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  Sauromatums, hardy and giant
From: Steve Marak samarak at gizmoworks.com> on 2005.07.05 at 23:43:34(13134)
I've grown the usual Typhonium/Sauromatum venosum outdoors here in NW Arkansas
for 15+ years now with no special care or winter protection (and little or no
supplmental water in summer for that matter) and agree with Deni - tough as old
boots. We usually see +38 C days in summer, often with no rain for weeks and,
very rarely, -28 C as an overnight winter low with no snow cover but lots of
winter rain. I have inflorescences and seed set every year.

I've got a couple of questions about the giant form, though, which I only
acquired a year ago from a friend in a somewhat milder climate - has anyone
tested its hardiness? Is it as tough as the "common" variety?

Also, does anyone know the background on the giant form? Are we talking one
clone, or are there several large clones in cultivation? Is it/are they from a
distinct area? Is it/are they just genetically large diploids, or is there some
polyploidy going on? Has anyone had seed set on the/a giant form, and if
so was it viable? (Yes, I know with that level of offset production no one
needs to grow sauromatum from seed, but surely someone has tried just from
academic curiosity...)


From: Tony Avent tony at plantdelights.com> on 2005.07.06 at 04:16:09(13138)

Great question about the giant form of Sauromatum. We coined the term
after measuring plants that we had ordered from an Indian Nursery several
years ago. There were differences in the size of the leaf, the edge of the
leaf, the size of the flower, the type of stem pattern, etc. We thought
that these would come true from seed, but after 3 years, we find this is
not the case and have stopped selling them for now. You can see still see
photos on our website. It is possible that they are cross pollinating with
the normal types in our garden. It is my assumption that they come from
some part of India, but I have been to this region to study the plants in
the wild. In our garden, the giant ones are astonishing. I guess I will
have to resort to tissue culture. I hope someone who has studied these in
the wild will comment further.

From: "W. George Schmid" hostahill at bellsouth.net> on 2005.07.06 at 11:08:24(13141)
I grow the giant form of Thyphonium venosum (actually forms: one has a stem
with bare a dot, another is about 50% "dotted" and still another is more
dark than light green. All are over 3.5 to 4 feet. I am in 7a. We see 38-40
C. (around 100 F.) highs and to -24 C. (-12 F.) rare lows. Average lows
are -9 C. (15 F.). The potted ones go into the cool greenhouse in dry soil.
Most are in the ground (6 inches deep). Here the soil never freezes to that
depth. They get no protection. These things are weeds growing all over the
garden in unexpected places. I think the chipmunks eat the seeds and spread
them all over. Hosta Hill is at 1188 feet AMSL, so is exposed to higher
winds and late freezes but that does not seem to bother them. I know of a
gardener in North Georgia who planted some of my tubers and it is reliably
hardy up there in the mountains at elevation 2800 feet AMSL (USDA zone 6a).
Like I say, It is a weed that should not be turned loose in wild areas.

From: Steve Marak samarak at gizmoworks.com> on 2005.07.06 at 20:50:29(13143)
Thanks Tony and George for the information on the giant form(s). As usual, I
get a few answers and suddenly I have more questions. But for another time.

George, the seed on my plants is viable, but doesn't seem to germinate in the
garden, or at least I've never found a plant that couldn't have plausibly been
an offset. The biggest problem I have with them is moving them. I've quit
moving them, because when I do never get all the offsets and just wind up with
them in one more place. But I like the effect of the leaves, and of course it
is an aroid, so I mostly just leave them.

Don't suppose anyone has a dwarf form, do they?


From: Tony Avent tony at plantdelights.com> on 2005.07.07 at 04:10:29(13145)

We grow lots of sauromatum from seed and had the most unusual thing last
year...3 dwarf seedlings that looked like crosses with helicodiscerous
(sp). I planted one out thinking it would grow out of it, but instead it
looks more like a cross this year. I won't know for sure until I see a
flower, but this is one strange plant.

From: "W. George Schmid" hostahill at bellsouth.net> on 2005.07.07 at 07:33:02(13146)
I have noticed that too. There are numerous offsets, but on close
examination, some of the plantlets around a mother plant may originate from
seeds. As you know the infructescence of this taxon is very close to the
ground and the seeds can be scattered by larger insects or (as in my case)
by squirrels, chipmunks and birds. Some of the small plants I have dug up
were nowhere near a fruiting plant and were simply small seedlings. I used
to collect them, pot them and grow them on. Nowadays I have so many, I just
pull them like a weed (the tiny tuber is usually near the ground surface)
and discard them. Many I leave in place and let them grow into mature
plants, because they are hardy, undemanding, and attractive. Obviously,
mature plants to make numerous offsets and develop into colonies. See if you
can find a solitary seedling somewhere, which may indicate seed dispersion.
I have never seen a dwarf form of Typhonium venosum. They all develop into
30 in (76 cm) to 48 in (1.2 m) mature specimens.
W. George Schmid
From: "Leo A. Martin" leo1010 at attglobal.net> on 2005.07.07 at 17:32:42(13151)
One wag wrote

Also remember these things are spider mite magnets.

Another replied

From: "W. George Schmid" hostahill at bellsouth.net> on 2005.07.08 at 12:39:53(13157)
Maybe your mites like those juicy strangers from Georgia. BTW, I'm in north
central Ga, 30 miles northeast from Five Points in Hotlanta as the crow
flies. It is not just the humidity, but we just had 7 inches of rain in two
days from TS Cindy and Dennis is on the way, this one a real hurricane. Now
that is what I call humidity. You can swim in it. It might just be too humid
for the mites in these parts. George

W. George Schmid

From: "David S." maui4me at charter.net> on 2005.07.09 at 23:21:04(13164)
Tony, don't these giants produce scads of offsets like the more common

David Sizemore

From: Tony Avent tony at plantdelights.com> on 2005.07.11 at 04:28:49(13168)

The giant sauromatum's do offset, but at a much slower rate than the
typical species.

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