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  Rare Chinese Aroid
From: "Peter Boyce" boyce at pothos.demon.co.uk> on 2003.05.24 at 23:38:30(10288)
Hi Leslie, Michael, et al.

I'm slightly confused (it doesn't take much!).

Leslie, in your original posting you enquired about germinating Schismatoglottis gigantea. This is an unpublished and invalid name for the Sabah (N Borneo) endemic Schismatoglottis corneri. You'll recall I asked if your seeds came from habitat and also, in the same email (I think), assuming that perhaps you'd collected them yourself, asked if you'd encountered the endemic Colocasia oresbia, which occurs in the same mountain range as S. cornei.

If you in fact meant Homalomena (not Schismatoglottis) gigantea then that is a completely different species, although also from Borneo. Homalomena megalophylla is a Sumateran species published in 1985 and H. robusta is a species from the island of New Guinea.

If, however, the seeds you've germinated come from the Nature Products site then, assuming that the picture they have posted is a picture of the plant whose seeds they sell, then you have a pan of Alocasia macrorrizos. The give-away on the picture of the mature leaf is the lack of tissue in the space between the basal lobes where the leaf stalk and the leaf blade meet. There are three common Alocasia in Yunnan: A. navicularis, A. odora and A. macrorrizos. Only the last named lacks a wing of tissue between the basal lobes when mature (juvenile plants do have tissue there).

Perhaps the most intriguing plant of the Nature Products site is the 'arrow leaf', which looks to be A. acuminata (need to see a whole leaf to be sure), a species hitherto recorded from Bangladesh (where it is the common alocasia) and N. Thailand. It's presence in SW China wouldn't be a sensation - lots of aroids do the pan-Himalaya run, cropping up in the mountains right across from N India to southern China - but it would be a nice addition to the aroids of the region.

Hope this helps some

Pete

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From: "Peter Boyce" boyce at pothos.demon.co.uk> on 2003.06.03 at 03:35:03(10304)
Hi Leslie

My id on the giant arrow leaf as A.macrorrhizos is based on the picture on the NatureProducts website which indubitably shows A. macrorrhizos. Of course, the question as to whether this photograph is really what they are selling as 'H. gigantea' is moot since I have to say that other identifications on the site are pretty bad - in fact almost everything apart from the Musella is wrongly identified!

The giant arrow leaf might possibly be Colocasia gigantea (which is common in SW China. N. Vietnam, N. Laos, etc.). If it is C. gigantea then the give away will be that the leaves and leaf stalks are striking waxy pale blue-grey and when you cut the tissue the cut surface very quickly turns a rich orange colour. The very distinctive leaf colour is something that I am sure NatureProducts would have commented on if this were what they are selling. Other possibilities are A. navicularis and A. odora which are both common species in the region and both quite capable of reaching 2 or more metres tall in good growing conditions.

How large are the plants in your two batches of seedlings? With a few exceptions Alocasia are hard to differentiate for the first few months after germination although if they are growing fast (in Borneo A. macrorrizos attains a meter in height in less than 5 months from germination) some are tentatively identifiable with some confidence after then. Once you think that your plants look distinct from one another, why not drop me a couple of pictures by email and I'll try to name them.

Peter

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