormancy.   To my surprise,  I noticed that it
was slowly changing shape over the duration of its rest period in the paper
bag, the flat side becoming rounder, until when I planted it in April or
thereabouts, after the spike on top had started its development, the tuber
was completely spherical, with no sign of its previously flattened side!
It quickly put up a beautiful leaf and a bloom, with a papery spathe which
quickly withered, leaving the tall and impressive spadix exposed.   The
thick, 30" tall petiole is a wonderfully dark, mottled green, and waxy
looking.  The leaf reminds one of an Amorphophallus or a species of Tacca.
I`d love to hear from anyone as to their experiences with this wonderful
example of the aroid family, especially from anyone who may have other
species of this genus.

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