Aroids forum: Why you may have difficulty finding a correct Aroid ID!

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Name: Steve Lucas
Siloam Springs, AR
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ExoticRainforest
Feb 27, 2010 7:06 AM CST
When trying to find the ID of an aroid specimen most of us post a single photo since we believe a photo of the leaf should be adequate to learn the name of the species. That is often a myth.

Plants change shape as they grow and at least one out of every known plant species has multiple leaf forms or "faces" in the adult stage. During the ontogeny of a plant most go through many changes and as a result a species will be very different in the juvenile form than in the adult stages of its life. Ontogeny is the natural progressive changes in growth of any living being. Think about the way a child changes from birth to the time they become old, that is ontogeny.

To complicate the problem of finding a good ID you must also consider the natural variation in plant species. The blade of a plant is like the face of a human being. Humans have many different faces, different colors of our skin color, hair color, height, weight and other differences in our physical features. But there is only one species of humans, Homo sapiens. Just because our faces don't all look alike does not mean we are all different species and just because the leaf of a plant specimen does not look exactly alike one that is similar does not mean it is something else! Color has little to do with determining the species of a plant based solely on the color of a blade..

When you ask for a the identification of a plant you should post photos of the top and bottom of a leaf plus other parts of the plant including the petiole, stem and if at all possible aninflorescence.

Why? This article will hopefully make the reasons clear. If you've read this before, read it again. The article has been completely updated with many new photographic examples added:


http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Natural%20variation%20within...

Thumb of 2010-02-27/ExoticRainforest/69e2ba
Name: Dawn
Eastern KY Zone 6
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3jsmom31
Feb 27, 2010 9:13 AM CST
Steve, I love watching them grow up. I have kept a poor monstera plant in a juvenile state for like 20 years and I'm finally aware of why it hasn't morphed into adulthood. I let it sprawl instead of climb.

Can you fool a philodendron or epipremnum into flowering without the 90 foot climbs and 30 foot drops? Just curious :).
Name: Steve Lucas
Siloam Springs, AR
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ExoticRainforest
Feb 27, 2010 9:34 AM CST
Most Philodendron will flower in 10 to 12 feet, sometimes less. I have a very large Philodendron sagittifolium (2.5 foot blades) that produces inflorescences just 6 feet from the soil every May and a couple of my terrestrial species produce an inflorescence just 2 feet above the ground. The majority of climbing Philodendron species don't necessarily have to drop at all other than Philodendron hederaceum.
Name: Dawn
Eastern KY Zone 6
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3jsmom31
Feb 27, 2010 10:29 AM CST
I love the different forms of hederaceum. They are lovely, whether velvety volutinous or just splashed with lime :). We were wondering a few months back if you could ever get hederaceum to bloom as a houseplant. And how to go about it. It was just a curiosity thing. I love learning from you :)
Name: Steve Lucas
Siloam Springs, AR
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ExoticRainforest
Feb 27, 2010 11:26 AM CST
I will never consider myself an "expert" because I learn something new almost everytime someone asks! Please, please keep asking!
Name: Dawn
Eastern KY Zone 6
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3jsmom31
Feb 27, 2010 11:27 AM CST
It would be wonderful if we could call them philo hederaceum "Micans", or P. h. "Variegata" or "Medio pictum" to indicate which form we are talking about, like to indicate a cultivar with a specific look. Each is worth growing, just like daylilies have so much beauty to offer with the many cultivars.
Name: Dave Paul
Puna, HI (Zone 10b)
Live in a rainforest, get wet feet.
Plant Identifier
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Metrosideros
Feb 27, 2010 1:04 PM CST
Hey Steve!

I see that you have P. scandens now listed as P. hederaceum.
Is the subspecies oxycardium now P. hederaceum subsp. oxycardium?

Mahalo, Dave
Name: Dawn
Eastern KY Zone 6
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3jsmom31
Feb 27, 2010 2:41 PM CST
Would you be able to simulate epiphyte hemi/ephiphyte type of environment by using bark or porous rock (similar to how orchids are grown) as a potting medium for aroids? I don't mind watering daily, and in winter, it is so hard to keep the balance in heavier peat mixes going between too wet/too dry and trying to keep moist/humid soil. I've been wondering about just planting in bark or larger gravel to see, but I don't necessarily have enough plants to 'spare' if it is a mistake. Any thoughts? Which easy grower would be good to experiment on? I also wondered why hederaceum, oxycardium, brazil and a monstera or 2 are growing long stems with fewer leaves. I think they are looking for shade of a tree to climb, from what I've read in your article. Hmmm. I really learn a lot from our aroid teachers (you don't have to be an expert to teach what you know, so thank you for your generosity in teaching Smiling ) I have seen syngonium podophyllum running as a vine, but my unsupported 10 year old just grows as a clump and has the 3 part leaves, but it's in a lot of sun. Is that unusual?
Name: Steve Lucas
Siloam Springs, AR
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ExoticRainforest
Feb 27, 2010 3:00 PM CST

We created this "log" several years ago and all these photos are now at least 18 months old. You should see it now! We have a large Anthurium bonplandii growing up there plus dozens of orchids, ferns and other plants.
Name: Rachel
Rural Retreat, Va
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RachelLF
Feb 27, 2010 10:18 PM CST
Tremendous reading/teaching here Steve as well as on your website concerning natural variation and the morphogenesis within a species of plant's. I have to add though that I am a bit "mind boggled" concerning the Philodendron hederaceum group but I will go back and read it all again for my mind's sake;-)

Thank's much!
Name: Dawn
Eastern KY Zone 6
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3jsmom31
Feb 27, 2010 10:56 PM CST
I can accept that brazil is the same as micans and oxycardium. They are all doing the same thing right now.... I noticed that the other day, so this came at a good time :).

I really enjoyed reading it, and found many similarities in other plant genera that aren't as exotic, but show the traits and regionality you were talking about.

I spent a couple hours exploring your jungle, Steve... At one point I turned to look out the window and the snow staring back was a shock after the lush pictures :). It got me to thinking of passive heat sinks and greenhouses and .... I like the log you made for epiphytes. I mist more often than water during the winter, but the opposite in the summer outside. What do you do about insect control with the animals and fish living in there?

I think try an anthurium and alocasia poly in orchid bark. Would you add a little spaghnum moss strands or not? I would love to be able to fertilize lightly and often and not worry about root rot from too much wet.
Name: Steve Lucas
Siloam Springs, AR
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ExoticRainforest
Feb 28, 2010 6:45 AM CST
I see I missed a couple of posts above.

There is nothing wrong with a collector calling any plant by a common name if it makes you comfortable with understanding they are forms of a species. Even though we don't all look alike we still give all our children their own name so we can help make it easier to distinguish which is which. There is absolutely nothing wrong with calling any plant "oxycardium" or "scandens".
Name: Steve Lucas
Siloam Springs, AR
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ExoticRainforest
Feb 28, 2010 8:18 PM CST
I made an edit to my post above regarding color.
Name: Dawn
Eastern KY Zone 6
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3jsmom31
Mar 1, 2010 1:59 PM CST
I think I understood what you meant, as my hederaceum specifically has reddish on the older growth and all green on the newer growth. It could be an acidity thing, or light or whatever makes the little guy tick, lol. But that is just on the same plant, so it made your larger point easy to grasp. I didn't find your article to be too difficult to read the other day, so I'll just be happy with it :). And don't worry, if you mess up, someone will call it to your attention, I'm sure.
Name: Steve Lucas
Siloam Springs, AR
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ExoticRainforest
Mar 1, 2010 2:55 PM CST
Then you are witnessing ontogeny in motion. Plants change as they grow.

Steve
Name: Rachel
Rural Retreat, Va
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RachelLF
Mar 1, 2010 8:05 PM CST
Steve, we appreciate every single bit of knowledge you share with us! Goodness know's this gal still has so much to learn concerning the Araceae family but it sure is wonderful to know we have you here to answer question's if we cannot find the answer by visiting your website.

Thank you so much for all that you have done and are still doing to help us Aroid lover's further our knowledge.

Name: Steve Lucas
Siloam Springs, AR
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ExoticRainforest
Mar 1, 2010 8:33 PM CST
It's fun! But I do make mistakes and need good "eyes" to point them out.

Steve
Name: Dawn
Eastern KY Zone 6
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3jsmom31
Mar 1, 2010 9:22 PM CST
I second Rachel's post.. I feel really lucky to chat with you here :).
Name: Steve Lucas
Siloam Springs, AR
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ExoticRainforest
Mar 5, 2010 9:08 PM CST
Dawn, I found one of your posts on Dave's Garden regarding Philodendron wind-imbe and filled in some blanks. I don't regularly post on that site for personal reasons but I thought you might want to read the post.

Steve
Name: Dawn
Eastern KY Zone 6
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3jsmom31
Mar 6, 2010 5:59 AM CST
Thank you, you can see that I was just guessing some of the ones that start out small like that. p. wend-imbe is sold for terrariums on several sites, so I never realized it could grow large like that :). Thank you for teaching me. You are a very patient person :).

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