Pulang ---> Rencana-Rencana
---> On the discovery of the natural hybrid Thaumatophyllum Marijke (spruceanum x solimoesense)
On the discovery of the natural hybrid Thaumatophyllum Marijke (spruceanum x solimoesense)
Last Edit: 2018/8/9
This article was originally printed in The IAS Newsletter, Vol 38 No. 4, from December 2016. It is posted with permission from Joep Moonen, who contributed the images as well. I have kept the original binomial nomenclature of "Philodendron x"
Fruits, without seeds on a
fully grown Philodendron "Marijke" plant.
In 1995, during an impact study, a
boat had to bring me to the other side
of the Cavalet River in eastern
French Guiana, close to the border
with the State of Amapa, Brazil.
Waiting for the boat, looking at the
trees, I saw a large Philodendron in one
of the neaby tree trunks. It was a big
Meconostigma, but the leaf form was
neither Philodendron goeldii nor P.
solimoesense. Was it another species,
The plant was too high to collect,
besides if we did, how could we
transport such a big specimen? I took
a few slides, but they did not turn out too well since it was rainy weather. After I was
involved with other new aroids and bromeliads since on this mission, I found another
Philodendron that turned out to be undescribed, until Dr. Thomas Croat described it as P.
moonenii. I practically forgot about the
strange-leafed Meconostigma near Creek
Cavalet and when I returned to Cr. Cavalet
two years later, a bridge was build on that
spot and the tree with the Meco was gone.
Thaumatophyllum spruceanum and Thaumatophyllum solimoesense
Joep Moonen, Piet Bongers collecting Thaumatophyllum spruceanum, Kaw Mountains, French Guiana; and Bernie Moonen with Thaumatophyllum solimoesense, Emerald Jungle Village, French Guiana
A surprise in Holland
In 1997 I sent a couple of hundred seeds
of home-grown Philodendron goeldii to my
friend Peter Bak from BAK Bromeliads in
the Netherlands. After some months when
the seedlings changed leaf form, Peter
wrote me that what I sent were not P.
goeldii. I checked my outcome from the
same fruits, and indeed, the leaves
appeared strange, more solid than palmate.
Strange, since I was sure, I collected the fruits
from a big Philodendron goeldii plant at our
porch. Philodendron solimoesense grew there, too,
but they have orange, almost red and smaller
fruits. The fruits of P. goeldii are yellow and
you cannot confuse them with fruits of P.
Marijke Moonen and our
Beauceron dogs posing for the first fully
grown Philodendron 'Marijke', Emerald Jungle Village, French Guiana
Since we live in the natural enviroment of
both species, Cyclocephala beetles visit the
flowers and obviously pollinated my
Philodendron goeldii flower with P. solimoesense
The beetles made a nice hybrid for me. I had planted 100 seeds and 85 made it to bigger pot plants. I called it
Philodendron Marijke in honor of my dear girlfriend, life time partner and wife, Marijke.
I sold the P. Marijke plants little by little, or traded them for other plants. I kept five plants at our property that grew out
to enormous plants, with many branches, flowers and fruits. But fruits from them were without seeds: it is clearly a hybrid.
Now I understood also that what I saw in 1995 at Creek Cavalet: in that tree was a Philodendon Marijke, at that time an
unknown Meconostigma form.
Some years later, a sympathic botanic explorer, Dr Andre Cardoso of the Emilio
Goeldi Museum in Belem, State of Para (Brazil), found the same hybrid during field
work in Para. He was so kind to send me pictures, and obviously it is the same
hybrid. The same parent species, Philodendron goeldii and P. solimoesense grow in Para
too, as well as in many other Amazonian States.
And another surprise!
Dwarf plant of nearly 20
years old of Philodendron 'Marijke'.
I have plants only as a hobby. Our lodge and excursions sometimes make us really
busy. Even if there are no guests, we are busy with the maintenance of the
buildings, garden, the forest trail, the boats, canoes, their trailers, communications
etc. Sometimes I simply do not have time to look at my plants. But they grow, they
don`t need me, since the Amazonian environment here is their natural habitat!
My 85 Philodendron 'Marijke's grew and sold well. Then I noticed that a few
specimens were behind in growing. After years they turned out to have a growth
defect and they remained dwarfs. Now, after almost 20 years I have one left. I call it
Philodendron Bonsai, not correct, since it was not dwarfed by trimming, more
likely it remained small due to a genetic defect.
The difference in size between the normal Marijkes and the
Bonsai is enormous:
Normal Marijke stems are 200 300 cm long (80 - 120),
Bonsai stems are 20 cm long (8).
Normal Marijke leaves are ca 90 cm long (ca 36), Bonsai
leaves are ca 20 cm long (ca 8).
So far, I have never noticed aroid dwarfs in the wild., although
I have noticed dwarf plants blooming in a bromeliad: Aechmea
mertensii. This species is extremely variable in size. Another
phenomenon to look for on my next fieldtrip