Blood red spathe: Philodendron eichleri?

Discussion in 'Araceae' started by asj2008, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. asj2008

    asj2008 Active Member

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  2. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Beautiful specimen. Simon's descriptive treatment of the spathe varies from your photo but is certainly within the scope of natural variation. Is this specimen in your personal collection?
     
  3. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Are you aware that Simon considers Philodendron eichleri a synonym of Philodendron undulatum Engl.? Both Julius and Leland appear to have some difference of opinion with the sinking of P. eichleri into P. undulatum and that discussion can be found in the Aroid l archives. http://www.hort.net/lists/aroid-l/jan08/msg00049.html
     
  4. asj2008

    asj2008 Active Member

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    Yeah, I read that thread before, but there seems to be some confusion about it, and things that have been submerged can always come back up again (as did Philodendron mello-barretoanum in fact).

    When I went to the NY Botanical Garden, an aroid they had was labeled P. undulatum, but it looked nothing like that species. When I told the director about it, she found an old hidden metal tag (probably from the donor) attached to the stem that said it was P. eichleri. The garden staff may have labeled it P. undulatum because of that tag and the fact P. eichleri was submerged by Simon.

    Here's a pic of it...the leaves look remarkably like P. bipinnatifidum ;-)
     

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  5. asj2008

    asj2008 Active Member

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    Good gawd, no! The photographer actually is not sure exactly where he photographed it....

    And here's Mayo's notes on it, where he does note the variability in the spathe, and makes his decision with some circumspection....with future DNA studies, what we know as "P undulatum" may actually have cryptic species within it....

    With some circumspection, I have reduced P. eichleri to synonymy, since
    there appear to be no consistent characters to distinguish this taxon, which
    consists of Brazilian populations in Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo states, from
    P. undulatum, previously recognized only in Paraguay and Argentina. With
    the exception of a single Paraguayan collection the species is characteristic of
    riverine marsh habitats. The sinuately lobed leaf blade is a constant feature,
    and though the primary lateral lobes are sometimes shallow enough to fall
    within the range of variation shown by P. tweedianum, the much shorter
    peduncle of P. undulatum serves to distinguish these two species clearly enough.
    The gynoecium varies in the presence or absence of a style dome, but in
    general style domes are more frequently lacking in this species; when present
    they are either very short or extremely slender (Fig. 17A). The slender form
    occurs in the Brazilian material, but in the Paraguayan and Argentinian
    specimens only very short central domes were observed. Gynoecia lacking
    style domes are common in the Brazilian specimens, making their presence
    an unreliable character even within a single spadix.
    Duarte's collection (Duarte 3526) from Carandai, Minas Gerais, Brazil, is
    from the same locality as Glaziou's types of P. eichleri and is notable for having
    a crimson inner spathe surface. It is not clear what value this character may
    have, since the held notes of Eiten I Eiten 2330 from 56o Paulo make no
    mention of red spathe colour; this character appears to vary between populations.
    Grau (1983) describes purple spathes in material cultivated at Tucuman,
    Argcntina, suggesting that this polymorphism also occurs in the Paraguayan
    - Argentinian part of the range.
     
  6. asj2008

    asj2008 Active Member

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    Hmmm...it looks like i might have access to the original paper on P. eichleri :-)

    P. eichleri in Bot. Jahrb. 26:556 (1899);

    I'll see whether I can get it and post it.....
     
  7. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    All I can say is thank goodness for folks like you that question published papers! I am certainly aware that species don't always appear to be what they truly are and only with the continued study of dedicated aroid botanists and those who enjoy studying the species privately will much of this be resolved. I would say Meconostigma are among those many plants within my personal weakness and lack of knowledge. I prefer Philodendron subgenus Philodendron and am just getting into Philodendron subgenus Pteromischum. So much to learn, so little time to understand it!

    Please do continue educating us regarding Philodendron subgenus Meconostigma! That's what I like about the IAS. Others can teach you what you don't understand!
     
  8. asj2008

    asj2008 Active Member

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    Yes, as you may have probably noticed, nothing's sacrosanct in science....as new evidence comes to light, revisions to the current structure and species inevitably follows. I have no idea whether that specimen is really P. eichleri, but it'll be fun trying to find out.

    Mayo himself notes in his 1991 work:

    "Further collection and field study in the drainage system of the Rios Parana and Paraguay is needed to clarify the definition of P. undulatum."
     
  9. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    How true. Simon once told me that even he now has concerns one species he helped to author is truly a species. In time this will be worked out.
     
  10. LariAnn

    LariAnn Active Member

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    On the question of species, IMHO part of the problem is in defining exactly what a species is. With the wide variation possible within some genotypes, some plants formerly considered separate species are later lumped together as variations of the same species. At a later date, this process can be reversed again if new data suggest the need. I feel that a good definition of species must include whether the plant breeds true from seed (i.e. retains the unique characteristics), or if it produces a wide range of morphotypes when self-fertilized. If it breeds true to type, I would favor calling it a species. Of course, this requires taking the time to self-pollinate the plants and then to grow out the progeny. I think many institutional scientists don't have the time or resources to do this with every plant they decide is a new species.

    Also, scientists are often under pressure to "publish or perish", and one of the easiest papers to publish is the announcement of a newly discovered species. It doesn't matter if a few years later, the species is found to be merely a variation of another species, as this simply means that the same or a different scientist can publish another paper about it!

    LariAnn
    Aroidia Research
     

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