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  Zack/A. titanum.
From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2001.02.04 at 20:08:57(5915)
-----Original Message-----
From: R2OT@aol.com To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L

Date: Sunday, February 04,
2001 10:48 AM Subject: Re: Fw: buying amorphophallus

Dear
Zack,
I thought you may be
interested in a few facts and items that may interest you concerning one
of the species of Amorphophallus that you mention you grow a plant of,
and the reason that 'plain folks' like you and I have the opportunity to
actually own a plant of this real marvel, a miracle of the plant
kingdom.
For you to really
appreciate exactly WHAT you have in that pot that contains an actual
plant of Amorphophallus titanum, I believe that I must take you
back to when I was around your age, when I first saw a black and white
photo in an old book of this marvel in bloom, a stern faced old
gentleman in a long black tailed coat w/ a long, white beard standing
next to it`s pot in a glass-house in Germany. My Dad
explained to me that this was the largest Aroid known, and that it was a
'cousin' to the Anthuriums and Caladiums that we grew (this was back in
Trinidad, W.I. where I spent a most WONDERFUL boyhood with
jungle-related 'things', plants and reptiles, birds, bats, fish and
amphibians among the wonders that we were surrounded by) My Dad`s
revalation made me an Aroid 'nut' from that moment on, I collected and
studied them when and where I could, never dreaming of EVER being able
to see far less own a specimen of this VERY rare plant. Over
39 years passed, and one day I got a call from my friend Dewey Fisk
saying that there was a 'nut' that had taken many years to study papers
and maps, and that this 'nut' was going to go to Indonesia to actually
look for this plant and others like it IN THE WILD, and may send us
seeds IF he managed to find and collect some! This was
almost beyond belief, beyond our WILDEST dreams as Aroid lovers, and we
held our breath till a packet of these treasures, worth their weight in
gold (at least to us!) arrived!
Now I must introduce
this 'nut' to you---he was Dr James R. Symon, .an emergency room Doctor
by profession, but a 'driven' plant not who, like I did, dreamed the
dreams, but worked and saved his money to MAKE his dreams
happen! He dreamed of seeing these plants in their world, of
collecting the seed of these rarities and having them grown at the
Botanic Gardens where they could be seen (and smelt!), be appreciated by
a broad section of the world. Jim made several trips to
Indonesia to collect the seeds, and was instrumental in taking David
Attenborough and team to film this marvel in the wild for the PTV show
'The Secret Lives of Plants' which appeared on public TV a few years
ago. Jim also took Wilbert Hetterschied out into the jungles
to collect and photograph these titians of the plant kingdom, an
experience that I do not think Wilbert, who continues the work on this
genus, will EVER forget! Mary Sizemore, one of Jim`s
closest friends and collaborator in his collecting, continues to travel
and collect rare specimens, some of which are sent to Wilbert for
determination or description. Several wonderful articles
were published in 'Aroideana', the official publication of The
International Aroid Society concerning these collecting
trips. Jim did all of this funded by
himself!
I feel confident that if
Jim were with us today (Jim passed away at 11.15 A.M., Oct. 21 1995) he
would be thrilled at your posting, Zack, that his seed of one of his
'babies' had ended up in your hands, that a young person like yourself
was enthused by seeing a photo of one of his 'babies', several of which
have bloomed at Botanical Gardens throughout the U.S.A. in the past few
years!
Smile and rejoice with us
Jim, where ever you may be, it worked!!
I beg the indulgence of
some that may think this posting inappropriate or are bored by it, but
this is the time for Jim and his story to be
remembered.

Julius

+More
From: plantnut at macconnect.com (plantnut) on 2001.02.05 at 06:52:05(5918)
Julius,
Your story was wonderful and one that should be told over and over again...
Thank you for telling it. Jim would be pleased not only by Zach's
interest but your telling of his story.
Dewey

+More
From: "Craig Allen" callen at fairchildgarden.org> on 2001.02.05 at 11:32:50(5920)
Again, I enjoyed hearing the story of this
valiant effort by a private individual, Dr. Symon. That Amorphophallus titanum
collection has enriched the educational outreach at Fairchild Tropical
Garden. That's a fancy way of saying it has helped the Garden get
attention when these giants bloomed here at Fairchild in 1998 and
1999. These plants have stimulated the curiosity of many people
that had formerly shown no interest in the conservation of rare and
endangered plant species. Jim Symon's Titans have been very good for
botanical gardens, here and elsewhere. Craig

+More
From: StroWi at t-online.de (StroWi) on 2001.02.05 at 11:34:36(5922)
Julius Boos schrieb:

> Dear Zack,
> I thought you may be interested in a few facts and items that may
> interest you concerning one of the species of Amorphophallus that you

> I beg the indulgence of some that may think this posting
> inappropriate or are bored by it, but this is the time for Jim and his story
> to be remembered.

Dear Julius,

never mind! Its always very interesting for "Amorphophallus-Youngsters" like me
(aged 43 and interested in Am. since two years) to read background information
like this.

Cheers,
Bernhard.

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