Identification: Philodendron xanadu - much information on the web regarding it is just plain wrong!

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by photopro, Jun 17, 2007.

  1. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I just finished doing a complete update on a relatively new species of Philodendron now known as Philodendron xanadu. Some people also attempt to call it Philodendron bipinnatifidum Xanadu. Many people know it as a hybrid (not correct) and it is exclusively sold as Philodendron 'Xanadu'.

    Quite a bit of recent information has come to light regarding the published species Philodendron xanadu. My friends Julius Boos and botanist Dr. Tom Croat of the Missouri Botanical Garden joined with botanist Dr. Simon Mayo of the Royal Botanic Garden Kew to describe the species in 2002. The species was first published in the International Aroid Society journal Aroideana.

    One Los Angeles news paper article, which can be found on the net, says this species is an "accidental hybrid" found in Australia. That is very misleading, possibly purposely released. No one is certain how or why the information has been put out this species is from Australia or it is a hybrid, but scientifically that is not possible. The genus Philodendron is not found in nature outside Mexico, Central America, South America and the West Indies. It does not exist naturally in Australia. Since this species is a Meconostigma it is now believed the plant must have originated in Brazil. Current knowledge indicates all members of that section originate from the country of Brazil. Additionally, the spathe and spadix of the species are unique. That would not be possible if the plant was a hybrid.

    Julius has just helped me rewrite my entire page on the species Philodendron xanadu. All the information now posted is up to date and disputes quite a bit of information that can be found on the internet including information found in that newspaper article. Almost every web site that sells the plant will try to tell you it was found in Australia. It appears the importer of the clone wishes that information to be accepted. It is now believed by botanical professionals the seeds from the species may have been imported into Australia and a few released into the wild for reasons unknown.

    Information on the internet indicates the species was first "found" in Australia is not scientifically possible since the neotropical genus Philodendron is found from Mexico, the West Indies, and south through Central America into Colombia, Venezuela, the Guiana Shield, Brazil and in Ecuador and Peru. The genus is primarily found east of the Andes Mountains. The botanists are relatively certain this is truly a Brazilian species but to date it has not been observed in the wild.

    The genus Philodendron has never been found in Australia before! Well, unless a collector purposely planted it there! This species is also not widespread in that country other than as a tissue culture.

    You can read all of the information here if you are interested in this species:

    http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Phil...nadu pc.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2007
    Shelley Stichler likes this.
  2. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    I received an interesting email today from an Aussie reader. That reader did not believe what I said about Philodendron xanadu not being found in the wild of Australia. So they went to the Australian National Botanic Gardens website. When they checked the Australian Plant Names Index, they did not find Philodendron xanadu listed. Only then did the individual realize the Australian National Botanic Garden should know what does and does not grow in the country. Try it for yourself! http://www.anbg.gov.au/cpbr/databases/apni-search-full.html

    All the information on the internet saying this species was found wild in Australia is just plain wrong!
     
  3. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    Thatnks for that info Photopro...I too thought it was from here. Maybe it was found in the wild and has just been naturalised here, like a lot of species. This plant is VERY popular over here. It would be great to get to the bottom of this plant mystery.

    Ed
     
  4. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    I can tell you the "rumor", but it is just that. The story in aroid circles is the group that tissue cultured the plant in Australia brought the seeds in from Brazil. They needed to be able to have a way of explaining how the plant got into Australia so a convenient story was released it was "found" in western Australia.

    Now, it is certainly possible someone took some seeds from Brazil and set them loose inthe rain forest of Western Australia. No one would have any way to confirm or deny if that happened. The tissue culture company may have truly found it. But it does not grow naturally in Australia.

    Is that rumor true? I have absolutely no idea! But I've heard that from numerous sources. It is known to aroid scientists that the genus Philodendron is not naturally found outside Mexico, Central America, South America and the West Indies. I did find it interesting when I checked the Australian Botanical Garden site and did not find the plant. Since Philodendron xanadu is a member of section Meconostigma Dr. Simon Mayo of the Royal Botanic Garden Kew is of the belief it has to be a Brazilian species. He also is of the opinon P. xanadu cannot be a hybrid because of its unique spathe and spadix. So it appears there is a conflict between the botanists and the company who tissue cultures the plant.
     
  5. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    Oh well...I'l leave it to the botanists to fight it out, lol. Very interesting subject though

    Ed
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  7. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    I believe that is likely a misinterpretation of the published scientific description written by Croat, Mayo and Boos. Julius Boos originally began the study of the plant in Florida of a full grown plant growing in a collection there. Julius specializes in Philodendron species of the section Meconostigma (the self headers). Julius noticed a distinctive difference in the spathe and spadix of Philodendron xanadu when compared to that of Philodendron bipinnatifidum.

    There are a variety of stories that have been posted as to how this plant came to exist in Australia. One is it was "found" in Western Australia. Another is it was hybridized from Philodendron bipinnatifidum. If you get a copy of the US patent on the plant Philodendron 'Xanadu' (you can't patent a species but you can patent a hybrid) you'll read it says the plant was hybridized from that species. Right now, the tissue culture company has such a lock on the plant no one can even legally sell cuttings. You can only buy a tissue cultured plant from the Australian exporter. The species is now in legal limbo!

    Julius found the spathe situation to be in conflict with science. It appeared it was impossible for Philodendron xanadu to be a hybrid of Philodendron bipinnatifidum despite what the pateny said. He then enlisted Dr. Croat and Dr. Mayo to help work on the plant trying to determine if it was a hybrid or a species. The end decision is the plant is a species previously unknown to science.

    The big problem is, even though Simon Mayo is one of the two top aroid botanists on Brazilian Philodendron species, no one has ever seen Philodendron xanadu in the wild! But there are now aroid botanists in Brazil that are on the hunt!

    Confusing, isn't it?
     
  8. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    I find it amazing that a species is in "legal limbo" lol

    Ed
     
  9. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    If you were directed to this link as a result of a search on Google for Philodendron xanadu, please scroll to the top of this thread and read from the top down. We're not sure why Google elected to send you to the middle of this thread.

    You are certainly not the only one. I still am not sure who sent it, but I had a note on my website about how I took a cutting of Philodendron xanadu and started a totally new plant. I got an email from someone in Australia that told me I was in violation of the patent on the plant. Rather than argue, I took that statement off the website. But I still have the new plant!

    Several US sellers have told me in private email they can't change the information on their websites the plant is from Australia due to contractual agreements. I have no idea if that is true or simply an excuse! But I know one seller personally who won't challenge the guys he buys the tissue cultured plants from. It is a popular seller and he does not wish to risk loosing the source.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2007
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    I reckon you should put it back on, and if they complain again, just refer them to the Croat, Mayo & Boos paper describing it as a species, and that their patent is therefore illegal. They won't challenge it further - the costs of trying to bring legal action in another country, in a case that they are likely to lose, will dissuade them from doing anything other than empty threats.
     
  11. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    But isn't to take a clone means you take the genetics of that plant that is already patented, no matter what its form?? Or maybe I'm missing something (as usual lol)

    Ed
     
  12. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    Good point Michael. And good question Ed.

    Since the plant is now considered a species the patent would be not possible to protect unless they had some way of proving I had to take the cutting from one of their tissue cultures. And they might be able to do that unless someone could prove the plant had now finally been discovered in the wild.

    By the way, it is not uncommon for species to remain hidden. Numerous botanists find new Philodendon and Anthurium species each year in South America. I just received a brand new one Dr. Croat found in Ecuador just a couple of years ago. That one has a beautiful bright red fuzzy petiole.

    Now for Ed's question. Technically a clone is a perfect copy of the original. Unless these people had figured out a way to inject some "tracer" into the genetic structure it would not be possible to discern where the plant actually came from. If the lab is sloppy, and some are, then flaws end up in the plants. That is the only reason some purist collectors don't like tissue cultured plants.

    I've been trying to get the International Aroid Society to tissue culture one of their Philodendron spiritus-sancti specimens in order to preserve it. There are only 6 known specimens in the wild. But so far, not much luck. Some fear the tissue culture might affect the purity of the very rare (and beautiful) plant. My concern is it will totally vanish from the wild! If we have the ability to reintroduce it, then I feel we should. Others, obviously disagree.
     
  13. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    About propagation for your own use (IE not for sale).
    Isn't that perfectly acceptable in the US at least?

    Thanks
    Chris
     
  14. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    Chris, I have no idea why it would not be legal. Especially since the plant is now a species and no one can patent a species. I'm sure the email I received, which was unsigned, was a bluff. And it may not have even come from anyone involved with the plant!

    I love to expose "myths" about plants. I track them down all the time with the help of some of the guys (botanists) that help me out. I wrote a piece for my site last year about a plant known to science as Philodendron hastatum . One big garden website wrote on their site the name had been changed to Philodendron domesticum. That is scientifically inaccurate. They are two different plants. But that site took great offense that I said their information was wrong. And I had documented it with the help of two well known aroid botanists! I received a big letter rrom their lawyers and was told to either take down my information or they would sue me! They were right, and I was wrong! And I'm not kidding.

    So I don't like to get into fights. I just try to post accurate information. The information on my site on Philodendron hastatum is still up but I had to have a lawyer go over the editing to make sure they had nothing to sue for! And they finally went away.

    So I decided in the case of Philodendron xanadu to just take those lines out. It wasn't worth the cost of a lawyer. But anyone with any knowledge of how to divide a Philodendron can easily do it!
     
  15. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    Of course, if those people with their patent are trawling the internet in search of mentions of Philodendron xanadu to threaten with legal action, sooner or later they'll hit on this thread ;-)
     
  16. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    Maybe! Have you tried to find this thread on the internet?

    Something is very strange about Philodendron xanadu. I just spent about an hour looking for any and all mentions of the plant on the net. Almost all are offers to sell the tissue cultured form. I have two separate pages on the species on my site, one titled Philodendron 'Xanadu' and the other titled Philodendron xanadu. On Google, neither page makes the top 100! They did pick up one of my pages about Philodendron bipinnatifidum where I mention Philodendron xanadu. But I didn't find this discussion on Google anywhere! And Google normally puts UBC discussions near the top.

    On MSN and Yahoo my pages are located on page one. But I don't recall seeing this discussion either! It is almost as if someone doesn't want information other than that put out by the original grower to be found! Strange.
     
  17. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    Michael,

    I got side tracked and forgot to say why I was doing the long search!

    You mentioned something about their patent possibly not being valid. I set out to look for that exact information. But I had to go WAY down the list to find it. There are several posts, letters actually, written to some authority questioning the legitimacy of the patent. Some were written in very technical language. The strange thing was I could not find any responses to any of those letters.
     
  18. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    Maybe if I put in the phrase "sell Philodendron xanadu buy $5" it'll shoot this thread to the top of google in a few days . . .

    On the validity of the patent, I'd think the treatment of the plant as a valid species by a group of respected botanists would automatically nullify it, if it is illegal to patent species. Maybe they could even be charged with obtaining a patent by deception (probably a criminal offence?), though it might be hard to prove that they knew they were trying to get a patent for a species. They would just claim they in all honesty believed it was a cultivar.
     
  19. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    On that, I'm sure you're correct. I'll be watching to see if Google kicks this discussion up on the list!
     
  20. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    I just found this quote on a site called Rancho Tissue Technologies, "Xanadu has been hard to come by unitl recently when patent restiction were lifted."

    I do not know the status of this, but I'm looking!!
     
  21. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    Well, wonders never cease! Google has suddenly moved this thread up to page two! It links to a comment in the middle of the thread, but at least the word is now getting out! Amazing!
     
  22. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    I could make it rank higher, I suppose, by altering the thread title so that Philodendron xanadu were the first two words in the thread title...

    There's likely a penalty for having the two keywords buried in a long thread title.
     
  23. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wron

    Thanks Daniel. I'll try to learn a lesson from that. You use your own judgement in this case.

    I posted this on UBC purposely because the UBC links are often picked up by Google and given good placement. It at least appears Google has some sort of policy about giving precedence to sellers versus purely informational sources. In this case, there are nearly 300 links available on Google regarding Philodendron xanadu (almost everyone sellers) before the link to my own website is picked up. On numerous other plants I research with Dr. Croat's assistance the articles get at least descent placement. Julius Boos, who is one of the authorities who wrote the scientific description, has also been bemused as to why we just seem to have trouble getting the real story out to the plant collecting public.

    I would at least like to see researched information get a little better positioning on Google but obviously have no control over that issue. On other search engines my information on Philodendron xanadu, which was written with the help of Julius who was one of the writers who wrote the scientific description, receives much higher placement. In one case, it appears on page one when you search for the plant.

    But I'm perfectly happy for UBC to get the better placement. I do this for pleasure, not for profit. Thanks for your response!
     
  24. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Re: Philodendron xanadu - much information on the web regarding it is just plain wron

    Changed "Much information on the internet regarding Philodendron xanadu is just plain wrong" to "Philodendron xanadu - much information on the web regarding it is just plain wrong!" - let's see what happens in a week or two.
     
  25. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Philodendron xanadu - much information on the web regarding it is just plain wron

    Thanks! I hope it does something good for both UBC and getting the scientific information out to the public. I'll certainly be watching the Google placement in the next few weeks!
     

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