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  Konjacs, Sauromatum seeds, etc.
From: Steve Marak <samarak at arachne.uark.edu> on 1997.09.11 at 13:45:53(1232)
Just some miscellaneous comments on things that have passed by in the last
couple of weeks -

Amorphophallus konjac flowering in the South: I'm not sure how far south
one has to be in this case, but certainly I'm in the upper South, and
after a couple of years initially where my outdoor A. konjacs seemed out
of synch with the seasons, they have adjusted and flower each spring
(those that are large enough, of course). Does this speices really not
flower well in warm climates? I would be most surprised, given the very
little I have gathered about Amorph. distribution.

Tuber size on A. konjac: mine regularly grow to be 20+ cm. in diameter,
but usually decide to split into several smaller tubers after that, taking
1 or 2 seasons thereafter to regain that size. I understand that there are
"giant" strains that will get considerably larger yet as well as cute
dwarf strains. (By the way, if someone knows where to find some starts of
either giant or dwarf strains, I'm interested.)

Leaf size on A. konjac: outdoors in pretty much full sun, the leaves reach
perhaps 1.5 meters tall by 1 meter wide at maximum (petiole perhaps 5 cm
at the base). However - and this ties in with the story of the konjac at
the bottom of the compost pile - they, and a number of other aroids, seem
capable of producing a disproportionately long petiole on demand to get
the leaf surface where they want it. My konjacs seem happy just below the
soil surface outdoors, and despite the inevitable hard freezes each winter
do not reform farther down. But they will push a stem through feet of soil
without effort if they find themselves buried. I've also seen a 1 cm
Sauromatum venosum put up a stem only slightly less than that diameter
through 60 cm of soil. If I hadn't been trying to dig it up, I'd never
have believed it had that much stored energy.

Sauromatum seeds - mine form seeds each year, easy to miss because they
form right at (or slightly below) soil level. Nothing special to
harvesting them - when they are a dark red/maroon in color and the stalk
of the cluster has begun to wither, they can be harvested. They will
almost surely be viable.

Steve

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