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  Making bulbils?
From: "Randall M. Story" story at caltech.edu> on 2002.06.04 at 11:57:08(8952)

Just curious whether it is possible to induce (using mechanical or chemical
means such as incisions and/or hormones) bulbil formation in species that
don't normally make them . I'm wondering in particular whether the sorts of
bulbils grown on the leaf axils of certain Amorphophallus species can be
artificially coaxed out of other members of the genus.

A related question: Is it possible to increase bulbil formation in species
that normally reproduce this way?



From: mburack at mindspring.com> on 2002.06.04 at 14:29:22(8953)
I'll throw my two cents in..

I dont believe you can make a species which doesnt produce aerial bulbils to make them...reason being.. the specific cells needed to create "bulbil" formation would not be present.

("Bulbil" creating "cells" are specific to that function and not just a leaf cell gone haywire).

(Maybe it could be done by grafting cells but it sounds awfully complicated and not really worth it).

Maybe that was more than 2 cents.


From: "Randall M. Story" story at caltech.edu> on 2002.06.04 at 23:02:26(8954)

You're probably right about that.

However, at least some leaf cells must retain the ability to (eventually)
form all the tissues of an Amorphophallus--leaf, petiole, tuber, roots, etc.
since some of these plants can be propagated by leaf cuttings. That is,
there must be at least some cells present in leaves that are capable of
de-differentiating and forming "stem cells" capable of regenerating all cell
types. Or perhaps stem cells are still present in the leaves? (someone help
me on this...)

I suppose the question boils down to exactly what the various sorts of
bulbils actually are. Is it a sort of specialized tissue(s) or structure
that can only be formed by certain species that possess particular gene(s),
or is it something common to all of these guys? If the former, then it's
probably unlikely it can be produced in other species. If the latter, then
conceivably bulbil or bulbil-like tissue could be generally produced.
Anyone out there know ?


From: "brian williams" pugturd50 at hotmail.com> on 2002.06.04 at 23:04:28(8955)
I have chopped a few bulb up and placed in a humid place and have had bulbs
form from each chunk of bulb. I have also had a few forms that don't usually
set off bulb that I have cut not all the way but cut a mark into and placed
fungicide. This mark or scare I have found will make some species split in
two. I have not made any true experiments up just me messing trying new

Has anyone else tried anything like this?

Just to add in on this message. I have been growing for a few years and have
found that their are manly two ways for me to grow Amorphophallus well here
in Kentucky. I have one bed made in the greenhouse with normal river bottom
dirt. Kinda like the stuff used in a garden the normal brown farm dirt. All
the amorphos and Dracontiums love that.
But for pots. I find I use metro mix 360 with a common mix of powdered
spaghnum moss and perlite. Half a bag of metro mix to every bag of the
spaghnum moss. This works very well on the amorphos as well as Philo

From: Iza & Carol Goroff goroff at idcnet.com> on 2002.06.04 at 23:07:32(8957)
Bulbils in Lilium bulbiferum appear to be leaf buds which have the ability to grow roots, once planted. Stems which have axillary buds probably have the ability to produce plantlets if
laid on a suitable compost. I have a water lily 'Tina' which produces plantlets at the junction of the leaf petiole and leaf. One might search for such in Amorphophallus.

Iza Goroff

From: Paul Tyerman ptyerman at ozemail.com.au> on 2002.06.04 at 23:09:03(8958)
>Just curious whether it is possible to induce (using mechanical or chemical
>means such as incisions and/or hormones) bulbil formation in species that
>don't normally make them . I'm wondering in particular whether the sorts of
>bulbils grown on the leaf axils of certain Amorphophallus species can be
>artificially coaxed out of other members of the genus.


Based on ZERO genetic knowledge of Amorphophallus (but don't they just look
SO cool ) I would think that the only way of producing bulbils on a
plant that does not normally do this would be to use plants that can be
grown from leaf cuttings. I am aware that some species of Amorph can be
grown from cuttings from the petioles (although I don't know which species
or the method usually used for this) so I would imagine that theoretically
this could be used to give the equivallent of "layering" the plant in the
air? Many shrubs that can be grown from cuttings can be air layered by
nicking the stem, treating with a hormone, and then wrapping the area is
sphagnum moss or similar, thereby creating roots at this point and the
eventual rooted cutting that can be planted.

This is not "bulbil" creation, but I suppose it is linked in some ways.
Just some thoughts as I have no knowledge of whether this could be done
with Amorphophallus or not, just applying some knowledge from other areas.


Paul Tyerman

From: "Randall M. Story" story at caltech.edu> on 2002.06.05 at 11:44:18(8960)
Hi Brian,

Thanks for your response. I guess my question is in some sense whether
bulbils are essentially masses of generic "tuber tissue" that form on
leaves. If so, then they could simply grow by "reprogramming" leaf tissue
to form "tuber tissue" so as to form what is more or less a tumor on the
leaf. Some pictures I have seen of bulbils seem to look like this,
superficially at least. Then if such a "tumor" is planted, it might develop
the complete range of cells necessary for growth. Such a simple switch in
cell type is easy to imagine developmentally, much more simple than somehow
creating a "real" tuber (presumably with a range of specialized cells) on
the leaf. Just speculation on my part...

Or maybe cells that will eventually form bulbils have already specialized by
the time other leaf cells have specialized???

Are there any guesses as to whether the common ancestor to Amorphophallus
had a bulbil making ability that was lost in most of the other guys, or
whether it was an "invention" in only a few species? (molecular
phylogeneticists in the audience??). If it was lost in the majority of
species, they may still have some sort of latent ability to do this, even if
it is some sort of specialized structure instead of just some tumor-like
mass of cells.

From: "Eduardo Goncalves" edggon at hotmail.com> on 2002.06.05 at 13:18:01(8961)
Dear Randall,

Well, we still do not have a good published phylogeny for the aroids
(despite it is on its way), but it seems that this feature is not so unusual
in the "higher aroids". It is known in a few Amorphs, Pinellia and, believe
me, in a Xanthosoma from Peru! This species (not yet published - Josef
Bogner will publish this one) produces a tubercle at the junction of
leaflets (just like Amorphophallus symonianus), deeply immersed in the
tissue. All of these taxa are from the clade "Aroideae" presented by James
French, so it may not be such a rare thing (or appeared independently at
least 3 times in this subset the family). Anyhow, the tendency for easy
"totipotence" is common in plants with succulent tissues and many aroids are
quite succulent indeed. All you have in "bulbifer" aroids is a small
specialization of an widespread feature... Remember that Gonatopus and
Zamioculcas do not produce spontaneous tubercles, but will start to swollen
any portion of it if you put it in contact with anything that could be
called soil!

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