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  Re: 'Self-heading' Philodendrons.
From: "Eduardo Goncalves" edggon at hotmail.com> on 2001.09.06 at 18:42:35(7396)
Dear Donna,

Dispersers in aroids are even more poorly known than pollinators! Most
species of Philodendron have ripe berries greenish or cream colored, that
are usually inconspicuous. That aspect make them not so attractive to birds.
However, most of them have a very strong smell of butyric acid (rancid
butter). Such combination of aspects (together with pendent infructescens)
make them strong candidates for bat-dispersed (or non-primate mammal
dispersed) fruits. That is the case of most Philodendron subgen.
Meconostigma (self-heading), and in fact the majority of species. Monkeys
are usually curious herbivores and will taste everything they can put their
hands (four hands) on. So they usually are found eating Philo seeds too.
They are found eating everything, including our field snacks! It is true
that some Amazonian species (including P. elaphoglossoides and others) have
fruits that are bright red and showy. The berries are usually easy to pick
as an unity, that make them serious candidates for bird dispersed fruits.
Well, I am not so good with bromeliads (in fact, I think that the concept
of genus in Bromeliaceae is almost senseless), but the plants are
Vriesia-like. Ok, I know, it is not so informative... I think I have such
information in home (I am in the lab right now), so I will write again
later. Whatever, I don?t think there is a specific association, but I have
NEVER found a "bromeliadless" P. leal-costae!
There are other species that usually start to grow in bromeliads,
including another Philo subg. Meconostigma from the Atlantic Coast (P.
corcovadense). Seeds usually germinate in the tanks, probably because of the
permanent water source. However, they are too big to spend his whole life
growing there, so they send out roots to the soil and start to grow as an
hemiepiphyte. This is a common association, but other species occasionally
germinate in the tanks. It is a good place to be if you are a Philodendron
seedling germinating in the canopy. Even in the rain forests, it is hard to
keep a constant water supply if you are 30 m from the ground. Maybe
Philodendron leal-costae it is just more specialized (once again, maybe
because it grows in places where the water is not promptly available all the
time).

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