Remusatia vivipara (Lodd.) Schott
This page contains a number of rather large images of R.vivipara, notes on growing R.vivipara from bulbis, and an article about R.vivipara from rom Aroideana, Vol,6, No.1, reproduced with permission from IAS (the article has been scanned by Phil Mueller). Another page has some photos of the tubers, even pinkier than Arisaema candidissimum.
|Single leaf of a two-year old plant is about 2 feet long.|
|Closeup of the runners on which bulbils will eventually appear.|
|Another view of multiple runners on the same plant. Each white spot will develop into a ~3mm hairy bulbil, which then will invariably sprout in some unexpected place.|
|Yet another closeup of the bulbil-bearing runners.|
And another set of runners, this time with the bulbils on them.
This photograph is also available in larger size (21.5 kB).
Plant in about 1/4 inch deep in moist peat moss (I used Jiffy pellets for my first batch). Dab a little fungicide on them just to be safe, keep moist and warm (70F or so). Within a few weeks you should see the leaves, and then start fertilizing, transplant to larger pots, etc. The soil should be moisture-retentive, fertile, slightly on the acidic side. In winter, they may go dormant in cool climates.
Within a year, the seedlings should produce leaves about 6-8 inches long, and perhaps a few stolons, within 2-3 years, they should get to 2-footer leaves and lots of stolons with zillions of bulbils.
Remusatia vivipara was hardy for me in North Carolina, in a warmer part of zone 7b, through a mild winter. The dormant tubers typically wake up some time in May, unless you are in California, in which case they wake up in mid-March.
Note: if anybody else out there thinks he/she is growing Colocasia affinnis v. jenningsii from 'seeds' acquired from Chiltern, you're most likely growing Remusatias, too. The little red hairy 'seeds' are actually bulbils (the red color coming from some fungicide).
In 1978 1 received a plant that was labeled Gonatanthus. Believing this to be an error, I wrote to my friend, Dr. Richard H. Eyde, Curator, Dept. of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute. Dr. Eyde obtained some of the following information from Dr. Dan Nicolson.
Differentiating Gonatanthus and Remusatia with inflorescences is a snap. In Gonatanthus the ovules are basal and the spathe is erect, whitish and 5-6 inches long. In Remusatia the ovules are parietal and the spathe is deflexed, yellowand only 3 inches long, Also Remusatia flowers before or with the new leaves and Gonatanthus flowers after the leaves are well developed.
Unfortunately neither flowers very often, especially in cultivation, and both commonly reproduce by scaly bulbils borne on a special stem (roots?). The illustration of Remusatia vivipara in Exotica (P.1504) is an example of this special vegetative state. Unfortunately none has really worked out how these genera can be identified in the bulbiliferous condition.
Glancing through specimens here in the U.S. National Herbarium, I would say that Remusatia vivipara has rather larger and thicker leaves than Gonatanthus; I'd call their texture cabbage-like while I'd call the leaves of Gonatanthus membranous.
The scales of the bulbils seem to be much longer in Gonatanthus than in Remusatia where they are shorter (like 1/2 inch and only slightly curved).
I am now confident that the plant I obtained in 1978 is R. vivipara. The inflorescence pictured was raised from a bulbil of this 1978 specimen and is the first to flower. Graf places the habitat of R. vivipara in the Himalayas and India. However, A Dictionary of the Flowering Plants and Fems by J. C.Willis gives it a wider distribution and a further description. "Remusatia Schott. Araceae. Africa, Himalyas to Formosa. R. vivipara (Lodd.) Schott, has a tuber from which arises leaves and simple upright stems bearing scale- leaves in the axils of which are bulbils covered with hooked cataphylls, which serve to disperse them when mature. R. vivipara rarely produces inflorescences in the wild state."
The plant pictured went dormant after a very brief temperature drop into the 40's and was placed in a dry section of the shadehouse. Bulbils were removed from the stems in November and the first inflorescence appeared in December, the second inflorescence in March. Potting media similar to the 'Selby Mix' was used.
All photos Copyright © 1995-1997 Krzysztof Kozminski
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