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  Re: [aroid-l] How many leaves??
From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at msn.com> on 2003.08.17 at 12:47:56(10495)
Hello all Friends,

Perhaps my 'slant' of this multiple leaves produced by one tuber topic may give an 'off-base' explanation that may satisfy some.
Bear in mind that some/several genera of aroids are VERY adaptable plants, they rapidly modify their growth forms and patterns in response to their surroundings, so that when these surroundings change, either by a 'natural' event (a tree-fall or forest fire, for example) or are changed by humans for their 'benefit' such as a jungle 'slash-and-burn' or clear-cut, or by being brought into cultivation by an avid plant collector and placed in a better lighted situation, their tubers or rhizomes now potted and lovingly enclosed by extra-nutritious and better drained soil, then provided with water and fertilizer on a regular basis, all sorts of changes can and do take place.
Man has taken advantage of this tendency in this group of plants in many ways. In the case of the genus Xanthosoma, and some Colocasia sps. the plants when cultivated in specific ways then produce economically satisfactory quantities of edible off-shoot bulbils/rhizomes. These 'offshoots' seldom occur if the plant is just left to its own devices, it will just grow to a large size with none or few off-shoot rhizomes.
Amorphophallus is one of the aroid genera in which some selected species are cultivated as food crops, and other 'wild' growing species are collected as food. There is a most interesting article on the cultivation of Amorphophallus paeoniifolius in the latest issue of our 'Aroideana' where this species is 'manipulated' by man to even produce a certain sized uniform shaped tuber that is best suited to mans marketing needs.
So in nature, as Peter Boyce pointed out, the 'wild' Amorphophallus sps. that he has observed may mostly have a single leaf, but if these are brought into cultivation and placed under the conditions I outlined above, it would not and does not surprise me that a species known to have but a single leaf under 'natural' conditions would produce more than one leaf in response to the improved state of cultivation being provided by its loving owner!
I hope this helps.

Good Growing,

Julius Boos,

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