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  How does A. titanum do it?
From: "Randy Story" story at caltech.edu> on 2002.09.11 at 15:32:34(9391)
Hi,

The current discussion on Amorphophallus titanum reminded me of a question I
have. This arose during a conversation with a friend while visiting the
Huntington's blooming A. titanum a few weeks ago and the situation would of
course apply to a lot of other species as well.

If during blooming the female flowers are only receptive for about a day,
then there must of course be another flower making pollen that is only a day
or two ahead for there to be successful pollination. My impression was that
A. titanum isn't terribly abundant, plus it blooms only every three years at
best, etc. So what are the chances that another plant blooms sufficiently
nearby (a couple miles?) at exactly the right time (again within a day or
two) so that a given plant is successfully pollinated? A related question
is what sort of population density is necessary to keep all of this going?
I assume that this must be a serious concern of botanists/ecologists and
others trying to keep these plants from going extinct. I'm curious for a
sense as to what the magnitude of the problem is. Is the situation so
precarious for some species that even fairly minor decreases in population
density and or area of distribution can lead to extinction? If so, how many
Amorphophallus species have already been lost?

The conclusion of the conversation with my friend was that it seemed rather
odd that a species (or many) had evolved into such a precarious corner!

Randy

From: "Randy Story" story at caltech.edu> on 2002.09.11 at 22:52:27(9397)
Ron,

I assume you've never been around a durian fruit. People who live in the
same part of the world as A. titanum consider durian to be a delicacy and
somehow put up with that ungodly stench. There are many, many more durians
than there are A. titanums!

Around here people associate Spaths with funerals.

Randy

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From: "Craig Allen" callen at fairchildgarden.org> on 2002.09.12 at 15:54:14(9402)
Of course, until man came along Amorphophallus titanums existence wasn't
precarious.

Craig M. Allen

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From: MossyTrail at cs.com on 2002.09.12 at 20:30:49(9403)
In a message dated 9/12/2002 7:22:33 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
callen@fairchildgarden.org writes:

> The conclusion of the conversation with my friend was that it seemed rather

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From: "Wilbert Hetterscheid" hetter at worldonline.nl> on 2002.09.13 at 08:59:46(9411)
I think it is time for a short run-down on Amorphophallus titanum ecology.
It IS a plant of quite heavily disturbed areas with well-developed secondary
forest. It lives often in quite discernable populations in old Hevea
plantations with secondary forest in between the Heveas. Then again,
seemingly totally isolated plants also occur. I guess that with molecules
being detected by insects over enormous distances, finding out where a
titanum flowers is not that much of a problem for the right insect. We found
several titanum inflorescences in the same general area in different stages
of maturing or dying, so cross-pollinations would certainly have been
possible.

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