Amalophyllon sp. RM2006
 

Photo by Ron Myhr
Growing in nature in Blue Hole National Park, Belize

In the spring of 2006 I went in search of a previously reported but uncollected Phinaea species, and was able to locate the originally-described species in Blue Hole National Park, Belize.  Subsequent discussion with experts at the Smithsonian Institution led to an understanding that a number of the Phinaea species were likely to be transferred to Amalophyllon, and that this collection should almost certainly be considered to be a member of that genus, probably A. parviflorum.  However, formal publication has not yet happened, and this species may still be known and reported as Phinaea parviflora.  For the time being, the collection should be referred to as Amalophyllon sp. RM2006, the name under which it was described in the Q4 2006 edition of Gesneriads.

The plants were found in a number of places in the general vicinity of St. Hermann's cave, which is within Blue Hole National Park, but some distance from the deep pond known as the Blue Hole.  Plants were found at the immediate cave mouth, as well as along forest trails.  All were found growing in thin layers of moss and humus on limestone rock, often on vertical surfaces.  Other plants in the vicinity included begonias. 

None of the plants were in bloom, although several seed pods were collected, along with some rhizomes and a few cuttings.  None of the cuttings survived propagation, but rhizomes and seeds sprouted readily and the plant is in wide distribution.

Of particular interest is the degree of variation in leaf color and patterns, as is evident from the photos above.  Some individual plants were a plain clear green, others had shading varying from deep bronze to much lighter shades.  All forms were collected, and all have been distributed.

In cultivation the plants grow vigorously and are easy to bloom, apparently tolerant of quite a wide range of conditions.  Some growers report that the flowers have a distinctive citrus scent, although not all are able to catch the fragrance.

A good illustration of the variety of foliage colors/patterns can be seen here, and of the flowers here.

 

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