N. E. Brown
by Julius Boos
This genus occurs in Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo, and consists of a single species that occurs in two varieties: One with elegant narrow sagittate leaves, and the other a robust plant with broader leaves.
Podolasia stipitata grows best in a pot using a "jungle mix" with about 40 percent coarse sand and potted in a similar manner as previously described for Lasimorpha.
The inflorescence is perhaps one of the more beautiful among the aroids with a maroon-scarlet spathe and an ivory white spadix which, beginning at the top, changes to maroon as the inflorescence matures. The broad leaved variety produces an inflorescence with a spathe that is correspondingly broad while the narrow leaved variety produced an inflorescence with a narrow spathe. The stipe (stem of the spadix) is interesting in that is is covered with spines like those on the peduncle, and the stipe increase in length as the inflorescence matures.
Podolasia stipitata can be distinguished from Cyrtosperma and Lasia, two other genera which also occur in West Malaysia, by its spines. In Podolasia the spines are light colored and curved downward, in Cyrtosperma they are dark and curve upward, and while Lasia and Cyrtosperma both usually have spines on the veins underneath their leaf blades, these spines are lacking in Podolasia.
Suckers are produced at the base of the main plant. These can be removed and potted separately when they are of a suitable size, usually in about one year. This interesting and beautiful aroid, originally described in 1882 from a plant in cultivation collected in Borneo and introduced to horticulture by the famous nurseryman Veitch, should once more be pursued as a subject well worthy of a place in our collections.
The author acknowledges the technical assistance of Scott Hyndman (web page development) and Lester Kallus (imaging).
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Selected Podolasia Species
Podolasia stipitata N.E. Brown