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pbruggeman at pbruggeman at
Sun Jan 15 13:37:40 CET 2006

hardy  Aroids)" <ARISAEMA-L at NIC.SURFNET.NL>
From: "pbruggeman at" <pbruggeman at TISCALI.NL>
Subject: Re: Emailing: dormancy
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Dear Giorgio,

As  much as I sympathise with your intentions, there are a number of
factors that prohibit research you hope to achieve. At least in the
Netherlands horticultural research is mainly aimed at commercially
interesting products. Arisaema are no such product as the appeal to the
general public is limited and probably will remain so. Very few
universities nowadays are interested in investing money in research
that is not likely to repay itself back in the future and privately
financing such research by a relatively small group like the AEG is
perhaps a bit too ambitious. Only big botanical institues like Kew
still have the resources to allow people to do fundamental research and
even for Kew that is hard as the cost somehow has to come back. I don't
know if any of you have visited Kew recently but it is slowly turning
into a horticultural Disneyland with that toy train and flowerbeds. I
have spoken to several researchers and they were all complaining the
research collections and the research itself is in decline due to lack
of money (and a strict policy for plants coming into the collections
but that is a another story). In the graden itself you will find much
more commercial hybrids and cultivars (with bigger appeal to the
general public) than a couple of years ago just to get the visitors
coming and generate income.

Also, we probably will not learn much about the factors that are of
influence for breaking dormancy from garden grown plants as these
factors can only be researched under a controlled environment and you
must remember that probably 80 % of the people from the AEG do not grow
Arisaema in pots. And frankly, with my own collection of 130+ species
grown in pots, I think they are right.......:-) because it is very
labour intensive and sometimes I wonder if another group of plants
would not be a better subject for my own private research..grumpf..

Relating dormancy to natural climate conditions requires good field
observations and besides Guy and Liliane Gusman, Alan Galloway, David
Scherberich, Anne Chambers and myself only a limited group of people
are actually going into the field to look for Arisaema. Even then,
knowing the natural habitat does not mean these observations are always
useful as many species behave differently in cultivation and sometimes
it is even impossible to mimic these conditions because of the extreme
habitat or climate (how many have been able to keep true ostiolatum
alive for several years?).

By far the best chances we have with the more difficult species is to
grow them from seeds (hand-pollinated to ensure they produce the true
species). Young plants always adept better to local conditions than old
ones do. A lot of the losses of Chen Yi material is due to the fact
that these big fat tubers are in fact mature tubers taken from the wild
that not alwyas make the transition to cultivation as they are
accustomed to different conditions. If they don't rot they can grow
from the reserves they had in them but if the conditions are
unfavourable during the next season (and that can be due to a LOT of
factors) they can't make a good new tuber, sulk, become prone to
diseases (many they have no defence aginst because these diseases do
not occur in their natural habitat) and die.

As interesting as the Chen Yi stuff seems, the tubers usually end up
as "experiments" and despite the fact that they seem relatively cheap,
the ultimate cost of these losses is paid by nature. There is one
golden rule in gardening: only grow the species you can grow for your
specific growing conditions, it is easier to adept the growing
conditions to the plant than the plant to the growing conditions.....


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