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  [Aroid-l] Swamp Philo. sp. from near Iguazu Falls.
From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at msn.com> on 2006.05.29 at 20:36:06(14321)
Dear All,

Every now and then this incident crosses my mind, and it still bothers me
all these years later.
This note was sparked by someone mentioning the late Fred Fuchs, who
collected extensively in S. America back in the 'good old days', and often
took groups of orchid and aroid enthusists collecting w/ him. Many years
ago, when I was just getting started in aroids, I met a woman here in WPB
who had returned from collecting w/ Fred just a year or so previously, she
described being on the bus to the famous Iguazu falls, when along a flat,
straight road BEFORE getting to the falls, in a cow-pasture behind a
barbed-wire fence, she saw what could be mistaken for a huge stand of
Xanthosoma. On closer inspection (after she managed to get the bus to
stop!) the plants turned out to be a swamp-growing species of Philodendron .
The area in which this dense stand of plants was growing, which was
obviously sometimes flooded, was dry at the time, and the 'soil' consisted
of clay baked by the sun to the consistincy/hardness of red brick. She had
to get the bus driver to assist her in digging three plants out of this hard
and rock-like 'soil'. From memory, the plants had long yellow petioles,
and 'carried' about 5 leaves. The leaves were sagittate, with the anterior
lobe noticably shorter than the longer, wide-spread hind lobes, and the
blades were carried with the anterior lobe pointing down, the hind lobes up.
They were not 'self-heading', but were none the less very compact,
short-rhizomed plants w/ a thick, short and elongate rhizome the color of an
American sweet-potato, orange. It seemed that the plants could store food
reserves in this form of rhizome.
The woman had three plants, and resisted all my efforts to trade or buy one
from here, she made a comment that she would prefer to let them die before
she would part w/ one. During a visit a few years later, she had done just
that, allowed them to die. The pots stood empty save the remanants/shells
of their rhizomes.
I discussed this w/ the late and great Dr. Monroe Birdsey, and would you
believe he too had seen and collected the exact plants at the exact spot
during his visit to the falls! I BELIEVE he thought that they might be
called P. 'dubium', but he was not certain.
If anyone can offer some/any information on the ID of these plants, or
better yet actually have a plant, I`d love to hear from them!
Good Growing!

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