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05 May 2018

Amorphophallus (Araceae)

Name derived from the Greek Umorphos «informe» and phallós «foul», due to the polymorphism of the appendix of the spadix. Plant with tuberous rhizome, from which the great upright inflorescence is born, long before the appearance of the compounded leaves, which do not appear in any case before the end of the flowering. The species are almost all Asian, except some African ones, and they are only partially cultivated for their gigantic proportions and for the unpleasant smell of the inflorescences that is emanated, as from other plants, to attract the necrophilous insects, like pollinators of pollination.

Amorphophallus bulbifer, a plant with tuberous rhizome from which the great upright inflorescence is born.
Amorphophallus bulbifer, a plant with tuberous rhizome from which the great upright inflorescence is born.

Cultivated species of Amorphophallus:

A. bullnfer, with green, red or pink inflorescence, carried by a stem about 30 cm high; A. rivieri (Hydrosme rivieri, proteinophallus rivieri), with 25 cm wide tuber, inflorescence with reddish spadix and green and purple spotted macula; also the stem, which reaches the meter height, is mottled. The leaves, which appear after flowering, are each carried by a long, marbled, root-shaped petiole and fanned out; he is originally from the Cocincina; A. titanum, of Sumatra, is one of the largest Araceae, with long petioles up to 5 m and the main lobes of the 3 m wide leaves; it is not cultivated.

Cultivation:

the A. need a minimum temperature of 10-13 ° C and a compound made of equal parts of fibrous earth, the earth of leaves, peat, manure, and sand; drainage must be excellent. Half-shade, frequent waterings in summer, moderate in the intermediate seasons and absolutely suspended from November to February to allow the period of rest. The multiplication happens for bulbs that are formed around the main tuber, detached and invaded in late winter. It can also be sown in spring at a temperature of 24 ° C.


Read also: Amorpha (Leguminosae)

13 Apr 2018

Alocasia (Araceae)

The name probably derives from a corruption of Colocasia, another genus of very similar plants belonging to the same family. Evergreen perennials, mostly warm greenhouses, grown for their ornamental foliage of different shape and colors. They are all from tropical Asia and therefore require high temperatures, but Alocasia odora, one of the largest species, native to Formosa and the Philippines, can very well be grown in an almost cold greenhouse; in the milder climates of Italy, it can be grown outdoors in a shaded place. These are poisonous plants.

Alocasia (Araceae)
Alocasia (Araceae)

Cultivated species of Alocasia:

Alocasia argyraea, hybrid of Alocasia longiloba pucciana, with long sagittato-peltate leaves, internally covered with silvery reflections on the dark-green background; A. cuprea, native of Borneo, has leaves peltate, green-shiny copper with deeply depressed veins that make them wrinkled, lower-purple-dark page; A. indica can grow up to m 2, with leaves of about 50 cm and long petioles, forming a short and erect stem; has olive-green sagittate leaves; var. metallic original from Malaysia, with metallic reflections on the upper page of the leaves, the dark purple lower page; A. korthalsii, coming from Borneo, has green-olive sagittate leaves with the main veins strongly marked in white-silver; A. macrorhiza, elephant ears, native to Malaysia and Ceylon, becomes almost arborescent; it has a thick and robust trunk that grows up to 4.50 m, large sagittated leaves, green and fleshy with a central vein detected; the aforementioned A. odora is very similar, but of course none of the two, grown in pots, reaches similar proportions, although they may become remarkably large; A. sanderiana, from the Philippines, has silvery-green, sagittated leaves with white veins and deeply lobed margins surrounded by a white line.

Cultivation:

the Alocasia need high temperatures and constant humidity, the watering can be frequent in summer, more space in winter, however a high and efficient drainage of the pot is essential, possibly also with sweet wood coal, because they have big and fleshy roots that rot very easily. For the same reason, the mixture must be very porous, with a ground of leaves that is not ripe, peat, chestnut bark and bits of coal. A sphagnum pad on the pot can be of great help as long as it is kept slightly moist. Sometimes, in the winter, the aerial part can die from external causes, such as lack of atmospheric humidity or mite attack, but if the strain is not rotted and the plant is well established with rhizomes or already formed underground tubers, it will sprout again in spring.


Also read: Garden project with connected circles for a modern apartment

19 Mar 2018

Aglaonema (Araceae)

The name  of the Aglaonema derives from the Greek aglaós «lucente» and néma «filo», probably with reference to the shining stamens of the flowers. It is a genus of evergreen plants for greenhouse and flat, grown for the often variegated ornamental foliage; the inflorescences are insignificant.

The classic white veined leaf of the Aglaonema costatum.
The classic white veined leaf of the Aglaonema costatum.

Cultivated species of the Aglaonema:

Aglaonema costatum, a low plant with greenish leaves, white-spotted and with a central white vein, of slow growth; A. modestum, with completely green leaves and often bushy bearing with stems more than one meter tall; it tolerates the reduced light well and for a certain time it can grow even in water; Aglaonema oblongifolium curtisii, an elegant plant with acuminate and erect leaves, variegated in light gray along the lateral veins, more delicate than the other species; Aglaonema pseudobracteatum, hybrid of uncertain origin, very decorative, with yellow leaves variegated in light green, green-gray and cream-white.

Cultivation:

require rich and light soil, composed of fibrous earth, earth of leaves and sand, shaded position, but sufficiently bright to maintain the mottling, abundant waterings in summer with regular liquid fertilizations, but thinned out during the winter. The leaves must be cleaned and sprayed frequently; the minimum winter temperature can go down to 13 ° C and even less for the A. modestum. Multiplication is normally carried out by cutting cuttings or cuttings of pieces of stem placed to store seeds in wet sand, which will root and ‘sprout at each node.