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From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2000.06.18 at 07:50:57(4822)
Dear Mark,

I have recently returned from Fr. Guiana, and something we observed on this
trip and our discussions we had there were along these lines. Although I
have no 'for-sure' answers to your querry, I will offer my thoughts on this
as they may be helpful. Two of the Philodendron species that we were
especially eager to see in their natural conditions were P. goeldii and P.
solimoesnse, both 'self headers' that are seen normally as 'potted plants in
shows or private collections. Our host, Joep Moonen of Emerald
Jungle Village, who runs eco-tours with a guest house, and who is an expert
on all
the Aroids and Bromeliads (plus MANY other groups such as Reptiles ) of S.
America, knew exactly where these two species could be viewed under
completely natural conditions. This was great, as we would NEVER have
located the few specimens that we were able to see under his guidance!!
Unless found by sheer luck within the remains of a fallen jungle giant tree,
they are only seen (so far??) growing as epihytes in the crotch of a huge
trees, way up in the canopy, but with strong roots reaching down 50 mts (150
ft.) and more to feed on the forest floor! Joep says he has not found
these species growing low down under 'natural' conditions, but did show us
a plant of P. solimoesnse that had established itself at ground level and
was growing well several years after being 'forced' down by the felling of
tree upon which it had been growing many years ago, and which had been
felled when the road was being constructed. To add to this, I had seen aTV
Nature show a short while ago where spider monkeys were shown feeding on
the ripe fruits of P. goeldii in the canopy, and I wondered if their was
some 'barrier' to the seeds from this fruit germinating and growing if and
when the seeds passed through this monkey, or perhaps a bird on to the
forest floor (perhaps not enough light this low down to sustain growth??).
On the other side of the coin, I feel sure that the opposite will and
i.e. that the fruits of 'normally' ground-growing species are
sometimes passed out high in the canopy into a subitable growing medium,
such as the crotch or hole in a trunk, and will grow and survive there for
a while if conditions are right for their survival, such as enough moisture,
etc.. I ponder how long they may survive, as since they are
'normally'-ground-level growing plants, if they would have evolved the
strategy of the long, ground/moisture/nutrient-seeking roots we saw in the
species I mentioned previously, which obviously allows these highly adapted
species to live and reproduce for MANY years , perhaps centuries, high up in
the canopy, surviving flood and drought till their supporting 'mother' tree
dies or is blown over. Perhaps the ground-living species would not
survive the once-every-ten/fifty-years
( ? ) drought that may occur in this jungle, so that they are eventually
eliminated from the canopy from time to time even IF they manage to grow
there by accident every so often.
Hope that this is of help, and that it may elect other comments/ideas from
others on our list.

Cheers and good luck,

Julius Boos

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