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  Arum key project
From: "Peter Boyce" boyce at pothos.demon.co.uk> on 2003.04.14 at 05:25:49(10091)
Dear All

I'm in the process of writing a new key to Arum to include the taxonomic
changes that have occurred in the past decade and with the intention of
making it much more user friendly than the one the 'The Genus Arum'

Would anyone with a interest in Arum, ideally those with some species in
cultivation, like to road-test a draft version of the key in the new couple
of weeks?

From: "Petra Schmidt" petra at plantdelights.com> on 2003.04.14 at 11:29:56(10092)
Yes - I'll test the key...thanks.
From: rajshekhar misra rajshekharmisra at yahoo.com> on 2003.04.15 at 12:44:44(10097)
Dear Peter
I would be surely interested in testing the key
developed by you for identifying several Colocasia
species that are under cultivation in different parts
of India and were collected by me during surveys.

From: "Peter Boyce" boyce at pothos.demon.co.uk> on 2003.04.20 at 07:24:08(10105)
Dear Dr Mishra

There seems to be a little confusion here. The key I am producing is for the
temperate genus Arum, not for Colocasia. There is currently no key to
Colocasia that is reliable. If the species you have collected in India are
wild species and not cultivated clonotypes or land races I may be able to
help identify them since I have done a lot of fieldwork in Bangladesh and
know the species there very well.

Yours Sincerely


From: rajshekhar misra rajshekharmisra at yahoo.com> on 2003.04.21 at 13:10:07(10109)
Dear Dr.Peter
I have mostly the cultivated Colocasia types and most
of them are Classified as Colocasia esculenta
var.esculenta and var. antiquorum but I have my own
doubt as there is so much variability.
From: "Peter Boyce" boyce at pothos.demon.co.uk> on 2003.04.21 at 15:25:07(10110)
Dear Dr Mishra

I'm sorry to say that I have very little experience with these cultigen
groups. However, from my observations in in SE and S Asia it seems to me
that the cultigens (and perhaps also the land races) fall roughly into three
vegetative types.

From: rajshekhar misra rajshekharmisra at yahoo.com> on 2003.04.23 at 12:37:37(10113)
Dear Dr.Peter
Here in India, for all practical purposes, we broadly
put the colocais types as C.esculenta var.esculenta
(big mother corm with very few cormels) and
var.antiquorum (with smaller mother corm and several
cormels). There are ofcourse phenotypic difference in
the plant types also.
I would be keen to know more about var.aquatilis. I
think I have several collections of it.
From: Eugene Hoh hohe at symphony.net.au> on 2003.04.24 at 15:08:33(10119)
Dear Dr Mishra, Peter Boyce and all,

For those interested in Colocasia (or in wider issues around biodiversity and
taxonomy of cultivated plants, and the social relations of food crop
cultivation), and haven't heard of this - I thought I should mention TaroGen
(Taro Genetic Resources: Conservation and Utilisation), whose website I
stumbled across one day. This is an international germplasm project for
cultivated Colocasia centred on the Pacific region, and is being carried out by
the Secretariat for the Pacific Community until the end of this year.

Apparently TaroGen came about in 1998 as an emergency response to the taro leaf
blight (Phytophthora colocasiae) epidemic which had destroyed Colocasia crops
in the Pacific region, causing hardship in communities (esp. Samoa) where it
was a staple crop, and also loss of genetic diversity among plants wiped out.
The project appears to be focused on developing a strategy for documenting and
conserving Colocasia genetic diversity in the region, and releasing improved
(disease resistant) varieties; it has included establishing a collection of
important cultivars maintained in tissue culture, as well as supporting
regional breeding programs (which have issued new cultivars).

The TaroGen website is at

Although there is general info on the web pages, most detail is contained in
downloadable documents (PDF). Unfortunately I couldn't find descriptions of
cultivars online (a 'Morphological/Passport Data' page is 'yet to be
published'), but as this is one of the major concerns of the project, it's sure
to be forthcoming - contacts of project staff are provided. Of note is
TaroGen's use of DNA fingerprinting, in addition to morphological information
for evaluating cultivar diversity, since many are vegetatively similar but are
genetically distinct - I'm guessing (not being familiar with the discipline)
the use of such methods for aroids is relatively new? (Also - I don't know if
the project aims to classify the cultivars in any particular way - though some
of the background literature discusses phylogeny.)

Even if it has come from a field somewhat removed from systematic botany, (and
may be controversial to some, for other reasons) this project still sounds
important and might have relevance for those doing taxonomy / systematics of
Colocasia and relatives - (as well as for an aroid cultivar register,

Meanwhile - the site also announces the Third Taro Symposium, held next month
(21-23 May) in Nadi, Fiji - its page is at

Anyway - I hope this information is useful (and apologies for such a
long-winded posting!).

Eugene Hoh

From: The Thaumaturgist asitkghosh at yahoo.com> on 2003.04.25 at 08:52:56(10121)
Thank you very very much for sharing this very important
information with us.


From: rajshekhar misra rajshekharmisra at yahoo.com> on 2003.04.25 at 13:02:45(10122)
Dear Mr.Hoh
Thanks for the valuable information and the address of
the Tarogen website. It will be certainly useful to
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