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  Re: How big is big enough? and how tall do they get?
From: "Randall M. Story" story at caltech.edu> on 2002.04.15 at 16:42:53(8560)
Title: Re: How big is big enough? and how tall do they get?


I agree that the fact that blooming is unpredictable can make it all the more exciting. Unfortunately, most of us have finite financial resources, space and patience.

Let me throw out a hypothetical example. Suppose someone is interested in just seeing one, any one of these amazing plants bloom. They have the opportunity to buy a 4 inch (10 cm) diameter tuber of only one of the following:

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, A. bulbifer, A. konjac, A. titanum, Dracunculus vulgaris, Helicodiceros muscivorus and Sauromatum (Typhonium) venosum.

Which should they buy at this size to be mostly likely to see a bloom?

Now suppose Helicodiceros and A. paeoniifolius are by far their favorite species--how does this change things?

Are there people on this list who could quickly answer this question? Yes. Are there also people on this list who don't know yet would like to know? I'm guessing yes. Is it easy to find such information online, in books, etc.? Not at all. Shouldn't that be exactly the sort of resource that this list is about? Trial and error can be very frustrating--and expensive.

I find that people (we scientists in particular) are often reluctant to answer such questions because there is no exact answer. Yet however much we might have to guess, approximate, relate personal experiences, etc., there are people on a list like this who have lots of wisdom to share! Incomplete knowledge is better than nothing at all.

Back to your example of a small A. titanum blooming (see postings by Kathy Upton, U. of Missouri, 1998). Wasn't this amazing in part BECAUSE this species has been observed to usually bloom at a much larger size? If nobody knew the typical size of an A. titanum at blooming would people have cared enough to ask why?

That's why I think there is a need to hear the anecdotal stories, guesses, approximations, etc. I'll broaden my original request to encourage the curious (many of whom read the list, but never post anything) to either post or send me a list of species they are curious about. I'll see if I can quiz the experts about these and/or post a list here to see if we get a response.

Sorry to be so long-winded here. However I think this is a pretty common and fundamental question, of interest to a lot of people, for which there is very, very little information out there.


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