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  Rhaphidophora sp. at Fairchild Tropical Garden
From: "FTG Conservatory, Craig Allen" conserv at netrox.net> on 2000.06.16 at 17:51:23(4807)
I haven't had time to write until now...

The plant in discussion at FTG is
Rhaphidophora sp. FG74407 S. E. Asia
COMMON NAME: Shingle plant
SOURCE: Botanic Garden, Lae, New Guinea
DESCRIPTION: beautiful 2-4" round, silver-veined flat dark green leaves,
clasping wall. This plant has small 2" spadix barely emerging from between
the clasped leaves.

At Fairchild Tropical Garden this plant is now growing in the epiphyte room
of the Conservatory. It has attached itself to the concrete walls behind the
bromeliad tree. I also have Monstera dubia growing in a nearby area of the
Conservatory. The Monstera closely resembles in its juvenile state. They are
very different in their leaf texture. The monstera is fairly hard in
texture, the vine itself very fibrous and tough. The Raph. is very fragile
and crisp in texture, being damaged very easily. The Raph has a vein pattern
on a very dark green background but none of the silver suffused over the
young M. dubia. M. dubia has larger juvenile foliage with a much lighter
green background color. The leaves of the Raph are thinner and clasp much
tighter to their host. Many visitors have commented that the leaves look
painted on to the wall.

I had once told Jonathan Ertelt that it bloomed behind the clasped leaf, and
at one time it did. For the last year the inflorescence has begun to emerge
from between the tightly clasped leaves on a very short side shoot that
usually emerges about half way up the vine. It has two half hidden
abbreviated bract like leaves, then the 2" inflorescence. The white spathe
is cupped around a short spadix. After a week or two the inflorescence
fades, the bract like leaves yellow and the side shoot dies entirely. So far
it has never bloomed at the growing tip of the climbing vine.

Who knows what it might someday grow into. For many years I grew this tiny
little aroid, Pothodianum. The slender thread like vine and narrow 3/4" leaf
were so fragile. I put a propagation at the base of a tree in the
Conservatory. With in one month I was having to trim masses of the 12"
leaves and rope like vine off the orchids that it had covered.

I had intended to take a herbarium specimen of the Rhaphidophora when it
bloomed last year, but that never happened. Maybe then the identity might be
found.

Craig Allen

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