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  [Aroid-l] Schismatoglottis species
From: botanist at malesiana.com (Peter Boyce) on 2008.06.12 at 16:24:58(17836)
Dear Leyland,

Sorry for the delay (again!) been a bit tied up with various non-gustatatory (but no less enjoyable)
things here; mainly tryng to keep up with numerous flowerings in the
research collection (which has just passed 2500 accessions) and the start of
the repotting season (the 2500 accessions are each a minimum of 5
plants...).

Schismatoglottis is, after Homalomena, the most speciose genus here in
tropical Asia; in Sarawak alone there are at least 100 species with
somewhere over 50% yet to be given a scientific name. At the moment there
are only a few species in cultivation outside specialist and botanical
garden collections; many of those (and there are not many) on the web away
from the IAS site are misnamed.
Before I left MT late last year I was very actively involved with
introducing Schsmats into tc for assessment as horticultural subjects. The
results of some of these are now just finding their way onto the market and
will be, all being well, available in the not too distant future.

We are now working on the systematics and evolution of the genus and some of
the related satellites and have as a result an extensive collection of ca.
60+ spp.; most of these are attractive, some are outstandingly so.

In terms of growth habit Schismatoglottis fall into two broad groups. There are species with a creeping underground rhizome-like stem and form dense to somewhat diffuse colonies.
This group includes the very variable (as currently defined) S. calyptrata, S. motleyana, S. wongii, S. wallichi. These species tend to have leaf laminae with cordate to rounded bases and often very attractive variagation. The primary disadvantage of these colonial species is that they are difficult to maintain in small pots as after flowering each shoot dies and is replecd by one or usually more shoots from near the base of the rhizome and this , combined with the long distance that he rhizomes spread mean that most of the ?alyptrata group'need at least a cut-down 30 gallon trashcan to enable them to form multiple shoots. The best way of growing them in in raised beds or, if the climate allows, but are much better in open ground under medium shade.

The species forming tufts with a single or a few upright stems are probably, as ornamenals, the most important group in that they grown somewhat in the manner of Alocasia and are thus much moe easily managed in small to medium pots. This group actually contains several taxonomic units, including the 'asperata group', the 'multiflora group', 'rupestris group', etc. Many are outstanding onamentals although at the moment there are very few in cultivaion.

If I were asked to select a few for their outstanding leaves I would go for:

S. asperata (esp, the forms with the backs of the leaf and petiole deep red
and the upper leaf surface deep green with three shades of green and silver
variegaion)

S. motleyana or S. wongii in the three or four colour variegation forms.

S. colocasioides with its plum-purple warty petioles and grey on green
banded leaves.

S. trivitatta, especially forms with longitudinal ragged zones of silver and
a silver mid-rib.

S. gamoandra with rosettes off stiff pewter and steel banded leaves with raised checker-board venation.

S. acuminatissima 'Lavallei' with upright stems and leaves deep plum-purple beneath and deep geen with grey and two shades of green above. This is in trade as Homalomena 'Purple Sword'

and... if space allows, S. cornei, a a species with succulent grey-green leaves that can reach over 3 m tall and produces clusters on inflorescences resembling white and jave walking sticks...

If this post recives some interest I will post some images of these and a few others.

Peter

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