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  Aerial roots (more!)
From: Peter Randall <prandall at networx.com.au> on 1997.11.22 at 15:58:05(1651)
Aerial roots. The use and purpose of aerial roots could well start
an interesting discussion amongst the Aroid-l group. So far only a few
comments have been made but widely differing views have been offered
as to what should be done with the Philodendron "Xanadu" aerial roots.

We've grown Philodendron's in a garden setting for many years
mainly with the help of three metre iron bark stakes or where there is
room attached to trees. At one stage we had twenty odd different
plants growing up a single pine tree which in itself give an
indication as to the versatility of Philodendron's as pine trees
aren't the greatest of trees to grow anything on. (Resin ect.)

Aerial roots appear to serve a number of different purposes the
most obvious being to attach the trunk of the plant to whatever
support it's growing on. (perhaps these shouldn't be called aerial
roots ?? ) On the larger (taller) multi stemmed plants masses of roots
overlap each other growing into any crevice that can be found making
the plant pretty hard to remove.

Other aerial roots from higher up on the plant seem to develop as
the plant grows. We have had some metres long, hanging free (from the
tops of trees) and as thick as your little finger. These seem to serve
only one purpose and that is to supply nutrient to the higher parts of
the plant. Eventually they always reach the ground and develop very
large root systems, larger then the original plants root system and
can spread out over\under a large area of ground.

I've no doubt that these aerial roots eventually take over the
roll of "feeding" all of the plant. Often with the more mature
Philodendron's we find the bottom 40cm. of the trunk has rotted away
and the only contact the plant has with the ground is through it's
aerial roots.

From: Sue Haffner <sue_haffner at csufresno.edu> on 1997.11.24 at 16:07:13(1658)
Thanks to all who commented on aerial roots and how
they should be treated.

I divided and repotted this plant over the weekend.
There are now 3 'Xanadus'; each had one aerial root,
and most of them were at least 15 feet long!

I wound the aerials around the base of each plant and
repotted them, with the aerials mostly resting on the
soil surface.

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