split-leaf philodendron question

kwie2011(8a/8b W. OR)July 21, 2014

Would someone explain to me whether there is a species of true pbilodendron called the split-leaf philodendron, or if ONLY Monstera deliciosa goes by that misnomer.

I saw a lovely little plant for sale in a grocery store yesterday labeled "split-leaf philodendron." It had oval-ish mostly solid leaves that were beginning to form splits on some. The leaves weren't more than 4" long. It LOOKED very philodendrony, and I'd love to have it, but I have a creeping feeling that this is M. deliciosa that's being fed a growth regulator, and when that is all used up, the monster will emerge and eat my living room.

I find too much contradictory information on the web. I need insight from a real person.

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Photo Synthesis

It could still be in its juvenile form. I bought myself a juvenile one several months ago for $7. It was so root bound that I had to repot it into a pot two sizes larger than the one it came in. Since then, it has begun to grow like a weed, sending out leaves that have more than doubled in size to 10" across.

As far as I know, the "split-leaf philo" name refers to Monstera deliciosa. This photo I took just before the larger 10" leaves opened up.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 8:59PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Common names are not a definitive ID. Many plants can share a same common name, and single plants can have multiple common names. Found a site calling P. bipinnatifidum split leaf here. Didn't look for more, there may be.

I think you're absolutely right, the tag means nothing.

FWIW, a big Monstera can be expensive, so if one were to get larger than the space you have for it, someone would probably give you a nice chunk of change to take it off your hands. But, you probably are concerned about forming a strong attachment to it by then, as I would be too, and not everyone is interested in interacting with the public to sell something like that.

Are you able to take its' pic to show here?

Tommy, LOVE your plant!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 2:14PM
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The mature leaves of many vining plants are frequently VERY different. (Useful to remember when identifying Poison Ivy btw.) Ever seen a mature Golden Pathos from the tropics up close and personal?! The slits on Monstera develop as the plant matures. Yes, you will need space, and some support. When happy, this vine grows...'quite luxuriantly' to put it mildly!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 2:44PM
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Photo Synthesis

Thanks, Purp! I love this plant, too! It's easily becoming one of my favorites. (Tho, I say that about most of my plants, lol. I wouldn't grow it if I didn't already love it.) Since I've taken this photo, at least three or four more leaves have sprang up. All of which are double the size of the biggest leaves in that photo. I knew how expensive these plants can get when they're older, plus I kinda wanted to see one grow from its juvenile form. Not to mention how it was just only $7. At first, I was concerned about it getting too much light, with the direct sunlight beaming down on it in the late afternoon. But this plant seems to be thriving in it. :)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 3:16PM
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kwie2011(8a/8b W. OR)

The grocery store plant certainly looks much like your photo, Tommy, minus the larger, fully split leaves. Price is about the same too.

I have only my mobile for Internet, and I haven't been able to upload any photos recently. Dunno why it won't take them. It worked a few months ago.

Good advice, Purple, and you're correct that I would get attached to it. I tell myself they are only plants, but alas...

I think I'd cut it back continually and give starts to everyone I know until I eventually gave up and gave the whole monster away, keeping just a few cuttings for myself to start the whole process over again. It's what happens with most of the plants that outgrow my living quarters.

P. bipinnatifidum would be even worse in my small livingroom! Talk about a MONSTER! LOL Yikes!

Am I the only one who finds it curious that the Latin name of "bipinnatifidum" seems to be applied to a singularly pinnate species? Maybe the mature leaves divide again - don't think it's a climber, though.

Thanks for tip, Nj. That is an interesting factoid.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 4:38PM
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P. bipinnatifidum is bipinnate, you can see it on this large one. They will go up high if there's support, but otherwise they tend to sprawl. So more of a sprawler than a climber.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:10PM
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Monstera deliciosa is a definite climber, "the sky's the limit!"

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:12PM
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Mature Epipremnum aureum (Golden Pothos) leaves. This bit of the vine fell from the tree tops, about 25 metres up. The chair is there for perspective/scale.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:18PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

I've seen Monstera deliciosa, Philodendron bipinnatifidum, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma sold as split-leaf philodendron. Many vine type aroids will develop splits in their leaves. Even Epipremnum aureum will if it gets big enough.

All of those have the potential to get huge. If you want the leaves to develop you need to let them grow a bit before chopping it up. Philodendron bipinnatifidum will often grow divided leaves without getting too big but it is the nature of that plant to get large.

ToMMyBoY69, To me your plant looks like a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma.

Monstera deliciosa have slightly thicker, slightly textured geniculum on the distal end of the petioles, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma do not.

R. tetrasperma petioles are much more slender and longer in relation to the leaves than M. Deliciosa.

M. Del's have a fatter Stem (vine) and the petioles are larger where they attach to it.

Also, at least in my plants, The Rhaph's petioles are "D" shaped in cross section with a shallow groove running it's length and the Monstera's have a somewhat flattened oval cross section.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:34PM
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kwie2011(8a/8b W. OR)

Holy s@#$%, Tropic! I'm so glad you posted the crazy @#$% pothos photos. I keep reading that epipremnum aurium only reaches something like 10 feet. Ha! I saw a single stem of golden pothos growing horizontally, nailed to the interior wall, all the way around the roughly 200 feet of the ferry terminal in Haines, AK (if I recall the right city). It's leaves were nothing like that big, but after all I kept reading about pothos being so small, I was starting to doubt my memory. Wow. That is an impressive plant. Now I feel like mine are mistreated.

Thanks for the P. bipinnatifidum photos too, but with only my little mobile screen for Internet, I'll have to take your word (and that of she/he who named it) for the fitting nomenclature.

Those are really amazing photos. Thank you. Are the photos from Hawaii, or maybe south Florida? Puerto Rico? Guam, Virgin Islands? I take it those are probably escaped cultivars.

Dellis, thanks for that info. If the plant is still in the shop when I'm next there, I'll find some way to link a photo. Maybe you can ID it for me. I'm going to buy that plant. There'll be no talking myself out of it now.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 12:09AM
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dellis326 (Danny)

Tropic always shows the coolest plants! It almost, not quite, but almost would make it worth living in a hot climate.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 12:32AM
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Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is usually called "Little Monster" here and sold as a dwarf Monstera. You never see its correct name, I don't think Rhaphidophora rolls off the tongue as easily as Monstera. But having had a close look at mine I think Tommy's plant is a Monstera. I have 2 Rhaphidophora, tetrasperma and pachyphylla.

The tetrasperma grows a lot smaller than the Monstera. On small plants the petioles are pretty much the same. But once the Monstera get to split leaf size the petiole becomes flattened towards the leaf blade with a "wing" either side. The wing runs through the geniculum, but at that point it becomes wrinkled. The wings continue on into the leaf blade.

The tetrasperma petiole doesn't have the "wings", and the geniculum is smooth. Between the geniculum and the leaf blade the petiole becomes "D" shaped (in cross section) which opens out into the leaf blade.

Monstera takes a while for its leaves to get to the splitting stage. The tetrasperma leaves are split at a far earlier stage.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 1:05AM
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While I was busy writing up that last post didn't see the new ones arrive.

Kwie2011, they're all cultivars, all in gardens, in Australia. The Philo and Monstera are on the Sunshine Coast, just north of Brisbane, a subtropical climate, like south Florida. Those 2 grow poorly at my place, too equatorial savanna here, they prefer it a bit cooler. I have a small Philo bi barely hanging on for a few years now, the others all expired while still tiny. Monstera does better, but is extremely slow. I show photos of my 12 year old plants on the internet and people don't believe I could be in the tropics. The Epipremnum aureums on the other hand just rocket along here, you can virtually see them growing. That photo of the Epipremnum aureum with the chair is in my garden. Now if you want that Monstera look, but don't have the space, then Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is the one for you. I'm pretty sure Purple has one too.

Dellis326, you're starting to sound like my sister, LOL. She lives in about zone 9b but when I suggest she come and visit me in the wet season (summer) it's "I don't want to sweat, NO!!!!" When they get heat it's always dry (by comparison to us, anyway).

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 1:37AM
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kwie2011(8a/8b W. OR)

Okay Tropic and Dell, can you guys ID it? I HAVE PHOTOS! (I bought it - knew I would).

Monstera deliciosa or Rhaphidophora tetrasperma?

Here's the photo link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/duo6pwvd4qec8vt/IMAG0155a.jpg

For some reason, I can't upload photos to this site from my mobile anymore, so I hope you don't mind the link.

If you need more photos, it's "home," so I can take more. -grin- :-D

Tropic, thanks for the added info. I could've gone on guessing all day and not hit on Australia. Lovely!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 10:09PM
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Photo Synthesis

I'm no expert on Monstera delisiosa, much less a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, but I will say that yours looks like a splitting image [pun intended] of how mine looked when I first bought it. I know that's not saying much, considering how very close these plants seem to resemble each other. No wonder there's so much confusion in regards to this whole "split-leaf philodendron" debate, even tho none of them are philodendrons. I still think that mine is a juvenile Monstera. I guess that only time will tell. Either way, I'll still be happy. Tho I am a little biased towards having a Monstera. Because I've read so much about their interesting fruit, from which this plant gets its name.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 5:08AM
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It's a young Monstera delisiosa.

Coincidentally, today I bought a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma. I have 2 already, one very small. I knew I shouldn't have gone into the nursery section of the store. They had a whole lot of them with multiple branches, and all labelled Split Leaf Philodendron. One that was growing well with a number of branches just wouldn't let me walk on empty handed.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 6:52AM
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dellis326 (Danny)

Could be either. At this point it is too small to say for sure. Both my plants have juvenile leaves that look more or less the same as that. the leaves of Monstera do have closed holes in them but intermediate leaves of Rhaphs sometimes have them too.
The mature leaves will unfurl split so once it get a bit larger you'll be able to tell the difference easier.

Yeah, neither is a philodendron but both are aroids and Monstera are more closely related to philos and are new world (Central & South American) plants. Rhaphidophora are more closely related to Epipremnum and come from the Western Pacific rim. The spadix on both are similar but I've never heard of anyone eating the fruit of a Rhaphidophora so don't try it if it flowers for you.

Either way care is basically the same for all of them. Fast draining potting mix, lots of water and it's best to give them something to climb. Bright indirect light or a little bit of sun (not full sun all day). They can take more sun as they get bigger since in nature they will grow through the forest canopy to full sun. Mine do fine with no full sun. Don't let them get too cold, they are all tropical/sub-tropical plants. They also will grow very well in semi-hydroponics.

Tropic; Rhaphs must practically be a native plant for you, are all those pictures of Epipremnums you post naturalized or do they grow in your area without people spreading them everywhere?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:09AM
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i'm soaking up the details. never thought that i'd be able to grow monstera - too big for me indoors.
but Rhaphidophora tetrasperma i might just be able to fit ...someday! not yet.
but it'll give me something to look for in shops ;).
i just love the leaves.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:54AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

As an interesting sidebar, I've been watching a lot of older movies on TCM (30's to 60's usually) and have seen some really great Rhaphidophora plants in them. For here in USA, seems like one of those old-school house plants that's not around currently. Maybe that's about to change.

And OH how I wish it was possible (legally) to get cuttings from Tropic's amazing plants! Wow, always so cool to see!!

Kwie (peeked at your profile,) r u still not receiving notices about responses to discussions? The option to send you an email is there, so I wonder if you've fixed that but not the writing about it, are not checking the little box to turn on the notices, or may need to tweak GW settings?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:02AM
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kwie2011(8a/8b W. OR)

Thanks for the I'D guys, and for the additional info and commentary. I wish my little plant were R. tetrasperma, but this way I will have plenty of M. deliciosa starts to trade for R. tetrasperma cuttings later!

I'm astonished by how few roots are in this pot. The soil is so loose I can blow it out with a good huff, and all the offsets are hanging on by 1-2 roots and their skinny little rhizomes. I laid rocks in the top just to hold the plant(s) down and keep it all from collapsing and falling out. I've never seen a plant this size with such a disproportionately small root system.

Thanks for pointing out my profile note, Purp. I'm getting most, but not all notices now. I'd forgotten to change that. I will see to it.

Thanks again for the education everyone! I've learned so much from just that one little question. Love that! :-)


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:38AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Me too! FAscinating stuff, even if I never find Monstera or Raphidophora. I do have a M. obliqua, but it's not in the same league with M. deliciosa.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 12:23PM
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Photo Synthesis

I could talk about Aroids all day long. I've loved Aroids since before I even realized that I loved Aroids. From Spathiphyllums, to Anthuriums, Philodendrons, Aglaonemas, and of course Monsteras and even Rhaphidophoras. Just to name a few. Such a very interesting and diverse plant family. :)

This post was edited by ToMMyBoY69 on Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 14:08

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:59PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

petrushka; Both grow to a huge size, They can climb up a tree 30-60 meters when growing in nature. M. deliciosa do have larger leaves than R. tetrasperma though.

A few years ago I saw wild Monstera with leaves close to six feet long. I don't think the leaves of R. tetrasperma will even get half that size. They won't grow anywhere near that size in your house either.

Here's a photo of my Rhaph. (There's a large NOID Philo sorta mixed in there on the left side)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 6:55PM
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wow! that's big enough for me ;).
i am not sure but it looks a bit like Ph. pedatum on the left.
i am slowly getting acquainted with various kinds mostly thru taking pics while traveling and then trying to ID them thru image search.
i saw a fantastic variegated monstera in fairchild gardens in miami, fl.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:52PM
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here's a pic of monstera fruit. i was sure i took one when it was much bigger and white, but i can't find it. these are green and very small.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:21PM
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and here's a pic of philo pedatum - grown one. seen in fairchild, in rare plants conservatory.
just a chance to post a pic ;) - i am not sure if i saw another similar one with elongated center lobe. i'll search some more.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:25PM
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kwie2011(8a/8b W. OR)

Cool plants. I wouldn't have guessed that last one was a philodendron.

"Green and very small," hehe, everything really IS relative, isn't it? Look like enormous fruit to me. Maybe not watermelons, but more than a single serving.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:54PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

No, That isn't the plant I mentioned. The one in the hanging basket is Philodendron squamiferum. The one in the small basket next to the rhaph is the NOID Philo. It was a 2" chuck of stem with one leaf and a bud on it I bought at one of our local conservatories, labeled only "Philodendron SP.". You can see the leaves between the fan and the window.

You can see in the photo you posted that the leaves of M. deliciosa have those closed holes in them close to the central vein or midrib, which do have a anatomical name which I can't remember right now, These holes are absent on the R. tetrasperma.

See all those little bumps on the pods? Each of those will color up and become a small berry-like fruit with a seed or three in it. That is what is eaten, not the core, at least I don't think it is.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 12:01AM
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The problem with Monstera fruit is that it never ripens all at once. Ripening starts at the stem (plant) end and progresses towards the tip. The outer part is covered in a layer of green scales which become loose as the ripening progresses under them. The scales also turn a bit yellowish-green. Tastes a bit like a fruit salad, hence the name Fruit Salad Plant which Monstera deliciosa is sometimes called.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:03AM
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i have some fuzzy recollections from the guide at fairchild that there is edible and not edible monsteras and the edible ones have round holes near central vein, while inedible ones have ovals.
ph.squamiferum....hm-m another one to look up!
they seem so-o close. exept Ph.squamiferum has hairy red stems? and juvie leaves are plain narrow?
looks like the one in my pic has hairy stems too? so it might be squamiferum? i take pics of labels when they are there. unfortunately half of plants did not have them.
but where is that other philo NOID. i can't see it...
here's a cool link with pics to compare the two. on the bottom there are 2 additional links. but they are so-o similar!
by the way exoticrainforest site was archived by IAS so you still can
get to it!

Here is a link that might be useful: variegated philo fl

This post was edited by petrushka on Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 22:07

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 12:28PM
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here's the link to exoticrainforest ...the whole site intact archived at aroid.org!

Here is a link that might be useful: exoticrainforest start page

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 12:34PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

I'm glad the IAS achieved Steve's site. When I was still a member I asked about it on their forum a couple of years ago, after he died, but I never heard anything about it after that.

Yeah, the P.squamiferum has fuzzy petioles. It's a very drippy and sticky plant. I've never had another plant with such an affinity for guttation. On some days it's almost like honey is oozing from it.

By the way, the holes in the Monstera leaves are called fenestrations.

Here is a picture from another angle of the NOID Philo.

This post was edited by dellis326 on Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 20:51

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 8:33PM
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kwie2011(8a/8b W. OR)

Oh no... now look what you've done. I'll never get off the Exotic Rainforest site now. My brain is beginning to run out of my ears. So much great stuff to learn.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:29PM
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Photo Synthesis

I know exactly how you feel, Kwie2011. When I stumbled up to that website, I think I suffered from sleep deprivation shortly thereafter, lol. I combed over as much of it as I could, trying to soak it all in. I was devastated when the original site stopped functioning. I thought all of Steve's knowledgeable information was lost to those of us online. You can't imagine how thrilled I was when I learned that the IAS had archived it. I'm always going back to read up on different sections whenever I get the chance.

Seeing as how I live here in Arkansas, not too far from his "Exotic Rainforest," I plan on some day heading on up there to check it out for myself. As beautiful as the pictures are, I'm certain that they don't entirely do this place any justice. :)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:58AM
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and when and if in miami, fl - do fairchild gardens. simply amazing stuff there! and it's in ground in abundant displays...
dellis, i was asking for philo id that was somewhat similar to yours but much-much larger and outdoors. there were sev candidates - they all have leaves similar to alocasias with wavy edges..
so have a look at ph giganteum.
here there is a juvie pic of williamsonii (and many others very pretty!):
but you could go to ATP and ask lariAnn too.

Here is a link that might be useful: juvie giganteum and more mature

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:52AM
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kwie2011(8a/8b W. OR)

TommyBoy, I assume someone has taken over caring the the Exotic Rainforest since the owner died? I haven't found anything on the site yet referring to the the current state of things. Many of the links to tours, etc.are broken. I hope you can still tour it. I'm way too far away myself, but I like the idea of it being there. Steve must've been an extraordinarily person.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:26PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

I found Steve a very helpful and nice person. We used to exchange emails about almost any question I have about plants. He knew aroid experts from around the world and if he didn't know the answer to your question he would research it and send out emails to various scientist and field researchers to find out. And then he often would update the website with this new information.

I would doubt his atrium is still tour-able unless you know his family since it is part of his home. I was surprised to see all the contact info still there.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 3:10PM
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Photo Synthesis

I've wondered that myself, but surely things haven't changed. I think that that would be the last thing Steve would've wanted to happen. Even before his passing, a person would have to call in advance to arrange a guided tour. You couldn't just show up. I can't speak for his family, but if it we me, I would gladly do my best to carry on his legacy. But if it's no longer tourable, I wouldn't blame them.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 4:42PM
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kwie2011(8a/8b W. OR)

What a shame. I didn't even know the man, and I'm sad he's gone.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 4:47PM
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kwie2011(8a/8b W. OR)

What a shame. I didn't even know the man, and I'm sad he's gone.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 6:21PM
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a lot of links do work, i tried to find the one that didn't.
here's an example. when you get a msg link not found, if your browser is set up to show URL in address link, you'll see the following:
just manually select and delete everything before 2nd http and the page will load ok.
basically they use programs that process subdirectories when stuff is moved around and the external links that should've been left alone got prefixed incorrectly instead.
i think it'll probably be just the external links that you need to adjust.
with a little reasoning you can make it work.

This post was edited by petrushka on Wed, Jul 30, 14 at 21:19

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 7:01PM
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i just read on ATP aroid forum that somebody bought the whole collection from steve lucas's atrium - it is now in morristown indiana. and not open to public, but may be seen perhaps by request.
wow, how did they manage to relocate so many huge plants? that must've been an enormous amt of work!
and how do you relocate climbers that are 15' or more tall?!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 6:38PM
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