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  Schismatoglottis species
From: lbmkjm at yahoo.com (brian lee) on 2008.06.09 at 11:50:41(17819)
Dear Peter,

Aloha and mahalo for this additional information. I can understand the delay... tuak and wild boar...eat and drink until you sleep.

I love this sort of information, root glues and stem disarticulations. This is changing the subject, but, can you start a new thread on Schismatoglottis? I do not know much about the species listed, but it is long and I have seen only a few in cultivation. Could you educate us on the more ornamental species in this genus? At least the species you encounter?



From: botanist at malesiana.com (Peter Boyce) on 2008.06.12 at 16:24:58(17836)
Dear Leyland,

Sorry for the delay (again!) been a bit tied up with various non-gustatatory (but no less enjoyable)
things here; mainly tryng to keep up with numerous flowerings in the
research collection (which has just passed 2500 accessions) and the start of
the repotting season (the 2500 accessions are each a minimum of 5

Schismatoglottis is, after Homalomena, the most speciose genus here in
tropical Asia; in Sarawak alone there are at least 100 species with
somewhere over 50% yet to be given a scientific name. At the moment there
are only a few species in cultivation outside specialist and botanical
garden collections; many of those (and there are not many) on the web away
from the IAS site are misnamed.
Before I left MT late last year I was very actively involved with
introducing Schsmats into tc for assessment as horticultural subjects. The
results of some of these are now just finding their way onto the market and
will be, all being well, available in the not too distant future.

We are now working on the systematics and evolution of the genus and some of
the related satellites and have as a result an extensive collection of ca.
60+ spp.; most of these are attractive, some are outstandingly so.

In terms of growth habit Schismatoglottis fall into two broad groups. There are species with a creeping underground rhizome-like stem and form dense to somewhat diffuse colonies.
This group includes the very variable (as currently defined) S. calyptrata, S. motleyana, S. wongii, S. wallichi. These species tend to have leaf laminae with cordate to rounded bases and often very attractive variagation. The primary disadvantage of these colonial species is that they are difficult to maintain in small pots as after flowering each shoot dies and is replecd by one or usually more shoots from near the base of the rhizome and this , combined with the long distance that he rhizomes spread mean that most of the ?alyptrata group'need at least a cut-down 30 gallon trashcan to enable them to form multiple shoots. The best way of growing them in in raised beds or, if the climate allows, but are much better in open ground under medium shade.

The species forming tufts with a single or a few upright stems are probably, as ornamenals, the most important group in that they grown somewhat in the manner of Alocasia and are thus much moe easily managed in small to medium pots. This group actually contains several taxonomic units, including the 'asperata group', the 'multiflora group', 'rupestris group', etc. Many are outstanding onamentals although at the moment there are very few in cultivaion.

If I were asked to select a few for their outstanding leaves I would go for:

S. asperata (esp, the forms with the backs of the leaf and petiole deep red
and the upper leaf surface deep green with three shades of green and silver

S. motleyana or S. wongii in the three or four colour variegation forms.

S. colocasioides with its plum-purple warty petioles and grey on green
banded leaves.

S. trivitatta, especially forms with longitudinal ragged zones of silver and
a silver mid-rib.

S. gamoandra with rosettes off stiff pewter and steel banded leaves with raised checker-board venation.

S. acuminatissima 'Lavallei' with upright stems and leaves deep plum-purple beneath and deep geen with grey and two shades of green above. This is in trade as Homalomena 'Purple Sword'

and... if space allows, S. cornei, a a species with succulent grey-green leaves that can reach over 3 m tall and produces clusters on inflorescences resembling white and jave walking sticks...

If this post recives some interest I will post some images of these and a few others.


From: lbmkjm at yahoo.com (brian lee) on 2008.06.13 at 13:35:52(17839)
Dear Peter,

Aloha. Wow. Put me on your list for pre-publication of the book!

I have a Schismatoglottis that I originally got from Roberto Burle-Marx's collection. I suspect it is allied to the variable S. calyptrata...such as my poor knowledge of this group is. It seems to have the habit of clumping with the mother plant declining...I have not observed the flowering phenology in a careful fashion. I will post a photo via my wife's email to see if you know this taxon.

I am impressed by the potential of Schismatoglottis...it obviously is an under appreciated group. Any and all information will be welcomed. Do you know of sources for some of the species you list? Are there any ecological information that will aid in planting these in the ground...ie: pH, soil type ,limestone under detritus, etc.?

I am grateful you are working on this genus. Thank you for your wonderful response.



From: mickpascall at hotmail.com (Michael Pascall) on 2008.06.15 at 04:05:38(17843)
Peter , thanks so much for the info on this group of fantastic plants .
We are lucky here in tropical Qld to have some keen importers and collectors .
Several of the ones you mentioned should be readily available here .

Michael Pascall,

From: botanist at malesiana.com (Peter Boyce) on 2008.06.16 at 00:41:49(17846)
Hi Leyland,

Is this an different species from Burle-Marx to the one that I commented on
the othert day? If yes, then this is certainly a member of the calyptrata
group but without an inflorescence and spadix details I cannot go any
further; it might be any one of three species. In particular need to see the
whole spadix and the spathe as it goes hrough senescence in the inter floral
period between female and male anthesis.

Malesiana Tropicals will be offering, probably via Agri-Starts, three
Schismatoglottis later this or early next year.

We are just beginning to begin to try to get a lot of Schismatoglottis into
t/c as part of our bioconservation project. Although we won't be
commercializing in the manner that MT, we are hoipng to at least get a few
dozen species into culture and do some preliminary assessments of
cultivation potentials.

Many of the most spectacular Schismatoglottis are from highly acidic
shale-derived soils. We have found that with the exception of a few
limestone-obliagates all need an acidic mix (pH 4.5 - 6) with a mineral soil
in which is a fair proportion of humus and sand. We use 4:2:1 red top soils
(from the Terat series here in Sarawak) that are sceened through 5 mm
screen: commercially well composted sawit (oil palm waste) into which is
incorporated a mycrorrhizal additive: washed river sand.

Our concession to lmestone is to use a 1 cm limestone (dolomitic) chipping
as a top dressing. We are just beginning to experiment with using
leaf-litter as a top dressing, adding a thin layer of leaves every two weeks
and attempting to replicate the stratigraphic decomposition of the leaves
and encourage a build up of beneficial mycrorrhiza. For this last it is
early days but based on what we observed in West Malaysia a while ago we are
rather optimistic.

Very best


From: RAYMOMATTLA at cs.com (RAYMOMATTLA at cs.com) on 2008.06.16 at 16:45:11(17851)
Wow Peter,
I'll be waiting to see a picture of the one with leaves that can get over 3m
tall, (S. cornei.) Is that species from Sarawak as well? Are you familiar
with the very few species of Schismatoglottis from the Neotropics and if so do
you think they will ever be given their own genus? That might be a question
for Eduardo too...

From: botanist at malesiana.com (Peter Boyce) on 2008.06.16 at 23:23:30(17857)
Dear Michael,

Schismatoglottis corneri is so far known from western Sabah and the Anambas islands. In Sabah it is particularly notable as an often abundant roadside element on the road ascent from KK to Poring, especially as the road rises to cross the saddle below Poring. Interestingly while in Mulu last year we encountered a very small colony of what we think may be the same species near the mouth of the Melinau Gorge. The plants were sterile and have yet to flower in cultivation here in Kuching, although they are growing well. If this is S. corneri then it will be a new recprd for Sarawa; alternatively it may tun out to be a new species. This latter option would come as no great surprise since the overwhelming majority of the herbaceous aroids at Mulu are endemic. Whatever its eventual confirmed identity I attach an image of one of the medium-sized plants if the Mulu colony with Jipom (who stands 1.75) for comparison.

I am not at all familiar with the neotropical 'Schismatoglottis', having onl seen S. sprucena in the field. However, the molecular exidence is that thay do not belong in Schismatoglottis; there is an alternative generic name for at least some of the neotropical species: Philonotion published in the 1850s

Very best


From: lbmkjm at yahoo.com (brian lee) on 2008.06.17 at 11:18:53(17864)
Dear Peter,


Again wonderful detail to accompany your replies. I did not see any attached image of Schismatoglottis corneri... I had no idea that some of these species attained these dimensions. My slim knowledge of the genus centered around small species. Those species I have seen are highly ornamental, but quite rare, at least in Hawaii.

I am really enjoying the ecological details that you are supplying, especially if these species become available in the future. Do you know the specific pollinators or group of pollinators that are involved in Schismatoglottis? Is fruit set common in habitat?



From: botanist at malesiana.com (Peter Boyce) on 2008.06.20 at 14:14:28(17880)

Hi Leyland,

I think that the server may have stripped the image; am resending.


From: botanist at malesiana.com (Peter Boyce) on 2008.06.20 at 14:39:11(17881)
Dear Leland,

There has been a bit of intensive study (mainly by our students here and also by Marc Gibernau when he visited us) and over the years I have made a considerable number of casual observations such that we are pretty much sure that rour groups of insects, three beetle families (Nitidulidae (flower beetles), Chrysomelidae (leaf beetles) and Staphylinidae (Rove beetles)) and one fly genus (Colocasiomyia - Drosophilidae) are the regular visitors. Very occasionally one or two species of Scarabidae turn up in the large inloresceneces of the Calyptrata group.

Fruit set in habitat is abundant (seemingly close on 100%) but there is a fair degree of fruit predation in some species such that I would estimate that fruit reaching maturity is probably less than 60%.

Another area with very little data is that of fruit dispersal. On the rare occasion I have seen dispersing fruits it woulk appear that ants are the main vector, seemingly attracted to the slightly sweet fruit and carrying the fruits (which detach from the spadix axis at maturity and cohere in loose masses inside the lower spathe, which opens by a few irregular splits. At the nursery I watched numerous green tree ants (which paradoxically are red in Sarawak but no less pugnacious than their gren forms) collect fruit from a species (yet to be described) in the asperata complex and carry them to thier arboreal nest.



From: lbmkjm at yahoo.com (brian lee) on 2008.06.20 at 18:07:59(17882)
Dear Peter,


I have been enjoying this thread immensely. There is such a paucity of knowledge on this genus, it is refreshing to read new information. I know others on aroid-l would agree.

Do you know what the fruit predators are? Are they also dispersal agents?
Are your red colored, green tree ants germinating seed as epiphytes in their arboreal nests?

Thank you again.



From: lbmkjm at yahoo.com (brian lee) on 2008.06.20 at 19:07:08(17883)
Dear Peter,

Aloha and thank you for resending the image.

Not only is this species( Schismatoglottis corneri) large, it is very attractive. The impressed venation is beautiful. What is the phenology of this species, regarding the death( or not) of the post-flowering/ fruiting stem? What group is this species allied to? I saw the list of described species, which is large...and I know there are many un-described species from your recent communications.

At convenient intervals, could you send images of various Schismatoglottis to teach the forum about their diversity? The dearth of information and images is almost unbearable to the curious mind.

You will never know precisely how grateful I am to listen to your discussions.



From: RAYMOMATTLA at cs.com (RAYMOMATTLA at cs.com) on 2008.06.20 at 20:27:45(17886)
Wow, thats a big Schismatoglottis Pete. Thanks for resending the pic.

Michael M.
-------------- next part --------------

From: crogers at ecoanalysts.com (Christopher Rogers) on 2008.06.21 at 20:17:20(17899)
Wow. Okay, so is there an easy way to separate Schismatoglottis, Alocasia,
Colocasia and Xanthosoma just by the leaves?

D. Christopher Rogers

From: botanist at malesiana.com (Peter Boyce) on 2008.06.23 at 03:10:17(17917)

Colocasia & Xanthosoma, & Alocasia (for the most part), have very distinctive 'colocasioid' venation with primary veins running pinnately off both sides of the mid-rib with the secondary veins arising from the primary veins and uniting between the primary veins into more-or-less sinuous interprimary collective veins. I have attached a photograph of this typical 'colocasioid' venation. No Schismatoglottis have such venation, although the aptly named S. colocasiodea approaches it (see attached image). An additional problem is that not all Alocasia have 'colocasioid' venation and a much more reliable method in differentiating Alocasia is that there are glands, often waxy, in the axils of the primary veins on the abaxial side of the leaf; these glands are never present in Schismatoglottis.

Additional useful characters are that Xanthosoma and Colocasia both have slightly to very milky latex from cut tissue. A few Alocasia have milky latex (A. macrorrhizos) for example, but for the most part the say is clear.

Hope this helps some


From: gcyao at mydestiny.net (George Yao) on 2008.06.23 at 06:33:19(17920)

Add Homalomena to the list. Some look so similar
to Schismatoglottis that you can only distinguish
them by their inflorescences, at least to us laymen.

George Yao

From: crogers at ecoanalysts.com (Christopher Rogers) on 2008.06.23 at 14:52:01(17927)
Thanks, Peter!

D. Christopher Rogers

From: abri1973 at wp.pl (Marek Argent) on 2008.06.23 at 15:42:38(17928)
Homalomena has no submarginal collective vein like Alocasia, Colocasia & Xanthosoma.

Marek Argent

From: botanist at malesiana.com (Peter Boyce) on 2008.06.23 at 18:09:49(17929)

Hi George, Christopher & folks,

There are two easy ways to distinguish non-flowering Homalomena from Schismatoglottis. First is that all Homalomena have striate higher order (2 & 3-order) venation (see attached image) and thus the leaves resemble those of Philodendron (to which Homalomena is related)

The second is that the vegetative tissues of almost all Homalonena, and certainly all that could be mistaken for a Schismatoglottis, are strongly aromatic. The Asian species smell of a variety of things, including lime oil, ginger, mango peel and pine or juniper resin; the neotropical species mostly (all - Tom?) smell of anise.

There is a minor caveat on the smell character: there are two complexes of Schismatoglolttis with aromatic foliage (the nervosa and multinervia complexes). However, almost none of these are in general cultivation and even when they do appear in collections the non-striate higher order venation immediately distinguishes them.


From: botanist at malesiana.com (Peter Boyce) on 2008.06.23 at 19:16:24(17930)
Dear Leland,

As yet we have no information on fruit predation. The dispersal agents for
Schismatoglottideae are, based on our research, ants (several species) &
water. Ants also seem to be the main dispersal agents in Homalomena.

The red ants are almost certainly opportunistic in Schismatoglottis; the
genus concerned (Oecophylla smaragdina) is almost always in open secondary
scrub, a habitat not favoured by many aroids here. The observation was more
that the fruits of seveal Schismatoglottis even in cultivation attract ants,
just as they do in the field.

Very best


From: botanist at malesiana.com (Peter Boyce) on 2008.06.23 at 19:25:00(17931)

Hi Leland,

Schismatoglottis corneri is pleionanthis, with the stem renewal axis arising
just below the inflorescence cluster (as in Alocasia). The affinities of S.
corneri are a bit obscure. Leaving aside the massiveness of the vegetative
parts and inflorescence, the actual inflorscence gross morphology and to a
great extent spathe senescence is very close to that of S. longifolia, in
that the plant produces clusters of inflorescences that are nodding
(strongly so) while during anthesis the spathe limb barely opens but instead
'loosens' gapes a bit, before closing again and, while clasping the spent
parts of the spadix the whole unit (spathe limb + all the spadix except the
fertilized pistils) is shed in a partially withered state. However, the
shoot archticeture of the two species is completely different such that in
all probablility the similarities in the inflorescence is coincidental.

Certainly I will continue to post images of nice species. In fact, attached
to this is S. ciliata.

Very best


From: botanist at malesiana.com (Peter Boyce) on 2008.06.24 at 00:11:21(17936)
Hi Marek,

Sorry, this is not strictly true. The veins all join up to a sumarginal collective vein in Homalomena; the only difference is that the vein is very close to the leaf margin and thus often appears as a thickened leaf margin.


From: crogers at ecoanalysts.com (Christopher Rogers) on 2008.06.24 at 09:13:31(17942)
Thanks! That helps, too!

D. Christopher Rogers

From: abri1973 at wp.pl (Marek Argent) on 2008.06.24 at 12:44:10(17945)

As always you are right, Pete.
Here is a photo of Hom. rubeschens


From: botanist at malesiana.com (Peter Boyce) on 2008.06.25 at 03:27:45(17952)
Hi Marek,

You are very kind but let me assure you that the only reason I very occasionally get it right these days is that I have mostly always got it wrong!


From: lbmkjm at yahoo.com (brian lee) on 2008.06.25 at 10:17:50(17960)
Dear Pete,


I think you speak for many of us that are on a quest for knowledge. We ask many questions so that we can filter through the answers and learn little gems of information. I have been learning so much more thanks to you and the others on this forum. Every new post on Schismatoglottis and some of the other lessor known genera contribute greatly to the vacuum I knew before. Thank you all.



From: bonaventure at optonline.net (bonaventure at optonline.net) on 2008.06.25 at 12:33:09(17965)
Any molecular phylogeny done on this group?

Bonaventure Magrys

From: Thomas.Croat at mobot.org (Tom Croat) on 2008.06.25 at 16:40:43(17969)
Dear Pete:

You are correct, all the species of Homalomena that I know smell strongly of anise and even the flower may gives off a strong scent of anise at night when they are in flower (perhaps they all do this but I am rarely collecting at night).


From: botanist at malesiana.com (Peter Boyce) on 2008.06.26 at 01:33:12(17975)
Marc Gibernau & Denis Barab? have been working on the neotropical species and we ae looking at the Asain ones.

Very best


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