Philodendron alticola Croat & Grayum
  • Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 84: 394 (1997) 

Notes: Distribution: E. Costa Rica to W. Panama

General Description

Epiphytic or hemiepiphytic; stem appressed-climbing; internodes dark green, promptly gray-green, finally light brown, semiglossy, finely ribbed, (1.5-2)4-10 cm long, 2-4 cm diam., drying pale yellow-brown, epidermis sometimes loosening and flaking free in small patches; cataphylls sharply D-shaped with weakly raised margins, pale green, weakly glossy, drying thin, to 28 cm long, unribbed, drying pale brown, deciduous at lower nodes, persisting semi-intact at upper nodes with a few exposed pale fibers, in part persisting as pale fibers at lower nodes with a few pale fibers and small, thin fragments of pale brown epidermis. LEAVES erect-spreading to spreading; petioles 42-70 cm long, 7-10 mm diam., subterete, medium green, weakly glossy, faintly lineate, obtusely flattened adaxially, weakly spongy, drying greenish to blackened, slightly flattened toward the apex adaxially, surface drying more or less matte, sometimes with portions of epidermis loose and bubbled, tan and translucent; sheathing subtending an inflorescence, to 6 cm long; blades narrowly ovate-sagittate, subcoriaceous to moderately coriaceous, semiglossy, somewhat bicolorous, weakly and shortly acuminate at apex, sagittate at base, 44-72 cm long, 21-44 cm wide (1.6-2 times longer than wide), (about as long as petioles), broadest somewhat above point of petiole attachment, upper surface dark green, matte, drying brown to greenish brown and almost matte, lower surface moderately paler and weakly glossy, drying yellow-brown; anterior lobe 34-35.5 cm long, margins convex; posterior lobes 13-26 cm long, 11-17 cm wide, directed downward; sinus obovate, 10-19 cm deep; midrib speckled, slightly paler, drying broadly convex, concolorous above, narrowly rounded, slightly paler, drying prominently convex, often flat and irregularly ridged, yellowish brown below; basal veins 5--6 per side, with the first free to base, the second coalesced 1-5 cm, third and higher order veins coalesced 4-7.5 cm long; posterior rib naked for 1-3 cm; primary lateral veins 5-8 per side, those near end of blade departing midrib at a 50-65º angle, those in the lower one-half of blade departing at 80-95º angle, broadly curved to the margins, obtusely sunken and slightly paler, drying weakly raised above, convex and paler than surface, splayed out and downturned at the midrib, drying weakly raised below; interprimary veins inconspicuous; minor veins moderately distinct, fine, arising from both the midrib and primary lateral veins, drying prominulous, alternating with secretory canals appearing as intermittent lines, sometimes branched, blackened and minutely sunken. INFLORESCENCES erect, 1-2 per axil; peduncle more or less terete, coarsely striate (coarser on spathe and base of tube, pale short-lineate otherwise), weaker toward apex, 5-12 cm long, drying 7-10 mm diam., pale green, drying dark brown; spathe coriaceous, 11.5-14(18) cm long, scarcely or not at all constricted midway, green to yellowish green throughout, acuminate; spathe blade dark green throughout, drying dark brown and unmarked, smooth outside, pale greenish white to white on upper two-thirds of blade inside; spathe tube 2.8-4 cm long, 2-3 cm diam., red to to red-violet to purplish on lower one-third of tube inside, spadix 9-14 cm long; pistillate portion pale green, 0.8-1.2 cm long, 1-1.5 cm diam. throughout; staminate portion 8-12.5 cm long; fertile staminate portion creamy white, stubby, evenly and bluntly tapered to apex, 1.5-2 cm diam. throughout, broadest at the base, much broader than the pistillate portion; sterile staminate portion 1.5 cm diam.; pistils 3--4 mm long, 1.7-1.8 mm diam., ovary (4)5-6(7)-locular, with axile placentation; ovules 12-18 per locule, 2-seriate, weakly translucent, 0.4-0.5 mm long, longer than funicle; funicle 0.1-0.2 mm long, adnate to lower part of partition, style similar to style type B; central style dome sometimes weakly developed; dried style base raised but flattened apically with a narrow, pale ring around its outer margin; stylar canals emerging as tiny funnels at base of small apical depressions and arranged separately in a ring, drying as minute funnels extending above the surface of the style boss; style apex weakly concave; central domes and small depressions surrounding stylar canal exits; stigma covering entire style apex; androecium truncate, oblong prismatic, margins irregularly 4-5-sided or 4-6-sided, 0.9-1 mm long; thecae more or less oblong, ca. 0.3 mm wide; sterile staminate flowers in part prismatic, in part weakly clavate or irregularly 4-6-sided, 1.2-1.8 mm wide. INFRUCTESCENCE in early fruit to 14 cm long; spathe becoming dark brown with paler lines in tube; berries white with dried style bases ca. 2 mm long, brown, with a narrow smooth ring around its margin; seeds tan, ovoid, weakly mammiliform, 1.4-1.8 mm long, 1-1.2 mm diam.


Tropical Lower Montane wet or possibly Lower Montain rain forest. It is one of the most high-ranging species of Philodendron subg. Philodendron Schott in Central America, hence the name "alticola" (meaning high-dweller).


Known only from eastern Costa Rica and western Panama in the region adjacent to the frontier.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Southern America Central America Costa Rica
  • Panamá


  • 1 Hammel, B.E. & al. (2003). Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica 2: 1-694. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.
  • 2 Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (2002). World Checklist and Bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae): 1-560. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 3 Croat, T.Bernard A revision of Philodendron subgenus Philodendron (Araceae) for Mexico and Central America Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 84, (1997).

 Information From

CATE Araceae
Haigh, A., Clark, B., Reynolds, L., Mayo, S.J., Croat, T.B., Lay, L., Boyce, P.C., Mora, M., Bogner, J., Sellaro, M., Wong, S.Y., Kostelac, C., Grayum, M.H., Keating, R.C., Ruckert, G., Naylor, M.F. and Hay, A., CATE Araceae, 14 Dec 2011 . 17 Dec 2011.
  • A All Rights Reserved
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • B Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • C See You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.