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  Amorphophallus leaf cuttings
From: "Peter Boyce" <P.Boyce at lion.rbgkew.org.uk> on 1997.12.03 at 14:12:24(1693)
Dear Dewey

I've never done leaf cuttings of Amorphophallus but from what I know
about the physiology of other plants' leaves I can hazard a guess at
what's happening. However, what follows apropos Amorphophallus is
mostly supposition.

Any mass of plant tissue is, in it's basic form (cells), capable of
proliferating into more masses plant tissue. These undifferentiated
masses can be 'influenced' to grow into new plants.

When a leaf curring is taken of, say, a Begonia or Streptocarpus, the
propagules that form began as tiny masses of undifferentiated cells
that arose as a result of trauma along the cut surfaces. It seems
that these cell masses are sensitive to various external factors
(light, gravity) and these factors act upon them, 'programmimg' the
cells in a particular region to favour a particular developmental
sequence (those nearer light form shoots, those 'nearer' gravity
(i.e. those on the lower side) form roots. If these factors are
altered by for example, putting the cell masses into a situation
where light and gravity act on all sides simultaneously (by
continually rotating the material) the cell masses remain
undifferenitated and grow into amorphophous masses. These masses
can be continually redivided, producing thousands of individual
groups which, when returned to a stable environment, will
develop into plantlets.This forms the basis of commercial cell
culture techniques.

The ability of some Amorphophallus to produce tuberlets on the leaves
suggests a, possibly hereditry, predisposition to produce
propagules. In taking leaf cuttings it's possible that even in
species that don't naturally produce bulbils, the cutting of the
tissue triggers the cells to differentiate and from tuberlets.
Similar things occurs when you scale lillies, cross-hatch corms of
gladiolous and crocus, remove leaves of Zamioculcas, Gonatopus and
Pinellia, etc.

Hope this has helped and not further muddied the waters.


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