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  Gel surrounding seeds.
From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 1998.08.16 at 13:02:05(2539)
Dear Friends,
Just a post to add (maybe) to our overall knowledge of these plants that we
are obsessed by!
You may have read a posting by myself from late 1997 (I have to try to find
it to get the date) where I floated the fruit of two mature (ripe)
infructesences of Lasimorpha senegalensis in a bowl of water with a pinch of
the fungicide "Captan", so that I could observe the ongoing development of
the spines on outer seed coat as the seed continued development after the
fruits dropped off the spadix.
There has been some speculation as to the function of the gel or jelly that
swells/develops around the seeds of this group of Aroids (when they come in
contact with water), and around the seeds of other genera such as Anthurium.
Some suggested that it served as a "glue" which helped the seed adhere to
the bills of birds feeding on the ripe fruits and then to stick the seeds to
the tree branches, other ideas were that the gel may inhibit or at least
slow germination, or may act as a moisting agent to the seed. Well, we may
be able to now delete the inhibition factor, as I just carefully opened the
"skin" of the last seemingly fresh fruit, as basically I became tired of
water changes (the last fruit that showed signs of deterioration previous to
this one was two weeks ago, and it was "opened" to reveal two good seeds
with full development of the external spines) and this last fruit contained
a germinated seedling contained within this still-seemingly perfect fruit
"skin"! This little seedling was tightly coiled, roots, two (maybe
more?)leaves, seed and all, and when I placed it in a new bowl of water, a
large "blob" of the gel formed around it!
I just thought that a few of us may be interested to read about the length
of time the fruit remained alive and viable in water with a pinch of
"Captan", and the observation re: the germination with the gel present.
From: Sue Zunino <suez at northcoast.com> on 1998.08.17 at 16:12:46(2540)
Julius and All,

I doubt this will add anything to our knowledge of these great plants,
but I floated an infructescence of Lysichiton Americanum in water
leaving the gel which developed, in with the fruits. Over a period of 6
months, the majority of the seeds sprouted, gel intact. I never changed
the water, but only added. Not knowing much about much, I would have
ruled out the purpose for gel as an inhibitor. The gel produced by
Lysichiton seemed to show up outside the seed skin. There's so much I
don't remember now, but I wanted to find out both how long the seeds
would be viable in water, as well as if the gel would prevent
germination. However, I'm not sure if the fact that they germinated in
the gel-water is proof enough. I'm not a scientist nor do I exihibit
good habits when it comes to documentation, neither am I very observent,
but still I thought I'd throw that out for thought,

Sue Zunino

From: Sue Zunino <suez at northcoast.com> on 1998.08.17 at 16:20:04(2541)
Julius and All again,

I have another thought on the gel function. I noticed that when
Lysichiton becomes ripe, the ground around the plant is not exactly wet,
in fact it is dry at the surface. My impression was that the gel might
be a prolonger of moisture around the seeds allowing them time to
germinate and extend a root past the dry condition at the surface. Does
this sound at all reasonable? The infructescenciii which fell to the
ground, turned into a pile of slimy mush and stayed wet for quite
awhile. I'd be curious to know if the conditions around Lasimorpha are
similar when they drop their fruit.
Just speculating,
Sue Z.

From: alistair_hay_at_po-sydney at rbgsyd.gov.au on 1998.08.17 at 20:04:30(2543)
The only time I have seen Lasimorpha in the wild (in Liberia), it was
fruting while growing in a few feet of water. Maybe the gel has
something to do with protecting the seeds as they pass through birds'
guts - perhaps its an emetic. It occurs in Cyrtosperma (bird
dispersed, probably), but also in Lasia (L. spinosa probably not
bird-dispersed - the fruits are green and more or less leathery). Who

Alistair Hay

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