Monday, October 27, 2008

My Heteroblastic Hobby

I started a plant journal (on paper) in the last month.  I decided to start keeping track of my plants as they grow, as well as document any new plants I get.  I have spent most of my journaling time not talking specifically about my plants, but about plant knowledge I have gained recently.  When Russ sent me a box stuffed full of Aroids, I did a lot of image searching of the different plants he had sent me.  A number of these plants have 2 distinct leaf habits, which is common among many Aroids, especially Philodendrons.  Leaves in the first stage - the immature or juvenile stage - are usually smaller and more simple looking.  Although sometimes the juvenile leaves are more colorful.  When the plant matures leaves can become much larger and often develop splits or holes.  This maturation process is usually instigated by the plant beginning to climb high up the trunk of a tree.  The splits and holes in the leaves enable the large leaves of the plant to be more resistant to wind.  The Epipremnum pinnatum v. 'Cebu Blue' that I received from Russ has small, lance-like, pale blue leaves.  As the Cebu Blue matures, the leaves can grow to several feet and have large splits in them.  If you are not familiar with this characteristic of many Aroids, you would find yourself trying to convince me that these could not be the same plant.  But they are!

Many plants displaying the 'immature' habits are called 'shinglers.'  I found an International Aroid Society article about these.  The immature flat, round leaves lay up close to the climbing surface, sometimes overlapping and looking like shingles.  One of the best examples of a shingler is a Scindapsus pictus.

I just learned today that the characteristic of multiple distinct leaf habits is called heteoroblastic development.  I think the word is a fitting analogy for my hobby with plants.  My hobby has recently gone through a transformation that makes my old hobby look like a different species of hobbies.  But it's the same me and the same love of plants that's underlying this hobby.

Here's some other miscellaneous knowledge that I recently gained.  Several times in picture captions I have seen a Genus name and then the word 'NOID.'  'NOID' means 'No Identification' or 'Not identified.'  From what I can tell, this can mean that the person does know what species the plant is, or it has literally not been classified yet.

Also, I've known that v. stands for 'variety' but I had never even seen 'f.' before until Russ was identifying one of my Aglaonemas as A. commutatum v. maculatum f. maculatum.  Apparently f. means 'forma.'

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