Guang Hua Zhu zhu at MOBOT.MOBOT.ORG
Mon Dec 20 20:08:14 CST 1993

     My name is Guanghua Zhu.  I am a graduate student at the
Missouri Botanical Garden and the University of Missouri-St.
Louis and am revising Dracontium under the direction of Dr.
Thomas B. Croat from the garden.  This is the third year of my
study on these interesting plants.  Dracontium contains about 20
species, which are exclusively from tropical America.  Currently,
we are maintaining a fairly large living collection of the genus
in the MBG greenhouse along with Dr. Croat's other Aroid

     As many of you may know, fieldwork is essential to study the
systematics and phylogeny of this poorly known genus since
herbarium material is extremely inadequate.  Field observations
and the use of living collections are also essential to this
study because of the difficulty of matching fertile and sterile
material in those species, such as D. soconuscum, in which
flowering and leafing stages alternate.  I have been receiving
tremendous help from many herbaria, botanical gardens, and
individuals from all over the world in terms of getting herbarium
material and living plants.  I have also received funds from the
National Science Foundation and the International Center for
Tropical Ecology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis to carry
out some fieldwork in Central and South America and to do a DNA
study in Dr. Soltis's lab at Washington State University.
Still, more observations of both wild and cultivated plants are
desirable to obtain a better understanding of these plants and I
am asking for your help in this area.  I am especially interested
in pollination and scent behavior of these plants.  Please tell
me anything you know about Dracontium.  I would appreciate photos
and any other kind of information you may have about these

     An effort has been given to propagating some of the species
in the greenhouse as gifts and exchange material to Dracontium
growers.  A list of Dracontium in cultivation at the MBG will be
available soon.  Some of the species, such as Dracontium gigas,
D. pittieri, produce among the largest inflorescences of the
flowering plants.  If you are interested in having some of these
plants, please contact me, Petra Malesevich (malesevi at mobot.org),
or Kathy Upton (upton at mobot.org).  We will send you more
information as soon as it is available.

     Following is a list of published species of Dracontium.
Please let me know if you have any of these species in
cultivation, especially the ones marked with a star, which
indicates a living plant is desperately needed.  Thank you.

1  D. aricuaisanum Bunt.  (Venezuela)*
2  D. asperum K. Koch  (Brazil, Venezuela, Suriname)*
3  D. carderi Hook. f.  (Colombia)
4  D. changuango Bunting (Venezuela)*
5  D. costaricense Engl. (Costa Rica, Panama)
6  D. dubium Kunth.  (Guyana)
7  D. foecundum Hook. f. (Trinidad, Guyana, Surinam)
8  D. gigas (Seem.) Engl.  (Nicaragua, Costa Rica)
9  D. longipes Engl.  (Brazil, Peru?)
10 D. loretense K. Krause  (Amazonian Brazil, Ecuador, Peru)
11 D. margaretae Bogner  (Bolivia, Brazil?, Venezuela)*
12 D. ornatum K. Krause  (Ecuador)*
13 D. pittieri Engl. (Costa Rica)
14 D. polyphyllum L. (Brazil, Guyana, Surinam, Venezuela)
15 D. purdieanum (Schott) Hook. f.  (N.E. Colombia)
16 D. regelianum (Engl.) Bogner (Venezuela)
17 D. soconuscum Matuda  (Mexico-Panama)
18 D. trianae Engl.  (Colombia)*
19 D. ulei K. Krause  (Bolivia, Brazil)*

Thank you for any assistance you can provide,

Guanghua Zhu
Missouri Botanical Garden
P.O. Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166-0299
Phone: (314) 577-5177  Fax: (314) 577-9596
E-mail: zhu at mobot.org

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