COLLECTING exotic foliage drives demand, and also some very beautiful calms in highly uncertain times.

They came armed with totes, trash bags, empty strollers and collapsible nylon wagons. they came with wish lists and whispers of their ''unicorns'', whose Latin names sounded incantations : adansonii, patriciae, pbliqqua.

Some of them traveled by airplane to get here. Others, in moving trucks. Because one does not walk into the International Aroid Society Show and simply to browse.

Aroids are a family are a family of tropical plants that have exploded in popularity in recent years and inspired a revival of the  freewheeling ''70s jungle aesthetic : The monsters, whose perforated delicosa leaves adorn smartphone cases and statement of wallpaper, is an aroid.

So are philodendroons, anthuroums and tetraspermas - plants prized not for fussy flowers, but for dramatic, lush foliage.

''With orchars you have to be patient for it to flower,'' said Anat Scham, 25, an animator who lives in Washington and sold botanical illustrations at the show. ''Whereas with foliage, it's instant gratification.''

Several years ago, the Aroid Society, like some of its rarest specimens, appeared to be dwindling. The hobby has an arcane, almost Victorian dustiness to, akin to collecting stamps or coins.

But in the past two or three years, said Alex Bello, 33, the president of the Aroid Society and the chairman of the event, attendance has spiked from around 500 people in a weekend to a few thousand.
''It has been exorbitant, the amount of people we've been getting,'' he said. ''We've been pummeled.''

When Mr. Bello opened the door of the  Garden House at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden near Miami on the first morning of the sale, on Sept. 21, attendees heaved into the  room  shoulder-to-shoulder.

After the frenzy of buying and selling, I found Micah Garner, 32, posted up in the line, clutching two handfuls of plants and waiting for his girlfriend, Alessia Resta, 27, whose Instagram account , @apartmentbotanist, has nearly 40,000 followers.

The couple lives in New York, and shares a 700-square-foot  apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with around 200 plants. They brought an extra suitcase to carry home all the new ones.

Ms. Resta found the plant at the top of her list, a $110 Philodendron luxuriand choco. ''Right now it's a little bit of an ugly stump, but one day, it's going to be beautiful,'' she said.

Another aroid species that has become a bona fide object of obsession for this new generation of collectors  is the eminently photogenic variegated monstera, whose leaves are marbled with painterly splashes of white.

At the show, one vendor from Ecuador sold individual cuttings for it for $200 a piece. A large potted version of the plant sold for $650.

The honor and serving of the latest global operational research on Plants and Beauty, continues. The World Students Society thanks author, Gray Chapman.


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