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  Some Science Regarding a GOOD SMELLING A. bulbifer
From: ted.held at us.henkel.com on 2007.06.28 at 12:39:27(15883)
Poor Julius. Nobody believes him. Except
me. The reason I put Julius's opinion on the credible list is that he has
a track record here of careful and considered observations. Further, he
seems to have an abiding interest in recording the minutiae of aroid growing
for the advancement of knowledge about these plants. This he does because
it is his ethic and his, might I say, mania.

As others have discussed, smell is one
of those dumb senses in people. That is, we do smell, but our smell sensitivity
is a weak and pitiful thing compared to a lion, a beetle, a prairie dog,
or a vulture. Many of us have personal experiences of scents that are pleasant
to us, which at the same time are cloying or downright repulsive to others.

But look at what evidence we have before
us. We have Julius insisting that there is a type of bulbifer that is good
smelling. I presume here that this judgment was made by him in reference
to other experiences with bulbifers that smelled bad. What that does, if
I am right in my assumption, is remove the person-to-person variation in
odor sensitivity. What we can't rule out by this alone is whether Julius's
experiencing the good smell was merely a snapshot of a range of smells
emitted by bulbifer over the bloom period. In other words. maybe bulbifer
emits different odors depending on the age of the flower.

Let's also assume for a moment that
Lord P. insists that all bulbifers smell bad and that this is evidence
that Julius is crazy. Could it not be that Lord P.'s experiences are deficient
in experiencing the range of odors emitted by bulbifer cultivars because
he has not yet come across one of the good-smelling ones? This seems most
believable. If we also assume that Lord P. is another experienced and astute
observer of aroids, we can probably eliminate the idea that smell differences
between the young and older bulbifer flowers is the explanation, Surely,
Lord P. would have detected that over his years of experience.

So, what we conclude is that Julius
(and the others reporting good smells) have probably experienced the odor
of another form of bulbifer. That is a perfectly credible theory. The path
toward resolution of this dispute is to provide the naysayers with plants
of the alternately-odiferous bulbifer so that the skeptics can experience
the good smells for themselves.

After all that I'll bet the community
will come to the conclusion that there are at least two odor clones of
bulbifer and that Julius is a truthful person. Whether he is crazy or not
will hinge on other considerations.

From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo at msn.com> on 2007.06.28 at 22:07:02(15890)
Reply-To : Discussion of aroids
Sent : Thursday, June 28, 2007 12:39 PM
To : Discussion of aroids
Subject : [Aroid-l] Some Science Regarding a GOOD SMELLING A. bulbifer

Dear Ted,

Thanks. I admit openly and almost on a daily basis, to being COMPLETELY
crazy, but the problem generally hinges on people around me getting the
defination of 'crazy' confused with the word 'stupid'. Their grave error,
and their loss.
Basically, and at this point, I move that, as gentile, civilized
plant-loving folk, we just take the next logical step and completely REMOVE
the genus Amorphophallus from the genera of the Araceae (ugly, stinking
plants, ALL of them!!), and bar anyone (even the astute and experienced
observers) who may DARE to post a note concerning these most vile forms of
plant life, which we now deem are no longer aroids, from this list!
Would someone, ANYONE please send a tuber of the GOOD-smelling A. bulbifer
to my friend Lord P.?!?!? :--)


From: "Wilbert Hetterscheid" <hetter at xs4all.nl> on 2007.06.29 at 04:35:56(15895)
Gentle folks,

First off, Julius and I are both crazy insane persons, so I am not different
from him there. That's why, thus far, nobody had to take me serious in my
olfactory duel with Julius. However, Ted has started to make this a serious
issue (which it already was.........).

Yes, smells in Amorphophallus species sometimes vary in one inflorescence
over the flowering period. However, the deviating scents are usually at the
end of the flowering and very weak compared to the peak scent, whiich is the
one we usually percieve.

Am. bulbifer is a multi-faceted monster in many respects. Quite some years
ago it seemed that just one type was available but nowadays there's quite
some new clones coming in from India. Brian's photo is a case in point. And,
yes, I actually DO believe that there may be clones with a deviating smell.

In our (Geoff Kite from Kew and myself) work on the chemical composition of
Amorph smells (see e.g. Phytochemistry 46[1], 1997) we usually had only one
inflorescence to ckeck per species but in the few cases where we had more,
differences in especially the percentage of chemicals was observed. In
general the scent was not that different though with different percentages.
Sometimes differences are noticable with range from the emitting plant. I
noticed that e.g. at a distance, Arum creticum smells quite sweet but close
to the spadix I am reminded that there are some foul-smelling components
present too.

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