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  gigantic leaf species around the world
From: Krzysztof Kozminski <kk at netgate.net> on 1998.08.12 at 21:07:42(2525)
Hi, all

I received the enclosed email, but there are many more qualified people in
aroid-l to answer this question than myself, so I'm forwarding it to the
collective attention of aroid-l...

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From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 1998.08.13 at 07:59:08(2527)
>>Hi, all

I received the enclosed email, but there are many more qualified people in
aroid-l to answer this question than myself, so I'm forwarding it to the

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From: alistair_hay_at_po-sydney at rbgsyd.gov.au on 1998.08.13 at 17:52:34(2530)
In the aroids, the largest undivided leaf I know of is that of
Alocasia robusta, which is found in North West Borneo, and the Natuna
Islands. The largest leaves recorded (by Tony Lamb) had blades about
15 feet long and 8 feet wide, on petioles about 18 feet long. This was
on a plant growing in Sabah. This species has often been misidentified
as Alocasia macrorrhizos, which, though large, is much smaller than A.
robusta. A. robusta was the species in Attenborough's film.

Whether this is the largest undivided leaf is a matter of
interpretation. Palm leaves develop undivided and then tear themselves
up - of course there are many examples of enormous palm leaves. Banana
leaves also develop undivided and are constructed such that they shred
in the wind in a fairly organised fashion. Some species, such as New
Guinea Musa ingens, are truly gigantic, with the leaf sheath alone
reaching about 20 feet in length.

Alistair Hay

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From: Steve Marak <samarak at arachne.uark.edu> on 1998.08.13 at 22:29:20(2533)
I checked Attenborough's book of "The Private Life of Plants" to see if
there was any more information, but nothing substantive.

On page 47, "The biggest undivided leaf of all belongs to a giant edible
aroid that grows in marshy parts of the tropical rain forest in Borneo.
One of its heart-shaped leaves may be ten feet across and have a surface
area of over thiry square feet."

There is a picture on the same page, of large leaves of the general shape
and upright appearance of Alocasia macrorrhizos, with no identification.
The proportions he mentions certainly match closely those Dr. Hay cited
for A. robusta.

Steve

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From: alistair_hay_at_po-sydney at rbgsyd.gov.au on 1998.08.14 at 07:12:11(2534)
Dear Krzysztof,

I have had a look at your interesting Alocasia images:

A. crassifolia is correctly Alocasia alba (crassifolia is a synonym),
originating in Java.

A. `californica' is A. brisbanensis, native to Eastern Australia

A. quilted dreams appears to be an undescribed species.

A. green velvet appears to be A. micholitziana, which in the wild is
quite a variable species - so several forms of it have got into
cultivation (Philippines)

A. Borneo Giant appears to be A. longiloba `korthalsii'.

A. black velvet is an undescribed species. Have you got any more
flowers that could be preserved in alcohol, so that this species can
be properly described and named??

Your A. macrorrhiza appears to be A. odora - the leaves are pelate in
odora, not in macrorrhizos (another very variable species of which
several forms are cultivated)

Alocasia ?Elaine matches Alocasia sinuata (originally described from
the Philippines, but actually Bornean).

Alocasia ?cuprea relative seems to be Alocasia clypeolata (an new
species shortly to be published) (Philippines) ?= Green Shield?

Alocasia wentii = Alocasia x sedenii (true wentii is not cultivated
anywhere as far as I know - it is a small, obscure species from remote
mountains of New Guinea)

`Really pretty Alocasia' looks like a non-peltate form of A. reversa
(Sarawak)

All best

Alistair Hay

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From: alistair_hay_at_po-sydney at rbgsyd.gov.au on 1998.08.14 at 07:18:43(2535)
Whether the photo in Attenborough's book is A. robusta I am not sure
(though proper A. robusta was in the video): the characteristic
glaucous leaf underside is not visible, and the rpimary veins to not
seem to be as widely spaced as is typical for A. robusta. I suspect
the photo is of big plants of A. macrorrhizos (there is nothing to
indicate scale).

Presumably he means 10 feet long....... 10 feet across and a surface
area of 30 square feet would be a very odd shape for a leaf....

I have seen no record of A. robusta being edible, and suspect that
this statement came from confusion with macrorrhizos.

The bit (also p.47) about `on the floor of a well-established forest,
the light may be very dim indeed. Some plants deal with the problem by
growing extremely large leaves' is complete drivel in relation to the
example he cites!! The giant Alocasias habitually occupy ground under
canopy gaps, river banks, road side ditches, open marshes,
plantations, landslips etc. where there are high light levels.

Alistair Hay

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From: Krzysztof Kozminski <kk at netgate.net> on 1998.08.14 at 12:43:02(2536)
Wow, thanx for getting my names straight. I'll have to fix a bunch of
pages ...

On Fri, 14 Aug 1998 alistair_hay_at_po-sydney@rbgsyd.gov.au wrote:

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From: anggrek at juno.com (Tsuh Yang Chen) on 1998.08.14 at 15:41:51(2537)
hi, julius, babirusa does refer to the wild boar of sulawesi, in which
the males's tusks grow up and through their flesh and skin and protrude
out. from the malay, babi (pig) rusa (deer).

i thought david attenborough said in his book that Alocasia laportei had
the largest non-segmented leaves in the world.

tsuh yang chen, new york city

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From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 1998.08.14 at 21:59:34(2538)
>>hi, julius, babirusa does refer to the wild boar of sulawesi, in which
the males's tusks grow up and through their flesh and skin and protrude
out. from the malay, babi (pig) rusa (deer).

i thought david attenborough said in his book that Alocasia laportei had
the largest non-segmented leaves in the world.

tsuh yang chen, new york city<

Dear Tsuh Yang Chen,
Good to hear from you. It would be interesting to find out why he used the
name of this rare and unique animal as his e-mail address! Was he in some
way connected with research into them??? Or does he just admire them as I
do???
Cheers,
Julius

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