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  Philodendron santa leopoldina
From: "john s. smolowe" johnsmolowe at pacbell.net> on 2001.11.04 at 20:51:46(7729)
In his recent Aroidiana article on Philodendron spiritus-sancti,
aka Philodendron santa leopoldina (the rare, desirable variety) Eduardo
Goncalves suggests the species be made widely available by micropropagation.
I emailed him and he wrote back:
"I am just aware that there are no more
than 5 known plants of P. spiritus-sancti in the wild. It can be considered
almost extinct in the wild. I would love to see it being micropropagated,
because it will remain as an amazing plant, even if it was being sold
K-Mart! Unfortunately, I do not have the facilities here, and I also
do not
have a living plant of it myself. That collected plant were donated
to a
private conservatory that has the proper infra-structure to grow it.
Well, I think there are
more plants of P. spiritus-sancti in the US than in Brazil (even considering
the wild specimens!)."
I'd be interested in contributing to a fund to make that happen. Does
anyone know the practical details? I suppose we'd have to find and deal
with an appropriate lab, and also find a willing owner of the correct plant.
John Smolowe
From: Betsy Feuerstein ecuador at midsouth.rr.com> on 2001.11.05 at 00:54:27(7730)
I hear what you are saying, but I who just paid my left arm to get this
plant, would just as soon we wait for the next millennium to do it. Those
of us who have paid a fortune for it would think twice about such most
likely. Also, it certainly would cut in the society's pocketbook take from
the auctions. Just a personal come back to this discussion.
From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2001.11.05 at 03:27:18(7731)
----- Original Message -----
john s. smolowe
To: Multiple recipients of
list AROID-L
Sent: Sunday, November 04, 2001 3:51
Subject: Philodendron santa

Dear John,

We think ALMOST alike on this, BUT I`d like you to consider the following
first---the few people who have the $$ to have afforded to purchase a plant of
this most wonderful Philodendron species certainly do NOT want it to become a
K-Mart plant out of tissue culture at $5.00 a 'pop', so I am presently working
on a plan which may just allow this plant to preserve it`s status AND monetary
worth, and also increase it`s genitic variability in collections--hear me
I propose that we contact the people who DO own plants of
this now almost extinct Philodendron and ask them to 'lend' their plant or a
cutting of it on 'breeding loan' to a central grower with experience in
hand-pollenating this genus. He or she will fertilize and grow these
plants so as that they are brought to bloom, then hand-pollenate them,
and so obtain seed which can be grown to adult size in about three years
(?). These new plants can be expected to show some genitic
variability, some may be as beautiful in form and leaf texture to their
parents, some less attractive, while some may be even MORE beautiful that the
parent plants! Owner gets 'first choice' of the offspring!!
These can be labled as seed-grown and will certainly remain as very
valuable plants, and maybe THEN a tissue-cultured set can be made,
these may not turn out to be as beautiful as or ever have the value of a
wild-collected or 'from-seed' plant.
Perhaps in the future some seed can be donated to a person in Brazil
where they can be grown and then re-introduced back into the
I am working on contacting some of the owners of these few plants
that I am aware of and see what their response to this idea may be, or perhaps
those of you who do own a plant of this and read this note can let me know
your thoughts?? I`d love to steart a 'stud-book' of all the
wild-collected plants here in the U.S.A. with notes on each, tracing it`s
lineage as to if it is an originally wild-collected plant from Brazil or a
cutting of one, the owner`s name, location, etc.

P.S. I am the auctioneer who auctioned off the plants of
this species at shows in Miami beginning with the wild-collected plants
donated to the IAS by the late Betty Waterbury---my article on the last show
and auction which took place last Sept. at Fairchild in Miami will be
appearing in the next Aroid Newsletter, the one plant available at this past
show went for over U.S.$600.00 at auction.


Julius Boos.

From: "john s. smolowe" johnsmolowe at pacbell.net> on 2001.11.05 at 06:30:06(7732)
Gee, does the society really want to make $ by keeping species close to
extinction? I'd sure feel guilty if my rare plant died after I refused
to clone it - and God knows rare plants do die easily (that's a major reason
why they are rare). Hopefully someone can envision a plan where everyone
wins, including the owner and the beleaguered species.
Would it not be possible, for example, to give a commission on each
clone sold to the owner of the mother plant? That is what is done with
orchids that are mericloned. $5 on each plant sold for the first 120 plants
would cover the $600. Then the owner would have a free specimen, lots of
us would have babies, and extinction would be averted.
John Smolowe
From: Dan Levin levin at pixar.com> on 2001.11.05 at 07:02:44(7733)
Julius has a fine idea- absolutely worth pursuing- but it's rather time dependent
by its scope and could reasonably take a decade to generate tangible results.
In the meantime John's right, we and all remaining Philo. spiritus-sancti are
quite mortal....

I then have to wonder if any current growers of this rare plant feel either the desire
or obligation to further insure the survival and perpetuation of P. spiritus-sancti?
That is- beyond protecting their monetary investment and exclusive status as one
of the very few who can claim they own it. As we all bear witness to more and
more of our favorite plants acquiring that infamous descriptor "almost extinct
in the wild", where do we as the collectors and cultivators of such organisms
begin to draw that line?

Please note this is NOT meant to incriminate or otherwise put anyone who
owns Philo. spiritus-sancti on the firing line. I pose this question most sincerely
and devoid of taking some moral high ground. We could just as easily be discussing Paphiopedilum sanderianum 'Jacob's Ladder' or < your plant here >.
Though Betsy, with all due respect to your recent expenditure and ascension
in the P. spiritus-sancti ranks: If you're truly concerned about the fiscal welfare
of our society please consider the broader benefits to be had if some kind soul
were to donate a meristem of 'spiritus-sancti' (aka "left arm") to the society...
..and all lab work, growing out & eventual sales became the domain of the IAS
itself.... We might see the ensuing plants offered at a premium price to the
general public and at a "discounted" price to active IAS members. Bet our
ranks and society's bank account would grow well beyond the $500 - $750
a year that selling only a single cutting could ever generate. Not to mention the
positive PR and attention this could garner for our cause.

In closing I'd like to reiterate one of Julius' comments: To the true collector,
TC'd plants will never be as desirable nor as valuable compared to their wild-collected counterparts.

- Dan Levin

From: StellrJ at aol.com on 2001.11.05 at 16:35:25(7735)
In a message dated Sun, 4 Nov 2001 10:27:49 PM Eastern Standard Time, "Julius Boos" writes:

> Perhaps in the future some seed can be donated to a person in Brazil
> where they can be grown and then re-introduced back into the
> wild??

From: Betsy Feuerstein ecuador at midsouth.rr.com> on 2001.11.06 at 06:46:15(7740)
I want to say something before this gets any further. To promulgate that
those who have, owe it to society to donate this plant to be cloned so
it will be saved in the wild is somewhat next to saying we are responsible
for it being rare in the first place. Since, to my knowledge, there is
little or now collection data for this plant, because it originally was
seen in the Brule Marx collection and bought in that area by three devout
collectors years ago, how on God's green earth would you know where to
re-establish it and then, where would the funding for such come from since
it is very costly to undertake such a task. Just putting something back
in the jungle in the area has a minuscule odds of survival. Are you going
to stay there and tend to it? Many a plant has been saved from extinction
by collectors and their genuine efforts to preserve in living form. To
imply that the only way to save this plant itself, is to clone it, I highly
doubt that one also. I am not saying that what you say does not have a
grain of possibility, because it does, but on the other hand, the proven
record of collectors preserving the perceived rare and little known, has
a pretty darn good record. Look at the old Anthurium splendidum, (I know
the name has been changed). It has hung around by cuttings. Look at Anthurium
reflexnervium, it is still around and actually it is still around in the
wild even though botancially speaking it was thought to be gone. Could
it be that a few of your premises are slanted to the desire to have the
plant and to genuinely save the plant in a specific way. Just maybe, those
of us collectors have the same desire to save but perhaps not by the same
means that you see. Perhaps at this moment, with all the discussion you
give, we can agree to disagree.
Funny, it is not the philosophical end that I see and that you see that
is at odds. First, it is the presumption that this does not exist in the
wild. How do you know that? Next, it is the presumption that the collector
should give, the meristem doers would give without any monetary reward
to them for their work and then that this would ever be successfully be
reintroduced to the wild while being made available to the public. Your
idea that the public would pay some large money for a cloned, mass produced
plant, is rather ify. When plants become available, the price goes down.
Many a plant has been cloned, come out on the market, sold, and never done
again. Why, because the market did not last for that plant or times were
such that it was not a high money maker and was let go. In that case, this
flurry was fleeting and often is. Those of us who have been out there in
the market place, watch plants come and go in the commercial realm and
it usually is those that we see as special and neat.
I would ask in these discussions if there is to be more, that the inference
of guilt for a difference of opinion, be left off. I do not feel guilty
for admiring the plant I just bought, for having no desire to cut it to
donate for someone else to reap the benefit of my hard earned expenditure.
Perhaps you are not aware of the very big risk of cutting philodendrons.
I have lost both pieces of philodendron cuttings many a time. And along
that line, many a cloning has failed. If at some point I want to take the
risk of cutting this plant or any plant I have, in order that I share it
with another, either for money or as a gift, it is my choice. I see that
choice for every other person who has it. If one of them decides to have
it cloned, I support their choice in that one also. If they decide to clone
it and reap their own harvest for that effort along with the risks, that
is also their choice. I hear a lot of promulgation of altruism by those
who have for the benefit of those who do not. I also hear that it is our
responsibility to make it available so that it can be introduced into the
wild when the place that it came from is not known and support system to
do such is non existent. I see that as a choice by the ones who have.
I feel certain they will come to an appropriate conclusion and it may differ
in form from those who want this plant for whatever reason or reasons.
From: Floral Artistry jjingram at pacbell.net> on 2001.11.06 at 06:47:23(7741)
While I do not have this prized plant, I would like to put my input here.
First, plants that are endangered are because of either human ignorance or
greed. Second, if a plant can be tissue cultured, why not? Third, if I were
to spend $600. on a plant, I would like to be able to increase it's numbers
so as to protect my investment. And the best way to do this is tissue
culture. We have the modern technology to save nearly everything on the
planet (I said nearly).
Tissue culture is the best way to ensure species perpetuation. I don't agree
that $600. after tissue culture become $5.00 K-Mart plants. That is also
pure ignorance. If a rare and endangered plant can be propagated in tissue
culture, then the people propagating should have enough sense to know the
value of the product. With TC, the plants can be offered for a fair market
value, $150.00 -$200.00 and still be a very desirable plant.
I have several plants that are in dire need of tissue culture; if there are
any peoples out there who have a reputable and honest lab, let me know. I
will contact them. But, once these plants are cultured, I'm not going to
knock them out for $5.00 a pop. They will be greatly reduced in price but
the market value is still there.
And if you have a plant that is as desirable as the one we are speaking and
you donate a plant for TC, then you should be entitled to a portion of the
proceeds. That is only fair. I would demand the same if I were to give up my

John Ingram

From: "Ron Iles" roniles at eircom.net> on 2001.11.06 at 16:27:01(7747)
I suggest there is a
fundamental principle exemplified here. Thank you for precipitating
it, Betsy.

Wild plants
& animals more & more are regarded as exigent "investment",
ornamental "Works of Art" according to their rarity, beauty,
ugliness or other "differences" In our finite
"owning" of endangered species do we not accept the full
responsibility for their survival? I submit that any
right to exclusivity we claim in "owning" living breathing life must
be from that life's viewpoint & is earned by our ability to protect it
at all costs. Living Natural Works of Art differ from other
urbane speculative Life "investments". They need to be
propagated. If species are endangered then numbers need to be built
up most rapidly into populations of sufficient size to survive in the
worst scenario. I suggest this entails careful dissemination to
an adequate range of secure venues. If the species was on the
official Higher Vertebrate endangered list I would not be writing
this. If there are only five P. spiritu-sancti left & this can
be professionally confirmed then does the species not qualify for
inclusion in the most critical category of
CITES? Could it be the very first of already
many rare & endangered aroids to be Internationally protected &
therefore most expertly propagated by professional specialists such as yourself
for posterity? Finally when there as few of species like Pandas
left in the World "accession data" become non-priority. i.e. if
there are only FIVE(!) "Pandas" in this desperate situation what the hell does
it matter from what forest glade it came. And
incidentally, most careful re-introduction of propagated endangered species is
surely into areas where their chances of re-establishment are best, not
unfortunately from the exact habitat from which they were threatened. The
issue is a fundamental one. Those who "own" very rare species carry
the custodial responsibility for their greatest chances of breeding &
survival for posterity & have the skills & resources to ensure
this. As with fauna this concerivably could lead
to "endangered species" specialist nurseries who are stringently
responsible & accountable. It seems that the days when any
individual could export & import any wild species are virtually
over. Unregulated adhoc amateur non-vocational "butterfly poaching"
will be as dead as the Dodo maybe deservedly so if in these terrible
days systems for legitimate overt collection with permits then becomes
the rule. It would be wonderful if it could also
lead to rapid global evolution of endangered wild species propagation
specialists with plants as with key many animals. It is further
idealistic & optimistic but one achieves nothing without ideas.
Furthermore if it enforces rights of all other species
& peoples on the Planet away from our own catastrophic
exploitative discordant materialism it cannot be other than global good news for
a change. I hope P. spiritu-sancti (CITES 1) & all the
other as yet unprotected species can be saved from the brink. Well
done, Betsy.


From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2001.11.06 at 21:01:38(7749)

This is the letter concerning how seed production just may increase the
genetic variability of this plant in the U.S.A. This was done a while ago
before I considered that there are other different collections in Brazil.
Someone with more and better knowledge of how genetics actually work is
needed to comment on my drivel!


From: Denis denis at skg.com> on 2001.11.07 at 20:49:12(7773)
Dear John:

I am in possession of a piece of the above described plant left to the
International Aroid Society by Betty Waterbury. Over the years that I
have held it, the plant has managed to make one top cutting per year.
The society sells either the base section which grows a new top or the
top cutting which we root. There has beenn dicussion of Tissue culturing
this plant but I have been reluctant to do so as I thought there were
better clones of this species out there that had better color.

It is not the most vigorous plant out there, and I am not sure if we
were able to put a piece in culture that it would number 1, survive to
multiply in vitro and number 2, whether it would be vigorous enough to
survive explanting to soil media. It would be a challenge. I will ask my
friend, Randy Strode of Agristarts inc. if he would be willing to help
us should we decide we want to do this thing. How much are you willing
to spend on this project. This the top cutting sold for $750. at the IAS
Auction. We would have to forgo selling next year's piece to be able to
propagate it in TC as the process of harvesting the explant may kill the


From: Denis denis at skg.com> on 2001.11.08 at 00:54:43(7777)
To: "aroid-l@mobot.org" aroid-l@mobot.org>
Subject: Re: Philodendron santa leopoldina
Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 16:02:13 -0500
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
From: Durightmm at aol.com on 2001.11.08 at 02:29:24(7781)
Denis for clarification is this discussion a board decision? If this venture were succesful would all members be given an opportunity to acquire one? What price would be determined and how? There are many questions that need to be addressed. It would indeed be of benefit to us all and certainly a step in the right direction to perpetuate this species but it seems to me that this decision warrants more discussion Joe

From: "Ron Iles" roniles at eircom.net> on 2001.11.08 at 16:36:13(7785)

This recent blow-in alien thanks you for your wonderful caring so long for &
propagating the rarity on behalf of the IAS.

After all the care, I am glad that you will not have to sacrificed it for
tissue culturing even for a year & hope that a supreme strain can be found.

Sales of even a couple of hundred plants of just that one plant might make
IAS resources significantly richer, & maybe with more rarities there might
be benefit for the Rain Forest? Its probably all idealistic & impractical
of course.

I have many very distinct "one only" Spathiphyllum taxons & cultons which I
would like to disseminate with other specialist "Arks". Where is the most
economic to have quite small numbers of each tissue cultured in Florida
please? I hope the Spiritu-sancti phenomenon is the beginning of a great
new era of even greater caring & sharing in the IAS.


From: "Michael Pascall" mickpascall at hotmail.com> on 2001.11.08 at 17:09:59(7788)
How much does the IAS rely on funds from the Rare Plant Auction ? I will be
sending along another lot of special Alocasias and some more Dracontiums .
If the precious P.spiritus-sancti is put into culture we will all wait
patiently for our own little bit.
What we have as P.'Santa -Leopoldina' is a slow grower also, but it does not
look anything like the photo on auction page. And 15 years ago it cost
nearly Au$200 !

From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2001.11.09 at 16:23:35(7796)
Dear Michael,

I will leave the first part of your letter to be answered by someone who
knows more about the finances of the IAS, and believe there will be an
accounting in the next newsletter due out soon. Please post a pic. of what
you guys are calling P. spiritus-sancti, I`d like to see it, and maybe Ed
will be able to give a true I.D.?
Aus. $200.00 is a LOT for a plant 15 years ago!!!



From: Denis denis at skg.com> on 2001.11.12 at 17:09:48(7806)
Dear Joe:

At this time there are too many variables involved with this project to
even anticipate the price. We should cross that bridge after there is
actual production tissue in the bottles. To me getting viable tissue
growing and multiplying in vitro is the first step and most critical
problem if we can find a willing TC lab to do the work. Certainly if it
can be tissue cultured they will be available to members...who else
would know enough to want one besides the people who hang out on


From: "john s. smolowe" johnsmolowe at pacbell.net> on 2001.11.13 at 04:19:41(7811)
I emailed Oglesby tissue culture and got the following recommendation
of Venkatesh Krishnamurthy from them. Hope it's helpful. By the way, specialty
nurseries like Tropiflora and Glasshouse Works perhaps might also want
a few.
Note: this is a very old post, so no reply function is available.