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  Aroids on my mind
From: Jason Hernandez <jason.hernandez74 at yahoo.com> on 2013.06.10 at 11:21:18(22799)
So I was looking at Craigslist awhile back, and I saw the section for "discussion groups." My eye was caught by the heading "philos." Wow, a whole Craigslist group for discussing philos? Nope. It was philosophy. Oh, well.

Anyway, at the moment, I am in the Dominican Republic. Not one of the richest Aroid regions, perhaps, but it does have a number of Neotropical genera. So far, though, the ones I have seen not that exciting: the ubiquitous Philodendron hederaceum, some little Anthurium which may be A. acaule, Syngonium which may or may not have been planted, and an Alocasia naturalized along the rivers. All are from Espaillat Province, in the forest remnants and riverbanks of what is mostly a farming and pasturage zone. I really must get into the interior, to visit some intact forests!

But the reason I am here is to attempt to put down some roots at last. It is mighty difficult to grow aroids when I move house so often! Soon the question will be, how to get the good aroids. Are there suppliers with decent selection here in D.R.? The obvious Anthurium andreanum hybrids are here, and Spathiphyllum, but I haven't seen much else yet. Anyone have experience with shipping to or from this region?

And on a (slightly) non-aroid note, I wouldn't mind locating a source for Cyclanthus bipartitus, either.

Jason Hernandez

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From: Zach DuFran <zdufran at gmail.com> on 2013.06.10 at 12:43:31(22800)
Jason-

It's good to hear from you.

Have you consulted the proper authorities about the import restrictions in DR? I would imagine you could get plants from Ecuagenera fairly easily, if your import restrictions are not too difficult. Also, Miami is not far from DR and we have an IAS show coming up in September!

Zach DuFran

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From: Conrad Fleming <conradfleming at yahoo.com> on 2013.06.11 at 11:27:17(22802)
Dear Jason,

I'm glad you're in my "neck of the woods", as it were. The Dominican Republic is one of my favorite places.

My advice to you would be to get to know the very nice, very professional people at the Jardin Botanico Nacional, especially the Herbario Nacional. Alberto Veloz, the Director, is my good friend and so is his assistant, Teodoro Clase. These guys are extremely well-informed and experienced. Feel free to use my name as a recommendation, if you so desire. The Garden has a fascinating living collection of native trees and other plants.

As far as native aroids are concerned, Dieffenbachia seguine appears in various places. I also seem to recall Dracontium polyphyllum; I used to have this years ago but since lost it. Anthurium crenatum is the basic "birdnest" Pachyneurium, found also in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (where I live). It is a robust grower, impossible to kill. A much smaller sp., growing in wetter cooler habitats is A. dominguense (if I recall correctly). It is quite difficult to keep alive in cultivation. This may be the smaller sp. you referred to. There is also Philodendron lacerum, with decorative, indented leaf margins, extremely easy to grow. The Herbario people can help you find all of these. But whether they will insist on your getting official permits to collect is a potentially troublesome question. In the D. R. (and everywhere else) I have always worked in conjunction with officially
accreditated botanists, who had all the necessary permits in place. All I can say, is that the folks at the Herbario in Santo Domingo are some of the most helpful, most knowledgeable people I have ever met in the plant world. I hope the above can provide you with a useful tip or two.

With regard to importing nursery plants from Florida into the D. R., there may also be tricky import requirements. There are a number of well-established nurseries in the country whose staff can guide you.

Finally, if you ever want to visit me here on the island of St. Croix, just let me know. Welcome to the Caribbean.

All the best,

Conrad

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