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  P. tortum a.k.a. 'spider Philo., etc.
From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2002.01.23 at 07:03:02(8042)
Dear Friends,

Just a note towards attempting to straighten out the true I.D. of a
Philodendron sp. that has been around for some time under quite a few
incorrect names. Photos of a plant in bloom submitted by Jim ('Hammer')
Langhammer have recently
been posted on the aroid-l site of Les Kallus under the 'already identified
species' section with the correct identification of the plant as
Philodendron tortum Mayo and Soares (in press). I am told that it occurs
naturally in E. Brazil (Eduardo, please confirm?). A single leaf of this
species is illustrated in 'The Genera of Araceae' on pg. 171,
'D' , and incorrectly I.D.`d as P. angustisectum. Two different vars. or
collections of this
same plant, one with thinner, more delicate leaf divisions than the other
but both the same species have for years been sold by Albert & Merkle Bros.
Inc. here in Florida as P. 'pinnatifidium' and P. 'distantilobum', both
incorrect names for this distinctive plant. Mr. Merkle, who is an amazing
90 years old and still very active and works at his nursery every day, told
me that he no longer recalls the source of his two parent plants, but that
he used to travel to collect plants in various countries in S. America
including Brazil back in the 'old days'. You may recall Mr. Merkle`s table
at several of the last IAS shows in Miami where I saw several small pots of
these plants for sale in mis-labeled 4" pots for around $5.00 each.
I believe that Denis at Silver Chrome produced a number of these plants
from tissue culture several years ago and it was marketed to bulk outlets
such as 'Frank`s Nursery' chain up North chain as and perhaps others
USA-wide as 'Spider Philodendron'. (any info on the source of your original
plant, Denis?).
SO---anyone who has a slow-growing, compact spider-leaf Philo. sp. that has
following features can now place an ID tag on it with confidence! You
plant should be fairly compact-growing, and as an adult plant demonstrate a
short, very thick, curved and claw-like structure at the base of the leaves.
The specific name 'tortum' is reference to this distinctive and obvious
feature on this species.
I have recently seen another Philodendron species in a friend`s g/house that
also has finely-divided leaves, but this species 'vines' everywhere and the
internodes are thinner than a pencil and LONG between leaves, perhaps
10-12", while the internodes of true P. tortum are around 4" long and with
as thick as a finger or thumb, creating a much more 'compact' plant.
My hope is that this posting may clear up SOME of the confusion surrounding
this wonderful aroid. Thanks to Jim Langhammer and many others who
provided information and showed me specimens.
Good growing,

Julius Boos

From: Tom Croat Thomas.Croat at mobot.org> on 2002.01.23 at 10:41:14(8051)
Title: RE: P. tortum a.k.a. 'spider Philo., etc.

The plant you are talking about is P. tortum alright. I have collected it in Acre and seen it in Amazonas as well. The type is from north of Manaus.


From: "Eduardo Goncalves" edggon at hotmail.com> on 2002.01.23 at 13:43:04(8052)
Just a (not so) quick note:

Philodendron tortum has been collected by me from Manaus area to
Northwestern Brazil. I have collected lots of it in Acre state as well as in
extreme Northwestern Amazonas state (near Tabatinga) so it is also probable
to occur in eastern Peru and Eastern Colombia. It can be recognized by the
finelly dissected leaves and hooked prophylls.
True Philodendron pinnatifidum has very short stem and the petioles are
usually purple-speckled. It is somewhat rare in cultivation. I also have
collected true P. distantilobum in Acre and Northern Rondonia state, and
usually it also have hooked prophylls, but the divisions of leaves are wider
and fewer. Well, about P. angustisectum, I have to confess that I have never
seen nothing that could really be reffered by this name. It also have finely
dissected leaves, but doens?t seem to have hooked prophylls, and the
peduncles are shorter than the spathe (they are longer than the spathe in P.
distantilobum and P. tortum).

Best wishes,


From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2002.01.24 at 06:23:46(8060)
Title: RE: P. tortum a.k.a. 'spider Philo., etc.

Dear Tom and Friends,
It would seem that the question of the I.D. of the 'spider' or
'fern leaf' Philodendron had been solved, but the note from Eduardo in Brazil
raises ONE more question, as he reports the P. distantilobum
also has a claw-like prophyll, but is said to have less and wider
leaf divisions that P. tortum. My question is if there may
be a better way to distinguish these two ( ? ) species, perhaps by sexual
features of the spadix?? I will go and take another look at
the plants in Mr. Merkel`s collection, as you may recall he claimed that he
had TWO species which he called P. distantilobum and
P.pinnatifidium, but at the time I examined them I could see no differences,
and I thought them both to be P. tortum. I will try to collect a
couple of inflorescences if both plants are in bloom.
I will add a couple comments here from friends that may assist
the readers in their I.D.`s of their plants.
From Jim Langhammer---

From: "brian williams" pugturd50 at hotmail.com> on 2002.01.24 at 13:00:48(8067)
I believe I have the plant you are talking about. But I have two philos that
look almost a like. I thought they were the same plant till I looked closer.
Here is a PIC of both plants side by side. If at let me know the names to
both I have label's but I believe they both say P. distantilobum or ferns
leafs philo. THANKS
link to pic

From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2002.01.25 at 06:10:07(8070)
Dear Brian and Friends,

Thanks VERY much for posting this photo, as I believe it illustrates
immature specimens of the two collections of the same species ( Philodendron
tortum), one with wider leaf divisions than the other that Mr. Merkle has
been growing for many years, and selling as two different species, but in
error. Hopefully Dr. Croat can and will confirm what I believe to be
correct, and I understand that there may be an article w/ photos on the next
IAS Newsletter of true Philodendron distantilobum, which should be the FINAL
hurdle that clears up ALL the confusion surrounding P. tortum!!!
Thanks again for posting the photo.


From: Tom Croat Thomas.Croat at mobot.org> on 2002.01.25 at 08:12:48(8071)
Title: RE: P. tortum a.k.a. 'spider Philo., etc.


The plant the left is probably P. distantilobum, but not quite so typical as most I have seen. The plant on the right is P. tortum.


From: "brian williams" pugturd50 at hotmail.com> on 2002.01.25 at 12:45:30(8072)
I thought you might like to also know, I have another form that looks a lot
like the Philo tortum but the leafs are even more thinner and more of a
miniature I believe. It may just be a miniture or different form of tortum I
am not totally sure. I will try to take photos of it soon. THANKS for the
IDs on them. I have the tags already wrote up.

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