Philodendron ensifolium Croat & Grayum
  • Phytologia 73: 32 (1992) 

Notes: Distribution: Costa Rica to Colombia

General Description

Appressed-climbing understory trunk epiphytes, fertile at ca. 2-7 m above the ground. Internodes 1.0-5.9 cm long, 0.3-1.9 cm wide, medium to dark green, matte to semiglossy, obscurely flattened to obtusely sulcate on one side, drying green and finely striate or yellowish and coarsely sulcate; roots present at most distal nodes, to ca. 3.0 mm in diameter. LEAVES: Petiole (11.2-) 12.3-48.8 cm long, P/L=(0.38-) 0.43-0.88 (-1.05), prominently dark green-short-lineate especially on sheath, extensively sheathed, the sheath erect to spreading (especially distally), usually prolonged (sometimes auriculately) beyond the base of the lamina by 1.0- 5.0 mm; unsheathed portion of petiole 0.0-0.9 cm long, bluntly D-shaped, canaliculate above. Lamina (18.3-) 21.0-59.9 cm long, (2.0-) 4.5-15.9 cm wide, L/W=2.63-9.33 (-14.20, juvenile plants), IQI=0-11 (-15), thinly coriaceous to subcoriaceous, semiglossy to glossy above, matte (rarely) to semiglossy or glossy below, concolorous to weakly bicolored, linear-lanceolate to narrowly elliptical, broadly lanceolate or (rarely) oblanceolate (broadest toward base to above the middle), gradually to abruptly long-acuminate apically [the acumen 0.8-4.0 (-4.6) cm long], broadly cuneate to truncate or rounded (rarely subcordulate) basally; midrib sunken or narrowly sunken above and sometimes paler, convex or narrowly convex, slightly paler, and green-lineate below; primary lateral veins obscure (especially distally and adaxially) to manifest, 3-17 per side, 0.3-4.7 cm apart, weakly sunken to sunken above, very weakly convex below, sometimes with inter-primaries; minor veins weakly visible below; abaxial laminar surface drying moderately to densely and ± uniformly granular, reticulate veins not obvious; no white stitching; resin canals not evident to regularly visible; adaxial surface obscurely to densely and evenly granular (especially between veins), sometimes densely and minutely alveolate, otherwise featureless. INFLORESCENCES solitary, paired, or rarely in 3's; cataphylls of regular occurrence, 6,0-22.8 cm long, 0.4-1.9 cm wide, linear-lanceolate to narrowly lanceolate or narrowly ovate, sharply 2-keeled; peduncle (0.8-) 1.7-8.3 (-8.5) cm long, P/S= (0.10-) 0.19-0.77, densely green-lineate; spathe at anthesis 11.6-17.5 (-19.1) cm long, 1.5-4.5 cm wide, externally weakly glossy to glossy, green to dark green below, yellow-green and densely pale-short-lineate distally, becoming uniformly yellow-orange to orange-yellow toward fruit, internally greenish white; spathe drying very densely whitish granular externally and internally, with longitudinal secretory striations to 4/5 or more to the apex within; acumen of spathe 0.6-2.6 cm long. Stipe of spadix 0.2-0.9 cm long, ± adnate to spathe proximally; spadix 8.2-11.9 cm long, the fertile male portion 0.5-1.2 cm wide, chalk-white; sterile male zone 0.6-1.5 cm long; female portion of spadix 2.0-3.9 (-4.0) cm long (to 5.9+ cm in fruit), F/S=0.22-0.40, 0.8-1.7 cm wide (to 3.1+ cm in fruit), pale greenish; fertile male flowers 1.8-2.6 mm long, 0.7-2, 1 mm wide, irregularly polygonal, columnar, ± laterally compressed; sterile male flowers 1.7-3.5 mm long, 1.0-2.6 mm wide, obconic, obturbinate or narrowly anvil-shaped, sometimes laterally compressed; female flowers 1.7-3.3 mm long, 0.6-1.3 mm wide, the stylar canals 3-5. INFRUCTESCENCES: Ripe fruits described as "rosada'' (subsp. campanense; Correa A. & Montenegro 10761) or "pale pink'' (subsp. colonense; McPherson 11720), presumably translucent- whitish with pinkish seeds. Seeds 0.4-0.6 mm in diameter, pinkish to red, semicochleate to cochleate, finely striate with the striae minutely to ± coarsely cancellate, drying brown and semiglossy.


Moist to pluvial forest. In the Cabo Corrientes region the species is rare in the forest and it is found growing in tree trunks in the understory, generally less than 8 m above soil.


Ranging from extreme northeastern Costa Rica (and probably southeastern Nicaragua) to Valle Department, Colombia.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Southern America Central America Costa Rica
  • Panamá
  • Western South America Colombia


  • 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 Stevens, W.D., Ulloa U., C., Pool, A. & Montiel, O.M. (2001). Flora de Nicaragua. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 85: i-xlii, 1-2666.
  • 4 Grayum, M.Howard Revision of Philodendron subgenus Pteromischum (Araceae) for Pacific and Caribbean Tropical America. Systematic Botany Monographs. 47, (1996).

 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.
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eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
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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
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