Lasimorpha senegalensis Schott
by Julius Boos
Lasimorpha senegalensis Schott occurs
on the west coast of sub-equatorial Africa from Senagal south to Angola. It
is an easy plant to grow once it is established in a large, wide pot and planted
in a sand and peat moss mix which needs to be kept above the water's surface
by initally placing about eight to ten centimeters (three to four inches)
of lava rock in the bottom of the pot so that when you set the pot in a shallow
saucer of water, the soil mix is above the water. It's water should be changed
weekly to prevent stagnation. It may also be planted at the edges of ponds
in areas with sufficiently high year-round temperatures.
Lasimorpha produces new suckers on long, thin subterranean stolons which may often circle entirely around inside the pot before emerging at the soil's surface; so this plant seems more "comfortable" in a wider, shallow pot. It should be transplanted and divided as necessary to prevent crowding. It's petioles are covered by long vertical parallel rows of attractive crystalline spines that, even though they are impressive to look at, are in fact not very sharp so that this beautiful plant can be comfortably handled with your bare hands.
This plant, like the other tropical
Lasioids, likes it warm, and should be protected from temperatures below 16°C
(60°F), especially if there is wind. It usually begins to bloom in Spring,
and it's inflorescence rivals any other Aroid
in its beauty. I am told that the inflorescences are harvested in Africa and
exported to Europe where they are used in floral arrangements and as cut flowers.
As an additional bonus they produce an odor of ripe fruit!
A plant of this species won "Best
of Show" at the International Aroid Society's Annual Show in 1994 at
Fairchild Gardens in Miami, Florida. This magnificent aroid, once it becomes
more readily available, should find a place in the collection of anyone who
is willing to provide the minimal necessities for it's successful cultivation.
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