Heat producing Philodendron flower

Discussion in 'Araceae' started by ChrisR, May 12, 2008.

  1. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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  2. ChrisR

    ChrisR Active Member

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    The end? Thanks guys. But it's not over yet. :)
     
  3. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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  4. ChrisR

    ChrisR Active Member

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    Count me in Steve. But it's too late here for me now - well past midnight, so I'm off to bed now. I have some more ideas to add to the debate re: Philo IR lighthouse! : )
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2008
  5. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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  6. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    i've been meaning to ask how i go about joining the aroid list! thanks for the info, steve!
     
  7. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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  8. ChrisR

    ChrisR Active Member

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    http://www.aroid.org/ Joined! Well, I've submitted my application. Many thanks for that Steve. : )

    I've been scratching my head today regarding the practicalities/best way of infra red photographing the forthcoming flowers. I think I may have had a little too much wine yesterday evening so I'm not thinking as clearly as I'd like... : (

    I have a nagging suspicion that ordinary IR film may not be sensitive enough to adequately show the difference between 43c and 23c? only because there'd be little to prevent it becoming exposed by the ordinary ambient heat of room temperature (?) I've never used IR film before so I'm in the dark here and may be completely wrong. Have any one of you kind folks here used IR film before?

    I've today emailed Kodak along the lines of -

    a) Do you manufacture a 120 IR roll film?
    b) who sells it?
    c) how sensitive is it?

    I shall probably just buy some once I find a stockist and have a play.

    Ideally I'd like to beg/borrow/hire a thermal imaging system.

    I had an interesting long chat with these folk: http://www.intersafe.co.uk/thermal-about.php particularly when it came to me explaining what I wanted it for.... they were unable to help given the likely short notice I could give them. About half a day! also, the system came with an operator in attendance. The system itself sounded ideal though as it can easily differentiate between an object at 43 centigrade and a background at 23 centigrade accurate to within 1 centigrade. 0.1 centigrade on the higher ranges.

    Next, I found a company who would hire at short notice, their midrange system a 'Flir P65' again same accuracy, photo resolution size 640x480 which should be adequate size wise. Cost to hire £199 per day or £796 per week <sob> They are sending me a formal quote.

    Does anyone know if there is a reliable way to predict the flower opening the day before it happens?

    I'm now thinking I should as well try some technical colleges locally, fortunately my neighbour is a retired (physics) lecturer so may prove helpful. I'll keep you all posted.

    Excuse my previous nights slightly erratic postings; a mixture of elation, frustration at not being able to post and vino = not a good recipe to post on forums. <oops> The excitement all got away with me. My apologies. Oh and 'Aroids' by Deni Bown arrived in the post today.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2008
  9. Donette B

    Donette B Member

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    Hi ChrisR,
    I also have the same plant you do. However, it sounds like you all know way more about this than I do. I purchased this plant from a local nursery and planted it in my shaded court yard 2 years ago. It's obviously a young plant. What I read in your threads is that it needs to be mature to bloom. Curious. A few days ago my husband mentioned he thought it had flower buds on it. I was quite surprised, I didn't think that philodendrons produced flowers. We have 3 buds/flowers. I have been watching them and photographing the progress of the opening and closing of the flowers. I find it fascinating !!! The "flowers" have opened one at a time, only for a couple of days and then have sealed themselves back up inside the pod. I love the inside of the pod, it's surprisingly thick and it feels like porcelain. Are the pods going to open again or wither away and fall off ? We looked in all the books we have and the only one that had any information was the Western Garden book, and it wasn't much. I would love to educate myself about this plant. I'm very excited about this plant and understanding it. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks
     
  10. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    heya, donnette!! yes, these are VERY interesting plants!

    if you go to steve's website, you'll pick up a ton of info! steve is 'photopro' and there's a link to his website at the bottom of his posts (in the signature area).
     
  11. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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  12. Donette B

    Donette B Member

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    Joclyn,
    thank you for the info. I look forward to learning more about this surprising member of my garden.
    Donette
     
  13. ChrisR

    ChrisR Active Member

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    I'm still investigating acquiring a thermal imaging camera. Then I had a sudden brain wave.

    As the spathe starts to open up and before the spadix heats up. It should be reasonably straightforward to set up an infra red emitting diode with a narrow angle of emission pointing at the spathe at 45 degrees to the normal. i.e I make this IR led shine at the spathe at 45 degrees off the vertical from the spathe surface. If the spathe is infra red reflective then I should see a reflection at 45 degrees the other side off the vertical. Angle of incidence = angle of reflection etc., at least that way (cheaply) we'll know if the spathe is reflective or not.

    There is another flower showing signs of reaching the size at which the previous two opened up. So in the interim I'm going to run some test experiments with IR leds and reflective surfaces. More later!

    <edit, attached a picture, as it's easier to see what I mean> (Steve, I'm enjoying Deni Bowns book. Nice writing style)
     

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    Last edited: May 22, 2008
  14. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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  15. ChrisR

    ChrisR Active Member

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    Sure. When I did the timelapse of the spathe opening up the spadix only heated up when it had arrived toward the 'end of it's travel' so that should give me a reasonable time of ~7 or so hours. You can get some pretty directional leds which will prove much brighter compared with the IR radiation given off by a spadix at 42centigrade.

    Furthermore if there were any other heat/IR present at the time I make my measurements this will act as a background value added to whatever the led generates and the detector picks up. Either way it will be an easy matter to dial that out. Merely point the detector at the spathe with no led present. Job done.

    What's piquing my curiosity just now is how reflective to IR the spathe is, if at all? And it's going to be a darn site cheaper than hiring a thermal imaging system for a week/couple of days! I'm still looking at borrowing one and there are several avenues still open there.
     
  16. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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  17. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Ok, Chris - if you have an Apple laptop, there's a very cheap way to test out the IR theory. There's an application of all of the Apples with integrated cameras called "photo booth" and one of the settings is an IR camera. Just point the laptop at the inflorescence and see what happens....
     
  18. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years

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    Wow, this is all so interesting and informative and is yet another "hats off" to the site and contributors. I now look at our local skunk cabbage with more interest as I didn't even know that they were aroids. Surely someone near Gloucester has a camera which they could lend to Chris. Is there a local camera club?
    Looking forward to the next posts.
    Margaret
     
  19. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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  20. ChrisR

    ChrisR Active Member

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    Hi Lorax, my background is electronics (I was a senior design engineer at Thorn EMI for many years in a past life before a career change) so I'm intending on concocting something a little more sophisticated. But thank you for your laptop pointer. I've already measured the spadix with a contact-less infra red thermometer, the type which resembles a pistol which you point & shoot. That measured the spadix at 43 centigrade, specifically the central part of it which is I believe between the male flowers "up top" and the female flowers "down below". That places it nicely at what looks to my (engineering) eye to be the focal point of the spathe. Anything which produces heat, also produces infra red radiation as I originally pointed out to Steve several pages back towards the start of this thread.

    I'm now just curious to see how reflective if at all, the spathe may be. Hence my IR led thoughts. As I've discovered, thermal imaging cameras are unfortunately, not cheap to hire. More frustrating is that I understand some are available which also feature a mode to measure reflectivity which is exactly what I wish to do now but without having to pay 'through the nose' for probably several days of hire.

    Margaret, borrowing a thermal imaging camera is one of the avenues I'm currently actively persuing. I'm actually waiting to hear from an engineering colleage I know who works at a firm who specialise in these. There has been mention of the possible loan of one but the chap I'm talking with is naturally reluctant to promise anything.

    Steve, I'm no plant expert and don't intend to become one. I'm just following up on the thoughts I posted when I originally created this thread. I'm very delighted at all the interest now being show by you and other experts in 'my theory' but it will naturally have to be down to you guys who 'talk the right talk' to take this further & also perfom the neccessary insect investigations (regarding their sensitivity to IR) in order to progress this matter further.

    I'm just very pleased & delighted to have started a ball rolling amongst yourselves! : )
     
  21. nic

    nic Active Member 10 Years

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    I'd have thought lending you a thermal imaging camera would have been good adverting for any company. Have you thought of asking the police, or the army? Or what about the BBC's Natural History department, which is, I think, based in Bristol, not too far from you at all. They might be interested for the local news.
     
  22. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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  23. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Steve - do you think there's a way to measure the intensity of the pheremone produced during anthesis, or is it something to ask of a fully-equipped laboratory?

    Aw, now I'm really interested in this....
     
  24. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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  25. ChrisR

    ChrisR Active Member

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    Infra Red.

    Some very general thoughts on IR (Infra Red radiation) with regards to "Heat" & detecting it, since I feel there's still a little confusion. The plant will emit infra red radiation because it is heating up. Not the other way around. (unless I'm badly missing something, which can always be possible)

    Broadly -

    1) Anything which is "hot" emits IR radiation.
    2) The hotter the object, the greater the intensity of IR radiation it emits.
    3) The hotter the object, the broader the spectrum of radiation it emits.

    Bare with me, this is a long post.. but I hope it will clear a few things up. I'll illustrate what 1) to 3) mean in real terms by heating up a bar of metal (lets say Steel) with a flame.

    To start with, the metal won't look any different. After a little while, if you move the metal away from the flame you can "feel" the heat being given off from it. That is Infra red radiation you are feeling on your skin. If we heat the metal up a little more, its temperature rises, the intensity of the IR given off by it increases (it has become hotter) & the spectrum it emits, broadens. Finally, once it gets sufficiently hot enough we'll start to see the metal begin to glow.

    Throughout this heating, IR (infra red) radiation is being emitted by the metal in increasing intensity (but invisible to our eyes) What does "the spectrum it emits broadens" mean?

    As the metal temperature rises further, the metal is now not just emitting infra red but other wavelengths as well - to the point where the spectrum finally coincides with the very narrow visual (range of frequencies) which we (humans) can "see" and live our lives in.

    At this point, to us we "see" the metal start to glow. The emitted spectrum has broadened to the point we can "see" a portion of it now. The metal has been emitting radiation all along but we just aren't physically equipped to see all of it. As it gets hotter, the metal goes through cherry red, straw yellow, blue, then finally white hot as the spectrum broadens still further. Applying still more heat, the metal may start to emit Ultra violet radiation and your skin may become "sunburnt" Any one heard of arc welders eye?

    This broadening out of the spectrum as the temperature rises, up to the point where it becomes visible to us, is equally true the other way back down to the much (smaller) amounts of infra red radiation the spadix of my philo emitted when it sat at 43 centigrade some 20 centigrade above ambient for a couple of hours.

    Detecting Infra Red

    The ccds common in cameras, laptops, mobile phones, the ubiquitous cctv security cameras cheaply available, mentioned in this thread, all rely on flood lighting the area of interest with (relatively speaking to the amount of IR emitted by a body at 43C) Vast, Huge search light quantities of IR (infra red) in order to produce a discernible image. These are not subtle devices. They need to do this because they're not "sensitive" enough to see the small quantities of IR emitted by you and me at temperatures of around 36 centigrade. By way of analogy, think of trying to detect a whisper several yards away at an overbearingly loud Music concert.

    I have at my home, several IR security cameras mounted around the periphery of my house. In pitch darkness (with no external sources of IR radiation/illumination) these cameras are completely blind. In pitch dark, they are unable to see me (at ~36 C) or, for example, a very hot motorcycle engine just after I've come back from a ride, parts of which will be sitting at ~200+ centigrade or so.

    Next up in sensitivity there's image intensifiers, night scopes being a good example. But again, I don't think these are sufficiently sensitive to differentiate between an object at 43 centigrade and a background of 23 centigrade. Certainly the ones I've seen can't and these devices work best on moonlit nights or require an infra red emitting torch to flood the area of interest. Very likely the Military have better.

    Next up in sensitivity, the cameras used in police helicopters, fire fighters in smoke filled rooms to search for bodies etc., are all thermal imaging. These cameras are at the top of the pile in terms of sensitivity and produce an infra red picture which we can then see.

    They differ because they do not require an external source of IR illumination, they can see the small quantities of IR emitted by objects which are at the same temperatures as us. They can "see" in pitch dark. They are extremely extremely sensitive. They're able, I've learnt, to resolve 1 degree centigrade differences in objects at 40 centigrade and 0.1 degree centigrade differences on their higher ranges.

    Alas, as you'd expect with this type of kit, this kind of performance/sensitivity comes with an attendant price tag. These devices are in a different league altogether to the ubiquitous ccd devices in mobile phones, laptops etc., and unfortunately they are what's required if you want (like me) to 'see' what the plant "looks" like at 43 centigrade. Which is why I've been thinking of some other things I can try.

    Why would I like to do this? Because my curiosity has been piqued. Partly encouraged by you all & I want to "see" what the plant looks like when it's got itself nicely warmed up in order to reproduce. Tart? Lighthouse? Beam? Torch? Bawdy house of ill repute for insects? None of the above? Whatever, it's absolutely fascinating. I do 'feel' my Philo is up to something given the short time it flowers "it has to pull out the stops" (Sorry not very botanically technical, I know)

    Lastly, I've always been one for looking at things from different angles. It's fun & just sometimes you get to see things differently.

    Here's a photo of my cat I recently took, I'd like to imagine he sometimes takes a peek at the world from a different perspective too.
     

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    Last edited: May 23, 2008

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