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  Cyrtosperma Merkusii
From: "FLFireman1 at yahoo.com" flfireman1 at yahoo.com> on 2006.09.29 at 07:16:55(14705)
I found this beautiful plant growing in the giant
greenhouse at Fairchild Tropical Gardens in the
fountain/pond area, and was completely amazed by it.
Ive found little to no information on the net on it.
Other than being labeled Giant Swamp Taro and its use
as a food item in its place of origin.

Anyone out there care to share some light on how to
grow this species and better yet who has any available
for sale or trade?


From: "Steve Lucas Exotic Rainforest" steve at exoticrainforest.com> on 2006.09.29 at 14:00:13(14709)
Eric contacted me yesterday about this plant. The
species he seems to be looking for is Cyrtosperma merkusii. I
don't know anything substantial about it but that is the name he
gave. That may help to get some responses.

Steve Lucas

From: "Tom Croat" Thomas.Croat at mobot.org> on 2006.09.29 at 14:24:50(14710)
Dear Eric:

I have seen this in the Philippines where it often grows in
standing water in full sun.


From: "Steve Lucas Exotic Rainforest" steve at exoticrainforest.com> on 2006.09.29 at 15:14:06(14711)
There you go Eric. You just got a response from one of
the world's top plant authorities, Dr. Tom Croat. Hopefully Julius will
tell you more. I believe he wrote an article about this


From: Brian Williams pugturd at alltel.net> on 2006.09.29 at 15:42:31(14712)
Julius I am sure will speak up as this is his favorite group. Merkusii
may have one of if not the largest solid leaf in the plant world. I have
seen photos of monstrous plants 15 to 20 feet tall with leaves 6 to 8
feet long and around 6 feet wide. They are usually grown in the Fiji
island and are usually only eaten for special occasions. This is due to
how much slower they are to grow than Colocasias and for their extreme
size. They do seem to be very sensitive to cool weather and I have found
that they can take some cold but they water should be heated if the
water is heated they do very well.
From: RAYMOMATTLA at cs.com on 2006.09.29 at 19:00:24(14714)
I'd be willing to bet the best way to grow this plant is the method Julius has described on this board and in Aroideana articles in the past. I think the article in Aroideana is titled "Experiencing Urospathas" but I dont have that volume "yet" so dont quote me on it.
Anyway, Cyrtosperma merkusii is an aquatic aroid that gets humongous so you will need a pond or shallow dish of water and alot of room. I grow most of my aquatics in concrete mixing tubs of various sizes in my greenhouse. They are sunk into the ground to give a more natural look and are installed with 200 watt submersible aquarium heaters kept at around 82-85F. Usually pumps are installed as well for good circulation but as of right now I dont have any in the "ponds"....need to get that done before it gets colder.
I use tall plastic pots filled about 1/4 of the way with lava rock and the rest 50/50 peat and sand. The pots are placed in the ponds so that the level of the water doesnt go above the level of the lava rock in the pot. Be sure to keep an eye on the water level in the ponds because in a warm/hot greenhouse the water can evaporate rather quickly and your left with a burnt up 30 dollar aquarium heater! Also be sure to clean out the water in the pond on a regular basis.
Thats my experience but Im sure 'more' experienced aquatic aroid growers like Julius can give some more helpful tips as well.
Good luck finding one of these extraordinary plants. There were a few for sale at the show in Miami a few weeks ago I believe.
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