Aroidia - The Vision
and The Reality
Aroidia Research is, literally, about the bringing of a vision into reality. Many years ago, an intense fascination with the plants in the family Araceae (aroids) on the part of the founder led to a visionary trek of the imagination into a world where the entire flora consisted of variations on the aroid theme. On this world, species which on Earth are relatively diminutive took on far grander proportions, reaching to 300 meters and higher. These "canopy" plants, together with other aroid-derived genera, colonized the vast open oceans of the planet by creating floating biological archipelagoes of startling beauty. This visionary planet was named Aroidia, and the plants that populated it were seen as the potential results of future genetic research and development.
The first results of the effort to produce such hybrid progeny were published in the journal of the International Aroid Society, Aroideana, Volume 6, Number 3, pages 74-81. Later, David Burnett cited these early results in his monograph, The Cultivated Alocasia in Aroideana Volume 7, Numbers 3 and 4, pages 149-150, as examples of the work of modern hybridists.
So intriguing was this world of Aroidia, and the possibilities it suggested, that Georgia Tasker, garden writer with the Miami Herald, wrote an article about both Aroidia and the hybridization work for the Miami Herald Home and Design section, published on July 29, 1984, page 1H.
Some eight years later, this ground-breaking work with aroids was put on hold due to several life-changing events, not the least of which was a visit by a hurricane named Andrew. The hurricane left the research collection devastated and much of the work that had been done up to that date (late August, 1992) destroyed.
However, like the south Florida landscape after Andrew, Aroidia Research has resumed again, greater and bolder than ever before. After a hiatus of about 15 years, the work that is ongoing at Aroidia Research is destined to continue producing aroid plants of extraordinary size and beauty. Only time will tell how many of the plants foreseen in that visionary journey of imagination will come into existence as real products of hybridization and genetic engineering.
LariAnn Garner is the founder and Research Director at Aroidia Research. LariAnn is amply qualified for the position, having a Bachelor of Science in Botany, and a Masters Degree in Plant Physiology from the University of Florida. After her college education, she spent a number of years working at several nurseries to gain practical experience before embarking on her own research efforts. One of these nurseries was Bamboo Nursery in the Orlando, Florida area, where she observed and learned about the Philodendron hybridization work of Bob McColley. She has worked in the horticultural field for over 25 years, and two of her hybrids (Alocasia x portora and Alocasia x calidora) are widely recognized in the horticultural trade.
Prior to January of 2000, LariAnn's work was published under the name "Lawrence Garner". The so-called "Larry Garner hybrids" are LariAnn's work.