Monstera deliciosa, Araceae
You really wouldn’t tell there’s snow outside looking at how unperturbed this Monstera deliciosa, often misleadingly sold with the common name ‘split-leaf philodendron’, is going about flowering and fruiting under the glass panels of the Winter Gardens. Native to the tropical forests of Mexico and Central America, it is a loved and well known plant often grown indoors in temperate climates. Its fenestrated (=full of holes), uniquely shaped, massive leaves and the evident stages of reproduction are proof this plant already reached maturity well under 10 metres long (or tall, but it’s a vine), while it can grow three times more when climbing a tree to get closer to the canopy. The Monstera at Glasgow Botanic Gardens is high up close to the glass ceiling probably 20 metres above me, so I’ve never managed to take a good photo. It would have been impossible to observe the edible fruit develop, different fruits at different stages actually. The dry, brown sheet which encloses the green fruit in the top and middle photos is what is left of the spathe, the conspicuous bract of Araceae flowers, and is eventually shed as you can see in the bottom photo.
Now I know the fruits are there I will make sure to go back in time to see them ripening, and maybe get a chance to smell what is supposed to be a pungent fruity scent as unique as this plant is. Its specific epithet “deliciosa” means delicious in reference to the fruit, so I hope the smell is just as nice.
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I’m taking a 6-week Biology in Clay class and made a self-portrait last night.
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Monstera ribcage 💀
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Arum concinnatum by Biodiversity Heritage Library
Icones Aroidearum,. Vindobonae,1857.. biodiversitylibrary.org/page/50662021
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Alsocasia are all Trendy right now in planstigram world and like.... yeah ok I get it, I get it
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I’m doing a skunk cabbage phenology study and look at this, two spathes emerging already!
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Variegated monstera is here! :D
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This Philodendron Birkin has been on my wishlist for a while and i was finally able to track one down!
The Philodendron Birkin is thought to be variegated mutations taken from Philodendron “Rojo Congo” tissue culture and can therefore sometimes revert back to a red-ish coloured leaf, though this doesn’t happen often as far as I’m aware. It can also become more variegated with time, which is what I’m thinking may be happening with mine judging by the colour of my new growth. I will post updates in a couple months!
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Arisaema triphyllum is a strange-looking plant that’s actually not that unusual for its family, Araceae. The English common name is Jack-in-the-pulpit. “Jack” is the spadix, which is essentially a spike with teeny tiny flowers, and the “pulpit” is the spathe, which is usually brown or purplish striped. Although the oxalic acid produced by the plant is poisonous to humans, there are ways to cook the corm so it’s edible. We wouldn’t advise trying this, however! Apparently even appropriately cooked, it has an unpleasant taste. It’s also been used as a weapon by some Indigenous groups, notably the Meskwaki (Fox) people, who very likely at some point collected it in Iowa, where this plant was found.
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Cabbage Quest 2018 pt 1: Diversity of color and pattern found within a skunk cabbage population. These are all from a fragment of swamp forest behind the parking lot at Temple Ambler.
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Monstera with friend.
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Ongoing Epipremnum aureum project
Back in July 2016 I went to an Italian restaurant here in Glasgow and noticed a HUGE golden photos in a corner. It was one of the largest ones I had ever seen growing in a pot and trained over a fibre-wrapped stake, probably three times bigger than the one my mum had years ago. I really wanted to propagate that beautiful plant, so I spoke to a waiter playing the “oh, ya know, I’m Italian too!” card and they let me take a two-nodes-long cutting. I popped it in a glass of water and then potted it up as soon as it grew good roots and a couple more leaves, which didn’t take long, especially since it was summer.
Fast-forward eighteen months later, I now had a 150 cm/5 ft vine trailing around my kitchen. In October 2016 I also added a few Tradescantia cuttings to the same pot and they got even longer, so I wonder if the golden photos could have grown more without a competitor. Anyway, I had decided I wanted to train it vertically too so I bought a coconut coir wrapped stake online (which incidentally arrived from Italy without my knowledge) and chopped up my plant into ten further cuttings. As soon as they will have rooted I will pot them up securing them to the stake. If all goes well -and it should, golden photos is fast growing and extremely resilient- in about a year and a half I will have a large and beautiful houseplant, and it all started with a small snippet.
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Arum nigrum by Biodiversity Heritage Library
Icones Aroidearum,. Vindobonae,1857.. biodiversitylibrary.org/page/50662017
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It’s skunk cabbage season!
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Potted up my Monstera Deliciosa the other day. She was so root bound it looked like a pot of udon noodles, no soil in sight.
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Eastern Skunk Cabbage,
This species is best known through it’s north-eastern temperate range as the primary species first to bloom along the first vernal dam periods of spring. This is usually a period in mid February that marks the first thaw of the organic horizon where the nutrient cycles of ambient nitrogen rich molecules are progressively heaved upward and permeated into hydrostatic and hydrodynamic soil paths where they can be more readily accessed by ecological interactions.
I say this species is the primary species we see blooming this early only for the reason of including vernal witchhazel into this group; but, if we delineate what I am referring to as only forbes then we can say this about skunk cabbage.
The evolutionary factors that have lead to this species success in our region rely mainly on how it blooms when no other flowers can. From these images you may be able to tell that inflorescence of skunk cabbage is quite complex, It is considered a bractoid composite inflorescence. When we talk about bracts we are talking about petiole true leaves that are not usually as highly modified as a flower petal and sepal systems can be, In this case of the aroid groups we can argue that this is just as heavily modified in this respect.
The spathe(bractoid dome), is the tough colorful section of this species compound inflorescence and has been highly modified in theory throughout however long this species has been functionally separating it’s self from its previous common ancestors. It has many important features that give it an evolutionary presence that is so complex it needs to be broken down step by step.
The pigmentation of this species can be varied but usually maintains some form of high levels of betacyanin in betalin/ betanidin formation. Radiospectral analysis and chemical analysis has provided plenty of evidence of this through either chemical feeds or analysis of absorption features. (((Betacyanins and betaxanthins exhibit absorption peaks at the range points of 532–550 nm and 457–485 nm, if you wanted to compare to other phyto-active pigmentation absorption's (Khan, 2016). The key evolutionary apparatus at play here is UV shock mitigation while still having some form of photopotential, it is also a similar red that we visually, not spectral necessarily, to open flesh. In this right it’s goal is to act with a certain level of mimicry, mimesis (mimicry of inanimant), specifically ovipository mimicry and carrion mimicry combine. The yellow modelling found along with the spathe can have the effect of light channels as the plant systematically develops cells with certain range of pigmentation's, weather or not there is a specific rate of this patterning seems to be to variable to see patterns and the chemical pathways provoking the lack of pigmented cells in this species are not well researched to the extant of transparency(no pun intended). The fitness of an individual seems to be centered around: size of this spathe, level of invagination( to form both a heat dome and a proper floral trap), and the ability to protect the true inflorescence known as the spadix from the surprise frosts that early spring can bring. A thick cuticle, and the production of a small epicuticular wax crystals are noticeable when looking at the outside of this spathe. The insulation mechanisms that are present aid in thermoregulation for this species more than any other arroid( memeber of Araceae).
The Spadix of this plant is the most delicate and evolutionarily astounding macro-organ for this specific species. As I mentioned earlier this is a delicate organ and can’t take frost damage. it is elevated from the base of the spathe on an inflorescencephore (stalk which the inflorescence rests on). The spadix, it’s self, is responsible for not thermoregulation in it’s entirety; but, its responsible for thermogenesis or the endothermic(production of heat) from it’s cell to cell metabolic pathways. This is done following basic physics based chemical principles as a governing basis.
“NADPH production, catalyzed by mitochondrial isocitrate dehydrogenase in a chemically endothermic reaction, plays a role in the pre-equilibrium reaction....That a law of chemical equilibrium known as Le Châtelier’s principle governs the homeothermic control in skunk cabbage.” via ((The biochemical basis for thermoregulation in heat-producing flowers)( Umekawa et. al.)).
Homeothermy( rather thermogenesis based) as a presence in thermoregulation complexities in this species is not the only interesting mechanism at play here for improved intricate fitness. As a carrion flower, fetid lads for the flies, getting your scent out there for all your beetle and fly friends is a necessary thing. The osmophore cycling and streaming out of osmophore glands is a regulatory thing and the metabolic actions in producing other trace and lead volatile attractants is acquirable more through better temperatures. Heat ducting these volatilized substances allow for a build up in the spathe and a slow but thick rapidly dispersing(by heat) odor trail. The heat that is produced from this metabolic action is in generational fluctuation usually. 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (hot enough to melt snow) during different sexual orientations, male stamenoide flowers vs female parts of the spadix life cycle. Male flowers are first to appear and then female flowers are next as a way to prevent self pollination and provide a means for crossing to be maintained. Theories have even been produced about the mechanisms to heat and even temperature fluctuations being and advantageous adaptation to the ideal micro-physiological functions necessary for the promotion of fast pollen tube development; weather or not these will be applied and tested on this species to a critical level remains to be seen. Via -(Ervik F, Barfod A (1999) Thermogenesis in palm inflorescences and its ecolgocial significance.)
This individual was in it’s male flowering stage of anthesis.
Hope you liked this post, this is one of my favorite spring species and its beauty and complexity should be enjoyed by everyone imo.
Photographed Feb 2nd, 2020, Richardson Forest Preserve, Richardson Fen, Cincinnati, Ohio. by John Potter.
@locallysourcedtrauma and I are trying to see if we can figure out how to make an educational youtube channel and we will be using this species to see if we can figure out a pilot. so far the footage is rough and we may need to get better camera gear.
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Leaf appreciation hour
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SKUNK CABBAGE SEASON
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